Battle of the Quebec Craft Brew – Gose


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Gose is a tart and salty beer style from Leipzig, Germany. A top-fermented ale flavoured with salt and coriander was first brewed in the town of Goslar during the early 16th century. Originally, Gose was spontaneously fermented, which attributes it’s sour flavour from lactobacillus. Now, under more controlled settings, brewers have brought back this style for our enjoyment.

I was completely new to this style of beer. I’ve had my fair share of sour beers, saisons and lambics but the addition of salt was unknown. I’ve toyed with the idea of adding sea salt to a homebrew but never thought it would quite work. However, I’ve seen people season lagers with salt. I have also rimmed cerveza glasses with salt in the summer and it always tasted refreshing. The pieces started to come together.

The Gose style is not widely available but we do have two bottled examples here in Quebec. Les Trois Mousquetaires Hors Série Gose and L’Alchimiste Gose Bier. Since I’m new to Gose, I decided to compare the two and try to distinguish the style by comparison.

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Les Trois Mousquetaires Gose is a sour ale at 3.8% Alc./Vol. in a beautiful 375 mL bottle. Using Quebec Pilsner malts, wheat and oat. Hopped with Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. Best served at 4°C in a Weizen glass. The bottle also displays 9 IBU and 8 SRM.

The unusual style is brewed with the sour mash technique with a slightly salted water and aromatised with coriander seeds.

L’Alchimiste Gose is also classified as a sour ale at 4,7% Alc./Vol. in a 341 mL bottle. No other information is displayed on the bottle but it was a beer brewed at the end of June for the Festival Oktoberfest des Québécois. Both cost $2.49 at my local beer store.

Appearance:

2013-07-23 18.37.14LTM Gose pours with a slightly off white, two finger head. Which dissipates fairly quickly but decidedly slower than L’Alchemiste. A cloudy, slightly darker straw when compared but turns more opaque as you wrangle in some of the yeast at the bottom of the bottle. It left a nice lacing but after time it all but disappears, making this almost look like a fruit juice.

L’Alchimiste Gose pours with a 1 finger head that dissipates even quicker. It’s a paler yellow colour and a lot more opaque. Typical of a good wheat beer colour. Lacing also thin but tends to stick around longer.

Aroma:

LTM Gose has a this tart citrus nose. Lemon and orange peel. It’s very fresh smelling and the sour perks the nose.

The aroma is similar with L’Alchimiste Gose but with slightly muted citrus notes. The lemon is still there but slightly sweeter and more of the wheat and coriander comes through.

2013-07-23 18.46.40Taste:

The LTM Gose is sour from start to finish but it won’t make your lips pucker up. The finish is a salty citrus tart lemon, just like a lemonade. A salty lemonade. In the middle the acidic carbonation tingles on your tongue and the salt begins to become more apparent. Make sure you swirl the bottle to get some salty, yeasty goodness into your glass.

In contrast L’Alchimiste Gose is mild. Still tart on your tongue but it has a sweet lemon finish and after taste, almost artificial. Not very sour or salty but more sweet and juicy. The wheat and coriander is more apparent in the middle and with a lower carbonation the smooth wheat becomes the highlight of this ale.

2013-07-23 18.45.48Overall: The LTM Gose outshines here. The style is in your face but never overpowering and incredibly refreshing. It’s sour, salty and acidic tart flavours are full of character and thirst quenching. Not to say that L’Alchimiste’s brew is bad. It contrasts the sharp characters of LTM with a smoother fruity flavour. I would consider L’Alchemiste Gose a great wheat beer because the Gose characteristics are slightly muted. Sure, if you hold this in your mouth you get some acidic bite and can find a hint of salt but if you are looking for these flavours from a Gose, you will be disappointed.

Both are simply great beers and worth trying. However, Les Trois Mousquetaires Gose aggressively hits the style and this is the beer I will buy again for repeated summer drinking.


Flying Monkeys – City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat


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2013-07-16 18.12.41As the sun slowly sets on a hot Montreal summer day, I pull out my headphones and bottle opener. It’s time to unwind with the melodic tunes of City and Colour and the velvety smooth maple notes of Flying Monkeys Imperial Maple Wheat ale. A collaboration between Dallas Green of City and Colour and the brewers at the Flying Monkeys craft brewery. Where normal is weird and in the case of this beer, exotic is delicious.

Part of Flying Monkeys treble clef series comes their second collaboration beer. A large Imperial Maple Wheat extra strong beer. Brewed with Ontario Maple Syrup, fair-trade organic bourbon vanilla pods, wheat, malted barley, yeast and water.., and music.

Gracefully cursed / I thirst. Luscious. Viscous. Voluptuous. Melodic. A brew with its own emotional strength in an often over-looked style. The North American Imperial Wheat Ale is akin to a barley wine, but the wheat lends a silken mouth feel and lingering finish. At 11.5% ABC, this sweet and big-hearted Imperial Maple Wheat Ale is meant to be shared.

I finally cracked open this beautiful and mysterious ale from Flying Monkeys. A bottle that has been sitting in my fridge for way too long asking to be leisurely imbibed. I turned on the latest City and Colour album to enjoy with my ears while my tongue does the dancing.

Appearance: Off the top I think it needs to be noted that the packaging is absolutely beautiful. From the outer box containing the large 750mL bomber to the bottle itself. I’m a firm believer that we taste as much with our tongue as our eyes and nose. It’s why we put so much emphasis on the look of the beer in the glass. Before even making it’s way into the glass I’m transfixed by what is to come.

This beer is a clear, brilliant ruby red when held up into the sun and a deep dark mahogany otherwise. It pours with a finger of a slightly brown slick head which will dissipate quickly into a thin layer. Not much alcohol legs to notice but it leaves a beautiful sparkling lacing on your glass with nice micro bubbles. When held up to the sun it just simply sparkles.

Aroma: Sweet, tart maple smell. The smell that is familiar with a true maple ale. The maple really jumps out at you and fills the surrounding area with a natural maple syrup bouquet. There’s also more of a maltier than wheat aroma and a bit of vanilla as well. Behind all of that is the hint of alcohol. I would expect it at 11.5% ABV. As the beer warms it becomes a bit more woody and alcoholic.

Taste: First thing you notice is how smooth this beer is on your lips. It is velvety. It silks over your tongue. Maple and vanilla notes all the way. Alcohol hotness at the end and a lingering tart flavour akin to maple ales. Very sweet and sugary like a maple syrup but with enough of balance at the end to round it out. It feels sticky on the lips and glass. A boozy porto like taste at the end as this warms up making this a delightful dessert beer.

Overall: I’ve never had a maple beer that tastes on point like this. I’ve had a few that tasted too artificial or too cloying without the higher alcohol to round it out. Flying Monkeys knows what type of beer they have here. A high alcohol, slow, moody, sipper. Definitely a beer to share with friends after a light dinner. I understand how this can be a bit too sweet for some or too high in alcohol for others, but in the right environment I think anyone can slowly enjoy a half pint. It’s an interesting beer that would fit well in any cellar for the right occasion and I’m curious if this will age well after a year.

2013-07-10 17.52.57At first I was a bit confused about the timing of the release and thought it would be a better spring or late fall beer. I started drinking this before dinner which might have been a mistake since it was so hot and humid outside. As the sun dipped and the air cooled the intention become apparent. Have this beer at sunset as the air begins to cool. Pour into a tulip or snifter and sit back in your chair. Relax. Sip. Share with friends. Enjoy.

This is a limited edition brew that probably won’t last long. I would recommend the drive to a local LCBO or the brewery to pick one up if you can. Flying Monkeys is located at 107 Dunlop Street East, Barrie Ontario Canada, L4M 1A6.

Disclosure: Flying Monkeys provided a free bottle for me to taste


Brouhaha Tuesday Tastings


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Every Tuesday at 3:00pm, Brouhaha brewpub selects three beers from their cellar for tasting. Brouhaha will present 2oz samples from the three beers of the week with a presentation from the waiter. The event is meant to taste and discuss the samples and to get some information from them. The price will vary depending on the product that is offered. The price is usually around $10.

This week they will have three beers from Norweigian craft brewery Nøgne ø.

  • #500 – Imperial IPA – 10% ABV
  • #100 – Barley Wine – 10% ABV
  • Imperial Stout aged in cognac bottles – 9% ABV

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If you have a chance to visit and taste these beers, I would love to hear about it. Leave your comments on our Facebook page.

Broue Pub Brouhaha is located at 5860, avenue De Lorimier, H2G 2N9.

Follow our Facebook page for weekly announcements and discussions on these tastings.


Flying Monkeys/City and Colour collab beer.


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2013-07-10 17.53.25I was lucky to get a bottle of the Flying Monkey’s Craft Brewery and City and Colour collaboration beer. It’s a high-alcohol Imperial Maple Wheat Ale brewed with maple syrup and infused with organic Bourbon vanilla pods and it is a big! Clocking in at 11.5% ABV, this is definitely a beer to share among friends. The beer is part of a special music and beer collaboration project from Flying Monkey’s which started last year with a Barenaked Ladies collaboration.

Peter Chiodo, Flying Monkeys Founder and brewer, is thrilled City and Colour wanted to be part of their collaboration project. “We had a great time coming up with the recipe. Craft beer aficionados and City and Colour fans alike are going to love this beer!” City and Colour and the Flying Monkeys’ brewers hit upon a little-tried, voluptuous beer style for the calm laziness of summer…

“We created the beer recipe in spring when the sap was running and local maple syrup farms were rocking. We’d wanted to use these great maple flavours for a while,” said Chiodo. “Dallas Green is a native son of St. Catharine’s, so the maple added the perfect touch of Ontario to this beer.”

I believe we taste with our eyes and nose as much as with our tongue so I’ll be spinning up the latest City and Colour album “The Hurry And The Harm” and cracking open this collaboration beer next week for review. Quite frankly, I am excited to try this. Maple syrup is not often used in brewing and when it is the outcome is not always great. In the meantime, you can try to pick this up at your local LCBO or at the brewery itself located in Barrie Ontario.


Yakima IPA – Microbrasserie Le Castor


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IMG_20130420_171513Le Castor is an organic microbrewery founded last year in Rigaud, Quebec. It is a small shop owned by former home brewers who have a passion for experimenting with big barrel aged beers. Their first brewed beers are great examples of style and they have a bourbon barrel aged beer which I’ve yet to taste (although I had a sneak taste of it last year before it was finished aging and I’m looking forward to opening the bottle in my fridge).

The Yakima IPA is a West Coast IPA using various hops from the region. They are using pale and Munich malt and dry hopping as well. The bottle I tasted was part of their ongoing test batches. It had a 6.5% alc/vol at 55 IBU. Tasted from a 660ml bottle which I paid roughly $8 for in a pint glass.

This beer is a celebration of the mighty West Coast hop, grown east of the Cascade mountains. Multiple varieties are used in this ale, at several different points in the brewing process. With emphasis on late & dry hop additions, we serve up this juicy citrus flavours & aromas on a bed of pale and Munich malt.

Appearance: Pours with a great thick fluffy head. With very good head retention and lacing. It has a cloudy straw colour and it looks a bit paler than what I expected from a West Coast IPA. I believe the test batch I had was one of the first, which used a Californian yeast. They later changed to an English yeast due to clarity issues. As you can see from the picture it is quite cloudy. I believe they then attempted to use an English yeast but have since decided to continue using the Californian.

Aroma: Big citrus aroma. Grapefruit, orange peel and some tropical fruit notes. Great typical west coast hops coming off the pour. Nothing much else and I’m not complaining.

Taste: Taste is clean. It was really hard to put onto paper how to describe this cleanness. This might come from the smooth carbonation that allows the flavours to roll off the tongue. It’s hoppy but it’s not crushing and won’t ruin your mouth with bitterness. Nice smooth mouthfeel with a light citrus middle. The beer finishes off with a light lingering earthy bitterness that isn’t crushing or palate destroying.

Overall this is a good test batch and the new batches use more hops to reach 75 IBU. What I like about the Yakima IPA is that it’s a clean example of the style (like their other beers) and while it’s not a hop heads dream beer it’s a great beer to introduce drinkers into the world of hops. The cleanness allows this beer to be enjoyed quite easily on a nice summer day. A great session beer. It’s hard to get a good West Coast IPA in Montreal and while it’s a bit expensive it might be worth the price for a local organic IPA. I would recommend heading down to Rigaud and buying this directly from the brewery in a growler. Because when you reach the end of the bottle you will be left wanting more.


St-Ambroise Double IPA available exclusively at the terrace.


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2013-07-03 14.39.02The sun has finally arrived in Montreal and St-Ambroise has a treat for you to enjoy in the sun. They are testing a new Double IPA recipe exclusively on tap at their terrace. An unfiltered 8.6% ABV ale with Chinook, Cascade and Citra hops. It is a hoppy treat that will knock you off your chair if you’re not careful. I would highly recommend you go to the terrace and try it. Completely worth getting out of the city and sipping this in the hot sun. If you don’t know where the terrace is located, it’s behind the brewery at 5080 Rue Saint-Ambroise.

The beer pours a nice amber with great head and lacing. I felt the beer was missing a nice big aroma but the taste is absolutely great. Bitter from start to finish with peppery and herbal hop notes and a slight hot alcohol flavour. The beer is well balanced with a decent sweet malt backbone. The classic St-Ambroise yeast profile is present in the beer, which I didn’t think detrimental to the flavour. It distinguishes St-Ambroise beers as they are all fermented in open fermenters and use the same yeast strain.

Overall, this is definitely better than their bottled IPA. Perhaps getting to drink this only days after it was kegged, directly behind the brewery just adds to the crisp freshness of the hops instead of sitting in a hot deppaneur. Absolutely worth checking out and definitely worth enjoying in the sun on the Lachine canal.