Red Truck Riding Shotgun Belgian Blonde Ale

Credit: untappd.com

Credit: untappd.com

Brewer: Red Truck Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 25

Description: This Belgian-style blonde ale is one of the the brewery’s many limited releases, from their “Limited 650” series. It is fashioned using Superior Pils, Vienna, and Specialty B malts, bittered with a combination of Noble, German Spalt and Saaz hops, and then aged for 21 days before being bottled.

Tasting Notes: Ever since I got back from Belgium, I have been missing good , clean-drinking blonde ales. So it’s nice when local breweries do one and do it right. Like a good blonde, this one has all the right yeasty notes, a hint of sugar, and some crisp, clean malt flavor. It also has a discernible apple cider-like scent and flavor going on.

Appearance: Light gold, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sharp malt, mild hops, strong Belgian yeast, hint of sugar, apple cider
Taste: Crisp malt, mild tang, yeasty notes, hint of apple, mild tartness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and yeast flavor, refreshing, clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

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Barkerville Prospector’s Peril Blonde Ale

Brew_HahaBrewer: Barkerville Brewing, Quesnel, BC
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 24

Description: As part of the brewery’s regular lineup, this Belgian-style Blonde Ale is named in honor of another aspect of the Gold Rush – which was the risk prospector’s ran of going mad. Pale malt is combined with Belgian yeasts and a mild hopping to effect a light, refreshing golden ale.

Tasting Notes: This beer actually put me in mind of some of my favorite Belgian blondes. Sharp yeasts combine with a hint of sweetness, notes of honey, and mild hop bitterness to create a very refreshing and drinkable brew.

Appearance: Deep golden, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, strong honey notes, Belgian yeast
Taste: Grainy, crisp malt, mild sweetness, yeast, mild hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and yeast bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

Het Anker Golden Carolus Cuvee van der Keizer Rood

cuvee_van_de_keizer_r_75clBrewer: Het Anker, Mechelen, Belgium
Style: Special Blonde Ale
ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 17

Description: Launched in 2008 on the 10th anniversary of the Cuvee van de Keizer Blauw’s release, this special blonde ale that contains added varieties of malt, an exclusive Belgian hop variety, and three kinds of herbs.

Tasting Notes: As blonde ales go, this one was rather “special”. The strong malt, sugars, and yeasty notes are true to a blonde ale, but the infusion of herbs, notes of honey and fruity esters give it a flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of mead. It’s also very smooth despite its high alcohol content and diverse array of flavors. Definitely an interesting experience and a worthwhile buy!

Appearance: Deep golden, slightly cloudy, heavy foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich grainy malt, yeast, honey, sugars, sweet herbs, white wine
Taste: Smooth start, tang, yeasts, sugar and honey, fruity esters and herbs, oak,
Aftertaste: Lingering honey, malt flavor, yeast bitterness and esters
Overall: 9.5/10

Off To The Beer Seminar!

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Today is a great day for beer appreciation, because it is the day that I finally get to host my long-overdue beer-tasting and history of beer seminar. Ten participants have signed on, the space has been reserved, and in a few hours time, I will be giving the attendees a quick (well not too quick) run-down on the history of the brewing craft, coupled with some generous sampling.

I’ve prepared the following list based on what I could find and what seemed indispensable to me as far as representing the history and full range of brewing was concerned. All told, they are divided by style more than historical period, but I will be presenting them in this order since it gives a pretty good idea of how the art evolved over time.

Ancient Beers:
Heather: Salt Spring Island Heather Ale (5% / 650 ml)
(I desperately wanted to find a bomber of Gruit as well, but that variety of beer is both hard to find and hopelessly out of season right now)

Abbey Beers:
Blonde: Affligem Blonde (6.8% / 330ml)
Tripel: Townsite Charleston Tripel (9% / 650 ml)
Sour: Driftwood Belle Royale (8% / 650 ml)

Anglo-American Beer:
Pale Ale: Hoyne’s Down Easy (5.2% / 650ml)
India Pale Ale: Driftwood Fat Tug IPA (7% / 650 ml)
Stout: Hopworks 7-Grain Stout (5.3% / 650 ml)
Barley Wine: Howe Sound Wooly Bugger (10.5% / 375 ml)

German Beer:
Lager: Ayinger Dortmunder Lager (5.5% / 500 ml)
Oktoberfest: Russel Marzen (5.5% / 650ml)
Hefeweizen: Schneider Weisse (5.4% / 500 ml)
Bock: Schneider Weisse Aventinus (8% / 500ml)
Smokebeer: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier (6.6% / 500 ml)

The seminar will begin with where and how beer became a cornerstone of civilization – emerging alongside agriculture and sedentary communities some 8000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. I will then go on to how the rise of wine making introduced a sense of cultural distinction during Classical Antiquity, and the influence was largely confined to the parts of Europe where the Roman Empire had influence (France, Spain, Italy, the Mediterranean, but not Germany, the Low Countries, Eastern Europe, or the British Isles).

Then comes the Middle Ages, the establishment of Abbey/Monastery Brewing, the rise of hop use, the advent of Lager and the growing professionalization of the industry. Which then gives way to the industrial revolution and the emergence of brewing as a big business, followed of course by the modern era and the resurgence in craft brewing. It promises to be interesting, I just hope I can keep it down to 20 minutes. Leaves more time from sampling!

I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes and I hope to repeat it in the very near future with some other (and larger) groups of people.

Dageraad Blonde

https://i2.wp.com/dageraadbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Dageraad-blonde_tmp.jpgBrewer: Dageraad Brewery, Burnaby, BC
Style: Blonde Ale
Alc/Vol: 7.5%

Description: Dageraad’s flagship brew, this beer was inspired by Belgian’s proud tradition of strong Blondes. Combining Pilsner malt, noble hops, candi sugar and a proprietary blend of spices, this beer attempts to recreate the variety offered by blondes, embracing flavors that range from the sweet and dry to the spicy, fruity and floral.

Tasting Notes: This blonde combines several notable flavors, ranging from the nutty and bitter quality that comes from Pilsner malt and Belgian yeast and the floral and crisp bite of Noble hops. Add to that the infusion of sweetness and complexity afforded it by the addition of sugar and spices, and you’ve got a pretty interesting take on this traditional Belgian style.

Appearance: Dark gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, yeast, fruity, floral hops, spices
Taste: Smooth nutty malt, yeast, hint of sugar, orange citrus, crisp hops
Aftertaste: Lingering hops, yeast and spice bitterness
Overall: 9/10

La Chouffe Blonde D’Ardenne

lachouffe_largeBrewer: Brasserie d’Achouffe, Achouffe, Belgium
Style: Blonde Ale
Alc/Vol: 8%

Description: The flagship beer of the Achouffe brewery, this blonde ale is unfiltered and re-fermented in the bottle after the initial fermentation takes place in the keg. Consistent with a Belgian-style blonde, it is malt-forward and spiced with coriander.

Tasting Notes: This beer was quite the surprise for me. Ordinarily, I expect Belgian-style blondes of this strength to be rather coarse or saccharine. However, this one was quite balanced, with relatively smooth malts, gentle traces of coriander spice and hops, and some serious notes of honey. It was more like drinking mead than ale, and definitely a good way to round out my sampling Achouffe’s regular lineup – at least those that are available here in Canada.

Appearance: Amber/orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, notes of apricots, honey, citrus and spice
Taste: Smooth malts, slight coarseness, mild tang, honey and coriander spice
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malts, honey and spice
Overall: 8.5/10