Thursday, 29 March 2012

Beer Tasting Tips

Do you know your beer tasting Etiquette ?

Beer tasting is big business, with major annual award meets in North America, Australia, and Europe. And there is a definite protocol as to how to taste beer. When analyzing a beer, you can't just swill it down, burp and say "it's great" or "it's crap." Even though tasting is an individual art, there are a few steps, which if followed, will take your beer tasting to a blissful level.

People are entitled to their own opinions about beer. Don't force a beer on someone - what's good for you may not be good to the next guy.

Take a pause and marvel at the greatness before drinking. Raise the beer in front of you, but don't hold your beer to direct light as this will dilute its true colour. Describe its colour, its head and its consistency.

Use a coaster. If your bartender or server doesn't give you one, ask.

Smelling beer is one of the most important steps in beer tasting. If the beer has no discernable aroma, agitate it by swirling it around in the glass. This will release some carbonation which will carry the aroma to your nose. Things to note: How intense in the aroma? Is it sweet (malt), sharp (hop) or a balance of different notes?

The flavour of a beer should be a natural continuation of the aroma. There are a few added dimensions that will appear, most notably bitterness. Swirl the beer around your mouth before swallowing it. Take a note of any flavours you taste, compare these flavours to other flavours you know.

Try tasting the beer after it warms a bit. Really cold beer tends to mask some of the flavors. As a beer warms, its true flavors will pull through, become more pronounced.

Push your chair or barstool in after you get up!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Kamloops walking Brew Tour

Take a self Guided Walking Brew Tour in Kamloops, BC

Kamloops' downtown is home to many great watering holes which offer a diverse selection of local and international beer. Follow the map for a self guided walking tour through their downtown spots.

A. Noble Pig Brewhouse

B. Frick and Frack Taphouse

C. Sanbiki

D. Carlos O'Bryan's Pub

E. Kelly O'Bryan's Restaurant


Monday, 26 March 2012

Cheese & Beer Pairing

Cheese and Beer Pairing?  Too good to be true?  Read on!

Just why does wine seem to lord it over beer?  Could it be the fact that wine pairs so darn well with the greatest culinary - cheese?  Well, guess again.  It turns out cheese goes great with beer!  Those us who enjoy a good Cheatos and beer lunch knew this all the time, but now it's official, according to Huffington Post's fine article on beer-and-cheese pairing.

Here are some recommended pairings:
  • Pale Ales are often the first step beyond the routine mass produced beers and for good reason, their extra hops lend the beer a unique realm of flavor: there are floral, pine and fruity notes depending on the geographic origin of the hops. These beers also tend to be aggressive in their finish, so the best way to balance their flavor is with a cheese that conveys a complex sweetness like Wilde Weide, an Aged Gouda. Its overtones of caramel and butterscotch will balance the beer nicely.
  • With their aggressive flavors and barnyard aromas, washed rind cheeses like Grayson, Epoisses and Winnimere, pair best with beers that are somewhat on the sweet side like Belgian Dubbels. Some of the best and most readily available of these include Chimay Premiere (red label), Ommegang, Smuttynose Winter Ale and Maredsous 8.
  • Soft ripened cheeses like brie and Camembert, Brillat Savarin, Kunik and Pierre Robert, are rich and creamy in texture and brimming with overtones of root vegetables, cauliflower and other delights. I think they pair best with the light sweetness of Saisons, especially Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Saison Dupont, Pretty Things Jack D'Or and Stillwater Cellar Door.
  • With their nutty flavors and gentle grassiness, alpine cheeses, especially Gruyere, Comte and many delightful if harder to find wonders like Fricalin, Wildspitz Bio and Beaufort, are ideal beer companions. They have the body to stand up to a Porter or Stout and the sweetness and balance to pair with ESB, lager or Pilsner.
  • Lastly, what do you do with a blue? In general the sweeter the beer, some Belgian Trippels, for instance, Stouts, and the like, the more apt the beer is to handle the earthiness and pepper of a blue.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Bitter Tasting Room

Last night was a meeting to taste some ales at “Bitter tasting house” the newest addition to the Irish Heather group.

Not sure which beer to choose ? Every week at Bitter they offer a selection of flights, ranging from a focus on style, country, season or any other interesting pairing they can think of to enjoy and discover.

On rotation was: left to right
NKOTB (New Kids on the Block)
Steam Whistle, Pilsner
Brewery: Steam Whistle, Toronto ON
Three Eleven, Helles Lager
Brewery: Coal Harbour BC
Dead Guy, Maiboch
Brewery: Oregon USA

From scotch eggs, pretzels and pork scratchings, we tried it all. Nibbled on sausages and Bitter's house sauerkraut.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Scotch Ale

The Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale
has returned with a swanky new label!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sunday, 11 March 2012

What are the health benefits of beer ?

I read an article on Fox news this weekend which I would like to share with you.
Written By Dr. Manny Alvarez, Dr. Manny's Notes

As a doctor, Dr. Manny gets a lot of questions from patients in his practice and in his email box. Here’s one that was sent to him recently by a viewer:

Dr. Manny, are there any health benefits to drinking beer? Which beers are the ‘healthiest’? - Brian

Well, Brian, this is what I have to say: If you’re got party plans this weekend, don’t be afraid to knock back a cold one. Beer has several surprising health benefits.

Despite beer’s bad reputation, it actually has a number of natural antioxidants and vitamins that can help prevent heart disease and even rebuild muscle. It also has one of the highest energy contents of any food or drink. Of course, this means you need to set limits – one beer gets you going, four makes you fat.

If you’re worried about dehydration, keep in mind that beer is 93 percent water. Also, according to a Spanish study, beer may actually provide better hydration than H2O alone when you’re sweating it out under the sun.
So with all of this in mind, which kind of beer should you reach for? Calorie-wise, you may be tempted to grab a light lager, but for health benefits, a dark beer is the better choice.

Dark beers tend to have the most antioxidants, which help reverse cellular damage that occurs naturally in the body. A recent study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture has also found that dark beer has higher iron content compared to lighter beers. Remember, iron is an essential mineral that our bodies need. Iron is a part of all cells and does many jobs including carrying oxygen from our lungs throughout the rest of our bodies.

Another good choice is microbrews, which are healthier than mass-produced cans, because they have more hops. Hops contain polyphenols, which help lower cholesterol, fight cancer and kill viruses.

Just remember the golden rule: Everything in moderation. You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of your friends by drinking too much, and you certainly don’t want to put yourself at risk for any long-term health effects like liver problems, kidney diseases and heart disease.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Buy me a beer using twitter?

Buying someone a drink in person is a nice gesture, but buying someone a drink via Twitter is, well, not something you do often.
Online networking app Tweet-A-Beer hopes to change that and make paying for other Twitter users’ drinks more of a habit. The web tool officially rolls out at South by Southwest.
Here’s how it works (flip through the gallery below for a visual tour): Tweet-A-Beer uses Chirpify — an ecommerce platform that lets you buy, sell and donate money — to sync your Twitter account to your PayPal account. You can safely send beer money in $5 allotments.
Oregon-based agencies Waggener Edstrom Worldwide and tenfour brewed the app for public consumption in six weeks, just in time for SXSW where networking is known to stem from quaffing alcoholic beverages.

Anheuser-Busch finds uses for its beer by-products.

That process will create both biogas and chemical compounds that are used to make everything from nylon to soap to food additives to floor polish.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

World's Best Cities for Beer

Ever thought about a pub crawl around the world ?  Well here are the to p 10 cities around the world to indulge in ale, lager, stout, draught, pilsner, and more.

Dublin, Ireland
Are you surprised ? Renowned for producing Ireland's most famous export (Guinness), drinking beer is a way of life in Dublin. Despite the high prices, you'll find pubs and traditional alehouses full of happy patrons.

Munich, Germany
More than 125 million gallons of beer are consumed annually in Munich, home of Oktoberfest and the Hofbräuhaus beer hall.

Amsterdam, Netherland
The ancestral home of globally-recognized beers like Amstel, Heineken, and Grolsh, Amsterdam serves up dozens of styles, flavors, and labels.

Prague, Czech Republic
Arguably the largest consumers of beers in world (more than 41 gallons per person per year), the Czechs are believed to have invented pilsner. The city also happens to be among the cheapest places in Europe for drinking amber ale.

Vienna, Austria
Can't think of an Austrian beer? Well, that's probably because the best beers in Vienna come from boutique microbreweries, so you won't find them outside Europe. Microbreweries are especially popular, but conglomerate brewer groups like Bräu-Union also dominate the local market with brands like Gösser, Zipfer, Schwechate, Wieselburger, and Puntigamer.

Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo may not be cheap, but the beer is certainly easy to find: you can even buy cans from vending machines on the street (no ID is required). Although many pubs here try to cater to Western tastes and offer imported beers, most serve local varieties on tap. There is also a relatively new and vibrant Japanese craft beer scene (ji-biiru).

Portland, Oregon
The West Coast beer haven of Portland has more breweries per person than any other city in the U.S.: more than 30 at last count. Hops and barley are grown locally, so you know that your microbrew will be fresh and natural.

Hanoi, Vietnam

The country's relationship with beer started in earnest during the Vietnam War when U.S. soldiers created an increased demand. Today, Hanoi has some of the cheapest and best varieties of beer in Asia. The most popular brands are San Miguel, Tiger 333, Bia Saigon, and Bière Larue. Make sure you also try Bia Hoi, or "fresh beer," a light-bodied pilsner without preservatives that is brewed and delivered daily to drinking establishments throughout Hanoi.

Melbourne, Australia
Home to Carlton and United Breweries, Australia actively exports Foster's Lager, but locals prefer Victoria Bitter (VB), Crown, or Carlton Draught. With a pub seemingly on every major street corner in Melbourne, prices are relatively low and tipping is included in the price of the beer. Learn the terminology: "a shout" means you're buying the round, and "lite" actually means low-alcohol, not low-calorie. You can try some of these Austrailan beers at a local pub called
Moose's Down Under, here in Vancouver.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Locals often boast that Edinburgh has the highest concentration of pubs in Europe. Who are we to argue? The Scots have been brewing hops for thousands of years, and the tradition of drinking continues in the pubs of Edinburgh.

Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico produces dozens of beers but only exports a handful of brands that have become household names in the U.S. A trip to Mexico City will open your eyes (and your mouth) to other tasty varieties, many brewed

from century-old recipes. Regional pilsners, including Indio, Victoria, and Superior, are crisp and perfect to enjoy under the Mexican sun. The classic Germanic-style Noche Buena is only available seasonally from September to December.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Once the nation's top beer-producing city and the base for four of the world's largest breweries (Schlitz, Pabst, Miller, and Blatz), Miller is now the only one that still calls Milwaukee home. Fortunately, the beer legacy survives in the form of the smaller breweries that have taken up residence -- and the aptly named baseball team: the Brewers.

Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is the center of Belgium's huge beer industry, where the alcohol content is high and the varieties are plentiful.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia -- the City of Brotherly Love -- knows that the best bonding can happen over a pint or two.