This English-style brown ale from the Hockley Valley Brewing Company in Orangeville, Ontario pours a dark cherry and brown cola-looking colour with a moderate, frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a collar. Hockley Dark smells like bitter dark chocolate, dark toffee and ripened dark fruit like cherries or blackberries. Wood notes as well as a root beer-esque syrup tone come through after warming.
Hockley Dark tastes again like bitter dark chocolate at first. Buttery toffee comes through on the tongue before a solid crispness finishes. The beer is fairly mild overall, it’s rather light on the tongue and leaves a smoky, woody aftertaste. It’s smooth enough, but not something I’d want more than one or two of.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest from the Boston Beer Company in Massachusetts pours a very nice amber-ruby colour with a rather large off-white head that burns off quickly without leaving much lace, but gets retained as a fairly thick collar. This traditional German-style lager has a surprisingly hop-centric aroma over a solid base of caramel malts. There is some bread-like character and a hint of plum, but it’s kind of muted over all.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest tastes primarily of toasted caramel malts and has a brown bread quality. The beer has a nice balance between sweet and bitter, and a slight lemon zest character comes through in the dry finish. It is fairly thin-bodied with a medium carbonation level and a dry, syrupy resin feeling on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter with a slight floral note.