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.
This American amber ale from Whitewater Brewing in Kitchener, Ontario is a golden amber colour and yields a large and loose white head that burns off quickly, leaving a thin collar and spotty film behind, but no lacing to speak of. There is a strong mineral presence in the smell of PC Down Under Amber, with notes of light caramel malt, corn syrup, citrus, pepper and ethanol.
PC Down Under Amber has a fairly balanced taste built on flavours of milk chocolate and fresh grains and accented by lemon peel. The body is quite thin and watery, with just enough grainy feeling and carbonation to remind you that you’re drinking beer. The finish is tart and dry, with a hint of lemon oil in the aftertaste, which is relatively clean but tarnished by a diacetyl note that becomes apparent as the ale warms up.
Fire in the Rye from Double Trouble Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario pours a hazy, rusty amber colour with a frothy off-white head that leaves waves of lace as it settles into a thick, climbing collar and fuzzy-looking film. Aromas of toffee, rye, pine and citrus zest are joined by accents of black pepper, chocolate and red berry in this American-style rye beer.
The taste of Fire in the Rye is malt forward with a warm, dry roasted rye flavour present throughout. Bitter lemon rind and pith come through on the tongue and palate and remain throughout a dry finish. This ale is full-bodied, earthy, roasty and grainy, though a fairly thick oiliness keeps everything smooth-going. Moderate carbonation and a touch of yeast pop on the tongue, leading to an aftertaste that has hints of grapefruit juice and chocolate.
Devil’s Pale Ale from the Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto, Ontario pours a beautiful, deep cherry wood colour with a white head that lingers as a lacing film. This strong beer exudes an excellent hoppy aroma, rich with fruity and smoky tones.
Great Lakes Brewery Devil’s Pale Ale has a taste dominated by malt, with hints of roasted grain. It has a thick mouthfeel and a very pronounced bitter finish. The beer is excellent as a solo beer and has a wonderful warming quality to it.