Boxing Rock – Temptation Red Ale

20140719-153813-56293037.jpgBoxing Rock is one of the newest craft brewers in Nova Scotia, Canada. Located in Shelburne, they are quickly aging a reputation as a great brewhouse, producing a growing list if ales.

From the brewery: “Full bodied and rich, Temptation Red Ale is a sultry jazz singer in your glass. Continuously hopped during the brew and dry hopped after fermentation with a single hop, this beer has a uniquely full flavour profile”.

And what did I think?

Appearance: Burnt amber red with orange highlights. Hazy with only a slight off-white head, but lasting.

Aroma: Very citrusy, with orange and grapefruit dominating. There is some flowery notes and just a hint of earthiness. No malt to speak of.

Taste: The hop notes in the nose carry through in the flavour with a firm bitterness. Flavours of grapefruit and orange peel are up front, but fade to a dry bitterness in the palate that begs for the next drink.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with a typical level of carbonation. There is a slight oiliness, but this doesn’t present itself in a bad way – probably from hop oils.

Overall: Excellent beer once again from Boxing Rock. They knock this one out of the park. Very drinkable, enough hops to give it that great flavour, but it doesn’t destroy your palate and leaves you wanting that next drink. This might be the best American Red Ale I have ever enjoyed. Well done.

85/100

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REVIEW: Amsterdam Brewery – All Natural Blonde

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Okay, its summer. Its time for some hot weather, light and refreshing drink. Something easy, but not the same old mundane and flavourless pale lager.

Enter Amsterdam Brewery. First opened as a brewpub on Toronto’s John Street in 1986. By 2005 it had outgrown its roots twice and was a full blown micro brewery.

From the brewery: “One of Toronto’s original craft beers! This traditional blonde lager set the bar for Toronto craft beers back when it was first brewed at the Amsterdam Brewpub & Brasserie in 1986 and it’s been doing so ever since. We still brew this beer fresh daily using all natural ingredients, it is never heat pasteurized and always cold filtered for that refreshing clean, crisp taste, and smooth mellow finish.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Golden, burnt yellow, crystal clear with a pretty decent head.

Aroma: The aroma is quite malty with some fruit notes, and a hint earthiness. Otherwise, fairly clean.

Taste: Almost balanced, but slightly more bitter than malty. There’s a bit of hops, and some malt that presents itself as a caramel sweetness, with just a light leather note.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall: This struck me very much like a pale lager but with more body and flavour, but that is not a surprise form this style of beer. Its clean and light, but almost to a fault. Though a fine beer, it does leave something wanting. This is a great, easy drinking beer that would be a fine introduction to a non-craft beer drinker to the craft world.

72/100

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Unibroue – Blanche de Chambly

20140622-075337-28417761.jpgUnibroue started producing Belgian-inspired craft beers in the early 1990′s in Chambly, Quebec. They grew across Canada and internationally to eventually be bought by Sleeman Brewery and then Sapporo.

Blanche de Chmbly is their original flagship beer. A white ale (witbier) reminiscent of Abby Ales produced in Belgium, it is refermented in the bottle to give that classic cloudy, yeasty, effervescent appearance and flavour that you would expect from a fine Belgian white ale.

What did I think?

Appearance: Golden in colour and a bit cloudy. Nice head but not long lasting. Carbonation is apparent in the glass.

Aroma: Funky, earthy aroma. Some fruity and yeast notes.

Taste: The funk that was in the aroma comes through in the flavour. A bit tart and the carbonation also comes through a bit in the flavour. Somewhat mineraly and earthy. Notes of citrus and it almost wants to have some spice, but its not quite there. Palate clears quickly. As it warms there are some more yeasty ester notes of banana and fruit coming through.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied. Well carbonated which lightens it up a bit. Drying on the tongue.

Overall: A fine Belgian styled ale. Light and refreshing, and without a long lasting flavour on the palate it begs for the next sip. Not heavy, this is a great beer after a big meal, or before.

82/100

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Magners – Pear Cider (Perry)

20140619-182817-66497912.jpgMagners Irish Cider is a producer of ciders, not just from apples, but a variety of fruits, including pears. Magners is owned by C&C Group, owner of several brands of cider and beer.

From the brewery: “The only fruit we use in Magners Pear Cider is pear. The best quality pears are ripened, carefully selected and then slowly fermented and cold filtered to provide a distinctive character and a delicately refreshing taste.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Pale yellow in colour, white wine like and very clear. Well carbonated with a bit of head that disappears very quickly.

Aroma: The aroma is fairly light with notes of apple, pear, and grape. There is a little funk.

Taste: The flavour is somewhat wine-like with a fair bit of the pear flavour coming through. A bit on the sweet side of balanced, carbonation keeps the balance from being too sweet. Fairly light and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall: Okay, this is not beer, but sometimes its nice to step outside the six-pack box. Perry is a growing trend and because it is refreshing and balanced I can see why. The would be a nice summertime drink for a hot day. On ice, it becomes super smooth and not hard to drink at all. A bit warmer, theres a bit more body and flavour.

75/100

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REVIEW: Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417

20140612-055738-21458335.jpgGuest review by Trevor Adams

The brewer’s notes on this beer focus a lot on its drinkability, and not much on its taste. And that’s probably a good call. Its flavour is unremarkable (in a blandly pleasant way) but it is a smooth, refreshing and easy-to-drink beer—the kind of beer that suits best after you mow the lawn on a hot day.

From the brewer: Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417 exudes seductive hues of golden honey as it shimmers in the light. This is a beer of inimitable character—authentic and gutsy, yet eminently quaffable and refreshingly mild and light. In other words, a true Bavarian.

Appearance: Golden and opaque, with head that disapates fast.

Aroma: An earthy, grassy smell—hints of honeysuckle, with a slight grapefruit tang.

Taste: Clean and crisp, with some apple in the finish. Less nuanced than its aroma would lead you to expect—an immature tasting, straightforward beer. To no one’s surprise, it pairs nicely with sauerkraut and bratwurst.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, with an unremarkable body; a bit of a soapy finish.

Overall: The brewer describes this as a textbook Bavarian, but I’ve been to Bavaria, and we must be reading different textbooks. There’s nothing wrong with it, but Munich can, and usually does, do much better. A perfectly servicable everyday beer, but unlikely to rock your world.

76/100

Guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing).

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Rare Bird – Pale Ale

20140607-123944-45584492.jpgRare Bird is brewed in Guysborough, Nova Scotia buy Authentic Seacoast Brewing Company. Using “pure artesian water”, hops, and Canadian malt they make small, handcrafted batches in Maritime brewing tradition.

From the brewery:
“Rare Bird Pale Ale is an immensely drinkable East Coast interpretation of this classic beer style. Using pure artesian water from Nova Scotia’s pristine Eastern Shore, Rare Bird Pale Ale starts with a nice hit of hops on the nose, a delicious balance of specially selected malted barley and both English and North American hops in the middle and a dry finish that delivers a refreshing beer of rare character.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Deep amber. Clear with a nice lasting head and good lacing.

Aroma: A bit of hops, but not as predominate as many North American styled pale ales. Some light fruit notes, probably from the yeast used.

Taste: Bitter on the back of the tongue, but sweeter up front. Some citrus and earthiness, with notes of caramel. Balanced overall.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body. Slight oiliness from hops.

Overall: Nice and easy drinking, even at 7% not over powering in any aspect. This East Coast pale ale is well crafted with a beautiful balance that makes it a joy to drink.

78/100

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REVIEW: Schneider Weisse – Tap 4 Wiesen Edel-Weisse

20140529-175147-64307171.jpgThis organic wheat beer is brewed in the tradition of Georg IV Schneider by Germany’s Schneider Weisse. Its golden and refreshing, showing off what a German wheat beers should be like.

From the brewery:
“A shiny-brass colored organic wheat beer, certified Naturland organic. An aroma of hops and citrus with a spicy note perfectly balances the malty character with the easiness of the hops. Refreshing and full-bodied at the same time.

The recipe for TAP4 Mein Grünes dates back to Georg IV Schneider. This refreshing wheat beer with its hoppy notes is brewed after the Oktoberfest-beer the Schneider family brewed as long as production was in Munich: „Georg Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse“. It is now brewed as an organic, „Naturland“ certified wheat beer. Outside Europe, we may still sell it under its original name.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Golden. Good carbonation, clear, with no head to speak of, which is surprising from a wheat beer.

Aroma: Sweet and fruity with a slight malt presence and no hops. Cherry, currant, and clove note highlight the aroma.

Taste: Clean and light with a bit of the carbonation flavour appearing. Very much lager-like and very easy to drink. Some grassiness and clove coming through.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with appropriate high carbonation.

Overall: Easy drinking and refreshing. Balanced nicely with some of the classic wheat beer flavours coming through, but restrained to make it very approachable.

80/100

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REVIEW: Boxing Rock – The Vicar’s Cross

Boxing Rock - The Vicar's Cross

Boxing Rock is a craft brewery located in Shelburne, Nova Scotia founded in 2012. Using their 17HL brewhouse they produce a growing list of beers.

The Vicar’s Cross, a Double IPA, is one of the flagship beers for Boxing Rock.

From the brewery: “British soldiers stationed in India receiving their daily beer ration would never have expected this. The Vicar’s Cross has all the bitterness a double IPA demands, yet it is remarkably smooth and well balanced.”

And what did I think?

Appearance: Amber, bight and clear, with a nice off-white cream head that is long-lasting. Great lacing on the glass that is still there when the beer is all gone.

Aroma: The first thing, and most dominate thing, in the aroma is sweet hops. The hops are fruity, piney, and a bit grassy, with some nice freshness to them. There is a bit of the malt that lends some sweetness in the aroma.

Taste: As this hits the palette it’s the hops that are there first – piny and resin, bitter – but there is a bit of sweetness from the solid malt backbone to balance. There is a good amount of bitterness in this ale, but the brewer has done an excellent job of crafting the malt bill to support the bitter with just enough sweet.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium with a creamy texture that is quite pleasant.

Overall: This is an excellent beer. Well made, well balanced, and quite enjoyable. Surprisingly easy to drink considering the large amount of hops and high alcohol. The brewers at Boxing Rock have done a great job of making this beer big and bold, but balanced and refreshing.

82/100

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BEER MONDAY REVIEW: Duchy Originals from Waitrose – Old Ruby Ale 1905

20140519-170511.jpgDuchy Originals was set up in 1990 by Charles, Prince of Wales and is a brand of organic foods sold mainly in the UK. Fortunately for me they do export some products and a kind friend picked my up the fine bottle of Organic Ruby Ale.

Appearance: Pours clear copper/ruby red. Light carbonation, in tradition with British ales, only gives a slight, off white head.

Aroma: The aroma is slight with notes of malt and caramel and hints of fruit and orange.

Taste: The flavor is rather mild and clean with a good balance of malt and bitterness. Some fruity esters and slight yeast tang. Notes of pear and cherries and an earthy hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium to med-light. Light British style carbonation creates a silkiness on the palette.

Overall: The is a quality ale. Well made and clean ale with balance of flavors and esters making it very drinkable. This is a good introductory ale for those North Americans looking to experience British ale.

77/100

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