This slightly hazy, golden-hued Helles lager from Collingwood, Ontario’s Side Launch Brewing Company has pencil yellow highlights and pours with a large and frothy head that has excellent retention and tends to leave some light spots of lace near the top of my glass. Mountain Lager has floral and perfume-like noble hop aromas, an almost steely mineral character and hints of stone fruit and red berry over a light base of German malts that give off an air of honey and light caramel.
The taste of Mountain Lager is crisp and finds supreme balance. Earthy, yet soft and honey-tinged malts and contrasted by a dry black pepper note, a citrus peel flavour and a moderate 27 IBU bitterness. I find that the fruity esters really come forward in the taste before transitioning to a dry finish that has lingering mineral, pepper and soapy tones. This lager is full-bodied for the substyle, with a pleasantly understated carbonation level and slight viscosity.
Mouth: Grainy, full-bodied, slightly viscose. Aftertaste is crisp and mildly sour, but leaves my mouth feeling dry.
Opinion: Probably the only organic malt liquor I’ll ever try. It’s much more palatable than your average corn-based swill such as Olde English 800 or Colt 45, but at the end of the day it’s still malt liquor. Drink it cold.
Food: Boiled hot dogs, frozen pizza, ramen noodles, Hot Rods, store brand potato chips, Chef Boyardee, cheap smokes.
Underdog Pale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a chill hazed golden colour with orange tinges and pours with a creamy off-white head that leaves thick, web-like lacing behind as it settles into a thin cap on your glass. This American pale ale is bursting with tropical fruit aromas like mango and passionfruit, with notes of honey and light caramel malts, as well as a hint of pine resin.
The taste of Underdog Pale is firmly anchored by an earthy grain character that is complemented by citrus peel and honey flavours, along with a moderate bitterness. A peppery tone comes forward in the finish of this lightly carbonated and slightly syrupy feeling ale that is on the thinner side of medium-bodied. Grain and mineral notes return in the aftertaste, which is quite dry.
Rhyme & Reason Extra Pale Ale from Collective Arts Brewing Limited in Burlington, Ontario pours a hazy golden orange colour with a small, but creamy white head that leaves large streaks of lace and gets retained as a frothy collar and film. This American pale ale has a pungent smell with aromas of caramel, pine, mango, lemon and a floral note that reminds me of lavender.
The taste of Rhyme & Reason Extra Pale Ale has lemon rind and juice flavours that provide a nice bite against a moderately sweet caramel malt base, with a light berry note tying it all together. This ale has a solid bitterness that clocks in at 55 IBU and transitions to lemon and pepper notes in the finish. A medium body and carbonation are joined by a light oiliness to impart a smooth drinking experience while a subtle grainy aftertaste whets the palate between sips.
Canada Southern Draft from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a muted golden yellow colour. No lace is left behind as its loose white head burns off quickly and settles as a small cap. This American pale lager smells of sweet grains, a blend of berry, grape and citrus juices and has a faint hint of diacetyl.
The grainy and earthy taste of Canada Southern Draft starts sweet then quickly turns dry. Notes of fruit, mineral, toasted light malt and earth are present in this medium bodied and finely carbonated lager throughout the finish, with a distinct floral note coming through in the crisp and dry aftertaste.