6.10pm: Welcome to the first ever live blog post on A Great Set of Tipples. Live in the sense that I’m writing this blog post as I drink, not that I’m writing it as you read it, that would be just plain ridiculous. It’s Monday afternoon and I find myself on the balcony, drinking a couple of brews waiting for Jord to return from work. I can tell from Untappd that she is drinking beer at the CUB Brewery, that can’t be work.
6.13pm: I need to do some ‘work’ of my own using Beersmith and I have my laptop with me so why not blog whilst I drink? The beers we are trying today are both from Grand Ridge as part of their confusingly labeled ill-defined limited release beer line.
6.14pm: I pour the first beer, study it and take a photo. I then study the bottle. The first brew is the Grand Ridge Mirboo Madness American Red Ale. Try ordering that in a bar, happy hour will be over before you get it out.
6.16pm: Log the beer on Untappd and immediately receive a text message from Jord accusing me of drinking without her. I promise to still be drinking when she gets home, all is resolved.
6.17pm: The label tells me this is a huge, beautifully balanced American Red Ale. It is a red/amber colour, so that’s a good start. It smells of toffee malts and does have quite a big hop kick to it, quite resiny, bitter and aggressive, none of that namby-pamby Stone and Wood passionfruit bush shit here.
6.18pm : Continue drinking and I play as I add malts and hops in Beersmith.
6.26pm: Approaching the end of the beer now. I can see what Grand Ridge were trying to do and it gets about ¾ of the way there, but it’s just lacking in a few areas. The most obvious is carbonation – this thing is flat like a hand-pumped English ale, with absolutely no head retention. It’s a shame because it had the makings of an interesting, aggressive true American style ale, it’s falling just a yard short for me – Schooner (See what I did there with the yard thing in an American Ale review? Brilliant.)
6.28pm: Back to Beersmith, this beer isn’t going to invent itself.
6.33pm: My IPA recipe for Beersmith is just a touch low on the hops, will need to get back to that. But for now it’s time to consider our second brew, the poorly named – WHOA! I think of Grand Ridge as more dignified than WHOA!, but hey it’s what’s inside the bottle that counts. It’s a wet hopped oatmeal ale, and I am man enough to admit that I have no idea what that is or what it should taste like.
6.35pm: Jordan’s home, she’s at the fridge. She yells ‘Do you need any more beer?” Good chick is Jordan. She arrives 30 seconds later with a Hightail Ale in her hand.
6.47pm: The WHOA! looks like a lager; clear, with streams of bubbles cascading through it and a foamy white head. It smells like apricots, not actual apricots, more like artificial apricot, the kind you get in dishwashing detergent.
6.49pm: Which is not to say this tastes like detergent. It’s actually a pretty good beer. It tastes smooth and full in the body, The taste promised by the hop smell hasn’t followed through though. It’s interesting, not sure it’s knocking my socks off but it’s okay.
6.51pm: Jord’s now explaining her day – she’s been drinking Fosters at the CUB Factory in Abbotsford (which is where her workplace does their training for reasons I shan’t explain here) which she got for free, because, well I assume that they were shocked that anyone would want to drink Fosters. She tells me “it’s about what [she] expected”, which I assume is code for ‘It was about as good as other CUB products.” We decide together that we need more hops in the IPA recipe – we are trying to hit around 50 IBU’s.
6.55pm: And I’m back, turns out all of the WHOA! is gone. It’s that sort of beer, completely inoffensive, easy to drink, not challenging, no huge standout flavours. Enjoyable sure, but not ground breaking particularly for a limited release beer. Schooner.