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.
The label of Channel Ocho features the image of an old RCA-style television adorned with Mexican knick-knacks and displaying a test pattern. The included card has a bilingual description of the beer and technical information such as IBU and gravity, as well as the recommended serving temperature and glassware. A full list of ingredients and date of packaging are found on the back label.
Channel Ocho is quite interesting and most certainly outside of the box, even for a Beau’s product. Though it is well-crafted, there’s something that doesn’t quite sit right with my palate and I tended to sip on a bottle for several hours. Where this beer really shines in my opinion is when used for cooking.
It worked extremely well in a pulled pork sauce and my friends have used it in beer can chicken and pork tacos with great results as well. Pairing a dish prepared with Channel Ocho with a citrusy guacamole or vinegar-based coleslaw creates a lovely contrast, while a black bean salsa makes a nice compliment and takes some of the beer’s edge off.
Channel Ocho is currently available at the brewery, through the BYBO service and at select licensees throughout southern and eastern Ontario.
Type: American Imperial Stout
Region: Ontario, Vankleek Hill
Brewery: Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 600 mL
Alcohol Content: 8.9%