A spiced imperial stout from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Channel Ocho is opaque black and pours with a large, creamy, tan-coloured head that leaves swathes of lace and hangs around as a tight collar and film. There is a lot going on in the smell of Channel Ocho. Smoke is front and centre, with notes of clove, red pepper, plum, cinnamon and banana all coming through behind it. The ale also has a sort of chemical edge to it (likely from chipotle peppers) that softens as it warms.
The taste of Channel Ocho is quite spicy, particularly in the warming finish. Along the way, flavours of dark chocolate, black and white pepper, wet mushroom, and dark fruit like fig or raisin can be found in the full-bodied, mildly carbonated and very earthy feeling ale. The burn of white pepper lingers in the aftertaste along with a note of fresh grass.
This hefeweizen from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario has a very cloudy, saffron-toned appearance and yields a relatively small, frothy head that is retained as a thin film and stringy collar without really leaving any lace behind. The Witty Traveller has soft wheat and honey aromas that bring a warm muffin to mind, along with notes of banana, cloves and black peppercorn.
Sharp grape, apple and citrus esters punctuate the taste of The Witty Traveller’s mild wheat base. This ale is light-bodied with a moderate carbonation that creates a smooth and creamy texture that glosses over and earthy, grainy texture. There’s a slight sourness to be found in the finish before a rather dry and surprisingly peppery aftertaste takes over.
Underdog Pale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a chill hazed golden colour with orange tinges and pours with a creamy off-white head that leaves thick, web-like lacing behind as it settles into a thin cap on your glass. This American pale ale is bursting with tropical fruit aromas like mango and passionfruit, with notes of honey and light caramel malts, as well as a hint of pine resin.
The taste of Underdog Pale is firmly anchored by an earthy grain character that is complemented by citrus peel and honey flavours, along with a moderate bitterness. A peppery tone comes forward in the finish of this lightly carbonated and slightly syrupy feeling ale that is on the thinner side of medium-bodied. Grain and mineral notes return in the aftertaste, which is quite dry.
This schwarzbier from Hop City Brewing Company in Brampton, Ontario is dark brown in colour with streaks of ruby visible when held towards a light source and it yields a small, fluffy tan head that leaves large rings of lace as it settles into a thin cap. 8th Sin Black Lager carries robust aromas of dark roasted grains, chocolate and burnt coffee, with notes of tree nuts and wet birch that provide an outdoorsy warmth.
The taste of 8th Sin Black Lager is in line with its smell, bringing forth flavours of chocolate, bitter coffee, roasted grains and hints of nuts and wood. The finish has a notable sweetness, with the chocolate and wood tones lingering in the aftertaste of this medium-bodied and moderately carbonated lager. There is a syrupy feeling throughout, but it's not too heavy or cloying.
This American amber ale from Covered Bridge Brewing in Stittsville, Ontario is a hazy, copper toned amber colour and pours with a modest off-white head that sticks around as a tight collar without leaving much lace behind as it settles. The Amber Rose has an appealing blend of chocolate, caramel and lemon juice aromas, along with notes of white wine, chalk, raspberry jam and a faint whiff of alcohol that comes forward as it warms.
The taste of The Amber Rose is anchored by a soft, yet sturdy malt base that carries rich caramel, bran muffin and chocolate flavours, the latter of which is most prevalent in the finish of this full-bodied, mildly carbonated ale. The mouthfeel is grainy on the palate and feels nectarous and oily on the back of the tongue, where the beer's moderate bitterness and grapefruit juice flavoured aftertaste come through.