This American brown ale from Toronto’s Left Field Brewery is a deep, dark and mostly opaque brown, with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass like a root beer or cola. A billowy mocha-tinted head settles in as a long-lasting soapy cap and leaves small islands of lace behind. Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale carries dark malt notes of coffee and chocolate that intertwine with berry-like yeast and oatmeal aromas, as well as a soft hint of roasted tree nuts. There is also an assertive hoppiness to the smell that brings forward pleasant citrus and grassy tones along with an air of freshwater.
The taste of Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale almost waivers towards a Black IPA, where the richness of the chocolate and coffee tones becomes more apparent, a toffee-like sweetness appears and the citrus-heavy, somewhat earthy hop notes really pop forth with a crisp bitterness that checks in at 35 IBU. Notes of strawberry jam and cooked oatmeal come through in the finish of this light and creamy feeling brew and linger on the palate between sips. To be succinct, this beer tastes like it smells, but more so.
A spiced imperial stout from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Channel Ocho is opaque black and pours with a large, creamy, tan-coloured head that leaves swathes of lace and hangs around as a tight collar and film. There is a lot going on in the smell of Channel Ocho. Smoke is front and centre, with notes of clove, red pepper, plum, cinnamon and banana all coming through behind it. The ale also has a sort of chemical edge to it (likely from chipotle peppers) that softens as it warms.
The taste of Channel Ocho is quite spicy, particularly in the warming finish. Along the way, flavours of dark chocolate, black and white pepper, wet mushroom, and dark fruit like fig or raisin can be found in the full-bodied, mildly carbonated and very earthy feeling ale. The burn of white pepper lingers in the aftertaste along with a note of fresh grass.
An early spring seasonal, this doppelbock from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours with a creamy head that leaves ample lace and settles as a thick collar atop the dark brown and ruby-coloured brew. Sham-Bock smells mainly of dark fruits such as figs, dates and raisins, with notes of chocolate and butterscotch becoming more apparent as it warms.
The taste of Sham-Bock has a surprisingly strong bitterness for the style, though it is far from overpowering against the lager’s formidable sweetness. Flavours of red grape juice, chocolate, honey and coffee are met with a wallop of maple syrup that brings a mineral-like sharpness along with its inherently sweet tone. A full body and modest amount of carbonation yield a grainy and mildly viscous mouthfeel, while the lager finishes quite dry, leaving hints of chocolate syrup and lemon juice behind in the aftertaste.
Moroccan Brown Ale from Spearhead Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is nut brown in colour, with streaks of rust and ruby and a small tan coloured head that leaves small spots of lace and hangs around as a tight collar and cap. This fruit and spice infused American brown ale has a very inviting blend of fruitcake, raisin, hazelnut, roasted coffee and freshwater aromas.
The blend of dark fruits used in the brewing of Moroccan Brown Ale is at the forefront of its taste and the fig, date and raisin flavours are deftly tied together by a touch of cinnamon. A warm and dry chocolaty tone encapsulates the finish, with the dryness persisting throughout the aftertaste along with a shiraz-like red wine flavour. This ale is fairly thin and low in carbonation, but also carries mild oily and grainy characteristics.
This Imperial gruit from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a murky, steely dark brown colour with a frothy tan head that is retained as a thick collar and leaves spotty lacing. The Bogfather has a somewhat medicinal smell and cacophony of aromas that evolve as it warms, including raisin, hazelnut, sharp herbs, root beer, anise, bread crust and bubblegum.
The taste of The Bogfather is just as complex. Flavours off chocolate, black licorice, toast, herbs, tart red berries and plum can all be detected. This beer is full bodied, with mild carbonation and a yeasty pop on the tongue. The finish is somewhat bitter and a bit salty, with lingering dark bread and bubblegum notes in the aftertaste.