Friday, 5 August 2011

Beer. Is Good.

I always forget that the August long weekend is a long weekend, so I never plan anything to do, and then it's Thursday, and someone mentions it and I realize I'll be spending my long weekend at home. That held true this year, and my kids were away and so was my sister (who I live with) so I had a house to myself. I decided I'd pick up some beer just so I could feel a little a part of the festivities while I sat at home.

On a whim (because I'm absolutely crazy and unpredictable about my staying home alone and drinking like that), I decided that instead of getting a four-pack of Guiness, which I normally would do, I'd buy some more interestingly-flavoured beers and try them out.

I'm not a beer connoisseur by any means. I usually stick to Guiness, Keith's, or something with lime in it if I have to get a different beer. I used to think I was a really picky beer drinker, and maybe I actually was, but I've realized lately that I'll pretty much drink any beer someone puts in front of me. Especially if it's free.

So what I'm saying is this: I hope you enjoy my reviews, but please consider the source.

BEER #1: Innis & Gunn Smooth Scottish Beer with Hints of Toffee, Vanilla and Oak
Ruling: 3/5 (I'd drink it again, but it wasn't very special)

This beer just tasted like beer.  It maybe had a tiny hint of toffee and vanilla. I don't actually know what oak tastes like, so I feel unqualified to comment on that. It was good for a regular old beer, but I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to those hints of vanilla and toffee. It was very smooth, as the name suggests it should be. If it was sitting around, I'd definitely drink it again, but I'd still be disappointed.

BEER #2: Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsener
RULING: 5/5 (I would drink this regularly and love it every time)

This is a light beer, so my expectations were immediately lowered a little, but it's a blend of beer and green apple cider, so I thought that would make up for it. It was really good, and definitely had the strongest "interesting flavour" of the lot, which is why I gave it a 5/5 for being so honest about that. It tasted (I guess because it is) more like something mixed with beer than beer with some small amount of flavour added to it. Not a very strong beer taste, but also not too fruity. It would be a great summer beer--delicious and refreshing and appley. I'd like it on the golf course. The can also says it pairs well with vanilla ice cream for a fun dessert, and I'm inclined to believe it. I will be trying that next time. Unless I'm on the golf course because I don't want to get all sticky and muck up the clubs.

There is a totally a heart in this beer foam.
I did that. On purpose. Poured. I'm proud.
Ruling: 3.5 / 5 (I would probably drink it again, but not very often)

It's double chocolate because it's both a chocolate stout in the sense of being brewed to a deep chocolate colour, and also in that it has actual chocolate added to it. It's a really dark beer and fills you up like one, so don't count on pounding these babies even though it's pretty easy-drinking. It definitely has a sweetness to it and is really very smooth and creamy. It doesn't taste hugely like chocolate, but it has a bit of a chocolatey foretaste and aftertaste, for sure--in much the same way that a coffee with a shot of chocolate flavour does--and a definite chocolate smell. The chocolate smell reminded me a lot of chocolate milk syrup, though, and not so much of the rich dark chocolate taste I was expecting. It kinda made my throat and mouth feel really pasty, too, and I'm used to drinking creamy beer on a regular basis, so I think it's safe to say that it's sorta extra stick-to-your-esophagus thick. On my pull-it-out-of-my-ass scale of 1 to 5, I'd normally give it a 3, but it gets an extra half a point for being genuinely British.

Ruling: 4.5/5 (I would drink this regularly)

It actually does have, as the label will tell you, a delicious and surprisingly refreshing taste. It's pretty smooth for a very pale beer, and not beer tangy at all. I didn't really taste a lot of orangeness, either, but as I said, I'm accustomed to drinking lime beers, so maybe I'm just acclimatized to a hint of citrus in a brew. I don't know what coriander is, but I thought it might ruin it for me because I think that's a spice, right? Well, it didn't have a weird spice taste at all. It did have some sediment that I'm thinking was probably a combo of coriander and orange peel, so as long as you're cool with that, you're good.

My favourite thing about this beer was that it actually has instructions on the label for pouring it, which I like primarily because it makes me feel like I must be drinking a very fancy beverage. Which is kind of consoling when you're sitting at home, alone, drinking.

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