Friday, December 27, 2013

Seven Swans a Swimming (Swans)

Last review of the year. Time to start on the top 10 beers of 2013 - according to me. The Seven Swans a Swimming is a raisin and spice version of their Centennial Saison. At least I think it is.

Seven Swans a Swimming (Swans) = 7/10

Nutmeg is strong in this one; along with aromatic friends Mr. Peach, Ms. Raisin and cousin spicy
yeast. The sip is as expected with dominant nutmeg, slightly tannic raisins and warming peach cordial. A medium linger of various mulling spices was not unexpected. I liked it.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7%ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Good indication of what beer will taste like)

Glassware: Tulips for sure

Food Pairings: Nothing too rich but fatty foods are ok. If there is a hint of spice, it will resonate with the beer well. For me this beer worked well with both Tofurkey and the spicy apple pie dessert.

Cellar: Nope

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Old Cellar Dwellar 2013 (Driftwood)

End of the year is coming up so I need to get these last reviews written before the top beer of 2013 posting. Everyone knows I rarely drink the same beer twice. I had actually planned to pick up a few Old Cellar Dwellers (OCD) to age - like I do every year. This year someone mentioned the recipe had changed. Normally the OCD's of the past have been almost undrinkable for at least 18 months or longer. This years version is enjoyably drinkable right away. In 2012/2013 the best barley wine was Swan's Legacy Ale; it was potent but yet drinkable. Phillips Drainwreck tasted like any other IPA and
the OCD was painfully hop-harsh. I could not find any Trainwreck this year, but there is still lots of OCD to be found. Perhaps this was caused by the price point: Trainwreck was $7 and OCD was $12.

Old Cellar Dwellar 2013 (Driftwood) = 8/10

The first difference was the faint nose of clean vodka with biscuits and citrus oils. Yes, the hop presence was tongue tingling but not painful. A resinous and citrus hop blast was not strong enough to hide the honey and luscious biscuit malt backbone. The hops left a medium linger of oranges, pine, spruce, spices and geraniums. All the flavours faded a little too quickly than expected. From the alcohol warmth, the ABV of 11.6% might be pretty close.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 11.6%ABV (snicker)
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Gotta love those wax dipped caps. I opened mine with sheet metal shears.)

Glassware: Tulip, snifter or chalice. Yes I know the photograph shows inappropriate glassware.

Food Pairings: Something strong tasting like grilled steak, salmon, mushrooms or Stroganoff. A nice aged, sharp cheddar would work well.

Cellar: I'm not going to make any friends here and say this beer is not cellarable. The malt base is not complex enough and the hops don't need to be calmed with age. Might buy only one extra.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Moon Under Water Wedding Tripel, Kvass and bad blogger

I have been a very bad blogger. Drinking and not documenting is unsatisfactory. So lets get to it.  There seems to be a trend to brew forgotten beer styles. Driftwood brewed a Gose, Parallel attempted to brew a sahti, Salt Spring has nailed the gruit, Phillips Robert Service ale was at one time a Steinbier and Parallel brews a braggot. Moon has produced two forgotten styles: Berliner weisse and the kvass. Even though the Berliner Heist wasn't a true sour, it was very tasty. The kvass was a brew worth getting excited about. Traditionally it is a low alcohol ale made from rye bread spiced with almost anything - in Moon's case raisins and cinnamon. If the brewing of obscure beer styles trend continues, someone will eventually brew a purl and a cock ale.

Kvass = 8/10

Sadly this was only available in cask twice. Clay mentioned there might be a bottled collaboration with Parallel 49 in the future. The nose on this brew was potent of spicy rye and cinnamon. Tasting oddly thin at 1.5%ABV, this brew had lots of other flavours. It was creamy, bready, lightly spicy with a slight tannic sensation from the raisins. All this faded behind a creamy bready curtain. I hope we see this beer again and a FULL ON SOUR BERLINER WEISSE.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 (Clay said was around 1.5% ABV)
Value +1
Appearance +1

A Belgian tripel is one beer that draws much attention for unidentified reasons. Before you post flaming comments; hear me out. If done correctly, the flavours are quite mild and subtle. It is not overly complex like an IPA or Imperial stout. Yet people love the tripel. Perhaps it is the beer equivalent of comfort food.

Wedding Tripel = 8/10

The nose is unassuming with faint grainy and light fruit aromas. Spicy yeasts and slight fusel alcohol aromas give hints of things to come. This is were the fondness for this beer style love comes from; a perfect balance of tart peach, apricots, sweet pit fruits with a dry and spicy ending. No alcohol warmth was detected. I could drink this all day; this is until I lost consciousnesses.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 9%ABV
Value +1 excellent
Appearance +1 (dipped bottles are very elegant)