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%.

Breaking Bitter: Nothing Stops This Train

This extra special bitter from Beyond The Pale Brewing Company in Ottawa is a hazy, rusty brown colour and pours with a creamy white head that leaves a few small spots of lace on your glass and hangs around as a thin collar. Breaking Bitter has a breadlike smell, with aromas of fresh and toasted grain accented by notes of wild grasses, raspberry jam and hints of citrus and pine.

Breaking Bitter
No Need to Tread Lightly with this Easygoing Ale

The taste of Breaking Bitter has a nice toasted character, with grainy flavours that bring breads, biscuits and bran muffins to mind. This ale is very well-balanced with an amount of bitterness in the finish that I consider to be spot on. The beer is full-bodied with mild carbonation and a slight oiliness. A dry lemon rind and pith flavour comes out in the aftertaste.

Autumn Hop Harvest Ale: Fall For It

This wet hopped American pale ale from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is a hazy golden colour with orange tinges and has a medium-sized, loose white head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves small streaks of lace on your glass. Autumn Hop Harvest Ale has a peppery smell, with strong notes of citrus zest and pine set against a toasted grain backing.

Autumn Hop Harvest Ale
This American Pale Ale Has a Peppery Bite

The taste of Autumn Hop Harvest Ale also has a peppery overtone. Roasted, chocolaty grains anchor lemon, mango and pine flavours. This ale has a fairly thin mouthfeel, is grainy on the tongue and quite viscose throughout. The finish is crisp and moderately bitter, with lemon oil and orange pekoe tea flavours in the aftertaste.

Obsidian Imperial Porter (Rum Barrel Aged): Heart of Glass

This strong ale, aged in Caribbean rum barrels for seven months by Cameron’s Brewing Company in Oakville, Ontario is opaque black with a small beige head that is retained as a frothy collar and leaves small streaks of lace. Obsidian Imperial Porter (Rum Barrel Aged) has an unmistakable and sharp rum tone that stands out in front of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and berry aromas as well as notes of wood, pine and roasted grains.

Obsidian Imperial Porter (Rum Barrel Aged)
This Beer is Nearly as Black as Its Namesake

The taste of Obsidian Imperial Porter (Rum Barrel Aged) is similar to its robust smell. Dark Chocolate and coffee flavours are accented by red berry and wood notes. This brew is full-bodied, viscose and grainy with a small spark of carbonation and a mild creaminess. It has quite a bitter kick and a very dry finish, with rum and lemon rind permeating the aftertaste.