This American blonde ale from Nickel Brook Brewing Co. in Burlington, Ontario is slightly hazy, golden-amber in colour and yields a large and spongy white head that has good retention as a rocky cap before receding to a thick collar. Cause & Effect has a hop-forward smell, with grapefruit and tangerine joined by herbal, grassy, piny and peppery aromas. A light blend of English and German malt creates warm, honey and caramel notes that serve as an inviting backdrop for the bright hop characteristics.
The taste of Cause & Effect is hop-forward and quite crisp, but certainly not overbearing. Stone fruit, juicy tropical fruit and grapefruit flavours are accented by an earthy note, while the malts create an air of darkened (but not quite burnt) toast. The ale has a medium body and is mildly carbonated. The finish is dry, earthy and mildly bitter while a hint of pepper lingers on the tongue.
Cause & Effect is packaged in a matte black can. The wordmark brings to mind a 1950s science fiction movie title card and the label depicts what I interpret as the mind of a brewer. There is a description of the ale on the can’s side, along with a complete list of “Brewer’s Elements” and a serving glass suggestion. A date of packaging is stamped on the bottom.
Blonde ales are all-too-often seen as safe or boring, but Cause & Effect keeps things interesting with a robust and slightly off-centre malt base while showcasing some punchy hop varieties without being too bitter. I’ve made this ale a regular pick up and have enjoyed with grilled and roasted chicken, fried foods (particularly pork rinds), crusty breads and smoked cheddar.
Cause & Effect is listed at almost 200 LCBO locations, available on tap at select licensees and the Nickel Brook Brewing Co. retail store is open seven days a week.