Posts Tagged ‘Blonde

That’s Mister Beer, to you, pal

- May 30th, 2012

A while back, I tried my hand at a pretty simple home brew kit, Mister Beer Bottle Brew.

Toss a yeast pill in a bottle of fresh beer mix and in a couple of weeks, you have yourself some delicious suds.

Except, it didn’t go as well as hoped. Kind of flat; not very flavourful.

But after some backlash from fans of the product and some positive PR from the company president, I gave Mister Beer another try.

The results? Mixed, but much better.

Mister Beer sent a selection of all of their beers, Red, Blonde, Cerveza, Pilsner, and Brown. Fellow Scoundrel Shawn Logan gave the Brown Ale a try, while honorary Scoundrel and Beer lover Dave Naylor, a fan of red and copper beers, was giving the Red Lager a try.

I took home the Blonde, the Cerveza and the Pilsner. And I liked them in that order as well.

Knowing that 14 days in my cooler-temperature townhouse wasn’t enough, I let all of them sit four full weeks fermenting. It may have been overkill, but I didn’t want results similar to my previous attempt.

In addition to the yeast pill, the Pilsner came with a “hop flavouring” capsule. Thinking “I love hoppy beer,” I opted to give it a try.

When it was finished, the beer had a clean, crisp taste, and a decent bitter note on the finish, but left almost a metallic aftertaste that, after sampling the other two varieties, I can only assume is from the hop pill. Were I to buy this one again, I would opt against the additive if I tried it again.

The Cerveza was serviceable, a decent drinking beer, with a frothy head, light amber in colour and a crisp finish. Not my favourite of the bunch, but it was OK.

The Blonde, meanwhile, was the standout. More flavourful than I expected for such a light-coloured beer, with lemon notes, even a little apple, the right amount of sweetness and a crisp finish. I’m glad I opted against the lime flavouring pill that came with this one too, given how the hop pill turned out for me. Even if it didn’t detract from how the Blonde presented itself, I don’t think this one needs any help. This would be my recommendation, and one I’d buy in the future.

But I still think the directions could be a little more clear, to indicate, that if you want your beer done in the two weeks, it needs to be kept at 25-28C and if you keep your house at 18-20C, as do a lot of people, it could take upwards of four weeks.

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.

Village within a city

- March 7th, 2012

Growler
(Village Brewery is serving up delicious beer in man-sized growlers. Dave Breakenridge/Calgary Sun.)

In an unassuming building in a southeast industrial part of town, a village is being built.

The foundation is being laid, albeit slowly, and it’s bound to grow into a thriving community.

It’s not a bricks and mortar village, but it is inhabited with definite characters, both in the people running the operation, and in the distinct beer they’re crafting.

Spawned by a handful Alberta beer industry veterans, Village Brewery has made quite a splash in even the few short months it’s been in operation.

A big part of its success was in creating a buzz well before the first kegs were filled.

The folks at Village have made great use of Facebook and Twitter, which have become integral in the lives of craft beer fans, to spur a word of mouth campaign I haven’t seen in Calgary since Naheed Nenshi was elected.

And their involvement in the arts community — 10% of the company’s net earnings are going back to that community — help foster a sense the Village isn’t just the company.

“We have a vision,” Jim Button, one of six partners and a former Big Rock VP, told Shawn Logan and I when we stopped in for a visit. “The village is about community.”

“This is just for Calgary,” Button said.

With an attitude like that, passionate partners with more than 140 years of beer industry experience, and 30 community-minded “Beer Barons” on board, by the time the first beer was ready to be poured in December, the brand had already developed a cachet.

And its still gaining steam.

When Shawn Logan and I went to visit Button at the southeast hub, Village was available in a handful of bars in town, and they keep adding locations.

Just this week The Rose and Crown and Raw Bar at Hotel Arts added Village to their beer lists.

They are definitely building a community. Not just in building a brand, but in crafting a following, as if fans of the product are a part of a club, as opposed buying a product.

And it is quite a product.

Based on the first two Village denizens, Brewmaster Larry Kerwin isn’t resting on his laurels this late in his career.

blonde
Village Blonde
Over the years, I have gone from preferring light, crisp lagers and ales, to first eyeing up darker, deeper flavours.

So I tend to take notice when something in that wheelhouse really grabs me.

The Blonde is definitely a light, bubbly and fun member of the Village.

It is crisp, fruity with a slightly hoppy note. It will surely be among summer picks for many craft beer fans in Calgary.

Blacksmith
Village Blacksmith — India Black Ale
Hop heads are enjoying heady times of late, with several smaller Canadian breweries launching hopped-up ales. The more bitterness, the better for some.

But for me, an India Black Ale was a new experience, and a welcome addition.

Playing up my love of dark beer, this is made with roasted malt, so it is dark in colour, with a bitter chocolate nose, espresso on the palate, and the bitter hops note in the back of the mouth.

It ranks as one of the best new beers I’ve tried of late.

And they two taste great together.

For more info on Village Brewery, find them on Facebook, Twitter, their website, or check out the inside look some Sun colleagues got last week.