Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Belgian Black 2013

A yearly repeat beer rarely gets a second mention unless something is different. Dean mentioned that the recipe for Belgian Black was slightly different this year. The taste reflects this.

Belgian Black = 10/10

Last year I mentioned that this tasted like a ramped up Keepers stout. This year a lot of that roast is gone which allows more berries and yeast spiciness to waft out of the glass. Each sip warms and coated the tongue with a glycerin like thickness. Then the flavours come: dark fruits, all spice, and highly conched bittersweet chocolate. Maybe there is a bit of rum and raisin pudding in there too. Each sip and change in temperature reveals something new. Lost is the astringency but gained is a smooth sweet finish. I don't think this is cellar worthy because there are no harsh flavours that need to be mellowed out. After a while that spicy yeast might be lost, which would be tragic.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1 still great label art

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Top 10 Victoria beers of 2013

This year was a great one for Victoria's craft beer lovers. Every major brewery released a few seasonal bombers. Moon Under Water changed hands. Hoyne celebrated its first birthday. 2012 was also the year that growler fills started to gain more traction. So which brews did the beer prick feel made top marks? It was a tough choice.

1. Siren Imperial Red Ale by Lighthouse = 11/10

This brew gave every Victorian hophead what they really wanted for Christmas. There were massive citrus hops balanced with equally massive toasted, fruity malts. I have a feeling we will be seeing more of this beer in the future.

2. Singularity 2012 by Driftwood = 10/10

This under priced, barrel aged malt monster traveled more than I did last year. Usually consistent year to year.

3. Switchback IPA by Lighthouse = 9/10

Depending upon who you talk to, this IPA currently sits on the top of the BC IPA podium.

4. Belgian White by Lighthouse = 9/10

This is starting to sound like a broken record. Dean has been a busy brewer this year.

5. Flying Tanker by VIB = 9/10

Everyone and their homebrewer released a white IPA this year, I felt this one stood out. Perhaps it was that spicy Weinhenstephan yeast.

6. Eric Jourdan NW Amber Ale = 9/10

For a prize winning homebrew that didn't really adhere to any style, it sure went far. Tasted dang good too.

7. Belgian Black by Lighthouse = 9/10

A ramped up Keepers with a Belgian yeast strain, how can you go wrong?

8. Victorious Weizenbock by Moon Under Water = 9/10

Massive esters and fruitness were the game plan for one of Clay's first brews.

9. Gratitude by Hoyne = 8/10

This was the best winter warmer in town. Rich fruitiness, biscuits, sherry and warmth were just the things one needed by the fireplace. It was the most elegantly packaged beer in Victoria.

10. Sartori by Driftwood = 9/10

Always a seasonal favourite. You know something is good when it sells out within days of its release.

Honourable Mentions

Not everyone can be in the top ten.  In no particular order:

Black Swan Imperial Stout by Swan's
I never got around to reviewing this beer, which was a major oversight. It was delicious. Thick, fruity, chocolatey and slightly oaked. This is a great beer. Perhaps the best imperial stout in Victoria.

Beachcomber by VIB = 7/10
I have no idea how this beer did not win a gold medal. Looking forward to its return in spring.

Pandamonium by Phillips = 9/10
Outrageously hopped. That is all.

Baltic Porter by Spinnakers = 8/10
The lightly smoked malts was a nice touch.

Cygnet Ale = 5/10
Low alcohol beers tend to past by unnoticed. This one had major ester and fruity flavours for something at only 4.2%.

And now the rest
Pott's Pilsner by Moon Under Water = 7/10
Mad Bruin by Driftwood = 8/10
Amarillo Single Hop IPA by Phillips =8/10
Wolf Vine by Hoyne = 7/10
Electric Unicorn White IPA by Phillips = 8/10
Red India Ale by Moon Under Water = 8/10

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Beer Drinking Enhances Antioxidants in Breast Milk

I fully endorse anything to improve the health of future generations of craft beer drinkers. As I have mentioned before, beer is an excellent source of antioxidants. So this small study applied this fact to a real world situation: boobs! A group of thirty breastfeeding mothers drank 660ml of non-alcoholic beer a day. After thirty days, their breastmilk was tested for oxidative status. Good news, at the end of the study the amount of antioxidants in breast milk increased compared to another group of mothers that didn't drink beer. The amount of coenzyme Q10 (a strong antioxidant) also increased in the beer drinking group.
The blood of the beer drinking mothers was also tested. It was found that they had more antioxidants in their blood and lower levels of markers that would indicate DNA damage due to oxidation. However, there was no difference in oxidant markers in the infant's urine from either group.
More evidence to support my idea of building a breast pump with a hopback - true story.

Other Beer and Health Articles