It’s the start of 2019 – and it’s a “New Year in Beer”™. I thought of this theme to push myself outside my comfort zone and try beers that I’d always skipped over at the beer store. The dark thick stouts, high alcohol beers, weird sours, and crazy hoppy hops. I wanted to taste it all – good, bad, weird, wonderful.
So what were these weird, wonderful, and most importantly “new” beers?
“Alice” by Microbrasserie La Veillée
Brought by Kristen who really doesn’t like blanche beers, this beer was named after a grandma called Alice. We started our night with this 5.4% which tasted even lighter than that, a slight step up from the hop-water that Corey brought last time. Low scores all around.
Average BRSTº Rating: 6.5/20
“It’s like the Lacroix of beers.” – Kristen
“I would make this with Sangria” – Val
“Milkshake IPA” by Brasserie Vrooden
Hailing from Granby and the official beer of the Zoo (I mean, who’s going to fact check this, #amiright?), Vrooden’s slogan is “Traditional German Beer”. I mean, I guess Germans have been drinking Milkshake IPA for longer than I thought – or maybe they’re just branching out?
Anyhow… Val HATES 😠 IPAs, but she LOVES 😍 milkshakes. So… you can see where this is going. But, the beer got mixed reviews and ended up finishing in the bottom of the pack 😑.
Average BRSTº Rating: 8/20
“Passion fruit is supposed to be trendy… according to Laurent.” – Val
p.s. I love this quote!
“Tropicale” by Brasserie Vrooden
Another beer from Brasserie Vrooden, this time a “traditional” German tropical beer. Kristen and Val each brought two beers, making them heroes. This Tropicale is a blonde and clearly no Dunham Tropicale IPA, and instead reminded everyone of “Alice” the blonde with just about as much/little flavor.
Average BRSTº Rating: 7.5/20
“It’s like Alice with a hint of juice” – Nick
“It tasted like diluted fruit juice instead of Lacroix” – Kristen
“Rousse Irlandaise” by Mille Iles
Ok, so I don’t mean to nitpick, but this “Irish Red Beer” is under Mille Iles’ “English Series” of beers, which might rankle a nation of Irish people, but I digress… So, Val claims to have drank a lot of red beer when she was younger and she wanted to rekindle her youth by returning to its crimson past. And young Val must have been as cool as contemporary Val, becuase this beer was a solid contender.
Average BRSTº Rating: 15/20
“Like coffee-toast” – Kristen
“If we gave this red to Corey, he’d be ok with it” – Alex (Corey, you’re going to have to test this theory out)
“Scotch Ale” by Gainsbourg
Mr. Alex Jones is not easily impressed, in fact he disdained the fact that this beer bragged about winning some contest (right on the bottle, no less), but he brought it because he wanted to learn more about Scotch Ales. Is it in scotch barrels? Is there scotch in it? These questions had to be answered.
Hailing from Hull/Gatineau, this beer by Brasserie Gainsbourg is a Scotch Ale which is also cleverly known as a “Wee Heavy” beer. I looked it up, and the history is pretty interesting:
Scotch Ale was the name given to a strong pale ale from Edinburgh in the 19th century. This was typical of the strong pale ales brewed in Britain at that time – mainly pale barley malt and moderate hopping, and were not that stylistically different to English Strong Ales or Barley Wines. The name however became regionalised so that a strong pale ale from Scotland became known as a Scotch Ale or Wee Heavy. Beers using the designation Scotch Ale are popular in the USA where most examples are brewed locally. Examples of beers brewed in the USA under the name Wee Heavy tend to be 7%25 abv and higher, while Scottish brewed examples, such as Belhavens Wee Heavy, are typically between 5.5%25 and 6.5%25 abv.
And the beer was a big hit!
Average BRSTº Rating: 15/20
“I get a cheery-prune nose” – Kristen
“This one actually tastes like a milkshake” – Nick
“Nocturna Affogato” by Mons Regius
I generally stay away from both high-alcohol beers (so syrupy!) and dark beers (dirty water beers), but with it being New Year in Beer, I threw caution to the wind and went for it. Kind of like Val’s milkshake, I don’t like those beers, but I do like coffee and ice cream, so I decided to give this a go.
As you may know, an affogato is:
an Italian coffee-based dessert. It usually takes the form of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped or “drowned” with a shot of hot espresso.
I upped the ante by serving this beer with a scoop of Bilboquet vanilla ice cream. We all ended up drinking them together. And the result was… universally a big hit!
Average BRSTº Rating: 18.5/20
“This outright smells of coffee” – Kristen
“Cigarettes and coffee” – Alex
“Why do some beers say notes of ‘coffee and chocolate’ and it feels like a gimmick, but this is a actually good?” – Nick
“It’s balanced” – Kristen
And the winner is…
Rounding out the voting was was:
Top label: Alice
Most sessionable: Tropicale
Surprise: Rousse Irlandaise