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.
This rye-based American red ale from Waller St. Brewing in Ottawa, Ontario pours a steely copper colour with amber highlights and a slight chill haze. The small and tight off-white head has decent retention, hanging around as a small collar and film. Speakeasy Red immediately struck me as hoppy for the style, with pungent pepper and grapefruit aromas popping out over earthy rye and honey-sweetened biscuit malt tones.
Rye is prevalent in the taste of Speakeasy Red, bringing a distinct sharpness and pushing the ale’s sturdy bitterness to the forefront. Juicy citrus and red berry characteristics are complemented by grassy and zesty notes before a rather dry finish takes hold. The ale is mildly carbonated and full-bodied, giving the illusion of a much stronger brew despite a relatively tame ABV of 4.4%.
This radler from Kichesippi Beer Co. In Ottawa, Ontario is a hazy goldenrod colour and pours with a loose white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small chain link of bubbles behind as a collar. Kichesippi Radler is anchored by lightly toasted German malts that emanate sweet and warm caramel and honey tones. The expected grapefruit aroma is far more subtle than other radlers and is complimented nicely by grassy hop notes (no, really).
The taste of Kichesippi Radler is more grapefruit forward and though the citrus fruit flavour is far from dominant, it does provide a refreshingly sharp bite. The well-crafted malt base reminds you that you’re drinking an honest-to-goodness beer and leaves sweet and toasty characteristics in the aftertaste along with dry notes of citrus peel and pith. The beer has a medium body and a modest level of carbonation along with a mildly grainy and surprisingly un-syrupy mouthfeel.
The latest flavoured light lager from Anheuser-Busch InBev is light golden yellow in colour and yields a creamy white head that is retained as a persistent cap. Bud Light Apple smells like candy and the kind of grocery store apple juice that people don’t let their kids drink. While this may appeal to some, there is also a thoroughly unpleasant chemical odour that reminds me of artificial sweeteners.
I find Bud Light Apple cloyingly sweet. Its malic acid-assisted green apple candy flavour is countered by a sharp citric acid tartness. There is a very light note of caramel malt in there, but the finish is dirty and overly dry tasting and I just can’t shake the chemical notes. This beer is thin bodied and has ample carbonation, which makes its general stickiness feel heightened.
Mad & Noisy Hop & Weizen from Creemore Springs Brewery Limited in Creemore, Ontario is cloudy, light chartreuse in colour and pours with a large and creamy white head that settles into a rocky cap and yields some chunky lacing. This hopped up take on german wheat beer has a fairly light and airy smell. Traditional aromas of banana, clove and bubblegum are found, but are muted somewhat by notes of lemongrass and grapefruit pith.
The taste of Mad & Noisy Hop & Weizen is quite crisp, with its slight bitterness front-loaded. There is plenty of grapefruit flavour, along with toasted wheat, light berry notes and a hint of clove in the starkly dry finish and aftertaste. The ale is medium-bodied and has a moderate amount of carbonation, as well and a rather lively mouthfeel.