April 30th

For the second time since this blog was created, I had a friend who was awesome and brought me some beer from abroad. This time it was my friend Maggie bringing back some of Wisconsin’s finest. The beer that jumped out right away was the New Glarus Hop Hearty Ale, for obvious reasons (hops! American IPA!). Well, perhaps my expectations were a little too high. The Hop Hearty had a decent aroma of pine and some slight citrus. A fruity beginning, with a little bready-biscuit background. Pine in the finish, but it is evenly balanced by caramel malts. A fine beer, but the hops didn’t stand out as much as the bottle promised. Some of the recent Ratebeer reviews have been saying the same things, so it is not just me.

Earlier, a had a bottle of Gouden Carolus Ambrio as a post-work indulgence. The initial blast of sickeningly sweet cherry is balanced by a heavy dose of cracked pepper spicyness. A little abrasive at times, but still a nice sipper. Good head retention and lacing. A good enough Belgian to have once or twice a year, but not something I need a steady supply of.

Gouden Carolus Ambrio on Ratebeer

New Glarus Hop Hearty Ale on Ratebeer

Today: 685mL. Year-to-date: 94.28L.

And that folks is another month down. There are only four more months left and there is a part of me that can’t wait for the daily blogging to be done. I am also extremely excited for May and June: a trip to Washington, DC (my first trip to the States since October 2007, when I was a novice beer geek only interested in Belgian ales); my first ever Mondial de la Biere and the first-ever Ontario Craft Beer Week. Expect lots of new beers and adventures throughout the next couple of months!

I have started researching beers for both trips, but am hoping for some reader recommendations. For DC, the beers should have distribution through the country and, ideally, non-seasonals. My dream list already includes beers from Bells, Stone, Lagunitas, Great Divide, New Belgium, Kuhnhenn, Avery, Allagash and Rogue (not to mention breweries I’m already quite familiar with like Southern Tier, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Victory and Dogfish Head). The Mondial beer list obviously helps advance planning for the festival. Please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail with your picks.

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