The 2013 Vankleek Hill Oktoberfest presented by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company is just around the corner. Last year the award-winning brewery put together a commemorative six pack that was made available during and after the Oktoberfest celebration and I was a big fan of the beers that they included.
Building off of this idea, the team at Beau’s decided to offer a Mix Pack containing four of the beers that will be available at the 2013 event a few weeks beforehand. It’s basically a “best of” package to promote their signature event and it’s being distributed to LCBO stores all over the province. I’ll briefly review the four beers and preview the annual festivities, which are set to take place rain or shine on October 4th and 5th at the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds.
This German wheat ale brewed with sea salt and coriander from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a slightly hazy golden yellow with a fair-sized frothy white cap that gets retained as a rocky film and collar. Opa’s Gose has a tart, earthy and even cheesy sort of smell to it that brings to mind wet farmland, with strong notes of wheat, honey and coriander.
The taste of Opa’s Gose is moderately sour and balanced by the peppery dryness of coriander. Light red berry and wheat flavours are accompanied by mild orange and lemon tones. The bitterness of the sea salt really bites on the tongue and the finish becomes quite dry before giving way to honey and wheat flavours in the aftertaste. There is a healthy amount of visible carbonation throughout the glass, creating airiness in this medium-bodied and slightly syrupy ale.
This herb and fruit-infused take on pale ale from Kissmeyer Beer via B-Side Brewing Label in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a light and hazy peach or apricot-hued orange, with a loose but creamy white head that gets retained as a small collar and film while leaving small spots of lace on your glass. Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale has an earthy, slightly funky and mostly floral smell with notes of rye, oats, caramel, a vague sourness and a light grapefruit rind citrus aroma.
Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale tastes like a typical hop-forward American pale ale at first, but unwinds with a subtle complexity. Instead of simply contrasting between malt and hops, the taste is smoothed out by oat and wheat malts, with herbal accents creating a dry tartness in the finish and all held together by a hint of maple syrup. Rye and yeast flavours create an earthy aftertaste in this full-bodied and mildly carbonated ale.
This oak aged altbier from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario pours a ruby-copper colour with a large, frothy and creamy beige head that settles as a loose collar and thin film, leaving very small spots of lace behind. Festivale Plus Sticke Alt has a woodsy aroma that reminds me of pine and fir trees. Whiskey, dark berry, caramel and earthy grain accents contribute to a general warmth.
The taste of Festivale Plus Sticke Alt is fruity and red wine-like. There is also a grainy, woody and sweet character that reminds me of rye whiskey and honey-sweetened biscuit or muffin. The ale is full-bodied with mild carbonation, an earthy, raw grain mouthfeel and a slight oiliness. A rather dry finish precedes an aftertaste with oak and fruit notes.
Strong Patrick from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a honey tinged, rusty amber colour with a large and creamy tan head that sticks around as a collared film and leaves streaks of lace on your glass. This oak and partially barrel aged Irish red ale has aromas of toasted grains, vanilla, rye, lemon rind, alcohol, red berry and peat. Interestingly, the oak takes on a sweet, hickory-like character.
Strong Patrick has a very smooth taste. Honey-sweetened toasted grains create a muffin-like quality with chocolate, butter and berry accents contributing to encompassing warmth. Some citrus and pepper flavours are also noted, while a mellow yet sharp nibble of whiskey permeates the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. The ale is full-bodied with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is earthy and biscuit-like overall, but also has creamy and oily characteristics.