Category Archives: Beer

my new city

pizzeria uno specialThis past week, I spent a week in Chicago and have come to love it in the short time I was there. There I found some great food and some great people, and more importantly, great beers.

My first culinary adventure was Pizzeria Uno where I tried Chicago style pizza for the first time. Sitting outside on the street corner patio under an old timey street light was very romantic although lonely as I was by myself. There was still plenty of entertainment: a drunk businessman spilled beer all over his shirt and pants, the same businessman stole some stuff like the checkbook (with the money in it) a beer mug and some other stuff, our waiter chased him down the blog, and I also met some nice women who were trying to get the waiter to come home with them. For a night alone I laughed a lot!

Later in the week came great Mexican food, fantastic garlic fries, and of\"ed\" course, two trips to the Goose Island Brewery for some great micro-brews. The beer that knocked my socks off was a special reserve called “Ed.” I could not find it on their website but this is a beer that has an incredible smokey flavour. I knew it was coming, but that first sip surprised me! The smokey malt flavour was powerful but balanced with a subtle sweetness and slight hoppyness. Served in a brandy snifter, it took me all afternoon to finish the little treasure and at 9% it stayed with me the rest of the day!

One week (and the money I brought) did not seem like enough time to explore this great culinary city. I can’t wait to go on my next trip…Portland, Oregon! Any suggestions for where to eat?pad thai in the park


better beer part V – Brewhouse

can01106.jpgThe fifth beer in my better beer series is “Brewhouse” from Great Western Brewery, and I probably should have known by the fact that the product was placed between Lucky Lager and StoneCold beer that it did not have high quality, but I had a couple of people tell me “what a great beer it was for the money” so I gave it a try. What little flavour that the beer did have was skunky. It was light, little yeasty taste and no depth to the flavour.

I was able to sample a honey brown and a dark beer from Great Western that they were offering in my local LC. Both were greatly disapointing – the honey brown being sweet with out any balance of bitter flavours and the dark beer being dark, skunky, thin, and a waste of time. I think me and Great Western Brewery are off to a bad start, but they do have other beers that I might try.

The only redeeming quality of this beer is the price – and if low price is the only determining factor to buying beer, than your best bet is StoneCold Beer. I give this beer 1 frosty mug out of 10. Fortunately someone likes the beer – the bloggers at The Opinionated Beer page gave this review.


better beer part IV – sleeman original draught

I have never been a fan of the Sleeman line of beers sosleeman-original-draught.jpg when I picked up the box of Sleeman Original Draught (which is a new addition to the Sleeman line in 2005), I thought I was setting myself up for disappointment. I have had little success with the Sleeman line (despite its popularity and success with its Honey Brown offering).

Sleeman Original Draught is quite good! It is light but not too light, it is flavourful but not overpowering or unbalanced but not enough to call it “bold” in flavour. What I find it lacks, is a distinctive taste. It has nothing that separates it for the next draught beer (other than the competition is lack-luster in their draught beers).

The Original Draught didn’t take risks and therefore did not make mistakes making it a good beer, good enough to promote it to the second round of my better beer search. It has a great colour, balance, the price is right and it really is refreshing, even more so in this heat wave we have been having. It pairs well with almost all food. Finally, it is a beer that I can serve to anyone regardless of their affiliations with different brands and there would be few people who could turn up their nose to this craft brew.

Sleeman Original Draught, I promote you to the semi-finals. 7.7 frosty beer mugs out of 10.

P.S. As for the other Sleeman Line:

Cream Ale: I would expect more flavour from an ale but through the watered down flavour, they have something good. But, despite the quality flavour that is lurking underneath, I can’t drink a watery version of something good.

Honey Brown: Sleeman’s most popular beer. I have never really like honey browns of any kind. This is no exception to my tastes. However, with all the honey browns I have tried, this simply rises above all others. If you like honey brown beers, this is a lightly sweet brew, with a great balance of malt and hops – an over all well crafted beer.

Silver Creek: See same comments for Cream Ale. There is is a quality flavour hiding there….somewhere.


better beer part III – the beer of my past

beersofpast.jpg

While I search for the perfect beer for me, I want to take this time to remember some of the beers of my past (hopefully some to never return).

Budweiser – this was the first beer I ever had. I stole it from my parents one Saturday afternoon and drank it beside a creek out in the bush (gosh I hope that my parents don’t read this blog). Its kind of a funny story that you will just have to ask me about later. The beer? Terrible. I knew it from the first sip I would never drink Budweiser again. I am so very sorry for all the soccer fans in Germany who are limited to this beer.

Canadian – the first beer that I liked. Maybe it was the buzz, or just the fact that I felt cool drinking beer that made me like it. I still to this day buy a 6 pack for old time sake. The beer is stronger than others in its class. Bold, bitter and not good enough to drink it less than ice cold, I like the “Nationalistic” feel to the brand (sorry Tyler Shipply where ever you are). When all else fails, I know I can stand this beer and even like it from time to time. Not a regular staple in my house (yet).

Labatt Blue – I hardly have this beer. Mostly if it is the only thing served at a party or something. I find this beer less flavourful and less thirst quenching than Canadian. Comes through in a pinch though. Probably with this beer, it is the fact that there is nothing that make it stand out that prevents it from making mistakes and being terrible. Still would prefer Canadian over Blue.

Moosehead – Same as Blue. Doesn’t make huge mistakes so it is not that terrible. Definitely a beer that is better on tap than bottle or can. This beer gets boring really quick.

Alexander Keiths – Or Alexander Queefs as I like to call it. I find this beer to have unbalanced flavour, too bitter for the body of the beer. Too carbonated to taste the full extent of the beer.

I guess it is time to put these beers to rest. They may show up from time to time, but I doubt they will make it very far in my search for better beer.


better beer part II – Miller Genuine Draft

its miller timeIt's Miller time!

I must warn you that the views in this blog may not suit some college white-boy jock wanna-bes, living in the parents' basement. Yes, I have a prejudice against Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) and apparently the people who drink it (sorry if that is you). I have allways considered it an over priced *trashy* beer ($12.85 for six?!?). Despite my opinions about it, I have never tried MGD. However, in the spirit of inclusion it is my second beer for the "better beer" contest.

It lost.

Badly.

Flat, very watery taste; not sweet, not bitter, but skunky. Little lasting drinkability (I was tired of it even before I finished the first bottle – but i kept drinking out of obligation). The colour was too pale to elicit a mouth watering craving. When I poured it into a frosty glass it produced a weak, limp head composed of large and fleeting bubbles – the kind that soda pop would make when you pour it too fast. The texture of the beer was decent (once you got past the head) and the carbonation was pretty good too. Little or no yeasty taste from a pillsner like MGD – I think that 4x filter they are advertising now is taking out all the flavour as well as the alcohol. The beer is stated to have only 4.7% but tasted lighter than that.

This has strengthened my stereotype of MGD: only macho boys in high school drink this beer – when the grow up they still drink this beer because they have not developed their "grown-up" tastes. Their taste is in the same place their maturity level is…High School. I think I should start an outreach program for MGD drinkers and a support group for the families that love them!

Verdict: I classify this as "an experience." Sorry MDG, you do not make the cut. I give this beer 3.5 watery bottles out of 10.


better beer part I – carlsberg

carlsbergThis is the first of many entries in the search to find a brand of beer that I can call my own. The first beer on this pilgrimage is Carlsberg. What caught my attention (in order of discovery) 1.) the price: 14.95 for 12 bottles. That is a decent price compared to Moosehead or Sleaman's (approx. $20 for 12). 2) The advertising slogan on the box which read "Probably the best beer in the world." Bold title to live up to but I like a beer company that can boast confidently in itself. The slogan made me smile and feel confident in my choice. 3) Packaging. I know that I did not address packaging in my criteria for finding a brand of beer, but theCarlsberg image and packaging is better than oh lets say Lucky Lager.

Taste: Good. Not great, nor outstanding. Very lively and crisp with a strong but not overpowering flavor. Sweet aftertaste. The colour was nice – a deep amber as opposed to a light colour like Corona. This beer had body. When poured into a chilled glass, it produce a decent head with bubbles that were small which created a somewhat thick head, but did not last long. The best part, by the 12th bottle, I was still enjoying the taste of this beer. This beer is definitely better than Moosehead, Kokanee and Blue simply due to the fuller flavour of Carlsberg.

There is little to no embarrassment to having Carlsberg in my fridge. Even though it is brewed in Canada, it is a Danish beer. There is a pseudo-classy feeling of drinking an import.

Verdict: This beer is worth having around. I promote it to level two as a semi finalist.


i begin my quest for better beer

Every time I go to the L.C. (a.k.a. the MLCC in Manitoba,beer a.k.a. Liquor Mart) I am faced with the same dilemma: which beer do I take home? It has been my custom to try every thing at least once, however, I need a beer I can identify with that will carry me through thick and thin, that one beer that I can always have on hand, I need…a brand.

Qualities in the perfect brand:

  • Affordable in quantity: something that can be affordable in lager quantity. This disqualifies many import beers from the start.
  • Not embarrassing to have people find in my fridge
  • Crowd pleaser
  • Can be pleasing when poured into a glass or frosted mug: I love the whole process of taking out a frosted mug, pouring a beer, watching the head develop and taking that first icy sip.
  • The obvious; great colour, texture, taste, head and lasting drinkibility. This last quality is what usually is the final make or break part of my branding. If I buy a 12 pack, am I going to be tired of the beer after 6? 8? 11? (Not all in one sitting of course!)

Well, wish me luck on my quest. Any one out there have a favourite brand for me to try? What is your "go to" beer?