Nickel Brook Brewing Company in Burlington, Ontario has crafted an extra special bitter that is a lovely ruby colour and yields a large, spongy tan head when poured that gets retained as a small cap and leaves scattered spots of lace behind. Equilibrium has a thick, chocolaty smell with aromas of dark stone fruit such as plum and black cherry, as well as mild pine and citrus accents.
The taste of Equilibrium carries similar notes of prune juice and raisin on top of a base that has both light and dark chocolate flavours. The beer’s balance certainly lives up to its name and once the lemon-toned bitterness sets in, it hangs around throughout the somewhat woody finish and fruity aftertaste. This ale is very mellow and full-bodied, giving it an authentic English pub feel.
Spark House Red Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing in Baysville, Ontario pours a rusty amber colour with a large and creamy off-white head that leaves sparse spots of lace as it settles into a rocky film. This American amber ale carries thick aromas of roasted chocolate malts, raisin, black cherry and mineral water.
The taste of Spark House Red Ale shares many of the same qualities. Its roasted character is joined by dark fruit and chocolate flavours that transitions to a light and lemony tone in the finish. This medium-bodied, mildly carbonated ale has a bready, slightly syrupy mouthfeel and moderate bitterness. A pronounced mineral tone is found in the aftertaste.
Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA from Arch Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario is a clear ruby colour with golden and amber tinted highlights. It pours with a tight and frothy tan head that leaves plenty of streaky and spotty lace behind as it settles into a tight collar that climbs the wall of your glass. This American IPA smells mainly of dark toffee, along with notes of honey, lemon rind and oats. Subtle chocolate and raspberry tones tend to surface as the beer warms up a bit.
There is no mistaking the flavour of roasted caramel malt in Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA, which brings a chocolate note along for the ride. The sweet base is balanced by a sturdy bitterness and distinct lemon juice taste. Hints of cherry and black tea come through in the finish, leading to an aftertaste that leaves citrus, dry oat and a roasted, almost burnt grain flavour behind. This ale is full-bodied and mildly carbonated. Its thick and grainy feeling is smoothed out significantly by the addition of oats and a light viscosity.
This American stout from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario is opaque black and pours with a spongy, mocha-tinted head that is retained as a thin collar and wispy film. Black Coal Stout has a veritable ton of roasted grain character in its smell, along with deep notes of chocolate, plum, raisin and coffee and hints of nuts and wood.
The taste of Black Coal Stout is thick with the chocolate and coffee flavours you would expect from a full bodied stout, with a red berry accent and a lemon juice note that is most apparent in the dry finish and coffee-forward aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and somewhat oily, which makes this ale drink more like a porter, though it doesn’t detract from the experience at all. Carbonation is minimal, with just enough there to prevent the beer from weighing too heavy on your tongue.
Eternally Hoptimistic from Covered Bridge Brewing in Stittsville, Ontario is a hazy, rusty orange colour and pours with a small, off-white head that hangs around as a thin film and stringy collar, leaving very small spots of lace on your glass. This American pale ale has a variety of fruit ester aromas that include citrus, strawberry and green grape on top of a butterscotch flavoured malt base. Phenolic accents of bubblegum and rubber tree are present as well.
The taste of Eternally Hoptimistic is quite woody, grainy and for lack of a better word, green with a subtle hint of cocoa. A moderate to strong bitterness comes through midway bring a mild lemon or grapefruit note with it. Grain flavour returns the finish along with an earthy, musty note that evokes coffee mushrooms. This ale has a fully body, little carbonation and is rich with toasted grain character on the tongue and palate. The aftertaste is starkly dry and carries a lemon pith tone.