Canada’s 150th Beer #3! Garrison Brewing + Central City Brewers

In celebration of Canada Day, I’m sampling beer #3 in the Collaboration Across the Nation! beer collection.  The collaboration in this instance is Central City with Garrison Brewing.

This is a cool one for me … back in June of 2010, my daughter and I went to Halifax and I had a chance to visit this brewery.  It was a great place, right on the pier, the beers were excellent and I think, still worth a stop!  If you are in that area give it a visit!

Here’s my photo from 2010!  I think the place still looks the same.  However, they have built a new brewery.  Congrats to them!  Ok, onward to the beer … to recap, I will be using the 2015 BJCP Guidelines to score this beer based on Aroma (12 pts), Appearance (3 pts), Flavor (20 pts), Mouthfeel (5 pts), and Overall Impression (10 pts).  You can see the standard score sheet here.

The Evaluation.  The beer is called “New” Scottish Ale. From the description: “In Latin, Nova Scotia literally means “New Scotland.”  To celebrate Canada’s Scottish roots, we have brewed up a lightly peated Scottish Ale.”  This is a tough one to categorize.  Since the ABV is 5.5%, it would fall in the category 14C – Scottish Export.  However, because the brewers mention “peat,” I’ve decided to judge it in category 32A – Classic Style Smoked Beer.  Basically, the smoke flavor should be supportive and supported by the Classic Style selected (in this instance, 14C).

Aroma.  Low smoky phenolic right up front but doesn’t overpower.  Light toasty, bready malt in support.  No esters.  No hop aroma.  As it warms, the smoke begins to dominate the biscuity malt character. (7/12 pts).

Appearance.  Pours to a bright copper color with a small off-white head.  Does not persist.  Bubbles continue from the bottom of this clear beer. (3/3pts).

Flavor.  Big, smoky phenolic (peat) flavor at first.  Peat lingers well into the aftertaste.  Medium high hop bitterness balances but does not dominate.  Finish is quite dry.  Subtle pomme-fruit esters show up in the middle.  Light floral, spicy, earthy hop flavor as well.  Medium levels of malt (bready, grainy, toasty) are there but balance is to the peat/hops.  Should be the peat/hops in support instead.  Clean ale fermentation character. (13/20 pts).

Mouthfeel.  Medium body with medium carbonation.  Peat blends with carbonic bite to lend a slight astringency. Expected a little creaminess for style–not there. (4/5 pts).

Overall Impression.  This is a very drinkable beer, but the peat is distracting, especially in the aftertaste.  Recommend doing away with the peat altogether.  Maybe add some crystal/caramel malt and reduce the hop bitterness by 1/8.  That should swing it right into style! (7/10 pts).

That’s 34 out of 50 points bringing this beer into the Very Good category.

Thanks, again, to both breweries for producing this nice, refreshing “New” Scottish Ale!  Cheers to them and to Canada on this special day!

Beer Mentor

Canada’s 150th #2! P.E.I Brewery with Central City Brewers

Across the Nation Collaboration!

This is the second post in this series … as mentioned in the previous post, Central City Brewers and Distillers has collaborated with twelve other breweries in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

Working my way from East to West, the next in the series is from Prince Edward Island.  The aptly named brewery is P.E.I Brewing Company.  Their brewing history reaches back to 1997 and continues strongly through today brewing award-winning beers.

As in the previous post, I will be using the 2015 BJCP Guidelines to score each beer based on Aroma (12 pts), Appearance (3 pts), Flavor (20 pts), Mouthfeel (5 pts), and Overall Impression (10 pts).  You can see the standard score sheet here.

The Evaluation.  The beer is called “Biere d’ici Honey Ale.”   From the description: “Prince Edward Island may be small but it is also known as the birthplace of Confederation.  Brewed with local PEI honey and maritime grown hops, this brew is a lighter take on the bière de garde style.”

With this description, I will judge this beer under category 24 (Belgian Ale) with the sub-style being 24C … Bière de Garde.  I will add my notes for the categories from above and then score it based on the total points available.  My assumption with this “Honey Ale” is that the honey was used to add flavor and aid in the dry finish.

Aroma.  Medium-low bready malt character that fades away.  I detect some Pilsner-ish malt notes.  Very light honey accents, but not overpowering.  A low, floral hop nose in support, but very faint.  No esters perceived. (8/12 pts).

Appearance.  Pours to a light copper color with a small, off-white.  Does not persist.  Bubbles continue from the bottom of this brilliantly clear beer. (3/3pts).

Flavor.  Grainy, bready malt character up front.  Again, pilsner malt seems prominent.  Light honey notes.  Medium hop bitterness competes with malt for balance.  Malt and hop bitterness both linger into the dry finish.  Aftertaste is more toward the hop bitterness–not to style.   Clean lager fermentation character. (13/20 pts).

Mouthfeel.  Medium body with high carbonation.  Low alcohol warmth. Very effervescent.  Not astringent.  Expected a little creaminess for style–not there. (4/5 pts).

Overall Impression.  This is a very good beer — quite drinkable!  The honey is a nice addition.  For the style, especially with an amber version, I would expect a little more malt character in both aroma and flavor.  Also, the hop bitterness is a little high for style — maybe reduce the bittering hops by 15 – 20 percent?  Otherwise, cheers!  (7/10 pts).

That’s 35 out of 50 points bringing this beer into the Very Good category.  A big thanks again to both breweries for making this one! As noted above from the description, the “lighter take” on the style is probably why the malt flavor/aroma is a little more subdued.

Enjoy!

Beer Mentor

Celebrating Canada’s 150th! Hop To The East …

Across the Nation Collaboration!

Central City Brewers and Distillers has collaborated with twelve other breweries in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary.  What a great idea!

To join the celebration, I’ve decided to use my BJCP skills (National-level certification) to evaluate each of the 12 beers.  I will be using the 2015 Guidelines and scoring each one based on Aroma (12 pts), Appearance (3 pts), Flavor (20 pts), Mouthfeel (5 pts), and Overall Impression (10 pts).  You can see the standard score sheet here.

I’m going to work my way from East to West so the first brewery in the collaboration is Quidi Vidi Brewery in Newfoundland.  From the pictures I see they have a great location–if I can make it happen I may see if I can stop in for a visit! 🙂

The Evaluation.  The beer is called “Hop to the East” Hefeweizen.  According to the description: “Canada’s most eastern province is Newfoundland, and taking a north eastern take on the hefeweizen style, this beer was brewed with new-age tropical hops to give a fruity, aromatic twist on the classic German style.”   Because of this description, I will judge this beer in the Specialty Category with the base style being 10A — Weissbier.

Ok … here goes!  I will add my notes for the categories from above and then score it based on the total points available.

Aroma.  The clove phenols are the first thing I perceive–there is a low spicy (peppery) note as well.  Fruity esters (banana) join early and are well supported by the tropical hop nose.  There is a medium wheat malt character that helps balance the nose on this beer nicely (10/12 pts).

Appearance.  Pours to a straw-color with a big, white long-lasting head.  Haze as expected for a hefeweizen.  Tight bubbles with apparent effervescence. (3/3pts).

Flavor.  Moderately high phenols (cloves, spicy, peppery). Fruit esters (banana) in solid support.  Medium hop flavor (tropical) very complementary of the phenols/esters.  Medium hop bitterness balances well with a moderate wheat flavor.  A perceived medium sweetness follows into a semi-dry finish.  Aftertaste of banana and cloves.  Clean fermentation characteristics.  (16/20 pts).

Mouthfeel.  Medium-light body with high carbonation.  Very effervescent.  Not astringent (5/5 pts).

Overall Impression.  Tropical hop notes fully support this classic hefeweizen.  This is a light, refreshing, well-balanced example of the style (even with the hop additions).  Well done.  (9/10 pts).

That’s 43 out of 50 points bringing this beer into the Excellent category.  The only thing I might suggest to bring it up into the outstanding category is a touch more body.  Otherwise, a great beer!  I hope the other eleven stand out like this one!  A big thanks to both breweries for making this one!

Beer Mentor