Birra Moretti from Heineken Italia S.p.A. in Milan, Italy pours a clear, light golden colour with a soapy white head that burns off quickly, leaving a small film and collar behind as well as some spotty lacing. This European pale lager smells of corn, sweet barley malt and grassy hops with a very mild floral accent.
The taste is quite light, but has a definite malty sweetness, with a decent dryness to the finish that balances things out a bit. The lager is medium-bodied, moderately carbonated and a bit syrupy on the tongue. It’s refreshing and clean tasting for a moment, but dirty grain and corn tones take over the finish and aftertaste.
Spring Maple Belgian Blonde Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario pours a golden honey colour with light amber tinges, a moderate and soapy white head that settles as a stringy collar without leaving much lace at all. This maple-infused ale really doesn’t smell like maple at all, but has a rather odd blend of sour milk, butterscotch, shredded wheat, candi sugar, yeast and soapy hop aromas.
I simply can’t find maple in the taste of Spring Maple Belgian Blonde Ale either. I do get caramel-sweetened malts, yeast, freshly cut grain and graham cracker flavours, accented by floral and peppery hop tones. This ale is medium bodied with rather mild carbonation. There is a slightly creamy and yeasty character in the mouth, but I find it very syrupy overall. The finish is almost cloying and thick with caramel, then the aftertaste is tart, bordering on sour with a lemon oil tone. It goes from one extreme to the other and leaves my teeth feeling sticky.
Czechvar from Budějovický Budvar, n.p. in České Budějovice, Czech Republic is clear and golden coloured with a soapy white head that quickly settles as a wispy ring. This Bohemian pilsener smells of floral, soapy hops, backed by aromas of sweet malts and corn and accented by light grass and fruit tones.
Czechvar has a fairly crisp taste that is balanced between earth grains and syrupy malts and accented by a mild grape juice note. The pilsener is moderately carbonated and bodied with a faint yeasty tingle on the tongue. The finish is dry and earthy, while the aftertaste leaves a sharp, fruity and slightly metallic flavour behind.
Strong Patrick from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a honey tinged, rusty amber colour with a large and creamy tan head that sticks around as a collared film and leaves streaks of lace on your glass. This oak and partially barrel aged Irish red ale has aromas of toasted grains, vanilla, rye, lemon rind, alcohol, red berry and peat. Interestingly, the oak takes on a sweet, hickory-like character.
Strong Patrick has a very smooth taste. Honey-sweetened toasted grains create a muffin-like quality with chocolate, butter and berry accents contributing to encompassing warmth. Some citrus and pepper flavours are also noted, while a mellow yet sharp nibble of whiskey permeates the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. The ale is full-bodied with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is earthy and biscuit-like overall, but also has creamy and oily characteristics.
This Imperial gruit from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a murky, steely dark brown colour with a frothy tan head that is retained as a thick collar and leaves spotty lacing. The Bogfather has a somewhat medicinal smell and cacophony of aromas that evolve as it warms, including raisin, hazelnut, sharp herbs, root beer, anise, bread crust and bubblegum.
The taste of The Bogfather is just as complex. Flavours off chocolate, black licorice, toast, herbs, tart red berries and plum can all be detected. This beer is full bodied, with mild carbonation and a yeasty pop on the tongue. The finish is somewhat bitter and a bit salty, with lingering dark bread and bubblegum notes in the aftertaste.