Monday, June 23, 2014

Steeler - Lakeport Brewing (Canada) 5.0%

Not quite actual size.
Steeler - Lakeport Brewing (Canada) 5.0%

A musty malt aroma with a hint of bitterness. A rather mild malt aroma just a bit of crusty bread.

The taste is very standard lager: not sweet, not bitter (though there is a bit of bitterness). At times I got a metallic touch but this is otherwise a pretty acceptable beer in the style of yellow and fizzy. It's better than Molson Canadian, better than the Bud products and I like it better than Labatt. It's also cheap and it comes in a giant can! What more could you want from a giant can beer?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Empirical Ale - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

Empirical Ale - Black Creek Historic Brewery (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

Copper colour in a glass, nice moderate hop aroma with toasty bread, a sweet caramel or even maple touch mixed with an earthiness and wood tones (cedar or pine). Very nice aroma.

Cedar hops flavour, firm but not very strong, paired nicely with that malt flavour I mentioned in the aroma that is somewhere between caramel and maple with just a kiss of smoke. There is also an earthy flavour that mellows and broadens the flavour of the whole beer and although there is a caramel/maple tone Empirical Ale isn't particularly sweet. The mouthfeel isn't heavy, it has a watery aspect that keeps this beer refreshing and really goes well with the restrained hops flavour and the only moderate sweetness. I think this is an excellent beer and would say it most resembles an English IPA though the hops character is that of a North American hops.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Grapefruit Radler - Waterloo Brewing Company (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener) 3.1%

Grapefruit Radler - Waterloo Brewing Company (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener) 3.1%

Strong grapefruit aroma, very sweet but quite nice. An inch or so of soda-like quick fading foam on top of a very pale gold body.

Sweet taste, sweeter than I expected to be honest, and very carbonated. Only a very little bit of tartness; more of a white grapefruit flavour than a pink grapefruit flavour, and more like how a pop would be flavoured rather than the actual citrus fruit.

My unsurprising conclusion is that this is more of a pop than a beer, but that's what a Radler often is. I think this one is a bit overly sweet, though that certainly does appeal to my sweet tooth, and it lacks any malt flavour. I'd drink this if I was looking for a refreshing and slightly alcoholic drink but I certainly wouldn't reach for one if I wanted a beer.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Two Mill Street Brewery Cask Ales in Ottawa: Part of Ontario Craft Beer Week

Yesterday, June 19th, 2014, as part of the Ontario Craft Beer Week celebrations I had the opportunity to try two cask beers from Mill Street Brewery. One at The Corner Bar and Grill, at 344 Richmond Road, and the other at the Mill Street Ottawa Brewpub.

The Riddler - Mill Street Brewery

Gold and a little cloudy in a glass with a standard white head of foam. Orange citrus aroma with a bit of lemon, seeds of paradise and wheat tones. Orange flavour but not as much as I expected from the aroma. Some herbal, guava hops flavour and a bit of bitter finish. Definitely some wheat in The Riddler as it has a creamy mouthfeel though it obviously isn't a standard white wheat beer.

Valley Irish Red - Mill Street Brewery

Very tropical hop aroma: papaya and touches of berry. A Real Ale level of carbonation which is to say not very carbonated. It has a mustiness that is not unpleasant, a bit of a berry flavour and a taste that is a bit like the aroma of apple blossoms to go along with some grounding maltiness and sweetness.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gilgamesh - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Gilgamesh - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 8.9%

Very dark brown, a bit cloudy and, in combination, this makes it just about opaque.

Dark fruit, and brown bread aroma with touches of molasses. Some earthy wood tones. Gilgamesh is still pretty cold at the moment but I still pick up a bit of the rum barrels: subtle spice, that touch of molasses and noticeable alcohol. Of course I would have to say that the wood tones fit with the rum barrels too.

Strong molasses flavour and sweetness, reminds me of gingerbread cookies that are heavy on the molasses and light on the ginger. Or are those molasses cookies? But I digress. Slight tongue tingling from a combination of the alcohol and some pleasant run spiciness. Chewy dried dark fruit flavours (raisin), as well as the previously referenced molasses and malty goodness all along. Gilgamesh delivers a delightful mix of dark malt flavours and a subtle roster of rum barrel flavours, very nice and dangerously drinkable to my taste.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Copper Ale - Les 3 Brasseurs (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 5.6%

Copper Ale - Les 3 Brasseurs (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa) 5.6%

Reviewed in a one litre mug but... it was a deep copper in a glass with an inch of resilient foam. A sugary, glaze like aroma with subtle nectary yeast tones. It is hard to get a decent sniff of the beer's aroma in a restaurant out of this giant glass but, hey it's how I ordered it.

Red candy glaze taste. Floral and herbal yeast flavours. A very Belgian flavour spectrum. There is a touch of hops bitterness but only enough to balance the sweetness and to accentuate the yummy yeast flavours.

This tasty ale is the Neighbourhood Beer of the Sparks and Bank Street location of Les 3 Brasseurs in Ottawa. I've been told that this means it will be available at this location year round but only occasionally available at the other locations if at all. If there is a Les 3 Brasseurs location near you let me know in the comments what their Neighbourhood Beer is.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

White Shield - Worthington's (United Kingdom) 5.6%

White Shield - Worthington's (United Kingdom) 5.6%

Deep gold in a glass with an aroma with a bitter touch, a bit of honey and some wood tones that border on resiny. Light flavour of malty, toasty sweetness, lightly spicy or herbal with the barest hint of red fruit esters but with a somewhat bitter and resiny finish. In English India Pale Ales the hops flavours are much less bombastic than in their American IPA cousins and White Shield is no exception; however, while White Shield has the ideal flavour spectrum for an English IPA it seems awfully muted. The flavours are all quite subdued so while White Shield is on point it is a bit timid, even for an English IPA.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Dinner Jacket O'Red IPA - Arch Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Guelph)

Dinner Jacket O'Red IPA - Arch Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Guelph) 6.3%

A red hued gold in a glass with a big head of off-white foam. Cedar and resin aroma, with a scent of some sticky caramelized sugars you would expect from a Red Ale.

Very bitter, hops forward flavour at first and a very bitter aftertaste - a little metallic even. Honestly, Dinner Jacket seemed too bitter at first but I got accustomed to it quite quickly and more of the flavours came out rather than solely bitterness. Resin, cedar, pine and other faint wood tones form the hops character while crusty bread, and some nearly sticky candied fruit tones in the malty body. As promised on the label and by the use of oats, Dinner Jacket O'Red IPA does have a creamy mouthfeel.

In the end, the malt body of a Red Ale is what distinguishes this from other IPAs and a bit more of those Red Ale malt flavours as well as a bit less of the bitterness would make this beer a real standout.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Innis and Gunn Oloroso (Scotland)

Innis and Gunn Oloroso (Scotland) 7.4% 

A full gold in a glass with a big frothy head of white foam. A sweet caramel aroma, some bright, lightly spicy wood notes.

Sweet caramel flavour though not as sweet as some Innis and Gunn products that are really sweet. The wood notes are pleasant and lighter oak. This beer doesn't have any of the sourness that some oaked beers have hints of and there are some well placed dry, grassy hops flavours. Innis and Gunn seemed to make a big deal about the Oloroso barrels but I didn't find the flavour all that different from other barrels they have used. I find this is a really nice tasting beer, exhibiting better balance that some other Innis and Gunn ales while still keeping with their very sweet, very strong, cask aged beer tradition.