St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout from McAuslan Brewing Incorporated in Montreal, Quebec is opaque and jet black, with a frothy tan coloured head that settles as a thick and rocky cap and leaves large splotches of lace on your glass. The simple yet sturdy smell of this stout carries aromas of chocolate malt and syrup, black cherry juice, oatmeal and ground coffee.
The taste of St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is full-flavoured and very well-balanced. There is a very strong chocolate character that gets accented by an earthy, grainy bitterness clocking in at 45 IBU. The oatmeal brings a bit of sourness, notes of plum and raisin mingle in the slightly woody finish and the aftertaste is assertively dry. This ale has a thick and grainy body, mild to moderate carbonation and a pleasant creaminess smooths everything out.
This low alcohol beer from MADD Virgin Drinks in Toronto, Ontario is an anemic pale yellow colour and pours with a loose, ginger ale-like head that burns off in a flash. MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager smells slightly fishy, soapy and metallic, with practically no sort of malt presence to speak of.
The taste of MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager is extremely faint with notes of green tea and grassy, floral noble hops accounting for any perception of flavour you might find. The tapioca used does come through in the finish before a subtle metallic aftertaste lingers on the tongue. This lager has the body of a sparkling mineral water along with ample carbonation.
This American IPA from Bicycle Craft Brewery in Ottawa, Ontario is a golden-copper colour, slightly hazy in appearance and pours with a creamy, billowy off-white head that leaves large streak of lace behind and gets retained as a thick cap. Aggressively dry-hopped, Velocipede IPA is chock full of Centennial hop character and the smell is rich with aromas of lemon peel and pepper, as well as a blend of wild grass and flower notes.
The taste of Velocipede IPA is also hop forward and brings a fairly hefty bitterness (70 IBU) to the table. Light caramel and toasted malts construct the base of this medium-bodied ale, which can get a bit lost under the dominant lemon and pepper notes. Thankfully, this is alleviated somewhat as the beer starts to warm up, letting a sturdy graininess balance things out before a more juicy lemon flavour returns in the finish and transitions to dryness in the aftertaste.
Designed to showcase a German hop variety, Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale from Anheuser-Busch InBev pours a light amber colour with a creamy off-white head that dissipates quickly, leaving behind nothing but a thread-like collar. This American pale ale has aromas of black tea, bergamot, lemon zest, black pepper and dark honey, with hints of wet grass, perfume and red grape skins.
The taste of Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale starts with a sharp honey sweetness then quickly becomes very dry, with a bitter citrus peel flavour apparent throughout that becomes quite pronounced in the finish and aftertaste. Subtle notes of toasted caramel malt and strawberry can be detected as well. This ale is grainy, earthy, mildly viscose, scantily carbonated and leaves my mouth feeling rather dry in between sips.
This low alcohol beer from Koninklijke Grolsch N.V. in Enschede, Netherlands is a bright golden colour and pours with a large, soapy white head that leaves patches of lace and is retained as a small collar. Grolsch Non Alcoholic has aromas of sweet grain, wildflower, grass and a mild fruity tone that reminds me of strawberry jam.
The taste of Grolsch Non Alcoholic is malt forward, somewhat sweet and has a distinct tea-like character that imparts a crisp bitterness. There are notes of citrus rind and minerals in the crisp finish and the aftertaste has mild earth and barley flavours. The lager is squarely on the thin side, but has a surprising amount of body to it for a low alcohol beer. Grainy, syrupy and creamy sensations can all be felt on the tongue.