The flagship beer of the newly-opened Nita Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario is an American pale lager that had a clear, deep golden colour and pours with a frothy white head that is retained as a dense cap and leaves large wisps of lace behind. Thick, dewy florals, honey and lightly toasted malt aromas permeate from a glass of Ten12, along with a sweet cereal note and a fresh, grainy character that reminds me of harvesting and bagging feed on my uncle’s dairy farm.
The taste of Ten12 is decidedly crisp and refreshing, with an inviting air of light, fruity flavours like grape, apple and red cherry over an earthy and mineral-toned malt base. A surprisingly sturdy bitterness (25 IBU give or take) transitions to a slight saltiness in the finish, with honey and grain notes lingering in the aftertaste. Ten12 is quite full-bodied for a lager, with an ample amount of carbonation that never seems to dwindle.
Grindstone Amber Ale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a fairly light golden-amber colour and pours with a tight, creamy white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a thin film behind. The smell of this American red ale is punctuated by various citrus tones such as lemon and tangerine, which are sharp against a sweet toffee malt base.
That toffee character anchors the taste of Grindstone Amber Ale, which also carries notes of light berry and grape juices. A semi-sweet chocolate flavour is balanced by a solid, lemony bitterness that comes forward in the finish and checks in at 25 IBU. The aftertaste goes dry, but still holds a hint of light caramel. The ale is full-bodied and grainy with a moderate carbonation level. It’s certainly hearty, but not too filling as to discourage a second pint.
This English-based pale ale from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario is light amber in colour with caramel-toned highlights. It pours with a large and creamy off-white head that settles as a rocky cap. Pompous Ass English Pale Ale has a bright, lemony smell with hints of black pepper and light fruit juices that compliment a toasty, toffee-sweetened base.
There is a pleasant sweetness to the taste of Pompous Ass English Pale Ale, which carries notes of caramel, milk chocolate and raisins. A sturdy bitterness precedes a rather dry finish that has notes of black tea and wildflowers. Lemon comes forward in the aftertaste of this medium-bodied, slightly grainy and effervescent ale.
St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout from McAuslan Brewing Incorporated in Montreal, Quebec is opaque and jet black, with a frothy tan coloured head that settles as a thick and rocky cap and leaves large splotches of lace on your glass. The simple yet sturdy smell of this stout carries aromas of chocolate malt and syrup, black cherry juice, oatmeal and ground coffee.
The taste of St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is full-flavoured and very well-balanced. There is a very strong chocolate character that gets accented by an earthy, grainy bitterness clocking in at 45 IBU. The oatmeal brings a bit of sourness, notes of plum and raisin mingle in the slightly woody finish and the aftertaste is assertively dry. This ale has a thick and grainy body, mild to moderate carbonation and a pleasant creaminess smooths everything out.
This low alcohol beer from MADD Virgin Drinks in Toronto, Ontario is an anemic pale yellow colour and pours with a loose, ginger ale-like head that burns off in a flash. MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager smells slightly fishy, soapy and metallic, with practically no sort of malt presence to speak of.
The taste of MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager is extremely faint with notes of green tea and grassy, floral noble hops accounting for any perception of flavour you might find. The tapioca used does come through in the finish before a subtle metallic aftertaste lingers on the tongue. This lager has the body of a sparkling mineral water along with ample carbonation.