The second retail release from Ottawa’s Big Rig Brewery is Release the Hounds Black IPA. Also referred to as a Cascadian dark ale, the beer is black and completely opaque. A large and creamy tan head leaves web-like lacing as it settles into a long-lasting and rocky cap. This hybrid ale has a rich and roasty smell, with deep coffee and dark chocolate aromas joined by bright notes of cherry juice and lemon peel, along with a pleasant air of dewy grass.
The roasted character megers with a thick sweetness in the taste of Release the Hounds Black IPA, which is balanced by dry and bitter chocolate and coffee flavours. Punchy notes of citrus and pine bring along a sturdy bitterness (I'd guess 60-70 IBU) and there’s a hint of salt in the finish. The aftertaste of this full-bodied ale has roasted grain and dark toffee flavours that tend to linger.
This American Pale Ale from Amsterdam Brewing Company in Toronto, Ontario is a clear and bright golden colour, pouring with a loose white head that’s retained as a small collar and thin film. Cruiser All Day Pale Ale has a pungent and earthy smell, with sharp aromas of black pepper and lemongrass, a relatively neutral umami note, sweet mango and just a hint of ammonia—think cat pee, but in a good way.
When fresh, the taste of Cruiser All Day Pale Ale can be pretty intense. Citrus flavours include lemongrass, yuzu peel and tangerine and are all backed up by a punchy pepper note. A toasty toffee and caramel malt base is light enough to showcase the blend of Citra and Sorachi Ace hops, but not so delicate as to get lost.
Notes of mango and yellow honeydew come forward in the finish, while a mild lemon peel tone lingers in the aftertaste. Cruiser All Day Pale Ale has a light-medium body and is moderately carbonated with fine champagne-like bubbles.
On Saturday, March 28, 2015 more than 100 venues throughout Ontario will go dark as part of Mill Street Brewery’s fifth annual “Lights Out with Mill Street” fundraising event is support of and conjunction with Earth Day Canada. Along with some of my contemporaries like Ottawa Beer Events, Ottawa Beer Club and Ottawa Beer Calendar, I was invited to attend a preview event on Thursday, March 19 that literally gave us a taste of what to expect from the ones taking place during Earth Hour.
I arrived at Mill Street’s Ottawa Brewpub before sundown and was warmly greeted as I checked in and was given a couple of beer tokens - hey, this was a media event after all. Industrious local musician Amanda Rheaume was already mid set as I opted for a glass of the brewery’s classic German-style Pilsner, sat with some friends and was quickly reminded that my voice is not well-suited towards an intimate acoustic show.
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company (Vankleek Hill, Ontario)
Irish Dry Stout (4.1%)
Look: Black, but not quite opaque. Ruby tinges when held to light. Large & spongy tan head settles as creamy collar, large lace spots.
Smell: Roasted malt, baker’s chocolate, sea water, birch bark.
Taste: Dry chocolate, dark roasted malt, stone fruit, a bit salty in the finish and aftertaste.
Mouth: Light-medium body, though grainy. Moderate carbonation, some mineral character.
Opinion: Drinks as advertised. A well-crafted traditional stout you could enjoy all day.
Food: Beef or pork stew, young cheddar or marble cheese, light rye bread, root vegetables, smoked oysters.
The second beer to emerge from B-Side Brewing Label in Vankleek Hill, Ontario comes courtesy of Gigantic Brewing in Portland, Oregon. La Formidable “American-Belgo IPA” is a hazy golden orange colour and pours with a large & creamy white head that leaves small streaks of lace and hangs around as a silky cap.
This hybrid ale has aromas of pepper, clove and banana from Belgian yeast intertwined with the punchy lemon and orange notes you’d expect from American hops, all over a light caramel and honey-toned malt base. The taste of La Formidable is rather dry and earthy from start to finish. Thick toffee malts are accented by milt fruit esters and the beer’s sturdy (60 IBU) bitterness really hits home in the aftertaste, with also leaves mild lemon peel and pepper notes behind.