Canada Southern Draft from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a muted golden yellow colour. No lace is left behind as its loose white head burns off quickly and settles as a small cap. This American pale lager smells of sweet grains, a blend of berry, grape and citrus juices and has a faint hint of diacetyl.
The grainy and earthy taste of Canada Southern Draft starts sweet then quickly turns dry. Notes of fruit, mineral, toasted light malt and earth are present in this medium bodied and finely carbonated lager throughout the finish, with a distinct floral note coming through in the crisp and dry aftertaste.
This unfiltered rye beer from Cameron’s Brewing Company in Oakville, Ontario pours a rusty orange colour reminiscent of orange pekoe tea. It has a small but frothy and persistent white head that creates a thin cap throughout the glass and leaves small spots of lace. The smell of Resurrection Roggenbier has a fruity blend of red berry and grape aromas anchored by toasted, earthy malts and accented by a light rye note and a hint of sweet smoke that brings hickory to mind.
Resurrection Roggenbier tastes of sweet malts and a blend of dark fruit and spice reminiscent of fruitcake or raisin bread. As with the smell, the rye character is fairly light, but creates a fiery bite towards the finish that harmonizes with a solid bitterness and lingers on the tongue. The ale has a thin to medium body with a light syrupy feeling and a hint of mineral can be detected in the aftertaste.
This flavoured porter from Mill Street Brewery in Toronto, Ontario is a deep, ruby-hued brown with a very frothy, nitro-charged beige head that settles as a persistent cap and leaves large swaths of lace as you drink. Mill Street Vanilla Porter has an appetizing blend of aromas including chocolate, coffee, roasted barley malt, berry and of course vanilla.
The taste of Mill Street Vanilla Porter is chocolate-forward with notes of dried dark fruits like plum, raisin and cherry and a subdued vanilla flavour. This ale is full-bodied, rich, grainy and slightly viscose, with very little carbonation aside from the head. There is a moderate bitterness on the tongue that lingers throughout the aftertaste along with a warm, woody tone.
Run by Ottawa-based entrepreneur Brad Campeau, Brew Donkey is a service that offers beer tasting tours and will soon be delivering beer from Ottawa and area breweries right to your door. The next tasting tour will take place on Sunday, October 27 2013 and having just received his license from the AGCO, Brad plans to have the Brew Donkey delivery service in operation by mid-November.
I had the chance to attend the first Brew Donkey tasting tour on October 12 and thoroughly enjoyed spending the day sampling and talking about my favourite beverage with a range of beer fans from young to young at heart, novice to old hat. About 15 of us met at Corner Bar & Grill on Bank Street and after going over some basics and signing a concise, yet thorough waiver we packed on to a bus and were off to sample some local breweries’ wares.
This American pale lager from Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario is a deep golden colour and pours with a frothy white head that doesn't leave much lace behind as it settles into a thin collar and film. Top Shelf Classic Lager has a very floral and soapy smell, with warm aromas of honey and lightly toasted malts rounding it out.
The sweet and malty taste of Top Shelf Classic Lager has a notable light caramel tone and fruity, berry-like esters that contribute to a crisp and dry finish. This lager has a medium body and fairly high carbonation level. The mouthfeel has a certain earthiness to it and there is almost no palpable aftertaste, which makes for a clean and refreshing experience.
This pumpkin ale from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario is pitched with saison yeast and pours a hazy golden orange colour with a small, but frothy white head that settles as a collar and thin, moldy-looking film. The smell of Saison du Pump is vibrant with aromas of yeast and a blend of spices. A mild pumpkin tone blends with the honey-sweetened malt base to give the air of a honeydew melon.
Saison du Pump has a fairly sweet taste that quickly yields a burst of yeast and traditional pumpkin ale flavours such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove. This ale has an earthy and very yeasty body with temperate carbonation and minor oiliness. The finish has a somewhat sour funk to it before imparting a lingering, peppery dryness and hint of gourd.