Tasting The 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar - Week 3

[twitter]Here’s a look at the 3rd flight in the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

While the idea of unique beers each day is intriguing, this year’s calendar failed to live up to expectations by offering multiple brewer offerings, beer that often over foamed, and just not a very good selection of craft beers.

While I’m committed to the this wonderful idea of a grown-up advent calendar, there needs to be changes for 2014. I’d like to see more winter beers (why was the only truly festive beer, 39 1/2 Foot Pole from Yukon Brewing served up on December 4 instead of Christmas Eve?)

I’d like to see the beers present a better tasting experience by being paced through the month instead of a week of IPA back-to-back and high alcohol beers clustered. Year 1 was wonderful, this year was a step backwards.

Here’s my final rundown of the last row of beers from the Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar Dunham

December 24: Brasserie Dunham Black IPA

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
The first thing you’ll notice about this beer is the huge head it pours with that sticks around forever. Even before you taste the beer, the head is proof that there are a lot of hops in it, since hops contribute to foam stand. But don’t worry: thick, rich, chocolate and smoke malt flavours balance the pine and spruce flavours that come from the hops. Notes of spice (though none are used in the beer) make this beer the perfect way to take us to Christmas.

MY REVIEW: 4/5 on Untappd
Huge head. Dark smokey not a lot of hops taste. Enjoyed it. 4/5

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar Evil Twin Low Life

December 23: Evil Twin Brewing Low Life

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
The name of this beer is not an insult to you. It’s a pun based on the name of an American mainstream beer. Hint: Their name rhymes with “filler”. This Low Life Pilsner demonstrates what a great pilsner is supposed to taste like. With a gentle fruitiness in both its aroma and its flavour and yet with a firm maltiness, this beer is flavourful, yet soft and drinkable.

MY REVIEW: 2.5/5 on Untappd
Huge foaming head.  Crisp and citrus and then by the third gulp it is all skunk. Couldn’t finish it.

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar  Tap It American Standard

December 22: Tap It Brewing American Standard Ale

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Today we have their American Standard Ale, a session ale, meaning it has a lower alcohol content and is meant to be quaffable. This is the beer you want to drink with your friends because its gentle orange pulp flavour, soft hop bitterness and low level of carbonation will allow you to drink lots of it over a “session” at the pub. The best session beers are very drinkable and yet highly flavourful. This is a great one.

MY REVIEW: 3.5/5 on Untappd
Citrus hop crisp and tart. Aroma of bud. Tastes like their IPA to me

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar  Peak Organic Hop Noir

December 21: Peak Organic Hop Noir

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Kicking up 8.2% ABV and made with Centennial hops, this beer is the perfect blend of malty goodness, with notes of chocolate, molasses and smoke, and hoppy brightness, with notes of citrus fruits. Pure ingredients. Delicious beer.

MY REVIEW: 4/5 on Untappd
Hoppy and full of pucker. Subtly smoky and citrus for an easy drinking combination. Watch it though 8% will bite you quickly.

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar Lighthouse Winter Ale

December 20: Lighthouse Brewing Winter Ale

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
This winter ale is perfect for a December day, with its rich molasses flavours and lower level of carbonation which allows the thick beer to coat your mouth.

MY REVIEW: 3.5/5 on Untappd
Straight ahead smooth spiced smoky winter beer.

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar  Newport Blueberry

December 19: Newport Storm Rhode Island Blueberry Beer

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Newport Storm brings us this beer made with Rhode Island blueberries. It has a firm maltiness that may remind you either of cookies or muffins. Either way, you’ll notice that this is a great beer, not overwhelmed by sugary sweetness. The blueberries enhance, rather than dominate the flavour of the beer.

MY REVIEW: 2.5/5 on Untappd
Do you like blueberry pop-tarts? I hope so if you have this in your hand. There is A LOT of blueberry sweetness to it. I’m a fan of fruit beers, I like them in the summer, but December? No. And this is way to overpowering.

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar Cameron Cream

December 18: Cameron’s Cream Ale

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
Cameron’s Cream Ale is a classic example of one of the few styles of beer native to North America. With is moderate effervescence, light bitterness and gentle toastiness, this beer is a real crowd pleaser. Beers like this are not meant to be over-analyzed. They are meant to be enjoyed for their balance and simplicity.

MY REVIEW: 3/5 on Untappd
A caramel tarty easy drinking beer. Nothing to it.

2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar  Ruckus Hedonism

December 17: Ruckus Brewing Hedonism Red Ale

TASTING NOTES: via 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar
This beer is called Hedonism. You shall enjoy it. With a name like that, it’s guaranteed. Pouring with a big head due to a high level of carbonation, this beer looks as good as it tastes. The malt profile has a gentle fruitiness which is enhanced by additional fruitiness provided by the hops. So nice.

MY REVIEW: 2.5/5 on Untappd
Insert comment about Hedonism giving a lot of head here. And one about blowing too soon there was pent up action inside and it blew out right after cracking. Other than that it’s a hoppy, tart red ale.

Click here to see all the beers in the 2013 Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
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  1. Mac January 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Well, after the adventure of such a great gift I have to say I am left with a feeling of disapointment.
    I enjoy many varieties of beer and seek local brews when traveling. I was expecting to ‘visit’ 24 cratf breweries on this voyage, yet kept being forced to repeat destinations.
    16 instead of 24? Unacceptable.
    I am also shocked we did not see an offering from Big Rock. 30 years ago Ed revived the craft itself, virtually singlehanded, in western Canada. If we can make 3 visits to Rhode Island, surely we can sample one of the unique brews from a local source!
    I must say I’m unsure if I will look to the 2014 calendar or not, as this were not cheap to buy.

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