Augusta Ale from Kensington Brewing Company in the heart of Toronto, Ontario pours a slightly hazy golden-amber colour with a large and frothy white head that is slow to burn off, leaving a large collar in its wake, along with a healthy coating of lace. This American Pale Ale smells of toasted malts, caramel and freshly cut grains. A nice floral tone appears after warming.
The taste of Augusta Ale is very much in line with the aroma. It’s toasty and malty with a sweet caramel tone. There is a really solid bitter bite that carries a subtle grapefruit rind citrus character. The finish is dry and bitter. The ale is medium-bodied with a light carbonation level. A hearty, bread-like sensation is imparted on the tongue with a mild oiliness behind it. The aftertaste is grainy with a hint of chocolate.
Liberty Ale from the Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, California pours a slightly hazy pencil yellow colour with a frothy white head that burns off after a few minutes, getting retained as a small collar and leaving some spotty lace behind. This American pale ale has a grainy and grassy aroma sweetened by a honey-like tone. A strong floral character, a piny note and a tea-like smell really freshen this beer up: it’s very appealing.
The taste of Liberty Ale is mildly sweet at first with a toasted grain character. It is quickly met and balanced by a crisp, grassy bitterness. Notes of green tea, mild berries and grasses precede a dry, peppery finish. The ale is medium-bodied with a mild, but persistent carbonation creates a bread or biscuit feeling on the tongue. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with a floral character, a slight oily sensation and a hint of sourness.
Hop Nouveau 2011 from Trafalgar Ales and Meads on Oakville, Ontario pours a hazy pencil yellow colour with a moderate soapy head that’s only around a few seconds, leaving no lace and only a hair thin collar. This unfiltered wet hopped American pale ale smells of old, wet grains, earth, strawberries and honey along with a slightly buttery note. This combination will be familiar to those who have tried other products from this brewery such as Elora Special Bitter.
Hop Nouveau 2011 has a very earthy and grassy taste with subtle grapefruit and caramel tones and a nice bitter finish with a grape-like note. The mouthfeel is thin with a dry, grainy and earthy character and little to no perceivable carbonation. The aftertaste is quite dry with a bit of a honey character and an oddly salty tone.
Hopyard Pale from the Garrison Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia pours a really nice honey-amber colour with a sizable tan-coloured head that gets retained as a thick film with a collar, but leaves little lacing. This dry-hopped, West Coast-style American pale ale smells of sweet caramel, orange rind and wet flowers, with ripened cherry and black pepper coming through after it warms.
The taste of Hopyard Pale starts with an almost salty bitterness. A strong toasted brown bread tone comes through on the tongue and the beer has an unsweetened grapefruit juice flavour in the finish. It’s a bit thin in mouthfeel, but has a creaminess on the tongue thanks to the long-lasting collar and a medium-high carbonation level. The aftertaste is clean and very dry.
Northumberland Ale from the Church-Key Brewing Company in Campbellford, Ontario pours a nice deep golden-amber colour. A moderate frothy head settles as a thick film and there is a fair amount of visible carbonation. It has a sweet, toasted malt aroma with a honey-like tone, a sort of earthy character and a freshwater note to it. Slightly faint overall, but it smells quite fresh.
Northumberland Ale is rather light in the taste department. This stock-style ale modeled after those popular in Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Quebec in the 1940-50s is quite dry at first before sweetened toasted malt comes through on the tongue. It could definitely use a bit more character, but there’s nothing offensive in there. The mouthfeel is on the thin side, but very crisp and extremely easy-drinking. There’s a slightly malty, resin-like taste and feeling on the finish.