This rye-based American red ale from Waller St. Brewing in Ottawa, Ontario pours a steely copper colour with amber highlights and a slight chill haze. The small and tight off-white head has decent retention, hanging around as a small collar and film. Speakeasy Red immediately struck me as hoppy for the style, with pungent pepper and grapefruit aromas popping out over earthy rye and honey-sweetened biscuit malt tones.
Rye is prevalent in the taste of Speakeasy Red, bringing a distinct sharpness and pushing the ale’s sturdy bitterness to the forefront. Juicy citrus and red berry characteristics are complemented by grassy and zesty notes before a rather dry finish takes hold. The ale is mildly carbonated and full-bodied, giving the illusion of a much stronger brew despite a relatively tame ABV of 4.4%.
Speakeasy Red and the rest of the Waller St. Brewing lineup are sold exclusively in 750 mL bottles that are branded with a logo that deftly integrates beer imagery into an old-style lamppost and street sign. You will also find a map of downtown ottawa on the back of the bottle that directs you to the brewery’s location beneath the Lunenburg Pub.
Speakeasy Red is a hearty, yet accessible and session-friendly ale that’s well-suited to crisp fall weather and manages to stand out in an increasingly crowded Ottawa beer scene with its punchy rye and hop notes, as well as a hint of Belgian yeast. Try this beer with beef dishes, soft breads, old cheddar, roasted potatoes or a nice stew.
Waller St. Brewing products are available at select Ottawa licensees, at the brewery’s bottle shop on Saturday afternoons and for home delivery via Brew Donkey.
Type: American Amber / Red Ale
Region: Ontario, Ottawa
Brewery: Waller St. Brewing
Format Purchased: 750 mL
Price: $10 (includes $4 deposit)
Alcohol Content: 4.4%