Beer Advent 2018: Another Year, Another Beer (or 24)

Call me a sucker for punishment.

Another year comes and goes and how better to celebrate the waning days of 2018 than with a new beer every day leading up to Christmas.  Of course, this is no ordinary calendar.  This year’s calendar has made sure of that by offering us 24 beers from 12 different countries that you can’t find anywhere else in Canada!  That’s right.  A whole new experience for your taste buds that you will most likely never experience ever again.  So…

You better watch out!
For better-canned rye!
And get me a stout,
I’m telling you why!
Santa wants these beers in our town!

Here we go…

December 1 – Fubar Pale Ale

Brewery: Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.
Origin: United Kingdom
Alcohol: 4.4%

The bottle has a picture of a grenade that mixes well with a pleasant picture of what appears to be a dead teddy bear with some tanks.  Opening the bottle and pouring it into the glass reveals a hazy golden colour that carries a thick head which disappears rather quickly.  A second glance shows a fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the glass.  Hops and pine are dominant scents that mix with a light citrus in the background.  As you sip, the beer maintains a fairly light and crisp character with the familiar bitter from the hops and a slight dry sour. This pale ale is not very sweet and does not have much depth.   For day 1, this was a good start as it was light and refreshing, however, it was not overly interesting either.

Grade: 3.5 / 5

December 2 – Orange Mocha Frapp Stout

Brewery: Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.
Origin: United Kingdom
Alcohol: 7%

This bottle has a picture of what appears to be a drunken coffee bean sailing an orange while wearing a Starbuck’s hat.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s a win.  In the glass, the beer has a dark brown coffee colour with a thin almost non-existent head.  Once again, there is a fair amount of sediment in the glass.  On the nose, there is a strong coffee scent which is accompanied with a subtle hint of tangerine that attempts to cut through the heavy bouquet.  The first few sips reveal cocoa and coffee.  The beer is thick, bitter and not overly sweet.  The alcohol content is noticeable but not strong.  Overall, this was an interesting ride.  It delivers on its promise of coffee and orange, but do not think for a second it will be creamy!

Grade: 3.75 / 5

December 3 – Mexican IPA

Brewery: Baja Brewing Co.
Origin: Tijuana, Mexico
Alcohol: 7%

As far as marketing goes, this is pretty plain.  The bottle simply shows a picture of an ass…..donkey that is….along with the highly creative name of the beer (sarcasm).  A hazy golden beer that somehow manages to be clear at the same time accompanies a thick fluffy head.  Dominant scents include hops, pine and citrus.  Despite this, it manages to smell light and not overly strong.  The taste, however, may surprise you.  The beer is stronger than the scent would suggest, having most of the flavour characteristics of an IPA but with a heavy ale flavour.  On top of that, there is an extremely bitter/acrid finish.  The beer is also extremely carbonated, but not really bubbly. A strong IPA for sure where the scent and flavour do not align at all.  The bitter alcohol flavour is rather distracting.

Grade: 3 / 5

December 4 – Ay Ay Ay PA

Brewery: Baja Brewing Co.
Origin: Tijuana, Mexico
Alcohol: 4.5%

Considering this beer is from the same brewery as the previous entry, it leaves me happy and confused all in one.  The label is colourful and interesting, carrying the same donkey with a far more creative name.  The persistent head is thin and fluffy.  The beer itself is a golden haze with suspended bubbles.  The scent is not overly intense, giving us a blend of malt, hops and citrus.  Surprisingly, the scent tells us exactly what to expect in terms of flavour offering a well-balanced beer that delivers with a bitter hoppy punch at the end.

Grade: 4.25 / 5

December 5 – Imperial Stout

Brewery: Yukon Brewing Co.
Origin: Whitehorse, Yukon
Alcohol: 9.5%

This plain named beer is accompanied with a fairly plain label.  On the pour, we get an extremely dark, thick beer that light cannot penetrate or escape from.  The head itself is fairly thin and otherwise unremarkable.  As far as scent goes, we get a typical stout with extremely heavy molasses; anything else remains faint.  Despite this, the beer tastes light with the molasses carrying through in balance.  This beer was not as heavy as I was expecting and while remaining smooth does not really deliver on the promised experience of an imperial stout.

Grade: 3.25 / 5

December 6 – Tamarack and Spruce Tip IPA

Brewery: Yukon Brewing Co. (In conjunction with NWT Brewing Co.)
Origin: Whitehorse, Yukon
Alcohol: 7%

While carrying a plain label, it does have nice colours, it looks great and has an interesting name.  I had high hopes that this beer would be remarkable.  It was….in all the wrong ways.  In the glass, we have a clear golden ale that has a thin gassy head.  In terms of smell, it seems like a standard IPA with the usual hops, citrus, pine and floral notes.  However, the taste is something else altogether.  Extreme bitter hits the tongue which somehow manages to simulate sucking on a freshly cut length of 2 x 4.  Hops? Sure.  Overall, this was an interesting experience.  Just not one I would want to repeat often.

Grade: 3 / 5

December 7 – Fruit Salad IPA

Brewery: Eviltwin Brewing Co.
Origin: Boston, Massachusetts
Alcohol: 7%

After the last offering, I’m a little hesitant to trust something that should be interesting. However, I must press forward! A thick amber gold beer that manages to resemble a rustic apple cider sits in the heavy in the glass with a thin bubbly head.  As far as scent goes, we have something similar to an apricot ale with notes of raspberry and citrus.  The flavour itself has an IPA background that is sweet up front that suddenly reveals blackberry and raspberry tartness.  Mango and citrus pick up the rear with a pleasant finish.  This is quite literally, a fruit salad in a glass that will make your taste buds dance.

Grade: 4.5 / 5

December 8 – The Check Please

Brewery:  Eviltwin Brewing Co (in conjunction with Blank Brewing Co.)
Origin: Boston, Massachusetts
Alcohol: 7%

This double dry hopped black IPA has a rather thick head with a black, non-see through body.  At the bottom of the glass, you will find a fair amount of yeasty sediment.  The light smell is surprisingly hoppy with citrus and grapefruit.  On the tongue, we have hops, bitterness, light citrus, and a good punch of grapefruit.  A very dry IPA that has almost no sweetness to speak of.  Each sip finishes with a liquorice flavour that wipes that palate clean and is a delight to experience over and over.

Grade: 4.25 / 5

More beers are coming soon! Be sure to check back in another week or so to see the next 8 days of Advent and what will either be an experience of the senses or my ultimate doom!

Cheers…

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