Beer 7 of 28: North Shore Santa Got Blitzen

The Beer: A Winter Ale of unknown strength from Port Stanley, ON
The Location: Jay’s place

One of Kurt’s latest creations is a monster. Brewed in May and fermented for months, Santa Got Blitzen is a deep and dark winter ale brewed with all the things you’d expect. Poured almost pitch black, greasy and oily, a sizable tan head on top. The aroma was super malty with chocolate and molasses, and it was as thick and oily in the mouth as it was in the pour. Molasses, raisins and coffee dominated the taste of a terrific, smooth, well done winter beer. Once again, North Shore comes up with something that best far too many of the bottles you can buy out there. Great – and I got one to take home!

Beer 5 of 28: North Shore P.O.’d Pumpkin

A Pumpkin Ale from Port Stanley, ONThe Beer: A Pumpkin Ale of unknown strength from Port Stanley, ON
The Location: Jay’s place

The second of Kurt’s homebrews for the evening, and about the closest to an annual seasonal we’ve come to expect from our talented friend. One of Kurt’s most famed and requested brews is a heavily hopped pumpkin ale featuring hops grown from his own garden. This would be my first chance to try the popular beer and I was ready to go!

Poured darker than expected but still an amber-orange with a massive foamy white head on top. The aroma offered tons of floral and peppery hops and a bounty of fresh pumpkin. Kurt noted to me that unlike many pumpkin beers that make use of canned pumpkin puree (one of the best canned products you can use, by the way), Kurt actually used real, roasted pumpkin. You can tell, especially in the taste. Just bursts of caramelized, roasted pumpkin and cinnamon, tons of great flavour. Sweet, demerara sugar and tons of hops close it off inside a thick, almost oily mouthfeel. Just a really well done beer, and I don’t even typically like pumpkin beers!

Beer 3 of 28: North Shore Jalapeño Peppercorn Bock

4% Bock from OntarioThe Beer: A 4% Bock from Port Stanley, ON
The Location: Jay’s place

Friday was the night before my birthday and I was invited to Jay’s house to join he and my old college friend, Kurt, for a night of beer, corned beef, and a whole bunch of guitar. Kurt is an incredibly gifted home brewer, a natural, and had heretofore been unable to make a real, honest mistake. That was, we were told, until the Jalapeño Peppercorn Bock. So bad, Kurt had claimed, that he’d dumped half of it from the carboy down the sink, saving a few bottles for fun.

So Kurt cracked it open and poured a sample around, pouring a fairly dark amber with a small amount of white head. The aroma was definitely jalapeño, some black pepper. All of it a little muted. We grinned and took our first sip, and we were shocked to find a delicate, light beer with subtle, fresh peppers and some spicy hops. It was actually good. We kept sipping only to find our initial thoughts were right, that some time in the bottle had treated this North Shore offering well.

I guess we’ll still be waiting on that first big Kurt failure, because this one wasn’t it!