Moylans White Christmas Spiced Lager

Alberta based importer A.Z. has been bringing exciting and new Californian beers into Alberta for the past 13 months or so. Moylans Brewing based in Novato, California is one of A.Z.’s newest arrivals with a good selection of typical Californian or West Coast style beers hitting the shelves in Alberta.  With 6% ABV and a profile of spices that includes curacao, mace, white pepper, cinnamon and coriander White Christmas is technically classified as a spiced beer. Moylan’s is most well known for the hop bomb called Hopsickle that  is an absolute bombastic 9.2% brew featuring upwards of 90 IBU’s.  White Christmas is aimed towards being a winter warmer with the spice profile to prove it.

Pouring out a murky and muddled amber colour in the body the head is steadfast with an appearance of thick soapy yellow that leaves streaks of lacing around the glass. A first incidental sniff has a bit of a spice overabundance  with notes of cinnamon, allspice, coriander and nutmeg filling the olfactory senses. Mild caramel and toasted bread malts blend moderately well despite the heavy spice blend. Notes of fake vanilla bean, toffee, caramel and brown sugar are all rather moderate. The body is full and a bit slick with a good malt to spice balance overall despite have a lingering spice profile overall. Not exactly my cup of tea in general but I can certainly see the appeal of this style to many amateur beer drinkers.

Grade: 78/100

Price: $8.49

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Cellar Selections – Les Trois Mousquetairs Porter Baltique Autumn 2010

Over the past 7 years I have delved into the world of craft beer; every so often I encounter a brew I place aside to enjoy down the road. A good amount of these brews are of high alcohol content that were either too intimidating at the time or needed some rest to become properly enjoyable. Once in a blue moon I  drink one of these such brews….today I open a brew from Microbrasseurs Les Trois Mousquetaires out of Brossard, Quebec. This bottle is the Porter Baltique a 9.2% strong porter from the Autumn of 2010. Three years of maturation inside of a bottle does wonders for such a beer allowing the in bottle yeast sediment to continue the carbonation process while allowing the flavour profile to mature.

I have previously drank this beer on several occasions so subtle details may become evident.Sometimes an aged beer has such pent up carbonation the cork will have a violent and rapid expulsion from the bottle…so be careful. Porter Baltique’s cork is a bit stuck at first but let go with a modest pop. Pouring out a slick, purely opaque black with a huge foamy tan head which settles to a thin layer a few mere bubbles thick at parts; this is true evidence of aging. A few quick swirls of the glass shows some minor alcohol legs on the glass that disappear quickly. The nose has a heavy roasted aroma with accents of vanilla bean, hazelnut coffee, used espresso beans, bourbon casks and a hint of sultry smoke. I have always said that the best beers are ones you just want to keep smelling and that Porter Baltique is one of those beers. The aroma has such a grabbing quality that in intoxicating. Taking the first sip Porter Baltique is smooth almost silken with a casked style flavour from the smoky notes as well notes of dark chocolate, espresso, toffee and a hint of dried fruits. A truly complex flavour profile with a palate as smooth as can be. A full bodied and heavy beer with an smooth mouthfeel and a heavy roasted malt isn’t rare but the execution of this beer is exceptional. The aging process has taken away some sweetness and changed the mouthfeel from syrupy to silky. Overall Porter Baltique is an exceptional brew that can and has stood the test of time. I look forward to trying my remaining bottle in a few more years.

 

Amsterdam Boneshaker IPA

Brewed in the Leaside Village area in Toronto, Ontario the Amsterdam Brewery has been redefining craft beer in Ontario since 1986. The first Amsterdam beer to leave the province and land in Alberta is the Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA. Brewed Amarillo hops with a 90 minute continuous hopping to 65 IBU’s and a heavy 7.1% ABV, Boneshaker is for hop fans only.

Pouring out a bright golden orange with a big bounty of white head Boneshaker has the generally IPA esque appearance despite a lack of haze or cloudiness. The nose has a big dose of pine and gooey resinous citrus aromas. A mild malty nose with hints of caramel and toasted breads the aroma is hop dominated. The first sip has full on resinous hop sweetness with grapefruit and zesty flavours. Toasted malts and bready notes blend well and help balance the flavour out but are lost quickly with big hops. The finish isn’t all that bitter for me but lingers quite well with a sharp and tangy grapefruit along with a moderate smack of resinous hops. A good beer overall if I can say so.

Grade: 86/100

Price: $17/ 6 pack