Hop Head IPA: Strikes a Balance

Hop Head IPA from the Tree Brewing Company in Kelowna, British Columbia pours a hazy, rusty amber colour with a sizable and frothy off-white head that settles quickly as a collared film while leaving a generous amount of lace. The aroma of this American IPA is not what I was expecting and a bit muted overall. Lightly caramelized malts have a fresh, grainy backing with a semi-sweet floral tone and a subtle hint of lemon oil and alcohol.

Hop Head IPA
This Well-Balanced IPA Quickly Became a Regular Pickup

Hop Head IPA surprisingly tastes like toasted, chocolate malts up front. A light buttery tone gives way to an earth-like taste and a fairly strong bitterness that really lingers, but remains in control. Again, a hint of lemon or orange oil pokes through in the finish. I find it very well-balanced compared to most of its contemporaries. The beer is rather light-bodied with a medium-heavy carbonation that really pops on the tongue and a distinct oily quality that smooths over the bitterness in the aftertaste and adds to its drinkability.

Czech Mate: Knight to Rook Four

Czech Mate from the Paddock Wood Brewing Company in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan pours a clear golden colour with a moderately-sized, frothy and soapy white head that settles as a collared film and leaves light, spotty lacing. This traditional pilsner has a very pleasant and appetizing smell consisting of a mild soap tone, flowers and fresh grains. A subtle malt note, a hint of green tea and a honey-like sweetness balance out the body of the aroma.

Czech Mate
This Pilsner is Crisp and Clean

The taste of Czech Mate is hop-forward, clean and crisp. A slight malt sweetness is accompanied by a very solid dryness and a tart, almost sour finish. The beer is light-bodied with a medium-heavy carbonation. An oily sensation comes through on the tongue before a slight syrupy aftertaste takes over.

KLB Raspbery Wheat: Thank You Berry Much

This light flavoured wheat beer brewed in Toronto, Ontario by the Amsterdam Brewing Company pours a rusty, toasted amber colour with a small, fleeting head that stays around as a thin collar. KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale does indeed smell like raspberry, with toasted malt and honey tones. It’s fairly mild, but always smells fresh.

KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale
The Fruit Flavour is Kept in Check

KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale tastes of toasted wheat at first, then a solid raspberry flavour that doesn’t taste too unnatural. The beer is light-bodied with a medium carbonation, giving it a creamy mouthfeel. There is an earthiness in the finish, along with a brewed tea tone. The aftertaste is very dry and tart.

Anchor Steam Beer: Blow off Some Steam

This one-of-a-kind, 19th century American-style beer from the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, California pours a pretty golden-amber colour with a moderate tan head that doesn’t leave any lace, but sticks around as a long-lasting film. Anchor Steam Beer has a sort of fishy, freshwater aroma at first. Once that wears off, there is a sweet malty aroma with a very subtle fruit backing and a dry grassiness to it. More honey-like sweetness comes through after warming.

Anchor Steam Beer
Steam Beer is a Trademark of the Anchor Brewing Company

Anchor Steam Beer tastes mostly like sweet malts, but with a well-balanced bitterness. It also develops a tart, raspberry-like fruitiness as it warms. The mouthfeel is refreshing and crisp, but creamy on the tongue and light-bodied overall. Slightly malty on the aftertaste, and the beer also has a mineral sharpness that reminds me of tonic water.

Coeur Brise: They Say Only Love Can Break Your Heart

This raspberry-flavoured beer from Brasseurs de Montréal in Québec pours a light golden colour with a light peach pink hue in it. A foamy tan-coloured head survives as a collar until the end of the glass and leaves very minor lacing. Coeur Brisé really does smell a lot like raspberry, not drinking box grape juice or canned vegetables. It has a sort of wet hay backing to it and starts to get musty as it warms up.

Coeur Brise
This is a Surprisingly Balanced Raspberry-Flavoured Beer

Coeur Brisé tastes like a raspberry soda or raspberry ginger ale sweetened by honey. There isn’t a heck of a lot of beer taste aside from a yeasty tone coming through, but it’s not too sweet or tart. The mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy, but light-bodied. The beer has a medium carbonation with a puckering sour bite on the finish, but isn’t overly dry.