Wednesday, July 30, 2014

California Sunshine APA - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville)

California Sunshine APA - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 5.2%

Gold with a big head of resilient white foam. A nice resiny, cedar aroma with plenty of sap and citrus touches (orange and grapefruit) and mango.

The hops flavour is actually more of a dry herbal character than the sticky, resiny citrus tones that the aroma featured - not much sweetness comes through from the malty body so while there some woodlike hops flavours they are more like the way lumber would smell than the scent of trees or freshly cut wood with sap ooze from it.

This is a very pleasant and refreshing American Pale Ale, it is nice to find an APA that is genuinely bitter with a bunch of sugar or caramel in the flavour. This type of bitter beer would pair well with lots of food but is just dandy all on its own.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

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

Ashnan - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 9.2%

A deep, deep gold in a glass, slightly cloudy. There was not much of a head of foam at all but with a bit of a more aggressive (a.k.a. drunker) pour it did have a small head. There is a sour touch to the sweet aroma that is also herbal and somewhat boozy with nectar, a touch of bubblegum, rosemary and a bit of apple.

There is no mistaking this beer for another. Ashnan has a strong herbal flavour, honeyed sweetness but with a tart aspect that reminds me a little of mead but the combination is unique. There is balancing hops bitterness and also just a bit of hops wood tones (pine or cedar) but it plays, at most, a very low profile supporting role. Actually, that is likely to be the Chardonnay barrels Ashnan is aged in. Crusty bread and umami aftertaste. Really another wonderful beer in this series from Beau's. Very expensive but also a pretty extra special, barrel-aged beer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

4 x 4 - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury)

4 x 4 - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury) 5.2%

This a nicely, subtly hopped lager with a nice amount of bitterness as well as a malty body that is a bit complicated but without any flavours that don't belong there. Very tasty.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Brewery Market in Hintonburg Park - July 5th (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)

The Brewery Market in Hintonburg Park - July 5th (Canada - Ontario - Ottawa)
Don't let the line discourage you.
Last Saturday, July 5th, in the glorious sunshine I had the chance to attend the Brewery Market in Hintonburg Park here in Ottawa. The perfect weather and popularity of the event meant that I had to wait in line for about 35 minutes to get into the park but once inside the park was hardly crowded (though it was at its official capacity and hence the lineup and wait to get in) and beer lines moved swiftly. Unlike a typical Beer Festival, the Brewery Market is modelled after traditional, family-friendly beer gardens so full pints are sold (at $6 a piece) rather than sample sized glasses and there is no charge to get in. Breweries on hand included Beau's, Beyond the Pale and Covered Bridge Brewing as well as a few others.
On a day this nice you can see why people would want to enjoy craft beer in a park!

For the me, a cask version of Covered Bridge Brewing's Double-Double, a sweet chocolate stout, was the finest beer I had that afternoon but honourable mention goes to their Eternally Hoptimistic. Double-Double sweet had a herbal, yeasty cask touch with lots of chocolate, a bit of an earthy maple touch and subtle wood tones. It carries its alcohol quite well but you can still tell that it is strong, 7.4%. In addition to dozens of different craft beers on top, there were also plenty of yummy eats on the menu.

Mmm... Lentil burger.

The next Brewery Market will be held on Quebec side of the Ottawa River on July 24th. Another Brewery Market in Ottawa will happen in September, please check out their website for further details. I had a wonderful time and certainly plan on attending again. If you are in the area I suggest you head on out for the next which will be held rain or shine.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Angry Moose - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury)

Angry Moose - Stack Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Sudbury) 9.0%

A crystal clear amber gold in a glass. A sweet and somewhat peachy aroma mixed in with all those hops! Cedar, resin and citrus. As it warms there is a bit of toffee

Bitter flavour with lots of evergreen flavours a mix of cedar, pine and ... well that's just about all the evergreen trees I know. Oh wait, spruce! A caramelized sweetness that reminds me of the way burning sap smells which is exactly where some sweeter barrel tones come from as the charring on the inside of barrels before their use in aging beer or spirits brings out and caramelizes the sap and sugars in the wood. This beer is really amazingly balanced and it really conceal its alcohol content well. If they can produce this beer consistently to this high quality, and consistency can be a problem for new microbrews as they start up, I can see this Imperial IPA bringing home some awards for Stack Brewing.