This red lager from the Hop City Brewing Company in Brampton, Ontario pours an amber-copper colour with lots of visible carbonation and a medium-sized, foamy tan coloured head that leaves some spotty lacing and settles as a collared film. Barking Squirrel Lager smells of toasted caramel malts with a floral hop quality. Fresh grains, alcohol, raisin and tree nuts also come through.
The taste of Barking Squirrel Lager is crisp and mostly dry, with a subtle nutty quality, a bread-like tone and a hint of chocolate. The finish is solidly bitter with a slight wood or scotch note. The mouthfeel is creamy with a yeast-like quality on the tongue. There is a nice pop of carbonation even at the bottom of the glass and the aftertaste is dry with a raisin-like fruity tone to it.
Hop Nouveau 2011 from Trafalgar Ales and Meads on Oakville, Ontario pours a hazy pencil yellow colour with a moderate soapy head that’s only around a few seconds, leaving no lace and only a hair thin collar. This unfiltered wet hopped American pale ale smells of old, wet grains, earth, strawberries and honey along with a slightly buttery note. This combination will be familiar to those who have tried other products from this brewery such as Elora Special Bitter.
Hop Nouveau 2011 has a very earthy and grassy taste with subtle grapefruit and caramel tones and a nice bitter finish with a grape-like note. The mouthfeel is thin with a dry, grainy and earthy character and little to no perceivable carbonation. The aftertaste is quite dry with a bit of a honey character and an oddly salty tone.
Red Leaf Lager from the Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto, Ontario pours a nice copper-amber colour with a rather small white head that has good retention and a fair amount of visible carbonation. This American amber lager has a very malt laden aroma. Chestnut, caramel and a plum-like fruit tone are accompanied by toasted note and a nutmeg-like spiciness.
The taste of Red Leaf Lager is relatively sweet with characteristics similar to the aroma. Dark toffee malts with a plum or red grape-like fruit tone backed by a fatty, nutty flavour and a hint of chocolate. The beer is thin-bodied, giving off a prickly pop on the front of the tongue before a creamy sensation takes over. There is a bit of a syrupy, resin-like feeling to the aftertaste, but it’s clean overall with a hint of fresh grains.
Czech Mate from the Paddock Wood Brewing Company in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan pours a clear golden colour with a moderately-sized, frothy and soapy white head that settles as a collared film and leaves light, spotty lacing. This traditional pilsner has a very pleasant and appetizing smell consisting of a mild soap tone, flowers and fresh grains. A subtle malt note, a hint of green tea and a honey-like sweetness balance out the body of the aroma.
The taste of Czech Mate is hop-forward, clean and crisp. A slight malt sweetness is accompanied by a very solid dryness and a tart, almost sour finish. The beer is light-bodied with a medium-heavy carbonation. An oily sensation comes through on the tongue before a slight syrupy aftertaste takes over.
This American-style IPA from Cool Beer Brewing Company Incorporated in Toronto, Ontario pours a clear, rusty amber colour with a small, tan-coloured head that gets retained as a collar and leaves a small amount of lace. Duggan’s No. 9 IPA (formerly brewed by Duggan’s Brewery) has a nice citrus hop tang to the aroma, along with a sweet roasted malt and dark caramel backing.
Duggan’s No. 9 IPA tastes tangy at the front of the tongue before a solid chocolaty malt backing kicks in. Citrus appears at almost the same time as the malts, creating a rather unique chocolate-orange flavour. This strong beer is very easy-going, with little to no trace of its ABV until you actually feel it. It goes a bit thin on the back-end before a solidly bitter aftertaste takes over.