Hip Hops

three beers

I have a summer project. It stems from when I was 16 and going to the National Hotel in Calgary to see my friend’s band play. I didn’t have an allowance, so had to watch my pennies, and the beer was cheaper than pop at this particular establishment. So you can imagine how good it was. As a result, I came to loathe beer. Since I was having some success overcoming my distaste for white wines, I decided it was time to take on my long-time palate nemesis.

My pal Suresh was very excited to hear about this and offered to take me and some other folks out to Beer Bistro for a tasting flight. For $6, you can choose any 3 of their extensive draught list, and the servings are quite generous. Since I’ve determined that the bitter hops is the flavour that turns me off beer, I tried to choose ones that downplayed that element.

  1. From lightest to darkest, first up was the McAuslan St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale from Québec:
    • very pleasant apricot nose
    • lovely tawny colour
    • full bodied
    • strongish bitterness at the back
    • silky mouth feel
    • fruity at the tip of the tongue
    • still too beery a taste for me
  2. Next was Blanche de Chambly from Québec
    • light, floral nose
    • golden, straw colour
    • no bitterness, but not much of anything else, either
    • that it’s unfiltered contributes to the trace of weight
    • hint of pear, lemon on the outside
    • This beer definitely got more complex the longer it sat. Perhaps it needs to oxidize, like a wine?
  3. I ended with Koningshoeven Dubbel Trappist Ale from the Netherlands
    • This was definitely my favourite of the three
    • gorgeous ruby colour
    • deep, sweet caramelly nose with hints of berries
    • perfect amount of bitterness – dark chocolate?
    • molasses prevalent to balance that bitterness
    • very rich, so definitely a sipper

While I was happy to try these beers, and learned quite a bit from doing so, my real goal is to find a brand more readily available at both liquor stores and restaurants/pubs that I can be consistently happy with. The quest continues. What’s your favourite brew?

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  1. Sheryl Kirby
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    If you dislike the hops and love the caramelly, chocolaty notes, you might want to check out some dark ales or even stouts and porters.

    St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout from McAusland, Mill Street’s Coffee Porter, or even a Young’s double chocolate stout might be right up your alley. (All available at either the Beer Store or LCBO as regular listings.)

    For darker ales from Ontario craft brewers, check out Black Oak’s nutcracker in the winter or Neustadt’s 10W30.

    • bevw
      Posted August 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Oh, thanks for those suggestions, Sheryl! I’ll give those a try.

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