Colouring Outside the Lines – Off the wall brews – October 27th, 2016

In the vein of keeping beer exciting, pushing the envelope, discovering new styles, challenging tastes and trying to keep up with the ever-changing palates of beer lovers, brewers often stretch their creative muscles to come up with some new and different styles. That is what this tasting was all about! We tasted through some beers that are off the beaten path, or straddle style guidelines. I was able to pick some of my favourite and most unique beers. We grabbed some snacks from the Peasant Cheese Company next door and tucked in for a rather enlightening experience.

These were the choices:

Hopzeit Autumn IPA by Deschutes: This is a hybrid of styles that you won’t soon forget. All the malty, semi-sweet, comforting body of a marzen with the vibrant, herbal and fruity notes of German hops. Sounds kind of perfect right? ($21.59 for a 6-pack of bottles)

Sweet Potato Harvest ale by 4 Mile brewing: This creative autumn beer done with sweet potatoes has a generously sweet character on a light body, filled with plenty of pie like spice and lifted with a gentle carbonation. ($8.19 for a 650mL bottle)

Gueuze/Tripel by Vicaris: What better way to make a new beer style than to literally blend 2 styles together? Vicaris’ Tripel is blended here with boon gueuze lambic to produce a sweet and tart beer with fruity notes and barn-yardy funk. Delicious and thirst quenching, and as entertaining as a beer can get! ($6.39 for a 330mL bottle)

Sour Pumpkin Saison by Collective Arts brewing: Don’t let the name fool you. This beer comes across first and foremost like a tart saison. Their base saison is fermented with Saison Dupont yeast, and this version has a little bit of freshly roasted pumpkin(seeds and all) and a hint of pumpkin spice. Roasted seeds and mild spice on a pretty solid saison! ($3.49 for a 473mL can)

Julia peach cobbler sour by Dandy Brewing: This is an oddball style through and through. A kettle sour made to taste like a peach cobbler! Sweet malts, fruity peach, vanilla and mild spice, and a bright tart acidity. The boys at dandy have outdone themselves. (Available in 1L and 2L growler fills, $10 and $19)

Abyss 2015 edition by Deschutes: The 2015 edition of their reserve series imperial stout is done with black strap molasses, licorice, vanilla and cherry bark, then different parts were aged in wine barrels, bourbon barrels and standard oak barrels. They usually recommend to keep this around for a year before drinking, and by that thought, this bottle is ready to drink right now!($25.29 for a 650mL wax sealed bottle)

Chipotle porter (formerly known as Texas Ranger) by Mikkeller: Spicy beers are somewhat normal when we’re using the generic term “spicy” as is spices, however, this is truly a spicy beer, as in hot! A coffee-full and chocolaty porter with smoky chipotle added. Smoky heat comes full force on the finish (but not overwhelmingly so) and lingers straight through until you’re finished your glass, and then some!($5.89 for a 330mL bottle)

I’m cursed with having to pick favourites during every tasting. Can we just change the rules around and say they were all the favourites? I mean I picked these beers for a reason after all… No? Ok, ok fine. I could see it in my guest’s faces that they were having the same trouble as I was picking their favourites, but pick them we did!

The Favourite beers of the evening (1st, 2nd, and third place) was the Hopzeit IPA from Deschutes, followed by the Gueuze/Tripel by Vicaris and The Abyss from Descutes respectively. I agreed with this outcome and did not demand a recount.

For those reading this, these beers are all available in store (though some are limited).

Well that was a fun night! I want to thank everyone who showed up, and of course to Peasant Cheese Shop for all the tasty snacks.  Until next time!

Cheers!

- Shawn

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