A spiced farmhouse ale, Earl Grey Marmalade Saison from Dominion City Brewing Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a hazy tangerine shade of orange with a small white head that leaves a few spots of lace and hangs around as a collar that persists until the end of your glass. Aromas of light pilsner malt and honey are accompanied by notes of orange zest, bergamot and an inviting sweet scent that brings to mind wildflowers in the rain.
The taste of Earl Grey Marmalade Saison is clean, with a minimal amount of “farmhouse funk” and based around sweet, bright malts. There isn’t a whole lot of tea flavour at first, but there’s no mistaking the dryness it imparts. This medium-bodied ale is also surprisingly bitter, likely from the addition of orange zest and pith. The peppery Earl Grey character really sneaks up on you, becomes prevalent in the finish and lingers throughout the aftertaste along with a mild earthy note.
Dominion City Brewing Company growlers and “grumblers” are adorned with the brewery’s three leaf “Pearson Pennant” logo on the front and a brief description of the brewery on the back. The specific branding of Earl Grey Marmalade Saison is unsurprisingly grey and orange. A card describing the beer is strung around the neck of the bottle. It might sound pointless, but I found the branded, colour-coded sealing stickers to be a nice touch.
Earl Grey Marmalade Saison is very much a signature beer and while the idea might sound gimmicky, it works really well and doesn’t scream “flavoured beer”. Though saisons are typically looked at as a summer beer, this one’s relatively robust taste could be appreciated in any weather. I absolutely loved it with freshly baked and buttered bread. Its spicy character could also work well with a variety of dishes and made me crave roast beef.
Dominion City Brewing Company is currently open for a few hours every Saturday, though plans to open on additional days are in place as they ramp up production. You can also find their beers on tap at select licensees around Ottawa or have them delivered to your door via Brew Donkey.
Type: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
Region: Ontario, Ottawa
Brewery: Dominion City Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 1.89 L
Price: $18.00 (including $4 deposit)
Alcohol Content: 5.5%