Tag Archives: brown

Tofino Brewing Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter

Founded in 2011 by Bryan O’Malley, grandson of a Montreal brewing family, the Tofino Brewing Co. is named after the picturesque town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The brewery’s range includes a “Session” Ale (which is 5% ABV, not exactly session), Blonde, IPA, Lager and Stout. The 6.5% ABV Coffee Porter is a seasonal beer, only being brewed in winter and spring, and there are a few other seasonals such as a double IPA. They use pacific northwest hops and mostly Canadian malt.

The Coffee Porter is enticing in the glass with low carbonation and a thin, friendly beige head. It looks dark brown to black and offers a pungent coffee aroma with chocolate and bourbon in the background. Caramel malt aroma is barely distinguishable.

The beer feels light in the mouth with a smooth vanilla finish, but heavy in flavour – sweet and rounded roasted coffee beans without much astringency and a delicate bitterness just in equilibrium. There’s nothing to complain about with this beer. I should have bought two.

I bought this bottled beer at Liquor Depot, Kitsilano and drank it at a mate’s place.

Sleeman Honey Brown Lager

The Sleeman Brewery has a different background to most of the new craft breweries, being born from a beer import business in Canada that started out specialising in English ales. However, the business mind behind the brewery is the latest in a long line of Canadian brewers – so the company can (and does) focus on family heritage in its marketing. In 2015, Sleeman’s is a conservative brewery with open, proven beers designed to please widely. I recently shot some pool with one of their more interesting beers: the Honey Brown Lager.

This smooth, rich 5.2% ABV beer presents in toffee and amber tones, with a sizeable creamy head. It has faint hints of rust on the nose, blanketed in – believe it or not – rose petals. The aroma is very unique. I am hard-pressed to identify its contributing ingredients … maybe from the honey? One thing’s for sure: it smells wholesome and delicious.

The Honey Brown Lager features a restrained sweetness and a mellow bitterness. As a lager its flavours are delicate, but well achieved and appreciable. Brown malts are just noticeable and the dry mouthfeel helps it go down. It’s a combo; light, dry, yet smooth, creamy, and fluffy. Not at all cloying. An exciting beer that I could easily drink a pitcher of, and leagues ahead of the macro lagers in Australia.

I drank this draught beer at Soho Billiards, Yaletown.

Six String Dark Red IPA

These guys are a music-themed brewery, and with their name and guitar pick logo they immediately endear themselves to music fans such as myself. For some reason when I drank this beer I thought they were another NZ brewery, but after some discussion I learned they are actually from Erina in NSW. I really like that part of the world – it’s relaxed, picturesque but still close to large enough population centres to feel connected – and to see the gigs you only get to see in the city. Six String started out as a two-man operation in 2013 and subsequently expanded. They do a bit of canning, which I think is excellent, and I happily tasted one of their four “amplified ales” recently in Melbourne.

This beer is a very dark copper to brown, if it is at all red, then it is definitely on the maroon side – basically brown. It sports a light beige head with a uniform lacing, very consistent around the glass. The aroma is strong citrus and resinous fruit – hops all the way on the nose, an intense hello.

Mouthfeel is chewy and satisfying around the balanced flavours. There are light roast and chocolate malts dancing amongst a burning fire of bitterness. The bitterness is deep but the beer is smooth. This is probably the roastiest Red IPA I’ve ever tried – but then they have designated it a “Dark” Red IPA for a reason. I’m a fan. My brewing club is hosting a Specialty IPA competition soon with a Red IPA category. I wonder how we would cope with an entry like this?

I drank this ale at Beer DeLuxe, Hawthorn.

Braunschweiger Mumme

As for the mum of Brunswick, which enjoys a traditional reputation on this side of the water, because it had the good luck to be shut out by high duties, and has thus escaped detection, it is a villainous compound, somewhat of the colour and consistency of tar – a thing to be eaten with a knife and fork.

So proclaimed a disappointed Charles Knight in 1843.

I have long had a passing interest in the old beer Mumme or mum, supposedly named in 1492 CE after its German inventor Christian Mumme in Braunschweig (Brunswick), and then going on to become the most popular and widely distributed wheat beer in northern Germany for over two centuries. Mumme was a bitter brown beer very similar to Keutebier: syrupy, thick and strong, an ale usually brewed with two thirds wheat to one third barley malt, but with some recipes putting the ratio as high as one part barley to eight parts wheat. It could be brewed at extremely high gravities, i.e. OG 1200.

It was often divided into two substyles: Stadtmumme (lower ABV) and Schiffmumme (higher ABV), with less common varieties such as Cherry Mumme also brewed. Schiffmumme in particular was exported to Great Britain, the Netherlands and even to India. It did well on long voyages as it was extremely full-bodied with large amounts of residual sugars. Although early Brunswick recipes of Mumme used herbs for bittering, it is claimed that eventually Mumme came to be the first German beer to have been brewed with only hops and no other herbs; making it possibly the first post-gruit German beer!

(I specify German because an English recipe for “mum” dating from late in the 17th century still used gruit – with weird constituents too: betony, marjoram, pennyroyal, wild thyme, elderflowers, cardamom, barberries, fir, birch, sundew, blessed thistle, etc. This is consistent with England’s, overall, less enthusiastic uptake of the hop when compared to Western Europe. So it is unlikely Mumme was the first hopped English beer. Oh yeah, and for whatever reason the English recipe also has legumes in the mash.)

Unfortunately most Mumme has, since the 19th century, been brewed sans-alcohol. The style has made a partial comeback in the last twenty years – as have many historic styles – but is mostly brewed as limited release or small batch varieties. There are only a few places regularly brewing Mumme.

I would love to find direct evidence of the Christian Mumme namesake connection, being a Mumme descendant myself through my mother’s side (and less interestingly, also a descendant of many heavy drinkers in the suburb of Brunswick, Melbourne…) – but alas it appears elusive. Historians have encountered the beer “mum” in numerous historical sources prior to 1492 CE, stretching back to 1282 CE, lowering the likelihood of the Mumme family connection considerably, but I remain undaunted. Maybe the family was named after the beer?

In some ways I’d prefer that!

For now my Mumme beer-family quest will continue. Many other people out there know a lot about this beer, and the way I see it, it is only a matter of time and energy before I learn from them.

Perhaps Braunschweig itself is the place to start? Every November the city holds a weekend event called mummegenussmeile which supposedly transports visitors to the world of Braunschweiger Mumme, with Mumme-inspired food and other products on offer. November 2015 may be out, but perhaps I can make it in 2016. Something to think about!