Strong Beers – The Key to Defeating Winter!

As I sit here looking out of the window I see snow. Full blown snow pelting the ground and it’s only September 15th! I could grumble about the unpredictable (and increasingly so) weather patterns that don’t work in my favour or I can turn to towards big, bold, strong beers to not only challenge my palate, but distract me from windows. Here are 3 categories of strong beers to help one get through premature winter blues.

Imperial Stouts – also called Russian Imperial stouts, because the English use to brew these super strong (10-12%) beers to be shipped to Russia. High alcohol and hopping rates (though you won’t taste them due to malt character) preserved the barreled beer during shipment. Expect baker’s chocolate, roasted coffee beans, smooth espresso, and dark plum notes for aroma and flavor. These are rich, complex, and intense beers meant to be drank by a fireplace if possible. Also can go well with an equally rich desert like chocolate cheesecake. Old Rasputin is a fantastic version of an Imperial stout that you’ll find in most independent liquor stores.

Wee Heavy – The strongest of the Scottish beer styles, a wee heavy can range from 6.5-10% ABV. Aroma and flavors range from caramel, toffee candy, light smoke, toasted bread, nuts, and dried fruit. Orkney Skull Splitter is classic version of this beer that we carry in store and at $5.25 a 330 ml bottle, this 8.5% ABV is a steal of a deal on a cold day!

Belgian Dark Strong – The strongest of the trappist/abbey series (trappist beers are ones brewed in a monastery with a legit monk overseeing brewery production whereas abbey ales are simply beers produced in a normal brewery using the monastic approach for marketing only). The dark strong can have fruit flavors and aromas ranging from raisins, prunes, plums, dried cherry, and figs. Also present in the aroma and flavor will be spices ranging from cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, and floral notes. Though the beer is dark, do not expect any roasted coffee notes you might get from an imperial stout! St Bernardus Abt 12 is a fantastic abbey version and Chimay Blue cap is a good trappist version of the Belgian dark strong style carried in our store.


What I Learned from Drinking 100 Gin and Tonics

This past June, my wife and I did extensive “research” in preparation for two gin and tonic nights. We offered 10 different gins and 10 different tonics, for a total of 100 different combinations. Shortly into our research, we decided to reduce the volume, but not the ration of our gin and tonics in order to complete–or at least remember– our task.

The 10 gins we sample represented premium gins, made distinctive by their botanicals. We also used premium tonic waters, and discovered how a good tonic water can bring out the best in a great gin.

Surprisingly, we discovered that the stronger the tonic water, the more the flavours were enhanced in the gin. We also found that the larger the ice cubes, the more the delicate flavours of the gin and tonic were preserved, by their not being watered down.

The range of gin available today, with the range of tonic waters available, makes for nearly endless possibilities. We’ll continue to stock the best, and we’ll also be busy doing research all winter for a new gin and tonic night in 2019.


Wines Edmonton

What Makes a Great Wine Event?

I started 7degrees Wine School three years ago after attending countless wine tastings, from trade tastings where we would swish and spit 60 wines, to full meals with each course paired with a different wine. I wanted to do something different, so I thought about the three most important components of the evening.

Socializing: Wine is social. It’s also fun, and I sat through a few too many events where the person at the front talked so much that the guests were not able to talk about the wine amongst themselves. A glass of wine is one of the best places to meet old friends and new people, so Wines Schools are built around the evening being social.

Food: Food and wine go together, but some evenings the wine needs to be the star of the show, and you need the time to enjoy it. We serve an appetizer with each wine to compliment it, and we want to give you a full evening out. Enjoy the wines we’ve chosen; enjoy the appetizers: we have the place to ourselves.

Wine: Learning about wine is enjoyable, especially when it’s hands-on learning. We serve wines which will give you options for new favourites, but also challenge you to try new styles. New styles, a wide range of price points, and all the interesting stories that come with wine.

So I brought it all together in 7degrees Wine School