Le Trou Du Diable Shawinigan Handshake

Latroudediable_shawiniganBrewer: Le Trou Du Diable, Shawinigan, QC
Style: Hopfenweisse
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 42

Description: A combination of wheat and barley malt, German yeast, and West Coast Chinook hops, this hopfenweisse-inspired ale is dedicated to Prime Minister Chretien – Canada’s Prime Minister for ten years and who hails from Shawinigan.

Tasting Notes: This brew was an interesting break from my usual samplings of West Coast IPAs and Belgian strong ales. Ironic that it combined elements of both then! On the one hand, it has the smooth malt backing and fruit flavor of a good heffeweizen, and just enough bitterness and tropical flavor of a West Coast ale.

Appearance: Yellow/orange, cloudy, heavy foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, strong notes of peach, passion fruit, yeast
Taste: Smooth start, yeast bitterness, notes of peach, banana and cloves
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast bitterness
Overall: 9/10

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Aventinus, Found At Last!

Rejoice, beer snobs, for this is great new indeed! After years of fruitless searching, trying in vain to find a supplier of beer that carried the venerated Schneider und Sohn Aventinus Heffeweizen Doppelbock, I was about ready to give up. Be it a private liquor store or the province-run BCL, again and again I was told that they either did not carry this product, that it was not something I was likely to find in BC, or they just looked at me blankly like they didn’t have the slightest idea what I was talking about.

But after six years of searching and waiting, I finally found someone who came through! And would you believe it, it was a restaurant of all places! Yes, the good folks at The Rathskeller Schnitzel House here in beautiful Victoria BC that were able to procure a shipment of this premium Bavarian beer. And good on them, since this is something that beer drinkers all across the province should be getting their hands on. A dark, double-fermented, bock-style wheat beer that boasts smooth, rich malts and a fruity, spicy palate with hints of chocolate and bananas, this beer remains one of the best I have ever had! The only one to do better no longer exists, so I guess that makes this beer my number one favorite 😉

I can remember fondly being introduced to this beer roughly a decade ago. It was my first time walking into Vineyard Bistro, located in the heart of the Bytown Market in Ottawa. Unfamiliar to the territory and still only a beer snobblet, I asked the barkeep for something tall, dark, German and strong, emphasizing that I was talking about beer. He immediately handed me a bottle of this and a tall, fluted glass. It took me a few samplings to appreciate the taste of the bock-style wheat, but once I acquired it, I was hooked!

Since that time, I never miss an opportunity to pick up an Aventinus whenever I find myself in Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario. You can’t imagine how crestfallen I was when I first moved to BC and found that it simply didn’t exist here, a fact which still makes no sense to me. Schneider-Weisse, the more well-known wheat beer that is brewed by the same brewery, is readily available in BCL liquor stores. So is their Eisbock for that matter. That seem right to you?

So… expect a full and complete review to be coming just as soon as I can get out to the Haus and pick me up a case! Though I have raved long about the virtues of Aventinus, I don’t think I’ve ever described it any real detail (not the four point breakdown at any rate). And if you get a chance, get out to Rathskeller and ask them for a bottle. You won’t be sorry 🙂

Beachcomber Summer Ale

In honor of the fast-approaching summer season, I decided to pick up a case of Vancouver Island’s Beachcomber! This, as it turns out, is the breweries latest release and a seasonal summer ale. In addition, it seems to be part of growing lineup of traditional craft beers produced by the good folks at VIB.

Yes, much like many their competitors over at Lighthouse, and Granville Island Brewery (both of which are major BC breweries) VIB seems to be getting back into the craft brewing groove after years in the wilderness! And, as with these other breweries, it seems that seasonal and specialty beers are the means through which they intend to express this creative impulse. Smart, considering that occasional beers can and must be made in smaller quantities, affording attention to detail and more exacting standards. But I digress. Onto the beer!

Appearance: Golden orange and opaque, unfiltered
Nose: strong wheat malts, citrus notes, pineapple and/or passion fruit
Taste: slightly coarse, touch of orange peel, cloves and slightly bitter hop bite
Aftertaste:
relatively clean finish, lingering taste of foamy malts and hop bitterness
Total: 8/10

Overall, I found myself being reminded of Blanche de Chambly, another winner when it comes to the heffeweizen circuit! Much like its predecessor, it is a fitting summer ale that is well paired with bbq, corn on the cob and just about any other summery food, or enjoyed on its own while sitting on a shady patio! Put away your rain coats and snow suits, people! Summer’s here!