All posts by swimminginbeer

No. 400 – Les Bières Béluga’s Scotch Ale

No. 400 – Les Bières Béluga’s Scotch Ale

It feels a little strange writing about the landmark of beer number 400 for the year before having written about the landmark of 365 beers that was achieved mid-September – but that won’t stop me. 

I had a house party yesterday, a Super Nintendo evening in fact, and at the beginning of the evening was at 396 beers, with four new beers in the fridge.  Those beers were Boréale IPA (the regular one), Les 2 Frère’s Hickson Imperial IPA, Dieu du Ciel’s Rigor Mortis and a curious orca themed beer.  Needless to say these beers have all been tested and it was Les Bières Béluga’s Scotch Ale that got the honour of being No. 400…

If I have learned anything this year, it is that I like scotch ales, porters and stouts more than any other type of beer.  Sometimes it feels that one or two of the styles are blending together when I taste them now.  This was the case with this beer.

I hadn’t noticed that it was ‘à l’érable’ before I tasted it, so I was expecting a dark beer with a little sweetness initially followed by a warm bittersweet aftertaste.  Oddly, the aroma made me think more of a porter – I got cocoa from it and a little sweetness but didn’t really get that scotchy warmth that you get from a good scotch ale.  I also got a strange hoppy aroma from it, which was a little odd.

To taste, it was malty, a little warm and there was a chocolate hint to it.  It did however make me think more of a porter.  There was also a little sweetness to it, which must come from the maple and it was quite refreshing but it didn’t have the lasting warmth of a scotch ale.  I had two other people try it as well – one of whom seemed to agree with my assessment that it wasn’t really a scotch ale, and the other getting some hints of scotch ale from it.  I’m not entirely sure what conclusions to draw from that as they would both know their beers a bit – but it confirms for me that it’s a bit of a mixed up beer.

It’s a difficult one to rate – I’m giving one Yes for the adoption of Al (image above right) to begin with.  It’s a decent beer, definitely not bad, so it gets a Yes for being good.  It was definitely worth the fiver I paid for it so that’s a third Yes.  Accuracy is a problem, I can’t give it a Yes because it wasn’t a true scotch ale to me, but I will give it one for being different.  Yes I’d recommend trying it and Yes I’d try it again but that would be as far as I would go – 6/11.

I was initially a little disappointed by this but on further reflection I think it was quite good.  Maybe I’m just in a good mood because I’m not too far away from 500 beers.  Write ups on the other three beers I had last night will follow at some point.

Advertisements

No. 392 – A smashing pumpkin ale

No. 392 – A smashing pumpkin ale

I am one of those people who likes to put some kind of theme to each post.  Today, I was going to try, try, try to write about St. Ambroise with as many Smashing Pumpkins references* as possible (their 90s incarnation being one of my favourite bands).  Tonight, tonight, it is somewhat difficult – I’ve zero inspiration and am drawing a blank.  In any case, this post is about a pumpkin ale…

2017-10-10 - 392 - St. Ambroise Citrouille poured _500beers

So far, I’ve tried two pumpkin ales (Mill St. Brewery and Brutopia) and they’ve been fine without being anything special.  This one is my favourite to date.  It pours a lovely amber pumpkin colour and the pumpkin aroma is strong when allowed to breath.  The pumpkin hits at the back of the tongue and builds to a nice aftertaste but what is most interesting about this beer is that it’s just a really drinkable beer.  There’s very little bitterness in it, it’s not too sweet either – it’s got a really nice balance.  I could drink these all day and not get sick of the flavour.  This is not something I can say about many beers with individual or unique flavours.

I’m giving it a strong 7/11 for being good, well worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability, recommend-ability and for the fact that I would go out of my way for it possibly in a snowstorm (hopefully, there will be snow soon to justify that question).

I’m nearly at 400 different beers, slightly ahead of schedule so I’m going to take the opportunity over the next week to post about the following…

Brasseurs du Nord – Boréal beers
Northern Ireland – part two
The Chambly Beer Festival
Octoberfest at the Atwater Market
Home brewing
And many more!

*six is enough, no prize for spotting them, they’re pretty obvious.

 

Jukebox

Jukebox

I bought these beers for no other reason than I liked how they looked.  This probably goes to highlight the importance of a good label and theme in selling beers.  In any case, Jukebox have several beers along this musical theme, which all claim to be American influenced and very hoppy.  Here are the first three…

Number 332 – Mélodie Sauvin

This is an American Wheat with quite an appealing aroma.  It has quite an acidic tone and is very citrusy.  I quite liked the taste of this – it had quite a bit of fizz and was therefore very refreshing with a strong hop aftertaste.  The acidity and fruity flavour was quite sweet, which created a nice bitter-sweet balance.  It’s a very good wheat beer.  I’m giving it 7/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way in a heatwave for a bottle.

Number 353 – New Wave Milkshake IPA

This is another good beer.

The aroma brings out tropical fruits and is a little more bitter than the Mélodie, but it’s very appealing.  To taste, this one is odd for an IPA, it has a creamy texture more akin to a malty beer – obviously coming from the ‘milkshake’ style.  To me this is a good thing.  I personally prefer maltier beers with a creamier texture so taking an IPA (a style that I don’t like so much) and giving it a texture that I like can only be a good thing.  The tropical fruit aroma comes through a little in the flavour too giving this beer a nice balance of fruit, bitterness, hops and creaminess.  An easy 7/11, for being good, accurate, worth the price, a little different, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way for a bottle.

Number 354 – Classique

Finally, the Classique American pale ale.  I don’t have any notes on this one because I was a little disappointed after having tried the Mélodie and New Wave Milkshake IPA.

There was nothing wrong with it, in fact it was a decent pale ale but just had nothing special about it.  I gave it 4/11 – it’s fine, ok for the price, accurate and I may drink it again.

So Jukebox have a pretty good selection of beers so far – I will definitely be trying their Distortion, Double Distorsion and Jazz before the year ends.

Nos. 288 and 330 – Brasseurs du Monde Porter Selection & Marshmallows

Nos. 288 & 330 – Brasseurs du Monde Porter Selection & Marshmallows

I bought myself a Brasseurs du Monde giftpack a month or so ago with two porters, an opener and a couple of small glasses.  I then for some reason added marshmallows to beer…

No. 288 – Robust Porter Vanilla

This is unsurprisingly a standard porter with a hint of sweetness.  The head was rusty brown and the aroma was everything that you would expect from a decent porter but with a little dab of vanilla.  To taste, the sweetness comes through and builds nicely leaving an unusual aftertaste, but other than that there just seems to be something missing.  It’s by no means a bad beer, but it’s not up there with many of the other porters I’ve enjoyed so far.  I gave this one a 6/11 for being good, ok for the price, accurate, for having something different, and for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.

No. 288 with Marshmallows

2017-08-18 - 288 - Brasseurs du Monde Porter Robuste Vanille marshmallows _500beers

I’ve tried pairing certain beers with snacks throughout the year, this is the first time I decided to make some notes on it.  The idea originally came from the gorgeous coffee and chocolate stouts I tried earlier in the year.  Espresso biscuits and a Le Trefle Noir Stout are a great pairing for example.  Something told me that marshmallows would go well with a thicker, creamier stout or porter so I decided to try them with this porter as the vanilla may have also worked with the sweetness of the marshmallows.

It didn’t. 

I don’t recommend putting marshmallows into porter.  I shall however, continue to try different combinations and whenever I stumble upon something great I will write it up.

No. 330 – Robust Porter Chipotle

This is an odd beer indeed.

It looks and smells like a nice porter, more chocolate in the aroma in this one than anything else and it even tastes like a nice porter initially but then there is the chipotle.

A mild spiciness stays in the throat and builds with each gulp.  I don’t particularly like spicy things so choosing this beer was really an attempt to try something different.  Unfortunately, I just did not like this.  The curious thing is that I like scotch ales and imperial stouts and they usually leave a warmth in your throat and chest through sheer alcohol content.  The warmth from this was just unpleasant.  I’ve given it 3/11 for being accurate and different, and also as I would recommend it to anyone wanting a spicy beer.

Any suggestions for snacks that go with beer are welcome!

Back Home 1 – Belfast Pub Crawl

Back Home 1 – Belfast Pub Crawl

A giant fish and a slanty clock – I miss Belfast!

I went back home in May for a week or so and profited from the trip by trying sixteen beers I haven’t seen in Montreal.  I’ll post about the several beers I tried at home and in a couple of bars in Antrim at some point, but first here are a few beers I tried on a mini pub crawl in Belfast on a perfect Saturday afternoon in May…

Number 153 – Whitewater Brewery’s Belfast Black
2017-05-20 - 153 - Whitewater Brewing Co. Belfast Black 2 _500beers _belfast

The drinking started at McHugh’s bar and as usual I started with a stout.  Whitewater Brewery, not to be confused with Whitewater Brewing Co. (a Canadian brewery), have made a really great stout here.  It’s got a creamy light head that fizzles on the tongue and has mild hints of coffee.  The creaminess coats the mouth and the flavour builds with each gulp, it’s just like a good Guinness.  It gets a solid 8/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, having something different (in this case surprising – I didn’t expect it to be that good), for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way for it in a snowstorm or heatwave.  Indeed, I travelled 3000 miles for it.

Number 154 – Clonmel 1650 Pale Ale
2017-05-20 - 154 - Clonmel 1650 _500beers _belfast

Also at McHugh’s, this is a beer that like several others that I noticed around the bars of Antrim seems to have appeared everything over the four years that I’ve been in Canada.  I’ve confirmed that it is definitely a pale ale/lager though it was very light.  I got a hint of apple from the beer and it felt a bit more like a cider in that it was very fizzy, like lemonade almost.  I originally gave it 1.5/11, but I’m going to round that up to 2/11, I remember it not being great, but I’ve tried a few appley beers since and I may have been overly harsh on this one.

Number 154 – Stella 4
2017-05-20 - 155 - Stella 4.2 _500beers _belfast

The final beer at McHugh’s was Stella 4, which is definitely different from Stella Artois, I think.  Well that’s what the advertising campaign said when it first was released.  It’s supposed to be a lighter, smoother, slightly more classy lager than the regular Stella Artois.  I’m not going to bother researching but I think the 4 is for 4%.  It is a fine lager and gets a 5/11 in any case.

Numbers 155 and 156 – Smithwick’s Blonde Ale and Pale Ale

The next bar I went to was the Cloth Ear, I place I had been to on a few occasions in the past, mostly to take advantage of happy hour prices on work nights out.  Here, I found that they had other varieties of Smithwick’s.  I drink Smithwick’s red ale regularly, and tried it earlier this year but am still to write about it – it is a good beer.  The blonde ale and the pale ale were both also quite good beers.  The blonde was quite malty and had a thicker texture than a lot of the other blondes I’ve tasted, it also had a hint of caramel, hinting at the taste of the red ale.  It gets a good 6/11.  The pale ale was a little more hoppy, but light and refreshing.  It gets 5/11.

Number 157 – Franciscan Well Chieftain IPA
2017-05-20 - 158 Franciscan Well Chieftan _500beers _belfast

I had this pint at the Harp Bar and after that it started to get blurry.  Looking at the Franciscan Well webpage, this seems to be an IPA, but it seemed much more like a blonde ale – again with hints of caramel to it.  It was however also quite fruity, which was very good indeed.  I gave it 7/11 for being good, worth the price, accuracy, for being a little different, for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability and I would go out of my way for it.

The pub crawl continued on to the Duke of York bar, a bar that I don’t know and finally the Crown bar before I got the bus home.  I don’t remember getting the bus home though.  I tried at least one other beer I hadn’t tasted before but didn’t make notes so it is lost to history!

More to follow in my next post.

Catch up

 

Catch Up

If I keep trying new beers at the rate I have been for the last three months I will complete 365 beers in 266 days – my hunch that 365 beers would be too simple was correct.  The 500 beers will be complete hopefully mid-December so that I can relax and think of something for next year (suggestions welcome, clean suggestions).  I’ve put a nice sunset picture as the year is almost drawing to a close, like one long drunken hazy day.

I’ve only posted about slightly less than half of those beers so here are a few photos and thoughts on some of the average tinned beers I’ve tried at various places throughout the Summer.

Nos. 167 and 168 – Rickard’s White and Blonde

I had these at a barbecue in early June or late May – the white was ok but didn’t really feel too much like a white.  The blonde was fine and had a nice aftertaste, but was no better than any other blondes I’ve tasted.  The white gets a 4/11 and the blonde gets a 5/11.

Nos. 185 and 186 – St. Ambroise Pale Ale and Archibald Coquine

In early June I organised a drumming pic-nic at the Mont Royal park near the tamtams.  I would recommend it if you like hearing the same rhythm played over and over again for several hours.  Anyway, I tried a few beers there too.

The St. Ambroise Pale Ale was a decent pale ale but nothing special.  In fact, it was a little disappointing given the other St. Ambroise beers I had tried up to that point.  It gets 5/11.  Archibald’s Coquine, despite the nice picture also only gets a 5/11.  It was ok and for the right price I’d drink it again, but I’m not going to go out of my way for it.

Nos. 187 and 188 – St. Ambroise Double IPA and Session IPA

I tried these on the same day as the previous two.  Curiously enough they both get similar marks.  The Double IPA was ok but a little too hoppy, which was obviously not a surprise from the name and description – 4/11.  The Session IPA was better, but only a little – 5/11.

Nos. 221 and 233 – Archibald’s La Valkyrie and La Brise du Lac

I tried La Valkyrie at a house party and was a little disappointed.  Maybe it would be better on draft – but the beer I tried was a little weak on taste – 4/11.  I bought La Brise du Lac in Sherbrooke but brought it back to Montreal and had it at some point presumably when I had nothing better to drink.  It’s not bad for a pilsner, another 5/11 but I don’t know if I’ll ever drink it again.

No. 77 and No. 247 – Lowenbrau and Modelo

A little tour of the world here – Germany and Mexico.  I tried Lowenbrau at some point in May after my holiday back home I think and thanks to a decision to not include a few ciders I had previously been counting it ended up being No. 77 rather than one hundred and something.  It was ok for a barbecue but not great – 3/11.  Modelo was a surprise, it’s a very good lager with a lot of fizz and a more orangey colour than I would like, but it was refreshing and had a really good taste – an easy 6/11.

So that’s a few beers caught up on, the only one of note being Modelo, which is a beer I will drink again.  It’s particularly good for a warm day.  The others, meh…

Brutopia – great place for a leaving party

Brutopia – great place for a leaving party

I realised at the weekend that even though there is a list of the beers I’ve had so far it is still difficult to find that information quickly.  So, to resolve this I need to do more posts and have a few more summary pages for the microbreweries I drink from the most.  This first post along this theme focuses on several trips I have made to Brutopia this year with reviews ranging from minimalist to slightly less minimalist…

2017-08-25 - Brutopia beer list _500beers

So far at Brutopia I have tried their…
Scotch Ale, Raspberry White, Extra Blonde, Honey Brown, Korova Milk Stout, Honey Beer, IPA, APA, Cherry Wheat, Nut Brown, Oatmeal Stout and Speculaas Pumpkin Ale.

No. 17 – Brutopia’s Scotch Ale
2017-01-15 - 17 - Brutopia Scotch Ale _500beers

I enjoyed this one cold and wintery day back in January, even though the winter wasn’t particularly bad, it was still necessary to warm up with a good Scotch Ale once in a while.  I have no notes on this unfortunately, just the rating 6/11 – which means it is worth trying and something that I am curious to try again this winter.

No. 93 – Brutopia’s Extra Blonde
2017-03-26 - 93 - Brutopia Extra Blonde _500beers
I tried this one in March, again I don’t have any notes, but I do recall that it was a decent blonde beer.  I had given it a 5/11, which tells me that it is worth trying but nothing too special.

Nos. 164 – 166 – Brutopia’s Honey Brown, Korova Milk Stout and Honey Beer

I tried these beers the day after I got back from my trip back home to Northern Ireland at a leaving party for a friend.  T’was a good evening, and the beers were fine.

These all get a 6/11, I’ve mentioned before that the Honey Brown and Nut Brown were pretty much the first microbrewery beers that I ever tried.   The Milk Stout was particularly good, not too thick but creamy and somewhat Guinness like.

No. 301 – 303 – Brutopia’s IPA, APA and Cherry Wheat

I tried these towards the end of August, at another friend’s leaving do – I also made some notes…

My overall impression of the IPA was that it is quite malty for an IPA, I got a hint of caramel from it, but the hoppyness comes through in the aftertaste and builds with each sup – 6/11.  The APA didn’t really come across as a pale ale, more of a blonde, but it was fine – 5/11.  Finally, the Cherry Wheat, the real treat of the night.  This smells of sweets, of amaretto and of Battenberg cake.  It’s almost a little too sweet smelling.  To taste it has an instant hit of marzipan.  The other people I was with thought it was a bit odd, but I quite liked this.  Maybe it would be difficult to drink several pints of it but definitely for a one-off this is a good beer.  I gave it 6/11 initially, but I’m upgrading it to 7/11 now.

No. 334 – Brutopia’s Nut Brown
2017-09-09 - 334 - Brutopia Nut Brown _500beers
I stumbled into Brutopia on a pub crawl recently and tried this (this is the time I referred to above where I couldn’t figure out what I’d already tried – made more difficult by my level of drunkenness at the time).  This gets 6/11, a pretty good beer, very good if you like that style.

Nos. 341 and 342 – Brutopia’s Oatmeal Stout and Speculaas Pumpkin Ale

And so, I went to Brutopia last night for another friend’s leaving do…

The oatmeal stout had a thick head that looked like oatmeal cereal but which disappeared in a few seconds.  It’s a thick stout, with light hints of roasted coffee and a deep aftertaste which is oddly refreshing.  It’s getting a 6.5/11.

The pumpkin ale, has a nice aroma, cinnamon and possibly pumpkin (I don’t really know what pumpkin smells like).  The beer itself is quite good, with most of the flavour coming in the aftertaste and building with each drink.  Definitely the best pumpkin ale I’ve had this year (for the other, click here).  It gets 7/11.

So that’s Brutopia so far, a mixture of decent beers and a couple of strong seasonal beers with something different.