Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rolling in the Deep

Adele can take a seat for this one, because I'm referring to my summer beer of choice this week.

I first heard about Rolling Rock from my dad, a man who enjoys beer and knows more about it than I do. So when I was down visiting my parents in Florida (the same visit when I went to beer heaven in the form of an off-license) he offered me a Rolling Rock. Little did I know how it would soon become my pint of choice in Canada.

Rolling Rock is an American beer that prides itself on being small-town. Now I'm not much of a small town girl, but if this is what comes out of small towns, I could be converted. Their small town charm seems to working though because this beer is finding its way into bars and restaurants across Canada and the US (and maybe the world for all I know).

I don't know if it's the name or the green bottle, but this beer tastes like nature's beer to me. I just imagine it coming from a beautiful, clear beer waterfall and they just bottle it straight from the beer stream. I realize this is not realistic or possible (but if this did happen in Rolling Rock's hometown, I'd move there in a heartbeat) but it's the best way for me to describe the taste of Rolling Rock.

It's fresh, crisp and a nice clean taste. Not too strong, it's a great pint for a hot afternoon on a patio if you are looking for that 'ahhhhh'-refreshing moment.

The Lager Lady

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back on the Bandwagon

Well, it appears I fell off the wagon for a few months there. To clarify, that's the blog wagon, not the beer wagon (let's not get crazy here).

Life has been busy the past few months. I had a quick return to Ireland to see some friends, a wedding (not my own but being a maid of honour will keep you busy) and I started a new job in Toronto. But fear not, for I have been doing some 'field research' as some would call it, so I'm hoping to get back in your good books with some good recommendations.

So don't brewed (see what I did there?), the girl with the beer is back.


The Lager Lady

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Goldilocks and the Three Brewers

I apologise for not posting last week, life has been crazy.

The Blonde with the blonde
Today I’m going to focus on a bar I went to a little while ago with some friends in Toronto. It’s called the Three Brewers and they only serve their own craft beer.

They have a blonde, an amber, a white and a dark. Naturally, I went for the blonde because that is my usual preference (and being the girly-girl I am, I like to order to match my hair colour).

Well, much to my surprise, and disappointment, I was not wild about the blonde beer. When my friend told me to try their amber, I was a little hesitant. Amber beers are not normally my favourite, and since I didn’t like the blonde I was not very motivated to try another. But for the sake of the blog, I gave it a go. And this time I was pleasantly surprised.

The amber was not too strong or bitter, in fact it was just right. The moral of the story is? Sometimes you have to take the Goldilocks route and test them all until you find the one that is just right.

The Lager Lady

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Fest for the Best

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Hamilton's Food & Drink Fest after winning tickets from my fellow social media junkie Zoe Social. What a treat it was!

There were different food, wine and, most importantly, beer vendors set up around the venue that you could get samples from. The hardest part was deciding which breweries I would give a shot. But I decided I would limit it to only ones that I hadn't tried before.

First up was Railway City Brewing to taste their Roundhaus Pilsner. It was nice, light, typical refreshing beer. If you're looking to add a new staple beer to your fridge, this is definitely an option.

Second stop was at the Big Rock Brewery booth to try their Lime Light Lager. Expecting the lime to overpower the beer, I was pleasantly surprised at the subtle lime blended in with the beer. Nice hint of it, but don't expect it to cover the beer taste.

The third station that caught my eye was Flying Monkey which was nice and colourful. They asked what type of beer I like and I said usually something lighter, and they had the perfect answer: Antigravity Light Ale. The name says it all, no? Light, not filling a definite 'belly-friendly' beer.

And the last stop for my testing train was in British Columbia. Well, a BC brewery anyways. Granville Island Brewing had two of their beers on tap, and after talking to the rep he said that the Robson St. Hefenweizen is his all-time favourite, though he did warn me it tastes better on a patio in Van City. I gave the beer a try and it was definitely a unique wheat beer. It didn't have the normal citrus taste that I am so accustomed to, but it was definitely enjoyable. It kind of left me at a loss for words on how to describe it so this one I will say you have to try to judge it for yourself.

Moral of the story is, festivals and shows are a good way to try a variety of beers and talk the reps from the companies to see what they recommend. And with summer on its way I'm sure there will be lots more festivals on the way.

The Lager Lady

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Carlsberg Clairesberg

Ah Carlsberg, one of my all-time favourites. I believe that this Carl character and I must have very similar taste. Although it has to be in the right context.

Carlsberg was my drink of choice when I was living in Dublin. I would go to my local pub, Fitzgeralds Bar, my bartender friends knew that it was going to be a pint of this delicious beer that I was ordering (though I kept them on their toes by ordering a Bulmers sometimes). Before I go on, I would like to note that this pub was right next to my work and going for a pint after work in Ireland is equivalent to the North American cup of coffee. And when you go to the same place all the time, the bartenders get to know who you are.

So after a year of enjoying this light and classic beer (this does have a beer taste for all of you still working on finding that perfect pint, but it's not too strong) I came home to realize that it is not as popular back home, and most importantly does not taste the same.

This is the first time that it really hit me that beer in the bottle tastes different from that in a tap. And beer in it's homeland will always taste better than when it is abroad. But the next time you're in Ireland, or Europe for that matter since it is a Danish beer, be sure to order a pint of Carlsberg and enjoy the bliss.

On that note, I will leave you with a video of one of their hilarious commercials:


The Lager Lady

Monday, March 12, 2012

Along Came a Cider

Little Miss Claire
Sat on her bar chair
Eating her fish and chips.
Along came the bartender
A cider he sent her
And she liked what hit her lips!

Okay, so it's more of an adult nursery rhyme but it sums up cider in my books.

I began drinking cider when I was living in Ireland, because Bulmers was always on tap in bars. Everywhere else in the world, the company calls their cider Magners. But do not be fooled, Bulmers and Magners are the same Irish company, I guess they just wanted Ireland to have something unique. They look the same, they taste the same (although I do find Bulmers a little better, but I think that is a mind over matter thing), the label is even the same.

Cider is a delicious alternative for beer, but still in the same family. Maybe cider is beer's cousin, or step-sister or something along those lines. It is an apple-base so it doesn't taste like beer, but is fruity instead.

Cider comes in other flavours beside original, which is usually apple, including pear and berry. I'm sure you could find others, but those three are the most common. With the different flavours, especially berry I've found, you lose even more of the similarities to beer.

Another plus to this drink is that it is not nearly as heavy or filling as beer is, which I think makes it a bit more refreshing as well.

Overall, ordering a cider is a way to fit in with the beer crowd and not have to drink a beer that you don't like! So next time you're at a bar and you see Magners on tap, give it a try to see if it is your ticket in to beer world.

The Lager Lady

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beergarita Senoritas

It seemed like it was time to try making a beer cocktail for the blog. I found a recipe for Beergaritas (margaritas with beer in them) online and thought they sounded delicious. After showing this fun recipe served in mason jars to my friend Kristin, who has a blog on mason jars, we decided this was the perfect recipe for us.

The recipe called for some light beer, tequilla, limeade and water. We went with Molson Canadian (a very basic Canadian beer) and used ice instead of water since we didn't have time to freeze them. We also chose to wing-it rather than reading the recipe, so we ran into a few snags while we were mixing these up.

We decided that we would just toss the ingredients into the blender, mix them together and pour them into mason jars. This was not our brightest idea since we didn't factor in that the beer would foam when we mixed it in the blender. It does. It overflowed. Do not fill the blender to the top if you're putting the beer in it.

Other than that, the only other issue was we didn't have time to freeze them. So plan ahead for these ones!

Overall, I really enjoyed the beergaritas, and the adventure we had making them. You couldn't really taste the beer, so if you like margaritas then this could be a way to introduce beer to your palate. Definitely a fun and festive drink to be enjoyed with friends.

The Lager Lady

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quit Clowning Around

This week's taster: Clown Shoes Clementine White Ale.

Let me begin by saying I'm down in Naples, Florida for the week for a vacation and a visit with my parents. Well, my parents, knowing about my blog, scoped out the Total Wines store in town and its massive beer section. When I got there, I couldn't believe my eyes. There was over 2,000 kinds of beer in this store. I would need a lot more than a week here to get through that number.

As I looked through this over-whelming amount of beer, one of the store's employees starting chatting to me. Dwaine knew just about every beer there was to offer in that store and had tried a good number of them. I picked up a few on his recommendation, and some simply because I liked the name or label.

The first one I tried was by a brewery named Clown Shoes, which I thought was a hilarious name. They had a lot to choose from, including Hoppy Feet, Tramp Stamp and Muffin Top to name a few. My new friend Dwaine recommended the Clementine White Ale to me, though he did say Tramp Stamp was good as well.

While I was excited about the Clementine beer, I was not overly thrilled about it to be honest. I could taste a bit of clementine as an aftertaste, but it was not as strong as I was hoping. What this left me tasting was mainly a basic white ale, which are not my favourites. This being said, if you like white ales it will give that hint of something new for you, but if you want to avoid that beer flavour than start with something else.

The Lager Lady

Monday, February 20, 2012

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

This weekend I tried Nicklebrook's Green Apple Pilsner beer, and I was so happy that I made this discovery. I was also pleasantly surprised when I discovered that this brewery is located in my hometown of Burlington, ON.

This beer is delicious. I was intrigued when I saw it in the LCBO and thought that it deserved a chance. What I found was a truly fruity experience. It tasted like an apple-flavoured pop (or soda or fizzy drinks or whatever you choose to call that type of beverage in your part of the world.) While the apple flavour has hints of cider (the alcoholic kind, blog entry on this coming soon), it is unique. A great option for someone who doesn't like even the slightest taste of been, but wants to join in on the pint party.

Now because I share the same turf as Nicklebrook, I have the privilege of purchasing this at any Beer Stores and LCBOs in my town, but if you are from some other town or city you can check here to see if it's at your local LCBO. Also, here is a list of restaurants and bars that carry Nicklebrook beers, hopefully including the Green Apple Pilsner.

The Lager Lady

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lemon Tea is a Treat for Me

This weekend I tried Mill St. Brewery's Lemon Tea beer. It is a wheat beer that has a little bit of orange pekoe and earl grey mixed in with it. Which to me is a bit confusing because they call it Lemon Tea but there isn't actually any lemon tea in it. Ignoring that fact though, my verdict is: would be nice on a warm summer day on a patio.

Now, as I have mentioned before, I'm not going to be using extremely technical terminology and I am not formerly educated in beer, so bare with my descriptions.

I found this beer refreshing, but not my first choice for the winter. I would think of it as the adult version of iced tea, and so I would have one of these outside on a patio with a good book.

Personally, I find wheat beers to be citrusy and cloudy. When I first started drinking beer and saw the cloudiness, I associated it with being a heavy beer. With the Mill St. Lemon Tea this was not the case. I wouldn't classify it as a light beer, but not a bad start for those of you who are still trying to find a beer taste you like, as it is not like your typical beer.

The Lager Lady

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Beer 4 Boobs

Please be sure you do not mix that up and think 'Boobs 4 Beer' because that is not the message I am trying to get across.

I came across this really cool event, Beer for Boobs, happening in Toronto on March 25. It is a fundraiser for - you guessed it - breast cancer! And the main attraction - you got it again - beer! You are on a roll, my faithful reader, but have a rest while I give you all the details.

It is happening at barVolo and will be featuring 10 specially brewed beers by local brewers. And better yet, these beers are being developed by 9 female brewers. This event couldn't have more girl power if the Spice Girls were singing (though that would be something, wouldn't it?) The doors open at 2:00 and it is $20 to get in.

Overall, this event seems like a great opportunity to try some new brews and support a great cause. Not to mention, support local breweries, as the brewers are all from around here. They're going to put their minds together to create one super beer and then split into smaller groups to create the rest.

If you're able to attend, I highly recommend it, and I know that I'm going to try to. For more information, check out this article, the Facebook page or the Twitter feed. Hope to see you there!

The Lager Lady

Monday, February 6, 2012

Floris Ninkeberry Makes Me Merry

I stumbled across Floris Ninkeberry when I was living in Dublin last year. I was at The Porter House with some friends and decided to try some different beers. The selection was unbelievable so my friend Kristin and I did a bit of sharing. After chocolate, raspberry and strawberry, Kristin opted for a Floris Ninkeberry because it had such a hilarious name.

The result: a new-found favourite. It was so fruity and light, at first taste you wouldn't even guess it was beer. This is a great option if you want to partake in beer-tasting without worrying about having to hold your nose.

It is a Belgian beer that is a mix of mango and passionfruit. After much research (mainly Googling), I have determined that ninkeberry is not a real fruit, it is just what the Belgians call this delicious creation. For beer that tastes this good, they can call it whatever they like as far as I'm concerned.

I am on the hunt to find this beer in Canada, if anybody comes across a bar that carries it please let me know (after you've tried one, of course).

The Lager Lady

Monday, January 30, 2012

Terms & Conditions

Before we dive right into the depths of Beerworld, I think we need to get some of the terminology down. Here are some words that I will be using or that you might hear from other people, defined in my own non-scientific words.

Ale - The oldest type of beer and one of two beer categories. Ales are made using top-fermentation (aka brewed at warmer temperatures) and aged for no more than a few weeks. Typically more complex/flavourful and served at room temperature. I imagine the name stems from the ailments drinkers felt the next day.

Aroma - Strongest when first poured into the glass, the smell of the beer will reveal the type of grains or malt used. Usually beer aromas are described as nutty, sweet, grainy or malty (sounds like a family reunion). Before you sip, have a sniff!

Barley - A cereal grain that is malted and used as a key ingredient for fermentation. Also, the background of this blog. Feeling gnarly drinking barley.

Barrel - Where the beer ages. Mind yourself though, barrel sizes vary from country to country, so check it out before you start buying your beer by the barrel in a foreign land. No wonder this blog is a barrel of laughs.

Body - The consistency of the beer - full (thick) or thin. The personification of beer.

Carbonation - The fizz or tiny, little bubbles in beer. Comes naturally from yeast eating fermentable sugars or forced in by pressurized carbon dioxide. Gettin' fizzy with it.

Cider - Similar to beer, cider comes from the fermentation of apples. It can come in other flavours, such as berry or pear, and is lighter than most beers. The type of cider mentioned in this blog is not the kind to share with your kids.

Craft Beer - Beer brewed by small, traditional breweries who are still sticking to the basics. Who says tradition is dead?

Draught/draft - Beer that is served from a cask, keg or barrel. When you ask what is on tap at a bar or restaurant, you are asking what draught beers they have. Putting new meaning to draft picks.

Fermentation - The reaction of all the ingredients that makes beer alcoholic and carbonated. Sounds like a good match-maker.

Hops - This is the ingredient that makes beer bitter. It comes from a plant and is available whole, as pellets or plugs. Hops to it!

IBU - International Bitterness Unit. The higher this number, the more bitter the beer. Who said being bitter didn't score you any points?

Lager - The second type of beer. Made with bottom-fermenting, aka colder temperatures, and is aged for a few months. These are the lighter beers; simple, clean and crisp. That's why I go by The Lager Lady - I'm not that complicated... I swear.

Malt - To make a long process short, the grain is made sweeter through a bunch of steps. No need to get malticated.

Mead - A beverage from fermented honey. Sounds like the bee's knees.

Microbrewery - A brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels per year. Quality over quantity.

Mouthful - How the beer feels in the mouth. Two options: thin or full. At least the description won't be a mouthful.

Pint Glass - A thing of beauty. Typically holds 16 oz. but some will hold 20 oz. What you should drink your beer from for the true experience (if only for the pleasure of saying, "A pint of _____, please") and what will display what you are drinking to everyone else in the bar. Please note, some bars/restaurants will give you a generic glass which does take away from the whole experience. From the title of this blog, I'm sure you can tell that to me a pint is how beer should be enjoyed.

Wit - What you will find in every blog post. Kidding. It is also known as White beer and is a cloudy wheat beer, spiced with coriander and orange zest. Often served with an orange, this should probably count as one of your daily servings of fruits and veggies. It's always good to have your wits about you when enjoying a pint.

Wort - Beer before it is officially ready, but it's in the process. Like me when I first wake up in the morning.

Yeast - What makes the alcohol in beer. It also makes bread rise. Getting the yeast of it?

Zymurgy - The branch of chemistry dealing with fermentation. I had to include a 'Z' word.

This is a basic introduction to some of the terminology. If you want to read more, I found these websites very helpful:

The Lager Lady

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Pint of this Blog

Welcome to the world of beer from the female perspective. As a beer-drinking girl, I have recently noticed how this delicious beverage is not a fan-favourite amongst my gender, which has led me to ask the question why. There is the common answers of "I don't like how it tastes" or "It's too filling" but could it also be because it is not marketed to us?

I did not like beer when I first tried it in university, so I will be the first to agree that it is an acquired taste. As time went on, I grew to really enjoy beer. I discovered which ales I enjoyed the taste of and how to avoid the filling ones. Now I'm hoping to teach other non-beer-drinkers (henceforth known as non-beeries) that there is a beer out there that they can enjoy.

Whether it is that refreshing drink on a hot summer night or the pint you have with friends by the fireplace, I believe that there is a beer for (almost) every occasion. Come along for the adventure as I discover just what these beers are.

The Lager Lady