Showing posts with label beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beer. Show all posts

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  • Monday, May 13, 2019

Rodenbach Vintage 2016 and Caractère Rouge (Belgium) - Beer Reviews

Rodenbach Ale
I recently had the opportunity to try these two fine, award-winning beers from Belgium.

The brewery was established by the Rodenbach family in 1821 in the West Flemish town of Roeselare, Belgium. Rodenbach beer owes it unique quality and masterful character to the oak casks in which it matures. Rodenbach is the archetypical Flemish red-brown ale from West Flanders. It is recognised as a regional product and is (probably) the most award-winning beer in the world.

It is interesting to note that the Vintage Ale is a 5-time GOLD World Beer Award winner that is hand-selected from the year's best foeder (i.e. large oak barrel) by brewmaster Rudi Ghequire who selected it exclusively for Ontario beer drinkers.

Both of these delicious beers are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Tasting Notes:

RODENBACH VINTAGE 2016 - Belgium (#402578) (750 mL) - $12.75
Unblended fine ale aged for two years in hand-made standing oak casks (foeders). Brownish colour with tinges of orange. Malty, tangy citrus, sour red berry, and spice aromas. It is full-bodied on the palate with tangy, tart and sour red cherry, red berry and malty flavours along with some oak spice notes. Balanced sweet and sour flavours linger on the finish.

Rodenbach Vintage 2016

RODENBACH CARACTÈRE ROUGE - Belgium (#551622) (750 mL) - $8.70This beer starts as Rodenbach's Vintage Ale and is macerated with cranberries, raspberries, and sour cherries for six months. In the glass, this offers fragrant aromas of red berries and nutmeg spice. The palate is medium bodied with more red berry notes such as cranberry, cherry and raspberry flavours. There's also some flavours of tangy citrus, spice, and hints of caramel. Slightly creamy and well-balanced with a long, clean finish. A fruity and complex beer for summer or fall drinking.

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge

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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 1 of 2)

Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
During long weekend in October, after many years of procrastinating, I finally managed to get out to Prince Edward County for the first time - ever!

Prince Edward County (a.k.a. The County) is located along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, west of Kingston. Tastings were spread out over two days. Since we were returning from a mini-vacation in Ottawa, I was able to visit only two wineries near the Village of Milford on the first day.

The first stop on was Long Dog Vineyard & Winery - owner of the oldest Chardonnay & Pinot Noir vines in The County, with the oldest vines planted in 1999. I had the pleasure to speak with owner and winemaker James Lahti, who took us into the production facility (a large shed) where all the action happens, including an opportunity to see Pinot Noir grapes undergoing fermentation - fascinating! The next stop was the barrel room where various wines were being aged in French oak. We were able to taste a few barrel samples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - all of which seemed to be coming along quite nicely. We then went to the tasting room to taste through Long Dog's current offering. I thought his Pinot Noir wines were outstanding, as each offered something different. Wine reviews of my favourite wines at Long Dog are posted below.

James Lahti - Long Dog Vineyard & WineryLong Dog Vineyard & Winery - Barrel Room

The second stop was a visit to Lighthall Vineyards to see Glenn Symons and taste a few of his very limited production, quality wines. As I found out when I arrived, production is very limited and wines sell out quickly, as there were only two wines available for tasting, with the four or five other wines sold out. Both of the wines I did try were delicious. Of course, I was disappointed at the lack of availability of the other wines. On the plus side, I also got to taste some of their delicious cheese that they make on-site. Lighthall is Canada's first wine and cheese producer that makes both under the same roof. A return to Lighthall will be necessary, and contacting the winery ahead of time to see what's available is highly recommended.

Lighthall VineyardsLighthall Vineyards

At the suggestion of the June Motel - a lovely, wine-themed motel located in Picton, Ontario, where we spent the night and that I would recommend in a heartbeat - we had dinner at Parsons Brewing Company as well as enjoyed a beer tasting flight. Besides the tasty craft beer and delicious, home-style cooked meal, this brewery/restaurant is ideal for those with young children as there is a playground on-site where kids can go and play while the adults enjoy their food & beverage.

June Motel

June Motel

Parsons Brewing CompanyParsons Brewing Company - Beer Flight

After we checked out of "The June" the following day - we will definitely come back, without the kids - we began another day full of wine tastings. A full review of activities will be posted shortly is now posted here.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines are posted below. To order any of the wines from Long Dog or Lighthall, please contact the winery directly.

Tasting Notes:

LONG DOG BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
Medium-high intensity aromatics are mature in nature with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beet root and baking spice aromas and flavours. It's light-bodied with smooth, fine tannins that are integrated very well. Acids are still quite lively. Whiffs of mineral on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish. Fine, mature Pinot that will continue to drink well for a few more years. Score: 90 pts

Long Dog Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2011 (90 pts)Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2012 (89 pts)

LONG DOG TOP DOG PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $26
From a hot vintage, this has ripe and perfumed cherry liqueur, strawberry, and oak spice aromas of medium intensity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with crunchy tannins that have some grip and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. There's some warmth mid-palate, but is balanced by the concentrated fruit. Long finish. Enjoy with turkey over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts

Long Dog The Otto Pinot Noir 2013 (91 pts)

LONG DOG THE OTTO PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Made only in the best years, this has a lovely, intense red-fruited nose of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with earth and oak spice aromas. It's elegant and focused, with very nice aroma replays on the medium-bodied palate with some creaminess mid-palate. It has clean, balanced acids and fine, structured tannins. Finish length is excellent. Will age gracefully for 6-8 years. Score: 91 pts

LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION SPARKLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#468090) (D) - $20
From Vidal grapes on the Lighthall property in Prince Edward County and made using the Charmat method, this is quite fragrant with lemon/lime, pear, white peach and floral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a light mousse and off-dry aroma replays led by citrus and tropical fruits. The finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2016 (88 pts)Lighthall Ramirez Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

LIGHTHALL RAMIREZ CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From the Ramirez Vineyard in Hillier, this has medium-high intensity aromas featuring pear, apple, and subtle vanilla oak nuances. The medium-bodied palate is creamy with nice aroma replays. Clean acids are slightly tart, but otherwise well-balanced. Touches of mineral on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

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  • Saturday, September 3, 2016

SwirlTO - Elevated Beverage Experience in Toronto

SwirlTO Buy Tickets
At the end of , you will have the opportunity to heighten your senses at SwirlTO - an elevated beverage experience unlike any other. With no need for tickets or tokens, guests enjoy an all-inclusive night of wine tasting along with spirits and beer tasting for one ticket price. Premium wines, spirits and beers from more than 80 exhibitors, together with exciting entertainment and distinctive food pairings from Oliver & Bonacini make SwirlTO a must-attend event this fall.

Some of the names you'll see there include Beringer, Cesari, Foreign Affair, Henry of Pelham, Masi, Thomas George, Yalumba, Nickel Brook Brewing, and El Dorado.

SwirlTO will also feature the Canadian Whisky Tour presented by the LCBO in The Round Room, bringing guests back in time to indulge in a night of premium beverages and distinctive food pairings. Elegant décor and exuberant entertainment combined with unforgettable tastings will deliver an engaging and tantalizing experience for all the senses.

Meet winery, distillery and brewery principals that will be bringing hundreds of premium products. Each sample will have an exclusive pairing created by Oliver & Bonacini. You can also take Master Classes in wine and spirits. It’s an all-inclusive evening for the novice, enthusiast and expert.

As a bonus for my readers, use SwirlTO Promo Code VWP10 and save $10 off your tickets. Click here to buy your tickets today. Enjoy and see you there!

Event Details:

When: from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: The Carlu - 7th Floor, 444 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
Tickets: Save $10 when you use Promo Code VWP10
Buy SwirlTO Tickets Here

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  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Muskoka Brewery Mad Tom IPA and Cream Ale - Beer Review

Muskoka Brewery Beer
After enjoying wine almost exclusively for the past couple of months, it was a nice change of pace to have some beer. I opened the Mad Tom IPA, while I am enjoying Cream Ale.

Based in the heart of Muskoka, this brewery handcrafts premium beers that are unique and refreshing. Muskoka Brewery was founded in June 1996 by Gary McMullen and Kirk Evans with a passion for craft beers. The small team that helped open the doors nearly 20 years ago has now grown to a team of more than 100 passionate beer folk.

Muskoka Brewery has 4 core beliefs - Freshness, Purity, Independence and Creative Change.

Each of their products is labelled with a "best before" date so you can enjoy fresh beer each and every time.

Did you know that alcohol is the only consumable product that doesn't legally require a full list of ingredients? At Muskoka Brewery, they include the full list of ingredients so you know exactly what's in your beer. Furthermore, there are no additives, preservatives, or cheaper ingredients used to shortcut the brewing process. It is pure. Love it!

The brewery is an independent, Canadian-owned company with brewery and offices located in Bracebridge, Ontario. Creative change occurred beginning in 2012 with the construction of a new, much larger facility housing a new 70 hectolitre brew house and 8 x 155 hectolitre new fermentation tanks.

Sounds like a trip to the new facility will be required the next time I'm up in Muskoka!

Tasting Notes:

Dark golden colour and with very hoppy, bitter floral flavours. It's full-bodied and dry with a hints of caramel on the mid-palate. Good length on the hoppy, resinous finish. This is one of those beers to enjoy with food. 6.4% ABV. A bit too hoppy for my tastes, I think I would prefer the Detour IPA more. Available in can or bottle at The Beer Store or in can format in smaller quantities at the LCBO.

Muskoka Mad Tom IPA

Amber coloured and medium-to-full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel that's made in an easy-drinking style. It has gentle hoppiness and hints of citrus that flow through to the long finish. Highly drinkable and a pleasure to sip on. Celebrating 19 years this year, Muskoka Brewery's flagship beer is definitely my kind of beer! 5% ABV. Available in can or bottle at The Beer Store and LCBO.

Muskoka Cream Ale

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  • Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Great Lakes Brewery Chill Winston Grisette + Neal Brothers Kettle-style Chips

Canadian Treats for Canada Day
To kick back this , I decided to open up a few locally-made, Canadian treats that I recently received.

First up are a pair of newly launched, chef-inspired Kettle-style Potato Chips created by Neal Brothers in collaboration with Montreal chef and television host Chuck Hughes, and Vancouver-based chef and CBC's newest Dragon, Vikram Vij.

Chuck's Srirachup chips shows a nice blend of sweet ketchup and spicy sriracha on the nose with more of the same flavours, and some garlicky notes. Has a nice kick to it. Quite nice.

The Vikram's Delhi-licious chips show a blend of garam masala and curry aromas, and also reminds me of homemade white potato & green pea samosas flavoured with mineral salts.

Neal Brothers Vij's Delhi-licious and Srirachup Chips
Both of these flavours were inspired by each chef's own cuisine, and favourite spices and sauces. Neal Brothers' line of Kettle-style potato chips are hand-cut, crispy chips using naturally-grown non-GMO potatoes and contain no preservatives or artificial flavours. Chips are kettle-cooked in non-GMO sunflower oil and dusted with natural spices and seasonings.

Other flavours in this line include Himalayan Pink Salt, Sweet & Smoky BBQ, Pink Salt and Vinegar, and Maple Bacon, none of which I have tasted yet but hope to try in the near future.

Launched in May 2012, Neal Brothers Kettle-style Chips are now available at well-known retailers, independent specialty and natural food stores across Canada.

Review of Great Lakes Brewery Chill Winston Grisette Beer
The second treat is the Chill Winston Grisette beer made by 2013 & 2014 Canadian Brewery of the Year - Great Lakes Brewery. This beer is very summery in nature and shows floral, sweet citrus and spice aromas. Medium+ bodied with medium-fruitiness on the palate and some pleasing bitter notes on the long finish. 3.8% abv. Perfect at dockside.

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