No. 133 – St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

No. 133 – St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

This is a treat indeed…

2017-04-30 - 133 - St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale poured _500beers

I’m yet to be disappointed by a St. Ambroise beer.  The Scotch Ale is the best beer I’ve had this year so far with a 9/11, the Cream Ale is also very good at 7/11 and the IPA provisionally has 7/11 though I will be re-tasting that one as I tried it when I was already quite drunk.  Their Apricot Wheat Ale does not disappoint either.

2017-04-30 - 133 - St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale desc. _500beers

It is a light, fruity beer that is very easy to drink.  It is refreshing too, and I get the impression that it would be a perfect beer for sitting out in the sun during a long hot summer.  This gets a Yes for being good, it’s very good in fact.  It was also only about $3 for the tin, I would happily pay more for this or pay $8 in a bar for a pint so that’s another Yes for value.  The description is spot-on, an apricot beer that smells and tastes of apricot so there is a Yes for that as well as a Yes for having that little something different.  Yes I would, and will, drink this again and Yes I would definitely recommend it.  It’s also going to get a Yes for the  ‘would I go out of my way for it’ and a Yes for ‘would I go out in a snowstorm for it’ questions.  I get the impression that the refreshing fruity flavour would make one feel warm even on the coldest winter day.

So another very good mark for St. Ambroise with an 8/11.  As we move through Spring and into Summer, I recommend trying this on a very warm summer’s day.

Colour Me Drunk, Chalet Weekend Part 2, Nos. 79 – 86

Colour Me Drunk, (Chalet Weekend Part 2)…

And so, about fifty days later, I finally get around to summing up the beers that I tried at a chalet weekend in March…

From the Friday night, I remember tasting beers, karaoke and colouring with Colour Me Drunk.  I recall a sense of achievement whilst colouring and an undeserved sense of being actually quite good.  The red drawing underneath is my work after several beers.

2017-03-10 - drunky _chalet

Numbers 79 to 82 were all tasted on this rather blurry Friday night.  My notes are quite frankly bizarre but my vague recollections are that there was nothing special, at least nothing that would get an eight or a nine.  I may have to do a re-tasting at some point in the future.

Numbers 83 to 86 were all tasted on a rather slow Saturday and the reviews are somewhat more reliable.  I had one of my personal choices left and then started on an Belle Gueule selection pack. 

No. 79 – Floreale from Brasserie Générale

This is a very frothy white beer from Brasserie Générale that I picked up from my local Métro.  I like the design of this one, in fact, I like the designs on all of their products and will definitely be trying them in the future, particularly their Hanami (cherry white beer).  This was quite a good beer with a hint of orange but nothing special.  It gets a Yes therefore for being good and a Yes for matching up to it’s description.  The price was good too so that’s another YesYes I would try it again and Yes I would recommend it to anyone willing to try different whites.  So a decent but not special 5/11.

No. 80 – La Candide from Microbrasserie le BockAle

2017-03-10 - 81 - Le BockAle Candide _chalet _500beers

Having already tasted and given a pretty good 7/11 to one of Microbrasserie le BockAle’s beers (L’Euphorique), I was looking forward to this.  It’s just a shame that I can’t really remember too much about it.  It’s a blond pale ale that from my notes tasted fine, without anything special to it.  Perhaps my taste buds were dulled by this point in the evening (whichever point in the evening it was) but I don’t remember anything interesting about this or the next two beers.  It gets the same five Yeses as the Floréale. 5/11

No. 81 – Fana from Microbrasserie le BockAle

2017-03-11 - 82 - Le BockAle Fana poured _chalet _500beers

A lightly smoky IPA by all accounts.  Two things that I tend to avoid as much as possible but I don’t recall being put off drinking this at the time by the taste.  More importantly, I don’t recall an overwhelming taste of smoke in my mouth the morning after.  And that is where my less than comprehensive notes end.  This also gets the same 5/11 as the Floréale and La Candide.

No. 82 – Mr Brown from Avant Garde Artisans Brasseurs

2017-03-10 - 80 - Mr Brown poured _chalet _500beers

I picked this solely for the name.  I am after all Mr. Brown.  It is funnily enough a brown ale with quite a muddy colour to it but I think it tasted fine despite seeming a little flat.  I have a note about nuts followed by the question ‘do squirrels prefer nut brown ale?’  In my notes I gave it a five like all of the other beers above, however I’m going to give it an extra Yes as I did go out of my way to find it and I’m sure that I will do so again.  So this one gets a 6/11.

No. 83 – Flacatoune from Microbrasserie Charlevoix

This was the first beer tasted on the Saturday, after recovery from the Friday.  This was chosen as I had no clue what the name meant and after consulting a Quebecor and some French people I am still none the wiser.  It’s a stronger blond beer that didn’t taste that strong.  That’s the trick though.  I found this really easy to drink and got through it pretty quickly.  It gets the standard five Yeses but didn’t have anything extra to it to get it into the realm of the very good beers.  5/11

Nos. 84 to  86 –  Belle Gueule Rousse, Lager d’Hiver and Houblon

Over the past week or two I’ve started buying more selection packs in order to save money and try a few new beers without having to put too much effort in.  I have however, noticed that beers such as IPAs, Lagers, Blonds and Whites all taste similar when consumed this way.  Maybe it’s the bottles, maybe it’s drinking too much in a short space of time or maybe they’re just more bland beers.  I noticed this with Belle Gueule, the Houblon and the Lager d’Hiver at least, both of which get the same 5/11 as the beers above.

Their Rousse, unfortunately, is not very Rousse – it gets a Yes for price, a Yes for the description and a half a Yes for being good and ‘would I drink it again’ each.  For the price it’s reasonable and I can’t say outright that it is bad but I still found it a little tasteless for a red ale.  I very much like red ales so a tasteless one is always going to annoy me.  3/11

Lessons learned from the chalet…
It is difficult to taste and accurately evaluate anywhere above three different beers in one evening.
Pictures should be taken in advance when sober.
Auto correct needs to be turned off.
I am artist.

“The warmth of leather,” No. 126 Dernière Volonté

“The warmth of leather”

2017-04-24 - 126 - Dernière Volonté Dieu de Ciel _500beers

This weekend I went to Sherbrooke to celebrate a friend’s birthday and to see a bit more of the town.  My initial plan had involved spending a significant amount of time at Siboire at the bus station to try out some of what looks like quite a good beer selection, however I didn’t really have the time.  Fortunately, my friend had found a little shop with an impressive beer selection on her travels and brought me to it.  It was not a big place but had a vast selection of beers – the phrase ‘kid in a candy store’ comes to mind.  I picked a few beers for myself (posts will follow at some point) and decided to go with a suggestion from my friend as well.  She liked the picture on the bottle – that being how I pick my beers more often than not I decided to go with it without really looking at the description.

At the counter, the man serving me saw the bottle and immediately warned me about my choice.  “Drink it last!”  I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying because I’d made my choice and he was speaking French.  Besides, if the beer had a unique taste, it was worth trying.  My challenge is to seek out and try different beers after all.  And so I have know tasted a beer that tastes of leather…

No. 126 – Dernière Volonté from Dieu du Ciel

2017-04-24 - 126 - Dernières Volonté Dieu de Ciel image _500beers
It is indeed a nice picture on the bottle, sombre enough to match the name of the beer if my French skills are on point.  ‘Last wish.’

It pours nicely with a thick fizzy head and has a nice orange hue and then there is the smell.

It smells like the inside of a leather upholstered car on a warm day.  It smells like a new luxury sofa.  It smells quite simply like leather.  Something I have never noticed before in beer.  Apparently this is down to brettanomyces, this is a type of yeast apparently that is sometimes used to create stranger flavours.

2017-04-24 - 126 - Dernières Volonté Dieu de Ciel desc. _500beers
This beer poses a few problems for my rating system.  It’s a definite Yes for being different and Yes, I would recommend it for the hell of it.  A Yes for the description.  The french description is better – who wouldn’t want the warmth of leather in their drink?  Though I think the warmth partly comes from the alcohol content.  The price was reasonable for a strong beer so that’s a fourth Yes.  But was it good?  For a strong beer, it’s quite easy to drink and the smell and taste of leather really is not that bad.  Once you get used to it, it is actually a decent beer.  I’m giving it a Yes for being good as it’s difficult to give it a yes for price, uniqueness, accuracy of description and being recommendable without giving it that basic yes for being good or at least not being bad.  And so, the strangest taste I’ve had so far gets the average 5/11.

Looks like I’ll have to go back to Sherbrooke a few more times in order to advance my challenge.

No. 113 – Mill St. Brewery’s Cobblestone Stout

 

No. 113 – Cobblestone Stout

So far I haven’t had a bad stout, with the average mark being six out of eleven.  This means one of two things – either stout is easy to make, or I’ve being drinking the wrong beers for the last sixteen plus years.  And so, we move onto Mill St. Brewery’s Cobblestone Stout.  I bought a tin of this at my dépanneur for £4.00 at the weekend and have been looking forward to tasting it ever since. 

2017-04-12 - 113 - Mill St. Brewery Cobblestone Stout poured _500beers
Oddly, this was a pleasure to pour and watching it settle was somewhat mesmerising.  It looks really good and it tastes pretty good too.  It’s very similar to a good pint of Guinness but cheaper.  Looking at the description, which is below, I would agree that this is a stout lover’s stout.  The taste in itself is nothing uniquely different, it’s just smooth.  I’d like to and may do a stout evening in the near future to see if I can tell these stouts apart in a blind tasting.  A Stout-Off, if you will.

2017-04-12 - 113 - Mill St. Brewery Cobblestone Stout desc. _500beers

So, to the scoring…
Yes, it’s good.  Yes, for the price it’s a steal, though I’ll maybe also do a price comparison post at some point.  Yes, I’d drink it again and Yes, I’d recommend it.  It gets another Yes for having an accurate description and a final Yes for going out of my way to buy it – fortunately it’s actually on my way.  So a pretty good 6/11 and a few questions raised about re-tasting and comparing the various stouts I’ve tried so far.

Next up is Beau’s tour of the age of the Dinosaurs!

 

 

Sleeman’s Selection, Nos. 104-107 and 109-110

Sleeman’s Selection

Trying saying Sleeman’s Selection quickly ten times in a row.  Anyway…

I picked up this selection pack from my nearest dépanneur because it was only about ten dollars.  Each of these beers therefore gets a yes for the price.

No. 104 – Sleeman’s Cream Ale

2017-04-04 - 104 - Sleeman's Cream Ale label _500beers
This is a decent beer, not the best cream ale I’ve had so far but by no means a bad beer.  This will be a theme for this selection.

It gets a Yes for being good, well it’s not bad so that’s a given.  It’s got a Yes for the price and for another Yes for the description.  I’d drink it again so that’s a fourth Yes, and at the price Yes I’d recommend it to.  So that’s five Yeses – which by now means, it’s ok, but nothing special.    5/11

No. 105 – Sleeman’s Silver Creek Lager

2017-04-05 - 105 - Sleeman's Silver Creek Lager reflet _500beers
Again, this is a decent lager, without having anything special about it.  Like the Cream Ale, it’s going to get five out of eleven for being good, cheap, accurate, recommendable at this price and something that I would drink again.   5/11

 

 

No. 106 – Sleeman’s Fine Porter

2017-04-05 - 106 - Sleeman's Fine Porter bottle _500beers
This is indeed a fine porter.

Of the six beers in the selection pack this was the one that stood out as the best.  It was a smooth well balanced stout, that was very easy to drink and that quenched my thirst perfectly.  Score-wise it gets the same five yeses as the previous two beers, but I would consider going out of my way for it if I was in the mood.  So I’m giving it six.    6/11

 

No. 107 – Sleeman’s Railside Session Ale

2017-04-06 - 107 - Sleeman's Railside Session Ale reflet _500beers
Not really a lot to say on this one.  It was a little bland compared to the others in the selection and to the majority of other beers I’ve tried so far.  But having said that, it is ok so it notches up four Yeses, for being good (ok at least), cheap and accurate and I’d probably try it again.   4/11

 

 

 

No. 109 – Sleeman’s Spiced Ale

2017-04-08 - Sleeman's Spiced Ale _500beers

Very similar to the Railside Session Ale, but with a little more flavour.  I can’t honestly remember anything more about this one, which tells me that it was ok but again nothing special.  I’ve given it five Yeses for being good, cheap, accurate (there is a hint of something different in the flavour, but I can’t remember what and it wasn’t enough to gain an extra yes for being interesting or different) and recommendable (at a cheap price).  I would also give it another go.    5/11

No. 110 – Sleeman’s India Pale Ale

2017-04-09 - 110 - Sleeman's IPA bottles _500beers
I don’t like IPAs, so I left this one for last.  It was actually pretty good, but did not taste like most IPAs I’ve had so far.  This somewhat confuses the accuracy/being different questions in my marking scheme.

In all honesty, I would find it difficult to tell at least four of these beers apart.  This one gets four Yeses for being good, cheap, recommendable and I would try it again. 4/11

This for ten dollars is a pretty consistent selection of beers.  If I were to try any of them again, I would definitely go for the Porter first.  It’s becoming clear just over a fifth of the way through the challenge that I like stout. 

No. 100 – Trefle Noir Stout

No. 100 – Trefle Noir Stout

Beer number one hundred in my quest to taste 500 different beers in a single year.  I chose this one from my local Métro because I liked the picture and felt like a stout for some reason.  Stout may have been the first beer I ever tasted – I’ve a vague recollection of my dad letting me taste Guinness many years before I should have. 

This one comes from Trefle Noir, as the name suggests…

2017-04-01 - 100 - Trefle Noir Stout poured _500beers

Like most of the ‘artisanal’ stouts I have seen so far the description (below) references coffee and chocolate.  I like chocolate.  I also like coffee from time to time.  I particularly like beers which have that little something different about them as well so a mixture of these three things makes for a pretty good beer.

This was like a good cappuccino.

2017-04-01 - 100 - Trefle Noir Stout head _500beers

The foamy head made me want to grab a spoon and eat it rather than drink it.  I wonder what it would be like with cinnamon or chocolate sprinkled on – something to try in the future perhaps.  But anyway, this is definitely a positive point and the best contrast between the head and the pint I’ve seen so far.

2017-04-01 - 100 - Trefle Noir Stout description _500beers

Yes!  This was good, very good indeed.  The taste of coffee was very strong.  But I liked this a lot.  It is therefore a Yes for the taste matching the description.  This means a definite Yes for the taste being interesting or different as well, a Yes for drinking it again and a Yes for the fact that I would strongly recommend it to others.  It was $5.49 or so from Métro, which is a bargain as I have many a time paid $8 in bars for stouts that have had nothing special about them so for the price, it’s a Yes.  I’d definitely drink this in a bar if I found it on draft and I’d go out of my way to pick up a bottle if the mood took me.  So that’s another Yes.  I’m going to give it a final Yes for ‘would I go out in a snowstorm for it?’  8/11

This was a good choice for the hundredth beer.  I was surprised at the score but when I think about it again it gets a resounding Yes for each question.  I can’t wait to try out their other beers.