Sunday, 29 July 2012

Two Fine Limited Offerings from Pit Caribou and Brasserie Dunham

Having just picked up an enjoyed a seasonal offering from Dunham and a one-off from Pit Caribou, I thought I'd share some thoughts while they may still remain on some store shelves.

First, Dunham's seasonal Stout Impériale Russe a l'Érable (8.5% ABV) pours a jet black with a small mocha head of fair retention and negligible lace.  The nose is mostly of chocolate and smoke, with just a faint trace of the maple, while the taste has a hint of the maple up front but has a quite dry smoky, dark chocolate, piney finish keeping the maple from being overly sweet or dessert-y.  It is fairly thick, creamy and chewy and, hence, would show well on nitro.

Usually I am not one to buy into seasonal beer styles, generally feeling that if a beer is good it is good anytime.  However, I have found myself lately realizing that I prefer an IPA on a hot Summer day to an imperial stout even though I generally prefer imperial stouts.  There is something to the feeling of warmth in the winter.  Yes, a good beer is still good in any season, but I am wondering why this is a summer seasonal?  I get that maple sugar is harvested in late winter/early Spring, but it keeps, and at the very least this beer might show better in Spring or Autumn, if not Winter.  That said, however, it is a fine beer at anytime, but I might buy more of them if I could in another season - though maybe I'll grab a few and sit on them a while!  Grade: B+/A-

Next, I come to Pit Caribou's one-off 5 Bière Anniversaire (7% ABV), a sour in the style of a Flander's Red.  Excellent foamy three-finger off-white head of good retention and thick, clingy lace sits atop a quite brown body.  Aromas of tart cherries and currants greet the nose, with sour acids being unmistakably obvious as well.  The taste is nicely tart with currant notes and an acidic, tannic, wine-like drying finish with no discernible hops presence.  Medium bodied with low-medium carbonation, and a lightly tingly feel, it is slightly astringent, but pleasingly so.  Having had about a handful of Flander's Reds (and liking them all), I'd have to say this one is quite good.  It is no Rodenbach Grand Cru, but it is worth the $5.59 pint-bottle price and is a rare treat indeed!  Grade: A-/A

Get'em while they're hot er cold or available, even!

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