Flying Monkeys – City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat

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

Flying Monkeys/City and Colour collab beer.

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.

Dieu du Ciel – Blanche du Paradis

ABV: 5.5% ABV
STYLE: Belgian Wit
ADJUNCTS: Coriander Seeds, Curaçao Orange Peel

It’s hard to find a Dieu du Ciel beer that I do not like. Every time I go to a speciality beer store and they have bottles I’ll try to pick some up. Their brewpub is definitely a place every Montrealer should visit on a regular basis. Like the other white beers featured here lately, summer is the perfect time for them. So let’s hurry up and crack into this bottle.

Blanche du Paradis is a Belgian-style Wit brewed with coriander seeds and Curaçao orange peels, the spices traditionnally found in this classic style. Unfiltered and containing almost as much raw wheat as malted barley, it presents a veil of yeast and proteins giving this style its “Blanche” name. Round and light at the same time, it exhales fresh baked bread aromas, and reveals spices and citrus flavours, accompanied by subtle notes of acidity coming from the wheat.

The Blanche du Paradis was born in our Montreal brewpub in May 1999

Pours a dull straw yellow with a lot of haze. Cloudy white three finger head that dissipates quickly. Very nice lacing. This is a bottle conditioned beer. Classic white beer look.

Strong yeast aroma. Bread and wheat along with some spiciness. A little bit of the orange peel makes its way through. Very simple and delicate aroma. Nothing jumps out at you. Still very appealing though.

The smooth and creamy mouth feel is the first thing I noticed. It has a peppery and slight hop middle and a very subdued bitterness at the end. Good balance of spices and the slight citrus from the orange. Very little aftertaste and very fresh tasting.

This is a well rounded white beer. Perfect for the style without doing anything out of the ordinary. Perfect for a summer session beer. What I like the most about this beer is that it is not thin or watery like a lot of other white beers I’ve had. It has a nice solid body. This is hands down a go to white beer and a perfect example of the style. It’s a little difficult to get your hands on it but if you can pick it up.