Mmmmm...S'muttonator. This whalloping 9.8% dopplebock pours garnet tinged mohagany with beige foam and rim. Slightly dark chocolatey smokey with cherry juice and some graininess but this is mostly a big mellow malt bomb. A fine tobacco note from the heat and the twiggy hops. Rich and smooth with a drying finish from the tannic of the hops.
More than one commentator has mentioned it does not look like much sitting modestly at the end of a strip mall, next to Moe's. But none of the good beer shops I have come across are built like an oaken barrel or anything. No, it's about what's inside. And this little shop makes the most of it. The entire shop is something like 35 by 12 feet with the front half dedicated to the stock of wine. At the rear there are beer coolers and storage filling at least half that half of the store leaving a bit of a lack of space to even get a decent camera angle. Lots of "'scuse me elbows" and bumping brimming carriers.
But what selection. I had one of those deer-in-the-headlight moments when I spotted the Japanese stuff. Then I noticed this one and that one that I had not see except in books and at the movies. A great selection of UK imports as well as German and Dutch plus a good selection of New England micros. I got into an email discussion with Tully's and it is pretty clear they are shelf stocking nerds of the highest order:
I hope you enjoyed our selection. We try very hard to have as many labels that the distributors carry as we can. I think we stock about 90% of the distributors portfolios, which is impressive if you ask me. This is why we say we have the best beer selection in Maine and New Hampshire.
I ended up buying about $125 USD worth of single bottles, mostly beers I have never seen before like Carnegie Porter from Sweden at $6.99, Scotch Silly from Belgium at $3.20, a large number of new to me English Pale Ales as well as a really nice US micro, Fisherman's Brew from Cape Ann Brewing for $7.99 plus tax and deposit. I passed on picking up Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout, Raisin D'Extra and 120 Minute IPA as that trio of 12 oz brews would have set me back over twenty five US and there was much ice cream and clams ahead of me that week. One handy thing is the digitization of the entire stock so that the receipt has the names of each purchase. Plenty of reviews to come.
This beer pours a tan head over deep red amber ale. On the nose, Christmas cake - fruity, rummy and sweet. In the mouth, raisin, cherry, apple and orange along with a rich graininess followed by a chocolate note right at the end of each mouthful.
A really pleasant winter ale.
"Badly poured beers are among the largest problems in beer gardens, restaurants, and at the Oktoberfest," the society notes on its website. The SADP estimates that beer maids who pour just a finger’s width less of beer cheat patrons out of 4.2 million Eur worth of beer at Munich’s annual Oktoberfest alone...I knew that CAMRA was into this with its honest pint campaign but I had not known this was at issue in Germany, too. I think it is fair to say that we are not particularly well served with the full measure in Canada. I have sent a glass back to be filled when I, say, get an inch of head in a pint of Guinness but long gone are the days when most beer glasses had full measure markings on them as regulated by law. Most often the feeling is that beer within a glass is a glass of beer and if there is an ounce or two short it really is rude to point that out.
With 4,000 members, the group includes major beer brewers as well as Munich Mayor Christian Ude and Bavarian governor Edmund Stoiber. It was initiated in 1899 to assure beer drinkers the right amount of drink for their money, but its current incarnation was created in 1970.
Light tan foam over fairly lively chestnut ale, this Flemish oud bruin has a tangy vinegary sweet aroma. This beer is far less sharp than my previous Flemish experiences of this sort from Rodenbach Grand Cru yet bigger than the other Flem I have known Petrus Oud Bruin. There is a creaminess with all the acidity that is really surprising. "Vineous" may work with other examples of this style but this one is clearly ale, even if quite tart. If you go with it, it is also quaffable...maybe if you transpose from fruit juice as it is somewhere between granny smith apple and pineapple juice just in terms of tartness. But, with all that, there is also cherry and oak and vanilla and maybe the best Pepsi you have ever had as well as even dried fruit like prune and fig and molasses. Yes, as complex and balanced as a fine wine if you need to compare.
This is perhaps the best chance you will have to taste what a medieval ale was like. $4.95 for a 330 ml at the LCBO. Try one and a half in a hefeweizen glass if you can. BAers generally on board.
Hardly a trader amongst them...or as I like to call them first victims. Not too many new New Englanders among them, though the Fisherman's Brew from Cape Ann Brewing is a real treat. The collection stands at about 55 different varieties right now which should carry the blog for a couple of months at least. I am most looking forward to a side-by-side of some unfamiliar English pale ales at some point as well as that Southern Tier's Jah-va Imperial Coffee Stout. I have some decent vintage ales but I have been wondering if there is really a post in that if I do not have some pairs of the same ale from different years. Anyway, the larder is well stocked. Once I get a basement later this year, this selection may well look like a mere sampler. Click for more detail if you are into that sort of thing. And you are.
What a road trip! There is a path you can take from eastern Lake Ontario to Maine that give lots of opportunity to have some great beer...and that was the one I took. Here are some up coming posts that I have in the hopper:
- More quick notes and longer stories from the stash. This trip saw the collection and the return to Canada of about 30 new beers for me including a Japanese sweet stout and a lime-blossom flavoured Belgian blond. Yowsa.
- The main source for these treats was Tully's in Wells, Maine one of the best beer shops I have come across to date even if it it only has about 20 by 15 feet worth of shelves. I'll be putting together a story review later this week.
- I expect to write about my review copy of The Good Beer Guide to New England by Andy Crouch which is apparently in the mail right now. I have looked forward to the publication of this book for some time and hope it will serve as a great compliment to the works of Lew Bryson which cover New York to Virginia. Is anyone doing a book on the beers of Ohio yet?
I've wondered about this, facing too many Belgians on the odd occasion but others are more definite:
"We're beer drinkers. We don't spit," said Skypeck, co-founder of Boscos brewpubs, based in Memphis, Tennessee. I think especially with beer, you're not going to experience the full flavours, the character, unless you take that swallow. It just completes the experience."
A can of beer from Barrie. Mmmm. After a big zlurbfft when the can opened, the beer poured a very active pale straw with a white foamy rim. It's a pleasant enough light ale with a corny edge like the founding father of cream ales, Genesee Cream from Rochester. At the outset there is a short blast of pear juice then some twiggy hop, then a bit of malt and then corn. Throughout the last 2/3s of the taste there is a sort of watermelon rind thing as well, a light but roughish hard to describe thing. The finish is drying. If Northumberland Ale is a 1950's Canadian stock ale, maybe this is a 1950s old-style upstate New York cream ale. But I don't know what that might have to do with Confederation. Or Bavaria in 1516. Still, no bad flavours and plenty of nice clean ones in a light ale, a style sort of lost to the beast that is "lite beer". Consider for your next stinking hot day.
After a big zlurbfft when the can opened, the beer poured a very active pale straw with a white foamy rim. It's a pleasant enough light ale with a corny edge like the founding father of cream ales, Genesee Cream from Rochester. At the outset there is a short blast of pear juice then some twiggy hop, then a bit of malt and then corn. Throughout the last 2/3s of the taste there is a sort of watermelon rind thing as well, a light but roughish hard to describe thing. The finish is drying. If Northumberland Ale is a 1950's Canadian stock ale, maybe this is a 1950s old-style upstate New York cream ale. But I don't know what that might have to do with Confederation. Or Bavaria in 1516.
Still, no bad flavours and plenty of nice clean ones in a light ale, a style sort of lost to the beast that is "lite beer". Consider for your next stinking hot day.