Beer Advent 2018: An End to Mediocrity

On the last eight days of advent, my calendar gave to me…

December 17 – Morpheus Saison

Brewery: Brouwerij Alvinne
Origin: Belgium
Alcohol: 6%

This beer seemed rather unremarkable at first; the label was clean, simple and plain.  But then, you open the bottle.  You get one warning – this bottle will explode in your face.  You will get wet.  Pop the top and you get a whole lot of head!  I mean it! BOOM! Other than that, we are left with a beer that can only be described as a hazy pale gold colour that I will not compare to any other liquid because…no.  It settles nicely in the glass with a bit of sediment sitting in the bottom.  The scent reminds of citrus and apple and has a juicy character to it.  On the tongue, it is extremely light yet flavourful.  Well balanced, but not overbearing. This beer is actually quite good!

Grade: 4.5 / 5

December 18 – Une Belle Histoire Farmhouse Porter

Brewery: Brouwerij Alvinne / Rosny
Origin: Belgium
Alcohol: 5.6%

This beer has a dark ruby brown colour with a thin head and a touch of sediment at the bottom of the glass.  The aroma coming out of the glass is that of molasses mixed with citrus, which I have to admit, was a little off putting.  While I have no doubt the two flavours/scents could coexist peacefully, this combination does not.  What we get is a lemon sour porter with earthy tones and coffee flavour.  Ultimately, this is weird ride.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole experience.

Grade: 3.5 / 5

December 19 – Calm Christmas Belgian Tripel

Brewery:  Nogne
Origin: Norway
Alcohol: 9%

For those that read my review of last year’s beer advent calendar, it will be no surprise to you that I do not normally enjoy the Belgian doubels and tripels.  That being said, this beer pours out a deep orange gold with a mysterious haze with a touch of sediment in the bottom of the glass.  The smell is very much like and IPA, carrying citrus, hops and manages to stay light while promising some depth.  On the tongue, we have a beer that is smooth and sweet with orange, citrus, malt and spice all in the mix.  By far, one of my favourite examples of the style!

Grade: 4.5 / 5

December 20 – Winter Storm Nordic Farmhouse Stout

Brewery: Nogne
Origin: Norway
Alcohol: 10.5%

This beer is extremely dark, black and thick with some sediment in the bottom of the glass and a silky, pillowy head on the top.  The scent coming out of the glass is that of deep molasses and cherry which kind of reminds me of a black forest cake. The taste is also a delightful surprise as intense bittersweet chocolate, cocoa bean, coffee and subtle cherry notes hit the tongue.  This is one extremely delicious sipping beer.

Grade: 4.75 / 5

 

December 21 – Warrior Irish Red Ale

Brewery: Eight Degrees Brewing
Origin: Ireland
Alcohol: 4.7%

The ruby orange gold coloured beer is dark but clean and carries a thick head.  The smell coming out of the glass is of hops and caramel with a touch of citrus in the background.  On the tongue, we get a completely different story.  Sour, sour, sour! What appears to be grapefruit sour and tartness mix with what initially tastes like burnt caramel.  Despite this, it remains fairly light and the beer gets more enjoyable as you continue sipping it. Weird, but I don’t hate it! Not much of a red ale though.

Grade: 3.5 / 5

December 22 – Phat Phantom Irish Stout

Brewery: Eight Degrees Brewing (and Jameson Whiskey Barrels)
Origin: Ireland
Alcohol: 5.5%

The first thing you’ll notice about this beer is the sediment that collects at the bottom of the glass – there is quite a bit of it.  The beer itself is black as night and carries a fluffy, pillowy head that seems to dance.  The scent carries faint notes of chocolate, whiskey and cork.  On the tongue, we get notes of chocolate, raisin and a depth that I will attribute to the barrels.  One other note – this beer is fizzy AF!  Way too carbonated.  If it wasn’t for that, the beer would be amazing as the flavour is quite nice!

Grade: 4 / 5

December 23 – Stone Free Hoppy Sour Apricot Ale

Brewery: 8 Wired
Origin: New Zealand
Alcohol: 4.5%

This beer is an extremely pale yellow haze with no head to speak of at all.  The scent is very light citrus that reminds me a bit of lemonade.  On the tongue, we get a beer that is sour as promised. Additionally, it is actually a good sour (rare)!  Through the sour, we get a slight hops with a light fruity apricot flavour in the background.  This beer is too easy to drink….almost a little too easy.

Grade: 4.5 / 5

December 24 – God Save the Lager

Brewery: 8 Wired (in collaboration with Bridge Road Brewing)
Origin: New Zealand
Alcohol: 7%

This pale golden yellow beer has a slight haze to it and carries a bubbly, lumpy head that I would describe as inconsistent.  The scent is that of stone fruit; peach or apricot perhaps?  On the tongue, we have hops, citrus and peach mixed with grapefruit.  This beer is tart!  Not sour, not sweet, not a lager.  While interesting, this beer is not a sample of the style of beer it claims to be.

Grade: 4 / 5

 

And there you have it!!  All 24 days of advent!  Once again, our journey has come to an end and while I am glad I got to share it with you, I have a few thoughts before I sign off for another year.

This calendar was very drinkable.  In comparison to last year’s offerings, it succeeded much more on that front for sure.  Overall though, I found myself largely underwhelmed with the lack of originality in the beers.  There were very few that even came close to surprising me or blowing me away.  These are supposed to be beers that I will most likely never get to try again and most of them reminded me of stuff I’ve had before.  Despite that, the selection was by far the most consistent, so I’ll give them points for making the ride smoother than I know it could have been.

See you next year!

 

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