Hello my fellow beer lovers of the world. I started this blog so I could review beers on the level of the common man (or woman). There have been too many times in which I have been drinking a beer and gone online to see what other people think of that beer and saw a lot of websites and blogs talking about hoppy this or malty that. Now, I know these are the typical words used when describing beer but I have always felt that there should be someone out there describing beer from the perspective of the "common man." That's where I come in. I hope you enjoy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Canada Break

My fellow beer lovers, we are taking a quick break from our Leinenkugel spotlight to take a look at a couple of beers that I was able to sample on my recent trip to Quebec. Now, for being our neighbors to the North, I have never really gotten a chance to sample what Canada has to offer us. While on my recent trip up north I knew I would have to get a good sampling of what Canada has to offer all of us. I tried to sample some of the common beers found in the country and try and fit in some that I have never heard. (plus it helped if it was served in the bars/restaurants that I visited) Here's a list of the five beers that I had with Banam (the mascot of the winter carnival happening in Quebec while I was there) while I enjoyed the lovely city of Quebec:

-Le Cheval Blanc Saison Réserve

-Molson Export

-Labatt Wildcat Lager

-Labatt Bleue

-La Brise Du Lac

I knew that I needed to get my hands on some of the beers that Molson and Labatt produced up in Canada but I also wanted to try some of the beers that I haven't heard of before or that were distinct to the Quebec region. On my first night I was able to sample the Le Cheval Blanc which is native to Montreal and on my last night I was surprised to be able to sample a beer from a small brewery in the region, La Brise Du lac. The others I was able to either try at a bar or buy while in the city. The first beer we'll look at is the Molson Export, labeled on menu's and what not as the Molson Ex and contains a pretty average if not a little below average ABV of 4.9%. At first glance it looks like a pretty average beer, light and golden in color and when you take your first sip, nothing really special happens. It's a pretty average beer with a pretty average taste. You get a slight bitter/hoppy taste while drinking which tends a linger on the tongue for a while. A beer that you won't say no to but definitely is not going to your first choice at local pub.

Next up is the Le Cheval Blanc Saison Réserve, which is a brett style beer (which if you are not well versed in the beer lingo makes the beer have almost a sour taste). This is not my first experience with the brett style and so I wasn't as surprised as the first time I tasted this style of beer. The beer definitely has the sour taste which comes with hints of fruit but is not as strong as others that I have had which is personally more enjoyable because a sour rotten fruit taste in my beer does not really do it for me but the Le Cheval Blanc is able to tame the taste a little making it more enjoyable. This particular brett I actually enjoyed and ordered another one with my meal. It is a beer that a newcomer to the beer tasting world should start with when experiencing this type of beer.

I'm going to group the two Labatt beers together because they are brewed by the same company, the Labatt Brewing Company. The Labatt Bleue Pilsner, was the first of the two beers that I tried from this particular brewery and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Now I wasn't disappointed because of the bad flavor of the beer, but more because I was expecting more from it. The beer is a typical pilsner type beer with a little bit of a bitter taste but nothing that makes it undrinkable. The beer is pretty comparable to the typical light beers of America like Bud light with taste and ABV being 4.9%. I was expecting a little more taste from the average Canadian beer but I guess the average Canadian beer isn't much different than our average American beer. Overall, the beer tastes okay and is something that I would drink again hanging outside with some buddies, but only if I don't have to pay extra for import costs. The other Labatt beer that I was able to sample was the Wildcat Lager which in my opinion was a huge disappointment and this time it was because of the lack of taste. The beer posts the same ABV of their pilsner 4.9% but lacks any sort of taste that the pilsner brought to the table. Where the Labatt Bleue boasts some flavor and, like as I said before, is a decent beer to drink while hanging out on a Saturday afternoon, the Wildcat Lager is a beer that is available at the "open bar" parties that your company provides because of how cheap it is and really has little to no taste. On the bright side the beer promotes having no added preservatives so I guess that counts for something. This is definitely not a beer that I would recommend and would actually recommend that people stay away as to not get a bad impression of Canadian beers.

The last beer on the list, La Brise du Lac, is definitely the best beer that I tried while in Quebec and comes from the smallest brewery as well. I was able to sample this one at a nice little restaurant called the Crazy Pig, and it had very good taste that I was extremely excited about. This beer comes from the Archibald Microbrasserie which is a micro brewery located in the Quebec region. The beer has a nice hoppy flavor that is paired really well with the slight fruit flavors that the beer has. The beer doesn't pack the punch with alcohol content with a 4.8% ABV but that does not take away from the decent taste it provides. Absolutely the best beer that I was able to sample in Quebec.

Overall I feel like I kind of let myself down with my beer tasting experience while in Canada on a number of levels. First, going into the trip I knew that I wanted to try a number of different types of beers but also sample the common beers that are produced in the country. That was my first mistake because it was like coming to the US and sampling Bud light, Miller Light, and Coors Light and realizing that they all were the same average beer. The second was not having a plan on which beers that I wanted to try prior to making the trip. Overall, I feel like I got a good spectrum of different beer flavors and different qualities why in Canada. There are some beers that I am absolutely going to make sure I have again.

Overall Scores:
-Le Cheval Blanc Saison Réserve - 5.9
-Molson Export - 5
-Labatt Wildcat Lager - 2.6
-Labatt Bleue - 4.8
-La Brise Du Lac - 6.7


This was just a break in our Leinenkugel tour. Keep posted for more entries in our current Leinenkugel series. Also, let me know what you think, post your comments.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Leinenkugel's Classic Amber

Even as the majority of people are sitting at home today because a) they are still snowed in from the crazy storm that just rolled through or b) the Superbowl, I am starting off the new series of blogs that were going to be running here at the The Common Beer Lover. This time around for the next month or so I'm going to spotlight a number of different breweries and review some of their more common beers, or some of the uncommon ones. This series will let you, the readers, comment on some of your favorite brands or breweries that you would like to see reviewed or just some brews that you've heard of that you might just want some more information about. The first brewery on the docket is the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, home of the number of different brews that Leinenkugel produces. The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company prides itself on producing a beer that is meant to be drank by everybody in a laid back manor, chilling on a beach. Now it doesn't have to be on a beach, but you get a real laid back vibe when visiting their website and opening the case of beer you have just bought. The first beer we're going to look at in the Leinenkugel series is the Classic Amber. Right off the bat, I have to admit that I was surprised when I found out that the beer is brewed in Chippawa Falls, Wisconsin, especially with a name like Leinenkugel. After trying my first Classic Amber the first impression that I got was light and fresh. The beer is pretty simple when it comes to taste which is not a bad thing in this case. There really is no lingering aftertaste that some beers have and there is only a slight bitter taste that does not take over the taste of the beer in the slightness. It has a really light and crispness to it which makes it one of those beers that everybody can enjoy in really any environment. Also, as a side note, the beer brings a pretty average ABV to the table with a 4.9. The beer has a pretty average taste that has its upside of being light and very drinkable but really doesn't have a distinct factor that separates it from other beers. Definitely a beer that nobody will hate but will be in few people's top five lists.

Overall Score - 5.0


Stay tuned and see if Leinenkugel's next brew can raise the bar a little.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

As January comes to a close and the weather outside slowly gets warmer (I definitely rocked shorts the other day), it brings us to a close of the winter beers. Now I know that there are plenty of more winter brews in the world and I only scratched the surface with my selection but I tried to cover some of the more likely beers that you will find in your local liquor stores. For our last winter beer session I'm going to go a little out of the box and go with a smaller brewery that you may or may not be able to find in your local store. The brewery in question is the St. Bernadus Brewery located in Belgium and produces a wide range of different beers and the one that we'll be looking at is the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale. First off, the beer is not cheap costing around 11 dollars for a 750 ml bottle (about the size of your average wine bottle). The upside to the beer, before actually tasting the beer, is that the ABV of the beer is 10%, which is almost double that of a normal beer. The beer is a dark beer with a very strong and distinct flavor which leaves a lingering aftertaste in your palate. The beer has a strong fruit flavor to it which is dominated by the orange in it but at the same time the beer is very smooth and does not have a bitter taste that comes from beers with a lot of hops. The only downside to the beer is the lingering aftertaste that it leaves that sits on in the back of your throat. All in all, the beer is an above average winter beer that would definitely go really nice after hours while hanging out with a couple friends around the fireside. It is a beer I think beer lovers should definitely try and should get a chance to please but will not be every body's favorite.

Overall Score - 6.0

The next category of beers is up for grabs. I'm looking to do IPA's or maybe wheat beers, not sure yet, if you have any suggestions let me know.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Now that all of the winter holidays are over we can get back to the grindstone and drink some more beers. Now, we still have some more time before the winter season is over and all of the great winter seasonals (well at least most of them were great) are gone for another year. Now on this "episode" of the The Common Beer Lover were going to look at Harpoon Brewery's Winter Warmer, their winter seasonal. The brew has a nice ABV of 5.9% which, per usual, will keep you warm on these cold January nights. On the bottle, Harpoon sells the beer saying that the beer has a "flavor of cinnamon and nutmeg" making the beer "full-bodied, rich and a classic holiday treat." The beer has a great flavor with a number of different components that just work really well together. First, Harpoon wasn't lying when they said that they used cinnamon in the beer which you can really taste, but before you jump off the bandwagon they do I good job of taming the taste by adding just enough of bitterness which makes the beer very enjoyable to drink. The beer isn't too sweet where you feel like you can only have one or two before you need to stop nor is it too heavy where it fills you up. All in all, this beer hits the spot on all levels and is definitely a beer that you need to go out and try for yourself, one of my favorites of the winter.

Overall Score - 8.6

More beers on the way and I promise there are some microbrews coming.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blue Moon - Grand Cru Limited Edition

It's almost the end of the year, only a couple of more days, and what's a better beer to review than one brewed especially for the occasion. Now normally I would wait and publish this post on New Years Eve or the day after but I wanted to get it out there before all of the limited edition beers are off the shelves of your local liquor store. The first thing I want everyone to know is that the Blue Moon Grand Cru does not come in a case or six pack but bought in 25 oz. bottles. The bottles aren't cheap and run around $8 dollars a piece but before swearing it off because of the price let me tell you a little more about the beer. First of all, the beer has a very high ABV of 8.2%, almost double a normal beer. Now usually when you see a beer with a high ABV, the beer usually loses a lot of good taste but this beer is completely different. The Grand Cru tastes better than its brother, the Blue Moon, but is very similar with a more distinct taste of the orange, the usual garnish and taste of the blue moon beer. Now the Grand Cru drinks very smoothly and will get you on your way to being out of control drunk really fast and you won't even realize it. If I had to pick one thing that I don't like about this beer is just the little bit of dry mouth that it leaves but other than that there really is no after taste and nothing else bad about this beer. If I were you I would try to get my had on a couple before the New Years and ring in the new year the right way.

Overall Score - 8.2

I wasn't lying there are definitely some micro brews on the horizons.