Rickard’s Red IPA: Red Dead Redundancy

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.

Rickard's Red IPA
No One Asked for This

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.

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.