Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday's Beer - The Flatlander's Beerfest

Well ..... Not really A beer ..... we tried these out yesterday at the Flatlander's Beer Festival :

My rating system = up to ++++ considering nose/palate/ flavour/ overall pleasure

Half Pints Brewing Strawberry Amber Ale - Winnipeg Canada ++++
Half Pints Brewing Grewsome Scotch Ale - Winnipeg Canada ++++
Half Pints Brewing Pin - Mole Stout - Winnipeg Canada ++++

Big Rock Honey Brown Lager - Canada +++

Cooper's Sparkling Ale - Australia ++
Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Ale - Scotland ++++

Paddock Wood Brewing's Czech Mate Pilsner - Saskatoon Canada ( this was a stinker... as if emulating the worst of Eastern European beer is a good idea! )

Erdinger Weissbier - Germany +++
Erdinger Dunkel - Germany ++

Gulden Draak Ale - Belgium ++++

My goal was to introduce myself to a few new products and my friend the Marginalized Action Dinosaur to something new. Dino's not a real big beer fan so I figured that like myself if you're going to limit your quantity for whatever reason then you should elevate the quality as much as possible. And so we went looking for something to please our senses.

The layout of the event was similar to a wine expo with a few dozen booths that had an inconsistent sort of organization that resulted in odd parings ranging from commercial domestics to fairly exotic imports residing at the same table ... no rhyme or reason to the layout. There were standing height tables to taste and take notes at and rinsing stations to clean your cups which was absolutely necessary as for at least one sample I took three rinses to get the malts aroma clear.

There were booklets provided with space for note taking and you were given a pencil and 5 coupons for samples. Extra sample coupons were available at five for 3 dollars.

Some highs some lows and some general observations

First thing is the price they put on admission which was too high in my opinion for something essentially showcasing the Manitoba LCB beer menu. Call that one a low since 27.95 is just too much for what they were offering.

Second thing is the fact that they expect you to use a dinky little 5 oz plastic sampler cup to test your beers. It's semi opaque and too small by 100% to get any good sense of the pour or the nose of the brews. Cheap yes and cheapening the whole experience besides reminding me of the urine sample cups at my doctor's. If people are paying nearly thirty bucks just to get in and try 5 samples give us a glass or at least let us buy a proper glass. Call that one a low.

Third not all the folks working the booths had even a passable knowledge of the products. Many were unable to provide any more information than you might glean from the labels and some were hopelessly uninformed.

Fourth there was no food worth mentioning and I did not see anyone taking advantage of the vendor.

Fifth that some booths really shortchanged you on the sample size barely providing an ounce of product ... completely unacceptable. Also at least ONE tried to demand TWO coupons for a sample somehow thinking this was justified by the MLB pricing on the product . Also not acceptable.

On the plus side there is a pretty broad selection at the MLB stores and the local guys from Half Pints were the class of the event. Take note Fort Garry ... the Half Pints guys outdid you in every way.

I'm still kicking myself for not taking my camera .......

Beer Notes And the Most Noteable

Dino and I made the Half Pints Strawberry Amber Ale our first stop. I found it completely satisfying with all the attributes of their usual well chosen malts and hops plus the addition of real local grown strawberries to the mix. This is a truly outstanding specialty beer and the only thing wrong with it is that you cannot buy it outside of the limited production. Dino was thrown off by the strong flavour but I think it left an impression.

Innis& Gunn Oak Aged Ale left a big impression on Dino .... he could tell this was a quality product and the unique flavours and nose really made it a hit with him ... ditto for me.

Back to Half Pint's with their Grewsome Scotch Ale. Again built on the high quality malts and hops they are famous for with an extra shot of something that makes the oak and heather come to mind.

The single most powerful taste experience was Half Pint's Mole Stout. A truly outstanding body slam of flavour with chocolate cocoa, cinnamon, and bloody chili peppers..... It is Great but when and where to drink it outside of a tasting event? Desert maybe???

Awesome ... sadly once again a limited production brew.

To cap off the evening my personal favorite Guulden Draak from Belgium .... it's strong, bakeshop malty and has some heavenly blend of floral hops that make me think of angels breathing in my face.

Cheers For Now ! And remember! It's Friday Night Blues & Beer with the Broomers

Note this post has been spell checked by Larry ....


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My goal was to introduce myself to a few new products and my friend the Marginalized Action Dinosaur to something new.

I follow the similar guidelines when I take in a wine show. Unlike what you described, at wine shows out my way, it is common practice to hand over multiple coupons depending on the cost of the wine. At the first show I ever attended I went for wines that were of low coupon value so I could have more samples, without the need to buy more coupons. Bad idea. Now I pick only the wines that I believe I might purchase or wines I could never afford to try. It makes for a lasting impression instead of a cheap wine buzz. Cheers!

9/19/2008 10:47 a.m.  
Blogger Brewmaster Dave said...

"when and where to drink it outside of a tasting event? Desert maybe???"

Sure, that's one idea - I'd say a good 100% agave tequila with the beer back might be one nice way to go. Maybe a Chocolate Stout Cake or seven layer death by chocolate.

As a main, I might go for ridiculously spicy chili (both in and with) or a Steak au Poivre.

Maybe as a cocktail - 1/2 Mole stout 1/2 verhaghe echt kriekenbier - the ultimate black forrest pint.

Regardless, we're just havin' fun. In all seriousness, it's just beer - drink it up!

9/19/2008 3:54 p.m.  
Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

cheers!..have an optimistic weekend..heh!

9/19/2008 5:07 p.m.  
Blogger OMMAG said...

Just havin' fun ... Dave you are making me crazy with these brews I cannot buy because you do not make enough... fun for you frustration for me.

Larry ... cheep wine buzz ! eh :)

Angel ... thanks and you take care now!

9/19/2008 8:35 p.m.  

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