If you've read my previous beer reviews, you may have noticed a trend: I tend to lean towards darker beers. And it's true, I love stouts, porters, and other darker ales.
I know what I like.
And unashamedly, I'm a beer snob. I turn my nose up at certain beers and make no apologies. Life is too short to drink mediocre beer, I think.
I think that larger, massed-produced breweries are very good at producing such mediocre beers. And so you'll never see me review them. And if I see a beer that looks like one of those beers styled in the footsteps of those breweries, I'm likely to take a pass.
I need to change that attitude. I need to learn to not be so prejudiced.
Case in point: this week's beer review.
Vankleek Hill, ON
LCBO: $15.85, 4 x 600 mL; 5.2% alc/vol
I picked this beer up because I enjoyed Beau's Bog Water so much and wanted to try more of their offerings. And because I've reviewed quite a few seasonal beers, I thought I should try something that, if I liked a lot, I would be able to enjoy year-round.
And, according to the brewery's Web site, this is their flagship beer. It is the beer for which the rest of their creations are measured. Or so was my thinking. I had no idea what to expect but I expected it to at least match the quality of their Bog Water.
This beer comes packaged in an environmentally-friendly four-pack--cardboard that breaks down easily and non-screwed caps, which means the bottles can be re-used more often. All wrapped up with a bow. The bottles themselves are large: 600 mL, which means that in my large pint glasses, I can't quite drain the bottles. I had to pour, sip, pour, sip, and pour some more. I know, I know... first-world problem.
Pouring the beer into my glass, I saw a honey-golden glow. The colour matched the beers I tend to avoid. The colour of the mass-produced ales and lagers that I swore I would never drink, even if offered to me for free.
Like I said: life is too short to drink mediocre beer.
And I'm sure that had Lug Tread come in clear bottles, I might have passed on it.
I really need to learn to not be so prejudiced.
On the nose, I thought I caught faint hints of honey, perhaps a bit of hay. I had an impression of warm, the kind you get when you step in from the cold and wrap yourself in a thick blanket. I was encouraged to take my first sip.
On the palate, this lagered ale was clean. I didn't detect any pronounced, bold flavours; something I would expect from this type of beer. I could taste mild hops, which gave me the impression of a barn full of straw. And on the finish, I tasted honey without the sweetness. That flavour lingered so much that I went to my cupboard, pulled out our liquid honey, put a drop on a spoon, and let it melt on my tongue. After swallowing it and giving the sweetness time to dissipate, I was left with a similar flavour in my mouth. Taking another sip of the beer, the flavour wasn't identical, but it was close.
It was an enjoyable comparison.
Beau's makes Lug Tread by mixing certified organic malts and hops with local spring water. They top-ferment this brew like an ale before cold-aging it, like a lager. The result is a satisfying beer that does not taste like those mediocre beers that I avoid.
While I did enjoy Lug Tread, I would have liked to have had a little more flavour. But that's just me. I imagine that this creation is made for the masses, to compete with those mass-produced beverages. It is easy to drink but has a little bit more, something to make it rise above.
If you enjoy easygoing ales or lagers, this beer will be a treat to your taste buds. For me, it renewed my faith it paler ales. It taught me not to judge a lager by its appearance.
Has it drawn me away from darker ales? No. Would I drink it again? I had a second bottle while I was reviewing it; I have two more to enjoy. So yes, I will drink it again. And if it is offered to me in the future, I will say yes again.
Because I'm no snob to this beer.
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