Beer Review: Cameron’s Brewing Early Bird Breakfast Barley Wine

Name: Early Bird Breakfast Barley Wine
Brewing Company: Cameron’s Brewiing Company
Location: Oakville, ON Canada
Style: Barleywine – Other
ABV: 11.8%

From Cameron’s beer landing page:

This barley wine style ale has been aged in a foeder with two classic Canadian ingredients – Ontario maple syrup and cold steeped coffee. The result is an amalgamation of flavours that include molasses, caramelized sugar, toffee, white chocolate and dark fruits that give our barley wine a long finish that is a perfect addition to your favourite breakfast.

It is always fun to try a new style or revisit a beer style you don’t often have. Case in point: one of the “biggest” of all beer styles, the Barleywine. So named because of the typically high alcohol content, often above the 10% range, an ABV typically associated with actual wine. Initially called Barleywine because of that high ABV, the liquid is most definitely a beer since it is fermented from grain and not fruit. Anyway, I’ve only had a few distinct barley wines (and a couple those were vintages of Bigfoot and Bourbon County) over the years and mostly enjoyed them but wanted to delve into the style again.

Finding different barleywines isn’t all that easy, outside of a couple of the larger breweries who distribute to my area (Weyerbacher and Sierra Nevada) brewing well-known varieties. But then I saw this can on the shelf, I knew this would be the one to try, especially given the description above which adorned the can.

After popping open the can and pouring the contents, my glass was filled with an aromatic brownish amber liquid which was very inviting. Of the flavor components called out in the description above, the toffee stands out the most on the nose. A very pleasing smelling beer indeed.

The toffee is there on the first sip, but a welcome wave of coffee accompanies the toffee, too. The subsequent sips and hits of flavor are really pleasing, sweet coffee and more of an after-dinner/dessert feel than breakfast. The beer finishes with a really aggressive hop bite. Considering the IBU on this is 80, that isn’t too surprising. This is a barleywine more aligned with the American style, given the extremely potent hop flavor component.

This is a long-sipper. A flavorful, high-ABV big beer that you should enjoy over the course of an hour or so. Let the beer sit in the glass a bit, let those flavors expand. Hell, this was a 16oz can so if you find one at your local shop (I haven’t seen too many brews from Cameron in my area), it might be worth splitting with a friend.

I liked the beer, would have liked a little more if the hop bite at the end was slightly less potent/aggressive, but that’s not a knock on the style. For the most part, the beer does just what it should for the style. I simply think I’ve come to enjoy the English/less hop forward barleywines, but would absolutely have this one again.

Recommended link to Untappd 3.75 Bottle Cap rating.

Untapped badges earned with this beer: Wine of Beers (Level 2)

Wine of Beers (Level 2)

Strong, bold flavors really suit you. The barleywine brings with it a long history dating all the way back to ancient Greece. That’s 10 different Barleywine, Wheat Wine Beers or Rye Wine!

 

Beer Review: Unibroue’s A TOUT le MONDE

Name: À Tout le Monde
Brewing Company: Unibroue
Location: Chambly, QC Canada
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 4.5%

From Unibroue’s Landing Page for the beer:

À TOUT LE MONDE Ale honors the mutual passions and friendship of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and Unibroue’s Brewmaster Jerry Vietz.

It is brewed as a tribute to all the friends of hard rock music and Belgian style ales in Quebec and throughout the world. Heavy metal has played a very influential role in the history of Quebec’s musical development and Quebec city has the reputation of being one of the metal music capitals of the world. It is a closely-knit culture characterised by very passionate and devoted fans, much like that of Unibroue’s refermented ales.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when Dave and Jerry’s paths recently crossed, their mutual passions for both arts would spark a desire for a Megadeth beer brewed by Unibroue.

And so À TOUT LE MONDE Ale was born, inspired by the most popular hard rock song to feature a chorus sung entirely in French, and whose video is in the Music Hall of Fame of Quebec’s most popular TV music show. The beer is a refreshing and artisanal Belgian Style Dry Hopped Saison and the label appropriately and prominently features a symbol that is synonymous to Megadeth, their well-known mascot Vic Rattlehead.

With my piece a couple of weeks ago on Saisons, I thought it was about time I reviewed a beer in that classic style. Sure, I reviewed a “Sour – Famhouse IPA” but I wanted to focus on a straight-up Saison. As often is the case when I want to try a single beer, my local Wegman’s came through for me in their make your own six pack deal.

As a fan of both 1980s heavy metal and quality beer I’d been wanting to try this beer for a while, though when I first learned Megadeth was going to be brewing a beer in partnership with Unibroue, I wouldn’t have expected it to be a saison. I love when my expectations are shattered for the good.

Fact: Megadeth’s Rust in Peace is an absolutely perfect album and one of the 5 or 10 greatest metal albums all time. If you don’t agree you are wrong.

Unibroue is out of Canada, I’ve had a few of their beers and enjoyed them, so I was hoping this would deliver the goods and it certainly did. As you can see in the picture above, the beer pours a light, bright bubbly yellow out of the glass.

The first taste is a nice “wow” of refreshment. I can imagine if I was toiling out in my yard on a warm spring day and had a sip of this I would be even more pleased. After all, the Farmhouse Ale was crafted specifically as refreshment for field/farm workers.

There are some fruity, citrusy notes that complement the characteristic Belgian yeast so well. I got a little bit of banana in there, too. This isn’t an overpowering fruit like a lambic or even a banana-heavy Hefeweizen, but rather a beer that is a harmonious and a very well-crafted . There’s a subtle pop of hops at the end, but it makes for a very well balanced finish with an IBU rating of 22.

As I’ve said in talking about Pilsners, Saisons are similarly one of the world-classic styles of ales. They don’t get quite the attention as say, IPAs or barrel-aged stouts, but damn when you have one made exceptionally well from the style’s standard ingredients and brewing methods, you can have an elegantly crafted ale that is sure to please. With À Tout le Monde, Unibroue’s brewmaster Jerry Vietz has created a genuinely delicious ale in a traditional style. It isn’t something I would have expected to enjoy as much as I did, but there you have it, shattered expectations. Then again, with my growing leanings to the Belgian style of beers, coupled with how well this beer is crafted, hindsight would would easily point to my enjoyment of this beer.

I’m going to have to hunt this one down to get a four pack or two because my brother-in-law (the biggest Megadeth fan I know) is already fuming at me because I didn’t share this with him. You may be hearing a tiny violin playing as you read those words.

This beer was kind of a big deal when it was first released in 2016, with a website dedicated to the beer:  http://www.megadethbeer.com.

The name of the beer is a song title from Youthanaisa, Megadeth’s 1995 album but I prefer the 2007 re-recording with Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil slightly retitled as À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free) which appeared on the United Abominations album, also a very good album. I’ve embedded the YouTube Video embedded at the very end of the post for your listening/viewing pleasure.

Highly Recommended, link to Untappd 4-star rating.

Untapped badges earned with this beer:

Trip to the Farm (Level 6)

You have a keen taste for this Belgian masterpiece. Did you know the Saison style beer was invented by Belgian farms, brewed in the Winter and served the Spring/Summer to all their workers? Well now you do! That’s 30 different Saisons.