Beer, Beer Advent 2020

Beer Advent 2020: Gold Medal Edition

What do you do when it’s Christmas time, you’re an adult, and your liver hates you? Work your way through the Craft Beer Advent Calendar of course!!

This year we are being treated to some gold medal beers from festivals and competitions around the world. I’m ho-ho-hoping to try some new and delicious! Let’s take a look at the first 8 days….

December 1stFist City
Revolution Brewing Company
Pale Ale – American – 5.5%

This beer pours with a nice slight haze and gives off an intensely hoppy aroma. It smells hoppier than it tastes though. The first thing to hit the tongue appears to be a subtle sweet which immediately throws you. After a few more sips, it becomes very apparent that the balance is quite off. The major players in taste here are grapefruit and citrus but it’s hard to say. There’s almost too much going on to fully enjoy all of the flavours. Not a great start. Awarded -2 points for confusing me.
Final Score: 2.75 / 5

December 2ndQualified
Taxman Brewing Company
Belgian Quadrupel – 9.5%

If you’ve read any of my previous entries, you’ll know how much I dread Belgians…the beers, that is. I’m glad this one proved me wrong. Deep and rich in colour with a thick head, this one hits the tongue like a ton of bricks with intense, but delicious flavour. Caramel and raisin star in a wonderful explosion on the first go. A few sips more, and you’ll notice a boozy quality, but the lack of the burning alcohol effect make it an interesting feature rather than a deterrent. Still not my go to, but worth a shot for something different!
Final Score: 3.75 / 5

December 3rdPococktoberfest
Pocock Brewing Company
Lager – Munich Dunkel – 5.6%

An example of what marketing can do for your beer! Eye-catching label with a clever name. Sadly, that’s as interesting as it gets. This Dunkel has a dark reddish colour and an explosive head. The first few sips have a nice roasted malt flavour that’s quite appealing and open up to reveal a hint of molasses. Beyond that…there is nothing. While there really isn’t anything particularly wrong with it, there isn’t anything great about it either. If you’re looking for an easy going beer for Oktoberfest, this might be a safe bet.
Final Score: 3.25 / 5

December 4thGatecrasher IPA
Temperance Beer Company
IPA – English
– 6.6%

A very light but head heavy IPA. The first few sips seems pretty standard fare. However, the more you delve into this, it opens up to a certain bready quality that is quite pleasant and a touch sweet. Unfortunately, further tasting reveals an almost overwhelming citrus bitter that has a very sharp characteristic to it. Needless to say, the balance is wrong. There are definitely aspects of the English style here and it never fully registers as an IPA.
Final Score: 3.25 / 5

December 5th – Kveik Pina Colada
Shades Brewing
Sour Ale – 6.3%

Day five finally reveals something interesting, and it’s in the form of…*sigh*…a sour. While I’m not a fan of the style, this is delicious! Both sweet and sour, but not overly done on either side. Very well balanced! Coconut provides a nice creamy tropical flavour that combines well with a nice subtle pineapple. If you’re looking for something different, this is as close to a Pina Colada/beer crossover episode as you’re going to get. A winner, hands down. Unless you don’t like coconut…then just don’t. I won’t judge you…much.
Final Score: 4.5 / 5

December 6th – Naked Sunbather
Mad Swede Brewing Company
Brown Ale – 5%

I was excited to try this one because I’m a big fan of brown ales and the label suggested fun times. Sadly it failed to deliver on both. This hop forward brown is bitter and a bit plain. This is misleading though – and I hope it’s intentionally so. Let it sit on your tongue for a moment and you’ll be treated to sweet roasted malts that reveal the nutty flavour that this label promises. I would really like to believe that this deception is part of the fun…but maybe I’m giving them too much credit.
Final Score: 3.5 / 5

December 7th – Pikeland Pils
Sly Fox Brewing Company
Pilsner – German – 4.9%

This pilsner is clean on the pour and offers up a nice grainy scent. The first few sips confirm a typical pilsner flavour that starts out decently smooth with a touch of sweetness. However, you’ll be surprised and taken off guard by the bitter finish that hits you on the tail end with little warning. Overall, smooth enough but not quite crushable. To add to that, you’ll also be left with a tinny aftertaste that can be quite off-putting. This beer proved to be relatively unremarkable and I really have to ask how it managed to win a gold medal from its canned format.
Final Score: 3 / 5

December 8th – Dark Moor
The Kelburn Brewing Company
Old Ale – 4.5%

This ale pours a nice reddish brown. Delicately bouncing in the glass, it releases its floral nose with suggestions of breadiness and dark fruit. This follows through on the tongue, although it ends up being much lighter than you’d expect. Roasted malt and caramel are the main attraction making this an incredibly smooth ride with a hint of sweetness. A beer that warms the cockles of the heart indeed! Serve this one slightly below room temperature.
Final Score: 4.25 / 5

December 1 – 8 Average Score: 3.53 / 5

Part 2 coming soon….

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