Beau’s Mix Pack 2012 Review… Screaming Beaver, Patio, Matt’s Sleepy Time, Belgian Pale Ale


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January is a bastard of a month, but in its defense, festive December sets a pace that is very difficult to follow. That’s because the first month of the year is the heir of Christmas credit card bills, bloated waist lines, sidewalks littered with Christmas tree corpses and dated TV ads that still offer holiday greetings. I hate it. I’m not the Grinch who steals Christmas but when it’s done, put it away.

When all this Christmas pollution is out of the way, all is left is the true nature of winter, the cold, cars refusing to start, freezing rain then winter storms.

Still, there is one good thing about January and it’s the fact that it flies by. Yep, before you know it, you find yourself saying “Christmas was already a month ago, wow!” The month flies by and you didn’t “find time” to go skiing yet, you’ve failed your new year’s resolution by not “finding time” to go to the gym and the beer reviews you intended to write are now knocking on your door, trying to elbow their way past the February reviews you have in mind. That’s where I’m at; backlogged, gym-guilty and budgeting my way out of X-Mas expenses.

That being said, every time I sit down to write a review, I learn something or think of an improvement to bring to this blog, and this time is no different. Every month, I need to determine an equal amount of 3 types of beer reviews; 1.) Brand new limited-time beers that one should get (like Beau’s Bog-Father, out soon if not already), 2.) Regular all year round beers worth trying (like Orval, Budweiser, Lug Tread, Boreale), then 3.) Beers that I might have gotten my hands on too late and are no longer available yet are still worthy of documenting so to consult and/or compare at a later time, if need be. So, for this review, I will go through Beau’s Mix Pack 2012 and although the Mix Pack itself is sold out as well as (and probably because –logically) 2 of its 4 beers are also sold out, it is still worthy of a review. As for Patio and Farm Table, they are still available so get your hands on them if my review inspires you to do so.

PATIO

LOOK:  This beer pours a hazy yellow with generous head and big suds. I poured it slowly and the head built up was still considerate. It left behind some good lacing.

SMELL: The smell is outstanding. I picked up hops, yeast, pepper and some zesty orange along with malts and a floral touch.

TASTE: This is where Beau’s gets it I find. If you read my post from early fall “falling for fall beers” you see how my saison reference has come to be much oriented on spice mixes and even pumpkin when in fact, it should have less to do with fall and everything to do with summer. A saison, as I explain in my lexicon, was at the time brewed after harvest and kept in storage until the summer time for farmers to quench their thirst while working hard under a bright sun. Beau’s has answered the criteria perfectly. Their definition of a saison was well captured here. It tastes a little like a wit beer but without coriander and has the floral notes of an IPA but with a slice of orange in it.

FINISH:  A little spicier towards the end. The ABV of 6.3 is slightly high for a saison, maybe that’s where the IPA reference came from. Let’s not forget that both IPAs and Saisons were brewed to withstand a long period of time between brewing and consumption.

BODY:  Good medium feel with thorough carbonation.

CONTEXT: The thirst quenching factor of this beer on a hot summer day is bang on. ABV a little high for a Saison, peppery spices are a little one dimensional but aside from this is a great job.

Pairing: Goes well with salads, grilled meats and sausages, soft cheeses with nuts.

Score: 79%

Price: $20 (4x 600ml) Part of the 4 best beer bundle pack

Availability: Available yet seasonal, hurry up.

Beer type: Farmhouse Ale (the real deal)

Alcohol/Vol.: 5.9%

Brewery: Beau’s Brewery

Country / Region: Vankleek hill, Ontario

FARM TABLE BELGIAN PALE ALE

LOOK: Pours a hazy yellow-orange color with good head that slowly died down that left some lacing.

SMELL: the smell was that of spices, fruity flavors like green apples, yeast and bread-like malts.

TASTE: This beer is well put together. The spices –peppery- and Belgian yeast come through well balanced with a nice citrus-y note that I hadn’t picked up as much in the nose.

FINISH: It finished off well with a slightly sweeter taste. The tangerine reference on their web site is well put. It is very well balanced from beginning to end as a session beer should be; crispy and dry.

BODY:  Good medium feel with medium carbonation. It’s very refreshing, very quenching.

CONTEXT: Beau calls it a Belgian session beer and that’s exactly what it is.

Pairing: Mexican cuisine, pulled pork, smoked meats, cheeses.

Score: 82.5%

Price: $20 (4x 600ml) Part of the 4 best beer bundle pack

Availability: Available yet seasonal, hurry up.

Beer type: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol/Vol.: 4.5%

Brewery: Beau’s Brewery

Country / Region: Vankleek hill, Ontario

SCREAMNI’ BEAVER – OAK AGED DOUBLE IPA

I like a good IPA and that’s what I love most about the craft brewery wave that’s taken over North America and everywhere else for that matter. Craft breweries are doing to beer what chefs did to food with fusion in the mid 80s. Beer styles are getting mixed up, techniques and flavors are being combined and the global village approach to procurement of ingredients (although the better stuff is still very much worthy of a terroir appellation) has made it all more possible. This is one of those beers that limited its “fusion” to a mix which combine mashing technique, IPA characteristics and oak barrel aging. The result, in my opinion is very interesting and worth trying.

LOOK: Pours a slightly hazy yellow-orange color with good head that left good lacing.

SMELL: Hops are a little soft from the get go. Citrus and malt aromas dominate and the oak barrel flavoring doesn’t come out as much as I would have liked and perhaps, I wish there would have been more hops in the nose given it’s a DIPA.

TASTE: I wish it had a little more hops. There was however lots of citrus and sweetness in the first few sips. The oak aged barrel also came out a lot more at the beginning then faded away. The fruit notes were more in line with pears and apple then citrus.

FINISH: The smoky barrel flavoring came out again towards the end and a dry and bitter taste were a little more reminiscent of an IPA.

BODY:  It has a medium feel with medium carbonation, refreshing and good drinkability with a well toned down alcohol presence given its 9.9.

CONTEXT: Not too sure I praise this one as an IPA but I do praise it as a damn good beer. It tasted a little more like a Barley Wine.

Pairing: Definitely spicy foods, good sausages and stronger foods.

Score: 77%

Price: $20 (4x 600ml) Part of the 4 best beer bundle pack

Availability: Sold out.

Beer type: Double IPA

Alcohol/Vol.: 9.9%

Brewery: Beau’s Brewery

Country / Region: Vankleek hill, Ontario

MATT’S SLEEPY TIME – BELGIAN IMPERIAL STOUT

This beer was a kind surprise to me, I hadn’t tasted a stout from Beau’s yet and I was very pleased with their version of a Belgian one with a variety of German, New Zealand and American hops.

LOOK: Pouring this beer was visually pleasing. It first poured dark brown and as it settled in its black color, bubbles continued to rise. It had generous beige color head that left minimal lacing.

SMELL: It’s refreshing to see a stout that offers a little more than the chocolate, coffee and sweetness; this stout gives you a little ‘bit of a Belgian Ale nose thanks to its Belgian yeast. Hints of plums, anise and oak also come through.

TASTE:  What can I say; I’m a sucker for oak barrel aged beer and stouts. Throw in a Belgian yeasty feel to it and you have a winning combination for my palette. The chocolate comes out quite hand in hand with the Belgian yeast. Hints of mocha, dried plums or figs and blackberries also come out and the oak barrel aging wraps it all up in a nice musk. It is both sweet and bitter at times. I don’t want to sound like a beer poet but the flavors unveiled themselves almost one at a time, it tasted like a firework almost up to the end.

FINISH: Regarding the fireworks analogy, there’s nothing wrong with the end. It was a little more dark chocolate with more of the alcohol kick. Anyhow, beers are never fireworks like this one and when they are, it’s a reverse firework; which is to be expected.

BODY:  Medium and creamy.

CONTEXT: Praise the Lord!

Pairing: Soft cheeses, seafood like oysters, meats and game. Beau’s suggest trying it as a float with an ice cream scoop. I think I’ll do that next time.

Score: 92%

Price: $20 (4x 600ml) Part of the 4 best beer bundle pack

Availability: Sold out but I’m sure they’ll brew it again.

Beer type: Belgian Imperial Stout

Alcohol/Vol.: 8%

Brewery: Beau’s Brewery

Country / Region: Vankleek hill, Ontario

So that’s it folks, Beau’s gotten quite a bit of attention from me lately but what can I say, I walked into the LCBO and there was both Bog Water and Mix Pack 2012…

Stay tuned for a couple of Mill’s brewery beers and Muskoka

Cheers

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