Highlander Brew Co. of South River, Ontario recently introduced two specialty beers to complement their flagship Scottish Ale, a beer I considered one of my favourite new retail releases of 2012. I had a chance to sample both Twisted Spruce Ale and Blacksmith Smoked Porter, as well as speak with owner and brewmaster Brian Wilson about his brewery’s relatively brief history.
Brian Wilson established Highlander Brew Co. in 2009 using a long time appreciation of beer and the severance package he received after being laid off from his position with a large financial firm along with 20000 of his colleagues and relocating his family to northern Ontario.
Propeller Revolution from The John Allen Brewing Company Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia is an opaque black with a moderate sized, frothy tan head that is retained as collared film and leaves some thick lace. This Russian Imperial Stout carries strong pine oil and spruce notes in its smell. Behind them are aromas of date, red berry, raisin, coffee and chocolate.
The taste of Propeller Revolution with dark roasted malts and has an assertive bitterness. The woodsy character also remains, backed by coffee and chocolate flavours. The stout is full bodied and grainy, with a fairly mild carbonation and a tangible oiliness. There is a tart berry note in the finish and the bitter aftertaste has a roasted coffee tone.