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.


Beer Mentor

Napa Alternative: Bear Republic!

I was recently in Napa Valley doing some “wine country” touring.  Having had my wine fix and needing to chase it with a beer AND since I was heading north from there (from Calistoga) I decided to roll through Healdsburg, CA and visit Bear Republic Brewing Co.

Located right downtown they have a nice location, excellent patio, and cool staff.  The beer is excellent, you can do the samplers, and the food is excellent as well.  Marcin Furmankiewicz, the restaurant general manager, really takes the time to make sure you feel welcome.  You can tell they like what they do!

Definitely west coast style ales!  The tasters are a nice size and they will give you related flights.

Although they are in a shopping plaza (aren’t most really cool craft breweries now??) they make full use of the space.  Check out the barrel room if given the opportunity … they even have some hops growing out back!

The Racer 5 IPA is their well known beer. However, drink them all and see what you think!  Enjoy,

Beer Mentor

Russian River Brewing: Great Selection/Awesome Place (Beer Mentor’s 100 Places)

Hello Beer Mentees!  As I have moved away from completing my “Growler List” I still have a couple of tasks on my list to complete … first, I’d like to post the entries for those places I did visit.  Secondly, I intend to build my own list of “100 Places to Drink Beer.”  This place is on that list!  Russian River Brewing!

Entrance to the Russian River Brewing “Brew Pub.”

If you are in San Francisco or are visiting Napa Valley or Sonoma Valley you can make a quick detour over to Santa Rosa, CA and stop at the BrewPub for a bite to eat and a few brews.   You can order a sample flight … and what a sample flight!

All the beers on the tap list at once … 18 beers.  Did anyone say Pliny the Elder?  Yes!  All the beers are excellent but there is an obvious focus on the Hops.  If you are a West Coast Hophead you definitely want to visit!

Not only is it a great place for beer, the food was excellent (and so is the service).  If you visit on the weekend you should plan on standing in line for a little while — and that includes your whole group!  They have a “no cut” policy in their line — so, if you think you might show up early and hold a spot you’ll be drinking alone for a while waiting on your group to clear the line!  However, it’s worth the wait!  There’s parking in back.

Here’s a look at the bar … even that takes standing in line!  🙂  Within 50 miles or so?  Worth a drive over.  If you don’t want to stop at just one place on the detour, you can also add Fogbelt or Third Street Aleworks to your list of places too.  Enjoy Santa Rosa!

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

Summary Update #5: Growler List – Final

FINAL ENTRY on the Growler List

Reference:  All About Beer Magazine’s “Growler List.”  125 best places in the world to have a beer.   As I’ve watched the Craft Beer explosion happen over the last 10 years (or so), the number of places to buy as well as drink beer has also exploded!  That’s why I’ve decided to stop pursuing all 125 places on this list.  I will scout out the classic places on the list but not the places I would consider the trendy spots.  For instance, of the four places I’m describing below, three of them (29, 32, and 38) would be classics … they don’t seem to change and are still great.  The fourth (as you can see) is a modification … so, this is my final entry about this particular list.  I will continue to update/describe places and beers … don’t worry.  The Beer Mentor is not going anywhere.  LOL.

Summary: Total (actual) places visited: 66 (59 remain on the list).  I visited 4 places since my last post:

29) Toronado (San Francisco) — well worth the effort … cool place with interesting vibe … cash only so be prepared!  The beer selection is exceptional.

Enjoying a cold one at Toronado in San Francisco.

32) Rogue Brewery (Newport, OR) — Wow!  Absolutely a great tour, wonderful location … and excellent beer!  The menu is also excellent.  I recommend an early stop, have lunch, stay for the tour and enjoy yourself!

Classic Entrance into Rogue Brewery

38) Anchor Brewing “tasting room” (San Francisco) — the history combined with the unique tour location makes this a must do on this list.

Tasting Room at Anchor Brewing

Special instance: #42) Sandlot Brewery … I’ve been to this place four times now and each time it’s been closed … I’m replacing it on my list with one of the newer places in Denver just down from there … the Great Divide Brewing Barrel Bar.    This is a great example of a new place that’s opened since the growler list first appeared.

Here’s the complete list of places I’ve visited …

1. Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2016)
2. The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
3. U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic (2012)
5. Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany  (1998) (2012)
6. Augustiner Keller, Munich, Germany (2012)
7. Abbaye de Notre-Dame d’Orval, Orval, Belgium (2009) (2012)
11. Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (1997, 1998, 2001, 2012)
12. The Brickskeller (now Bier Baron), Washington, DC (2005, 2011)
14. The Market Porter, Stoney Street, London, England (2010)
15. Cat’s Eye Pub, Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD (2011)
16. Camden Yards (Baltimore) [Substitute] (2008, 2009)
18. Horizon’s Cafe – CN Tower (Toronto, Canada) (2016)
19. Glengarry Highland Games Beer Tent (Maxville, Ontario) (2003, 2011) [Substitute]
22. German Bundesliga (Kaiserslautern) (1997) [Substitute]
24. Hopleaf, Chicago, IL (2014)
25. World Beer Festival, Durham/Raleigh, NC (2011)
28. Zum Uerige, Düsseldorf, Germany (2012)
29. Toronado, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
30. The Olde Mitre Tavern, Ely Court, Hatton Garden, London, England (2010)
31. Cowboys/Redskins, FedEx Field Skybox (DC) (2009)
32. Rogue Brewery, Newport (OR) (2017)
33. The Wynkoop Brewery, Denver, CO (2011)
37. Atelier am Dom, Cologne, Germany (2012)
38. Anchor Brewing, San Francisco (CA) (2017)
39. The Flying Saucer, NC, SC, TN, AR and TX (2010, 2013)
41. Blues Bar, Stone Town, Zanzibar (closed) [sub: mercury’s] (2013)
42. Sandlot Brewery (substitute: Great Divide Barrel Bar), Denver (CO) (2016)
43. Clark Street Ale House, Chicago, IL (2014)
44. Tailgating Frankfurt Galaxy NFL Europe Game (1996, 1997)
45. Selin’s Grove Brewing, Selinsgrove, PA (2010)
47. The Map Room, Chicago, IL (2014)
48. The Blue Tusk, Syracuse, NY (2010)
51. The White Horse Pub, Parsons Green, London, England (2010)
54. Falling Rock Tap House, Denver, CO (2011)
57. Andechs Monastery, Andechs, Germany (2010) (2012)
61. Krcma, Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (2012)
66. Delirium Café, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
68. Gösser Bierklinik, Vienna, Austria (2012)
71. Brewer’s Art, Baltimore, MD (2010)
73. Schlenkerla Brewery Tavern, Bamberg, Germany (2012)
77. Die Weisse, Salzburg, Austria (2012)
78. Halve Maan Brewery, Bruges, Belgium (2012)
80. Le Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium (2010) (2012)
82. Irseer Klosterbrauerei, Irsee, Germany (2010) (2012)
84. Goose Island Brewing, Chicago, IL  (2014)
85. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014)
88. Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern, Monroe, WI (2014)
90. Cantillon Brewery and Gueuze Museum, Belgium  (2012)
91. Dogfish Head Ale House, Rehoboth Beach, DE (2010)
92. Belgo Centraal, London, England (2010)
97. Clark’s Ale House, Syracuse, NY (2010)
100. Steamworks Brewing, Vancouver, Canada (2015)
103. Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery, Key West, FL (2007)
104. Rose & Crown Pub, Epcot Center, Orlando, FL (2006)
106. Brick Store Pub, Decatur, GA (2011)
108. The Ghost Bar at the Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, NV (2015)
110. The Gingerman, Austin, TX (2010)
113. beerbistro, Toronto, Canada (2016)
114. The Dubliner, Washington, DC (2010)
115. John Barleycorn, Chicago, IL (2014)
118. Top of the Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC (2011)
121. Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington, DC (2010)
122. 5 Seasons Brewing, Atlanta, GA (2011)
123. Tim Schafer’s at Lake Norman, Sherrills Ford, NC
[CLOSED] Sub–In de Vrede (Belgium) (2010, 2012)
124. Stumbling Monk, Seattle. WA (2011)
125. The Happy Gnome, St Paul, MN (2014)

Beer Mentor


#43: Krcma v Satlavske (Český Krumlov) #61

I apologize in advance for the tardiness of this post!  As part of “The Gypsy Beer Experience” in October 2012 I visited #61 on All About Beer’s Growler List, Krcma v Satlavske (Český Krumlov).


This was my 43rd place on the list.  It is located in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.  What a beautiful locale … check on google maps here.

It was an awesome place to eat AND drink beer.  Really quaint, down a narrow alley.

DSC_0973  DSC_0976

The beer was excellent and the food was quite tasty!  We had just visited Pivovar Eggenberg (taken the tour actually … really cool).


After we enjoyed our lunch, we went over to Budějovický Budvar Brewery, Karolíny Světlé, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.  Wow. This was an awesome day … two brewery tours and two places on the All About Beer Growler List: U Fleku was our final stop.

I will add posts for these other stops soon.  Again, apologize for my delinquency in posting.


Beer Mentor