Having sampled several poor to mediocre beers in recent weeks, I was counting on Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner ("CSTP") to snap the losing streak. CSTP is 5.3% alcohol by volume, and I tried it in a 473 ml can.
CSTP is a good looking beer, pouring a dark golden colour with about 2 cm of fluffy white head. The head lasted for a few minutes, slowly fading to a collar and film that left no spotting or lacing down the glass. Creemore has the carbonation just right on this one...just enough to feel on the tongue, and mouth feel is light to medium. The aroma is a subtle one, with the Czech hops more noticeable than the malts. The flavour, like the aroma, is relatively low key with the hops and the malts well balanced, the hops being more noticeable toward the end and giving the beer a slightly dry, bitter finish. I'd have to say that I prefer Creemore's Kellerbier to their Pilsner, but CSTP is a solid offering nonetheless. The losing streak has been broken!
Using an example of a can that was recently purchased, the date code is F071114:01.
This corresponds to a production date of June 7, 2011, with the 'F' being the sixth letter of the alphabet and therefore representing the sixth month of the year.
Creemore does not use preservatives, so it's beers have an estimated shelf life of 45 days.
Creemore Springs is a microbrewery located in Creemore, Ontario, which opened for business in 1987.The brewery is known for avoiding the use of preservatives during its brewing process with no pasteurization afterwards. Water used in the production process comes exclusively from an artesian well which is trucked from the source to the brewery daily. Creemore Springs was acquired by Molson on April 22, 2005. In 2009, Creemore Springs applied for planning permission to expand its plant by 60% in order to triple their brewing capacity to 150,000 hectolitres per year, but as of March 2011 the plan was being opposed by some local residents who planned to take their case to the Ontario Municipal Board.
On this occasion we tried their Kellerbier in a 473 ml can. Kellerbier is 5.0% alcohol by volume and is brewed in small batches using a direct fired kettle, with German whole leaf hops added late in the process. Kellerbier poured a cloudy amber colour (it is an unfiltered beer) with just over one centimeter of off-white head that did not dissipate quickly. There was very little lacing down the glass. The best characteristic of this beer for me was the aroma, floral hops and yeast with a bit of spice...very nice. The mouth feel was neither thin nor creamy, with some tingling on the tongue from the carbonation. Kellerbier's taste was pretty much as advertised by the aroma, starting with the hops and a slightly yeasty flavour, finishing with a moderate, dry bitterness. I would certainly drink this beer again.
As a quick aside I love the brewery's motto: "Proudly 100 years behind the times". If only we could buy its Kellerbier at 100 year old prices!
Having tried and enjoyed Creemore Spring's Kellerbier, I was looking forward to sampling their Premium Lager. Creemore's Premium Lager ("PL") is 5.0% alcohol by volume and I tried it in a 473 ml can.
PL poured a dark amber color with 1/2 centimeter of off-white head, and after pouring produced a strong, steady stream of bubbles more characteristic of a soda pop than a beer. The aroma was a subtle one with both the malt and hops detectable, but nothing amiss. The head lasted quite a while and left some spotting down the glass. I don't know if I was just unlucky and hit a bad batch because this beer has a fairly solid reputation...but the carbonation was excessive to the point of causing a burning sensation in the throat. The amount of carbonation was more akin to ginger ale than a lager, with the beer's flavour fighting the carbonation and only a slightly bitter finish making it through. I struggled to finish this one it was so gassy, but not being one to waste beer, took one for the team. Maybe I'll give PL another try some time in the future given the positive reviews I've seen elsewhere, but after this experience it may take a while.
Anyone out there have any ideas as to why the carbonation was so overpowering? After many years of drinking beer I've never experienced the problem to this degree.
Fall marks the beginning of the availability of a host of seasonal brews in Canada, including Creemore's urBock which we sampled in a 473 ml can purchased from the LCBO. urBock is 6.0% alcohol by volume, and the date code on the can read J221114:04, indicating a production date of September 22, 2011.
urBock poured a clear copper brown colour, and took on a beautiful ruby tone when backlit. A tan coloured head of roughly 1 centimetre quickly resolved itself into a thin film and collar, leaving no spotting or lacing down the glass. The aroma was fairly tame, with the toasted malts dominating the background hop notes. The flavours were of sweet, toasted malts up front, transitioning to a slightly bitter finish with a smoky/bitter aftertaste. Carbonation was low which worked well for this beer, and urBock was light to medium bodied...a bit lighter than I'm accustomed to with dark beers, but probably better suited to the North American taste.
The verdict...a decent effort from the folks at Creemore, but the lingering aftertaste lets it down in the end.
To celebrate Creemore's 25th anniversary, Brewmaster Gordon Fuller and head brewer Bryan Egan travelled to Düsseldorf in early 2012, to learn how to create their own Altbier in Canada. Bucky sampled the fruits of their labour in a 473 ml can with a production date of September 2013 stamped onto the bottom. Altbier was 5.0% alcohol by volume. Altbier (German for 'old beer') is a style of beer first brewed in the region of Westphalia and is a specialty of the city of Düsseldorf. Its name comes from its production using the technique of top fermentation, an older method than bottom fermentation which is characteristic of lagers.
Altbier poured a clear mahogany colour, with a large off-white head that faded to a thin cap of foam, leaving some minor lacing and spotting in its wake. Its aroma was pleasant enough and consisted of sweet toasted malts. The flavour began with a sweet, rich roasted maltiness which gave way in the finish to a mild, slightly earthy bitterness. These flavours were nicely balanced and all lingered on as a pleasant aftertaste. Relatively light bodied for a beer this dark and with a fine carbonation, I found the mouthfeel to be a bit thin for my personal taste. Overall though, this fairly uncommon style of beer is probably the best of Creemore's offerings, and certainly worth a try at $2.85 per can.
Having tried this beer on draft at a local restaurant and enjoyed it, Bucky picked up a 473 ml can of Hops & Bolts (“H&B”) to sample from his local liquor store. H&B was 5.3% alcohol by volume with a production code on the bottom of the can that indicated a date of April 2014.
H&B poured a hazy copper colour with plenty of fast rising carbonation bubbles, and about 1.5% of rocky, orange-tinged off-white head that lasted for several minutes. The head faded to a collar and thin film of foam that left plenty of attractive lacing all the way down the glass. The beer's aroma was a combination of sweet light malts and grapefruit. Its taste began with those sweet caramel malts which were quickly blown away by a grapefruit bitterness, pine and a mix of tropical fruits. The distinct bitterness lingered long after swallowing the beer. The mouth feel was creamy and provided a welcome counterpoint to the beer's central bitterness, and I would describe H&B as medium bodied with a well suited level of carbonation. Overall, it you can handle bitter beers, this “India Pale Lager” is quite respectable and the bitterness is not ‘over the top'. H&B was selling for $2.85 per 473 ml can at the time of writing.