Speakeasy Red: Flappers and Giggle Water

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.

Speakeasy Red

Rye, Belgian Yeast and American-Style Hopping Harmonize in this Red Ale

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%.


Grindstone Amber Ale: Lookin’ Sharp

Grindstone Amber Ale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a fairly light golden-amber colour and pours with a tight, creamy white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a thin film behind. The smell of this American red ale is punctuated by various citrus tones such as lemon and tangerine, which are sharp against a sweet toffee malt base.

Grindstone Amber Ale

This Ale Would Be At Home in a Lunchbox

That toffee character anchors the taste of Grindstone Amber Ale, which also carries notes of light berry and grape juices. A semi-sweet chocolate flavour is balanced by a solid, lemony bitterness that comes forward in the finish and checks in at 25 IBU. The aftertaste goes dry, but still holds a hint of light caramel. The ale is full-bodied and grainy with a moderate carbonation level. It’s certainly hearty, but not too filling as to discourage a second pint.


PC Down Under Amber: Under Performs

This American amber ale from Whitewater Brewing in Kitchener, Ontario is a golden amber colour and yields a large and loose white head that burns off quickly, leaving a thin collar and spotty film behind, but no lacing to speak of. There is a strong mineral presence in the smell of PC Down Under Amber, with notes of light caramel malt, corn syrup, citrus, pepper and ethanol.

PC Down Under Amber

The Body of this Ale is a Big Letdown

PC Down Under Amber has a fairly balanced taste built on flavours of milk chocolate and fresh grains and accented by lemon peel. The body is quite thin and watery, with just enough grainy feeling and carbonation to remind you that you’re drinking beer. The finish is tart and dry, with a hint of lemon oil in the aftertaste, which is relatively clean but tarnished by a diacetyl note that becomes apparent as the ale warms up.


The Amber Rose: By Any Other Name

This American amber ale from Covered Bridge Brewing in Stittsville, Ontario is a hazy, copper toned amber colour and pours with a modest off-white head that sticks around as a tight collar without leaving much lace behind as it settles. The Amber Rose has an appealing blend of chocolate, caramel and lemon juice aromas, along with notes of white wine, chalk, raspberry jam and a faint whiff of alcohol that comes forward as it warms.

The Amber Rose

Try This Ale with Roasted Potatoes

The taste of The Amber Rose is anchored by a soft, yet sturdy malt base that carries rich caramel, bran muffin and chocolate flavours, the latter of which is most prevalent in the finish of this full-bodied, mildly carbonated ale. The mouthfeel is grainy on the palate and feels nectarous and oily on the back of the tongue, where the beer's moderate bitterness and grapefruit juice flavoured aftertaste come through.


Winterbrewed: Hold the Cream and Sugar

Brewed in collaboration with Ottawa’s Bridgehead, Winterbrewed from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a clear, rusty amber colour and pours with a healthy off white head that leaves some spotty lacing before settling as a thin collar and film. This coffee-infused amber brings sharp citrus, toasted grain, light caramel and mild vanilla notes to the aroma, which is anchored by a warm and strong presence of freshly roasted and brewed coffee.


This is the Most Refreshing Coffee-Infused Beer I've Tried

The taste of Winterbrewed builds off the coffee-heavy aroma with a distinctly dark and bitter flavour. Toasted barley and a light fruit note that brings peach or mango to mind create a sturdy and slightly sweet base. The mouthfeel is grainy, yet creamy with mild, fine carbonation. Coffee and light chocolate flavours are found in the finish while the aftertaste is dry with a slightly sharp lime rind character and thin oiliness.