This English pale ale from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a beautiful, chill hazed ruby colour with a small tan head that evaporates quickly, leaving a stringy collar and very little lace. The smell of Woodworth and Edwards Honey Bee’lixer is so thick with nectar that it takes on a caramel hard candy tone reminiscent of liqueur. Notes of dark plum and chocolate malt contribute to an overall warmth.
Woodworth and Edwards Honey Bee’lixer has rich flavours of roasted grains, bread, plum, chocolate and of course, fresh honey. There is a soft bitter bite that is just enough to strike a balance with the sweet malt base of this full-bodied and grainy ale. Despite the amount of honey used in this mildly carbonated brew, it manages not to feel too syrupy and a subtle pop of yeast comes forth on the tongue. The finish has a certain booziness to it that leads to an earthy and grainy aftertaste.
Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus from Sawdust City Brewing Company in Gravenhurst, Ontario is completely opaque black with a creamy dark beige head that is retained as a stringy collar and leaves long swaths of lace on the glass that appear to drip like spray paint. This Russian imperial stout predominantly smells like coffee and dark chocolate with a syrupy and cordial-like fruit tone, woody hints of pine and fir and an unmistakable whiff of alcohol.
The taste of Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus is uncommonly dry, which allows rich chocolate, pepper and coffee flavours to poke through individually and then blend together. A deceptively strong bitterness is balanced by thick notes of cherry, anise and blueberry. Though the finish of this full-bodied and grainy ale a bit hot, it’s not too out of line and leads to an aftertaste of lemon oil that helps to refresh the palate somewhat.
Spring Maple Belgian Blonde Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario pours a golden honey colour with light amber tinges, a moderate and soapy white head that settles as a stringy collar without leaving much lace at all. This maple-infused ale really doesn’t smell like maple at all, but has a rather odd blend of sour milk, butterscotch, shredded wheat, candi sugar, yeast and soapy hop aromas.
I simply can’t find maple in the taste of Spring Maple Belgian Blonde Ale either. I do get caramel-sweetened malts, yeast, freshly cut grain and graham cracker flavours, accented by floral and peppery hop tones. This ale is medium bodied with rather mild carbonation. There is a slightly creamy and yeasty character in the mouth, but I find it very syrupy overall. The finish is almost cloying and thick with caramel, then the aftertaste is tart, bordering on sour with a lemon oil tone. It goes from one extreme to the other and leaves my teeth feeling sticky.
Brewed in collaboration with Patrick Boisvenue of Members of Barleyment, this vanilla porter from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is opaque black with a spongy, light beige head that settles as a thick film without leaving much lace. Burnt Rock smells of vanilla, molasses, waffle cone, toasted grain and a light red berry jam.
The taste of Burnt Rock also has an overarching berry flavour and is rather sweet overall. Flavours of lightly roasted malts, mild coffee, dark toffee and vanilla are also present. This spiced porter is very thin bodied with a moderate carbonation, making for a creamy mouthfeel. The finish has tartness and sees the berry flavour move back to the fore, while the aftertaste is mildly bitter with a burnt coffee note.
Old North Mocha Porter from Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario is an opaque, steely black with a frothy off-white head that leaves spotty lace and settles as a collar. This coffee-infused American porter has vanilla, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit and musty wood aromas.
The taste of Old North Mocha Porter has strong roasted grain, coffee, vanilla and chocolate flavours, accented by a berry-like character and finished with a pronounced bitterness. The mouthfeel is quite thin with a faint tingle on the tongue from mild carbonation, while the aftertaste carries notes of coffee and dark fruit.