Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trafalgar Grand Lager

I like a light beer. Yes, I admit some light beers are tasty. This is not to endorse mass produced pale light lagers; it's a call to praise the flavourful low alcohol brew. Moon Under Water has a bunch. It can be frustrating to see a new bomber release at 8-9%ABV. That beer is going to punish my innards.

Trafalgar Grand Lager 8/10

Trafalgar Ales and Meads
in good old TO produced a great 4% lager. There was no scrimping on the nose. A glorious waft of grains, honey and slight apply juice graced your nares. A tart grain and honey taste started the sip. The rest of the drink was spicy hops, straw and honey. A long drink it was. The spicy hop linger was longer than expected and a pleasant surprise. Truly a great session beer.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 in this case 4% was a plus
Value +1
Appearance +1 label was a gift card, perfect for sharing.

Why is booze so heavily taxed?

Why? It saves us from ourselves. The so-called 'sin tax' actually does work. The American Journal of Public Health has a great article about this in their November 2011 edition. Researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine found that a 10% increase in the price of alcohol lead to a 5% reduction in consumption. There are actual societal benefits of high booze taxes besides full government coffers. The price of alcohol is inversely related to many alcohol related problems except one: suicide. That's right; as the price of hooch goes up, we stop doing bad things. They also found that doubling alcohol taxes could potentially reduce alcohol related mortality by 35%, traffic crashes by 11%, STDs by 6%, violence by 2% and crime by 1.2%. These results were obtained by analyzing 162 papers about alcohol pricing, taxation and alcohol related outcomes.

What was the best part of this article? They actually said delirium tremens was an alcohol-related morbidity. So keep liquor taxes high and hopefully we will see fewer pink elephants.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter Warmer Beer School at Clive's

Beer is fun; beer school is more funner! I have never been passionate about grammar. A group of fellow passionate beer drinkers gather for regular lessons at Clive's Classic Lounge. This months topic was winter warmers. While there is no official BJCP or GABF style for the winter warmer, it does not stop breweries from producing stronger, malty beers. Usually they are officially classified as old English ales, strong American ales or bocks. They tend to be are sweeter/maltier, higher in ABV and might be lightly spiced. They are the perfect brew to take the edge of the winter chill.

As always mixologist extraordinaire Shawn, set us up with a cheese plate pairing and floor show. Shawn took my dare seriously and sabered a corked bottle of Les Trois Mousquetaires weizenbock open with a kitchen knife! No spillage; I wonder if he found the cork yet? As always there are no photos. This is not for confidentiality, it is because I always forget to snap off a few shots.

This nights line up was a great selection of winter warmers: Samuel Smith Winter Welcome, Ninkasi Sleighr, Les Trois Mousquetaires weizenbock, Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale and Elysian Winter Bi-Frost.

Needless to say everyone had a great time and are looking forward to the next topic: Imperial Stouts. Many had fun filling out their 33 Beers tasting books.

Lineup for the Imperial Stout school:

-Driftwood Singularity

-Eel River Raven's Eye

-Laguinatas Cappuccino Stout

-Jolly Pumpkin Dark Down Stout

-Great Divide Yeti Oak Aged Imperial stout (must find a second bottle)

-Homebrew from John at Basement Breweries. I might bring my own bottle hopped imperial treacle stout

-Mikkeller Beer Geek Weasel Highland Park. Yes this is not a typo, but only a small sample.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What did I think of the Firkin Fest?

I have heard a few opinions about the Spinnakers firkin festival last weekend: some I agree with and some I do not. In my opinion ticket prices were set fairly; however I would have liked to see more for that admission price. Perhaps 1/2 off certain appies, more drink tickets or door prizes. At one of the previous events didn't they have trays of food floating around? I must disclose that I was on the guest list, but had planned on buying a ticket anyways. There was just the right amount of people in attendance. It was busy but not crowded.
As for the beer selection; there was a good mix. I'm guessing some casks were filled with draft beer, but that's OK. The old standby of dry-hopped IPAs were in attendance; this made the hopheads happy. I was glad to see the experimental spirit from some of the local brewers. Chris from VIB made a crazy jalapeno rauchbier; this was very creative, precarious but well executed. The Spinnakers crew produced three excellent and creative beers. While the name was a bit long (Bourbon Barrel Aged Saison infused with pink peppercorns soaked in Victoria Spirits' Left Coast Hemp Vodka) it had a unique taste. Light and refreshing, the sour woods mixed well with the tart yeasts and apple cider vinegar notes. I would have liked to see more peppercorns, but I can be a bit of the beer flavour prick.
There was something for everyone, which is prefect for a beer event. My wife really enjoyed the delicate floral flavours from Salt Springs Elderflower Golden Ale. While the hopheads went straight for Russell's uber-hopped ESB. Even newcomer Big River Brewpub made a pink grapefruit IPA. I thought it was a little sweet but still enjoyable.
Both the Misses and I had a great time; we plan on going to the next one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Krypton Rye PA

Rye is one of those other grains that can be used for beer making. You might want to get used to the flavour of rye beer because a potential barley malt shortage is looming. If nothing else, it adds a slightly creamy and spiciness to your pint. Rye beer is getting trendy; even Imbibe ran an article about rye beers. As with anything trendy; Phillips is all over it. Good thing too, rye and hoppy beers are a perfect match.

Krypton Rye PA = 7/10

Ratebeer 3.4/5
Beer Advocate B+

The nose presented itself as soon as you pulled off the cap: peach, citrus (lime and grapefruit) and spicy grains. There is a unique creaminess that carries a massive wash of hop flavours. Cool lime, grapefruit and floral hop sweetness dominate the subdued light caramel malts. The rye is there as a low astringency grainy spiciness. It is hard to explain; once you taste the rye, you can never forget it. This great IPA left a long linger of lime and citrus bitterness.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Fish Tale Organic IPA
Trade Route Infidel Lime IPA
Ranger IPA