Tag Archives: Blonde ale

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.

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Benelux (Sherbrooke and Wellington)

Benelux (Sherbrooke and Wellington)

Until a couple of Fridays ago, I’d been in Benelux on Sherbrooke twice in my life.  The first was in 2009 and involved cocktails (from what I recall), the second was almost three years ago for the first of many micro-brewery tour meet ups that I have gone to over the last few years.  So this was an untapped source of new beers.  I have now visited both the locations, the other being on Wellington in Verdun.  I definitely prefer the feel of the bar on Sherbrooke and would recommend it over the other…

No. 275 – Le Beat (Sherbrooke)
2017-08-04 - 275 - Benelux Le Beat _500beers

This is a standard black IPA, hops in the aroma and a little hoppy to taste.  The bitterness really comes through in the warm aftertaste.  Not much else to say on this one!  It gets a standard 5/11, for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 293 – Troy (Wellington)
2017-08-20 - 293 - Benelux Troy _500beers

This one’s a little deceptive.  It’s pitched as a dry stout but doesn’t look like one, the picture was taken just after it was poured and the head and already disappeared.  The colour as well was also quite light.  I thought it was a little bland at first but it grew on me a bit.  There’s a nice chocolate/caramel character to this beer which seems to coat the mouth and make the drink more pleasurable which each gulp.  It’s getting 6/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate (this is a bit of a stretch, but they’re my marks so…), for having something a little unique, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 294 – Prélude (Wellington)
2017-08-20 - 294 - Benelux Prélude _500beers

This is a very bright blonde ale that was surprisingly good.  It has a nice maltyness that coats the mouth and a little hit of bitterness from the hops.  It’s a nice balance.  I didn’t pick up on much else flavour wise, but this was a refreshing pint indeed.  I’m giving it 5.5/11 for being good, accurate, worth the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  The extra 0.5 of a Yes is for luck.

So, I’ve had three beers from Benelux and while there has been nothing outstanding as yet, they do have some decent beers and I will go back before the end of the year.  At least, I’ll go back to the Sherbrooke location.

A selection from Brasseurs de Montréal

A selection from Brasseurs de Montréal

2017-07-23 - Brasseurs de Montreal bottlecap _500beers

A few quick notes for a few beers I tried in July. 

No. 246 – La Québécoise Rebelle

I had this a couple of hours after tasting twelve different beers at the Laval beer festival (here and here) earlier in July.  It’s not generally a good idea to try beer tasting when already quite drunk, but I wasn’t too badly off at this stage so I thought ‘why not?’  I don’t have any notes on this, but from memory it was a decent amber ale.  I gave it the standard 5/11 for being ok, for the price, accuracy, drink-again-ability and recommend-ability.

No. 248 – La Montréalaise Griffintown

I tried this light blonde ale at home a few days after the Rebelle and it got me thinking that maybe the Rebelle deserves another tasting – but I don’t think I’ll bother as it may only get one more Yes, which still wouldn’t put it up there with the best beers.  This is a pretty good blonde ale that made me think more of a lager than a blonde.  I have no notes on this one either except for the score – 6/11, for being good, worth the price, accurate, for drink-again-ability, recommend-ability and an extra Yes for going a block out my way if the mood so took me!

No. 249 – L’Orientale Chi

This is the real treat of the selection.  I’ve been flirting more and more with spicy and sour beers recently and I think that this was the first one that I actually really liked.  The aroma reminded me of green tea – but there are strong hints of ginger and some fruits in there too.   It was very fizzy on the tongue and the spiciness came through in the taste nicely.  Everything about the taste was just right.  It was not too spicy.  It had just enough of a hint of green tea.  It had just the right fizz to be refreshing.  It gets a 7/11 for being good, worth the price, accurate, different, for drink-again-ability, for recommend-ability and for the fact that I would possibly go out of my way to find a bottle.

No. 252 – L’Anglaise London Ruby

This was a little disappointing, I’m always wary of light red ales.  And rightly so in this case.  It had a good aroma to it but the taste, although an obvious red ale, was a little bland.  It made me think of having a watered down beer in a bar.  It gets 3/11, for not being bad, for being cheap enough and for the description (just about).

4 beers down, 154 beers more to post about…

Nos. 259 – 262 – Brasseurs du Moulin in Beloeil

 

Nos. 259 – 262 – Brasseurs du Moulin in Beloeil

It’s nice to feel like you’ve earned a beer, that’s why I think bars should be located at the tops of hills.  Yesterday, I earned my four beers by exploring the nature reserve at Mont-Saint-Hilaire.  My legs hurt today…

No. 259 – Smash Beloeil

I was hoping for a lot from the beers at this bar as I’d meticulously planned my trip to Mont-Saint-Hilaire and Beloeil and knew that I would probably be in pain by the time I sat down for lunch.  I wasn’t aware of what this was supposed to be as I couldn’t see the description clearly from my table.  I immediately thought it was a hoppy pale ale.  Pretty close in fact, as it is a hoppy blonde ale.  However, it doesn’t taste like a blonde – it made me think a lot more of pale ales that I’ve tried from Archibald and St. Ambroise.  It seemed a little watery and bland by comparison.  It gets 2/11 for being all right (1), for the price (0.5) and for the description (0.5).

No. 260 – Le Matsi

This was an odd beer.  It’s an English Red Ale, with a more caramel brown colour.  The aroma was a little surprising – a strong and distinct milk chocolate aroma with hints of toffee.  This is more common in slightly darker beers so I wasn’t expecting it here in what looks like a lighter red ale.  The aroma follows through into the taste.  It still seemed a little watery but there was enough here to impress me enough to give it a decent mark.  It gets 6/11 for being good, for the description, for having something slightly different, for the price, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.

No. 261 – La Douce Caroline

I had to try this as my ukulele is called Caroline.  Anyway, it’s blonde ale and it looks pretty good in the glass, with an almost burnt aroma, which I cannot describe in a better way.  This was promising.  Unfortunately, it was a little bland like the Smash Beloeil.  It did however have more of a blonde ale feel to it.  It was malty and a little thicker than the majority of other blonde ales I’ve had.  I like maltyness so this was a good thing.  It’s getting 4/11 for being good, for the price, for the description and 0.5 for drink-again-ability and recommend-ability each.

No. 262 – La Noire Bassine

And a milk stout to finish.  This was fine, it doesn’t compare to the best stouts I’ve had this year so far but for a weaker stout that’s no surprise.  It made me think of an average pint of Guinness, with similar creaminess in the head and a similar flavour in the body.  I can’t really fault this beer for what it is so it’s getting 5/11 for being good, worth the price, accurately described, for drink-again-ability and for recommend-ability.  The problem with the beer is that it is not a pint of chocolately-coffeeish heaven.

So, I didn’t find a great beer here, which is disappointing but three decent beers out of four is still pretty good.

 

 

 

Soixante-neuf

Soixante-neuf

I was going to be witty and write a few lines celebrating my sixty-ninth different beer this year filled with innuendo, but it was too hard… 

Here’s a description and a few pictures instead.

2017-03-03-leau-claire-domaine-berthiaume-_500beers

Food shopping has lately turned into standing at the beer section and deciding which of the many beers to take home with me.  I’m at the stage where I’m picking them based on the pictures on the bottle and this one attracted me for some reason.

2017-03-03-leau-claire-domaine-berthiaume-poured-_500beers
One of the nice things about trying different beers and then writing about them is the research involved.  As mentioned before, I’m no connoisseur of beers (nor am I a writer, or even someone who checks their spelling for that matter), but I’ve found it interesting looking into the various microbreweries located around Quebec.  I’m happy to have found several beers from Domaine Berthiaume.

Their L’Eau Claire is a fine blond ale with a slight hint of fruit in the flavour.  This hint of orange gives the beer an interesting aftertaste but it’s quite subtle all the same.

And so to the score…

2017-03-03-leau-claire-domaine-berthiaume-description-_500beers
Firstly, this beer was good, as loose a term as that is and I would definitely drink it again and recommend it to a friend.  So that’s  Yes, Yes and Yes so far.

The price from my local Métro was reasonable, about $5 from what I recall so I’d give that a Yes.  The name and description were accurate.  In fact, the description helped me figure out exactly what that aftertaste was so that’s definitely a Yes.

2017-03-03-leau-claire-domaine-berhiaume-crest-_500beers

So now to the tricky part – just how good was the beer?  I would quite happily walk the extra block on the way home from work to grab a bottle.  So that’s one Yes.  However, I think that would be it.  I can’t imagine putting on layers, a scarf and a hat to go and search for one.  I’d definitely not fight a bear for it.  Having said that my last three questions are really there to separate good beers from great beers.

This is definitely a pretty good beer, but not great.

6/11

More to follow from Domaine Berthiaume next time.