The table commune at Firefly Fine Wine and Ales is hosting a tasting event entitled ‘Beer with Benefits’ showcasing the many diverse flavours cropping up in our ales. From chocolate to pumpkin to acai berry to mint there seems to be no element too unusual to combine with beer. This got me to thinking about some of the less than stellar beer blends I have tried as of late – while the following beers may not have been my favourites I must commend the brewers for pushing the boundaries of taste and convention.
First up, Lyli a ‘Malt beverage brewed with Tea’ by Epic Ales from Seattle. This ale pours a golden orange with a very minimal amount of head. The beer is cloudy and sediment heavy. The nose has a distinct sweetness and an element of burnt toast. Malt dominates the palate while a tannin-like taste lingers after you swallow. This tannin character reminds me of black tea that has been allowed to steep for too long; it is almost bitter. While I could drink this ale my drinking companions were much more put off by this bitter aftertaste. The best part of this beer is the amazing ingenuity of the label. That being said I am completely game to try some more of the Epic line-up especially the spearmint beer, which came highly recommended but alas was sold out when I tried the Lyli.
Overall I would give this beer 2 out of 5
Second, Dead Frog’s Chocolate Mint Brown Ale brewed nearby in Aldergrove, British Columbia. Did you ever know one of those kids when you were little, you know, the one that always wanted that bright green mint chocolate chip ice cream or the PEP instead of a ‘regular’ chocolate bar? Well I was one of those oddities; I love all things mint and chocolate so once again without really thinking through the taste implications I saw Chocolate Mint Beer and thought TOGETHER AT LAST! This ale is an opaque tawny brown with no real head to speak of. The nose is quite complex; sweetness, mint and nuttiness all come through yet the mouthfeel is somewhat disappointing. The beer does not have the depth of a typical brown ale and it is quite ‘lite’ in character despite the opacity. The mint taste is very synthetic and there are no lingering elements. I even paired this beer with vegan brownies coconut ice cream thinking it would make an excellent dessert companion but the beer could not hold its own.
Overall I would give this beer 2.5 out of 5