Archive for April, 2012

Last-minute mountain trek

- April 30th, 2012

With BeerFest in town this weekend, the oenophiles have the opportunity to get away to the scenic Banff Springs Hotel for a little Rocky Mountain relaxation.

The Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival takes things to breathtaking heights for their spring event, beckoning wine and spirits lovers to the hills.

Tickets for the Saturday evening tasting session may be sold out, but there are two sessions Friday, and one Saturday afternoon.

The event features the best food Banff hotels and restaurants have to offer, wine from around the world, and beer, spirits and liqueurs for those who may not be into a little vino.

Full info can be found here.

Countdown to BeerFest

- April 30th, 2012

Beerfestfile
(Sun File)

Couple hundred beers up for sampling, all under one roof? Sign us up.

It’s just four days until the 2012 edition of the Calgary International BeerFest, at the BMO Centre.

Spread over two days — Friday and Saturday — the event features, in addition to beer, beer seminars, info on food pairings, live music, a big screen for those who don’t want to miss the NHL Playoffs, and some grub to go with the suds.

Speaking of suds, because I know that’s what all of you want to know about, the full list can be found here. Alberta is well-represented, including Calgary breweries Big Rock, Village, Wild Rose and Mountain Crest.

But the event also features beer from across the country and around the world.

My advice for events like this is simple: try something new. I guarantee that for most people in attendance there is beer they’ve never tried or heard of before.

Don’t be scared. It’s only beer.

The week in drinking vol. 4

- April 27th, 2012

I continue my crusade trying as many new beers as possible, and the availability of 500 or 650 ml bottles of imports or new local seasonal brew makes the task that much easier.

So thank-you, breweries, for supporting my drinking.

harviestoun
(Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted)

Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted Blond Beer: Colour-wise, this would qualify more as a copper blond than a blonde, but it is light enough in flavour. It had a mild hop finish, but not as bitter as its name would suggest. Definite citrus characteristics, but more orange than lemon. A nice spice note as well. Definitely flavourful, especially considering its 4.2% abv.

wildswan
(Wild Swan White Gold Pale Ale)

Thornbridge’s Wild Swan White Gold Pale Ale: Speaking of beers with low alcohol and a ton of flavour, this English offering comes in at 3.5% alcohol, and just 105 calories. But it still has a whack of flavour. Take that Michelob. This is from the makers of another new favourite of mine, the Kipling, and it comes complete with great lemon aroma, a nice light gold colour, lemon on the palate and a hoppy punch welcome in a beer so light. Both the Wild Swan and the Kipling would make an excellent summer beer.

hopsmashedin
(Hop Smashed In Belgian IPA)

Wild Rose Hop Smashed In Belgian IPA: This new seasonal from Wild Rose is a monster, and I’m not just sucking up because it’s local. I like it because it offers a twist on the IPA. Just like I’m a big fan of the IBA from Village Brewery, Wild Rose is giving me something new. This beer offers similar characteristics to its post-Christmas seasonal, the Belgian-Style Dubbel, I’m assuming due to the use of Belgian yeast. Fruity and spicy on the nose, it is reminiscent of cloves and raisins, but unlike the Dubbel it doesn’t come off as sweet. That may go over when it’s -20C in January, but this time of year we want something a little more crisp, no? Cutting right through any sweetness on the palate is a great hoppy finish. I’m not big on super hoppy IPAs, but this one has balance. Between the seasonals from Wild Rose, the Brewmaster’s Series at Big Rock, and the emergence of Village, there’s a lot to be happy about for the Calgary beer drinker.

Stay tuned for some info on a few other spring beer releases, and for the continuing saga of our Mister Beer Bottle Brew adventures.

Cheers

The week in drinking vol. 3

- April 22nd, 2012

All right. Spring is here, and I’m thinking of beer.

It’s a couple of weeks until BeerFest, and I seem to just want to have brew. So that’s what I’ve been drinking a lot of.

Here are a few recent buys:

Rickard’s Blonde: I know, Rickard’s takes a lot of heat from some people, and I am not a fan of all their offerings. But they are popular. Rickard’s White is a big hit with some of my co-workers, and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the Blonde last fall at the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival. Now available in 6-packs, it is a crisp German-style Pilsner. While it doesn’t pack as much punch as the Wild Rose take on a Czech Pilsner I tried the other day, it is a decent offering in the segment, and what the Rickard’s lineup needed.

Wild Rose Foothillz Pilz: This Czech-style Pilsner packed a bit more flavourful punch than the Rickard’s Blonde. Lighter in colour as well, the hops lend spice and citrus notes with a slightly bitter finish. But overall, it is a smooth-drinking lager. Now, if only it came in 6-packs, as opposed to the individual 650-ml bottle, because it’s something we’d like to drink more of.

Tree Brewing Cutthroat Pale Ale: A decent pale ale. Caramel malt sweetness with citrus notes. Nice balance with just enough of hoppy bitterness to balance out the citrus.

The cask of your dreams

- April 18th, 2012

CaskDreams
(Supplied photo)

The day your dreams come true is here.

Sort of.

The day to see the Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams in Calgary is here.

As I previously wrote, the Cask of Dreams is part of a nation-wide promotion, allowing whisky lovers a chance to have a hand in a limited edition Scotch that will be released in Canada in time for Christmas.

The cask is making its way around town Thursday and Friday, and fans are able to come out and sign on the wood completing the sentence “One day I will …”

The cask will then be taken back to the distillery and be filled and finished for three months.

Aside from stops at Bankers Hall, Olympic Plaza and Heritage Park, it will be on display Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m. at the Oakridge Co-Op Wines & Spirits, and Friday at the Crowfoot location, also between 5 and 8 p.m.

Glenfiddich is also hosting invited guests at Willow Park Wines & Spirits Friday between 4 and 7 p.m.

For more info on the complete Calgary schedule Thursday and Friday, check the Glenfiddich site.

Slainte!