This American red ale from Molson Coors Canada is a clear amber colour, yielding a large and spongy white head that has good retention, lingering as a rocky cap. Rickard’s Red IPA has a strong, lemony aroma and light peppery tone in front of light toffee malts that carry notes of fresh grain and warm biscuit.
The taste of Rickard’s Red IPA seems somewhat imbalanced at first, but manages to come together, wavering from a sweet but sharp buckwheat honey-like tone to a punchy citric bite and then warm, syrupy peach and mango flavours. A moderate bitterness (40 IBU) transitions to an earthy and grainy finish and though there are pleasant lemon and fruit notes that linger, they are saddled with an unfortunate stickiness that had me reaching for my water glass between sips of this full-bodied ale.
This dry cider from Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon, Ontario is a pale, brassy yellow and has no shortage of large bubbles streaming from the bottom of your glass when poured. The smell of Spirit Tree Draught Cider is green apple-forward, with notes of crabapple, baked dessert apples, white grape and wild yeast, which creates a mild funk.
Tart and crisp are the two words that best describe the taste of Spirit Tree Draught Cider to me. Green apple and white grape flavours are balanced with a warm and mellow honey sweetness that gives way to a dry finish and a punchy hint of sourness. The cider has a full body and plenty of life on the tongue, along with a mild syrupy feel and an air of creaminess you just won’t find in a typical mass-market product. A funky yeast note lingers in the aftertaste, along with a dry spiciness that brings cinnamon and black pepper to mind.
This seasonal dunkelweizen from Muskoka Brewery Inc. in Bracebridge, Ontario is cola brown in colour, with a deep ruby tone visible when held towards light. It pours with a small and rocky tan cap that doesn’t tend to stay around very long, though a steady stream of bubbles appeared at the top of my glass. The smell of Winter Weiss is an inviting blend of chocolate, stone fruit and plantain that reminds me of warm fruitcake, with notes of clove and evergreen punctuating the beer’s wintry feeling.
Winter Weiss has a robust taste, with flavours of dark toffee and stone fruit at the fore over a biscuit-like malt base. A sharp note of herbal liqueur and mild bitterness keep things from getting too sweet and the ale finishes dry, while hints of clove and lemon peel tend to linger on my palate. Though Winter Weiss is fairly light-bodied, there is a noticeable viscosity and some earthiness to the mouthfeel.
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.
Boasting a new venue, over 150 beverages from around 40 breweries and cideries from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and the USA, the 2015 Ottawa Craft Beer Festival will take place August 28-30 in the Aberdeen Pavilion at the newly reinvigorated Lansdowne Park complex.