This rye-based American red ale from Waller St. Brewing in Ottawa, Ontario pours a steely copper colour with amber highlights and a slight chill haze. The small and tight off-white head has decent retention, hanging around as a small collar and film. Speakeasy Red immediately struck me as hoppy for the style, with pungent pepper and grapefruit aromas popping out over earthy rye and honey-sweetened biscuit malt tones.
Rye is prevalent in the taste of Speakeasy Red, bringing a distinct sharpness and pushing the ale’s sturdy bitterness to the forefront. Juicy citrus and red berry characteristics are complemented by grassy and zesty notes before a rather dry finish takes hold. The ale is mildly carbonated and full-bodied, giving the illusion of a much stronger brew despite a relatively tame ABV of 4.4%.
This flavoured American porter from Nickel Brook Brewing in Burlington, Ontario is opaque and black, pouring with a moderate tan coloured head that settles as a collar with large bubbles and leaves small spots of lace on your glass. Nickel Brook Maple Porter has deep aromas of dark roasted grains, toasted cocoa, coffee and plum, with distinct notes of cigar, alcohol, wild grass and a damp, light wood like cedar or birch.
The taste of Nickel Brook Maple Porter is rather sweet and most definitely malt-forward, with a whole lot of roasted character accenting flavours of dark toffee and dry red wine. All that rich sweetness is well-balanced by a notable sharpness that gives way to a very dry finish that leaves lingering hints of maple and wood in the aftertaste. This ale is full-bodied and carries a moderate carbonation. It feels very thick and grainy throughout, but there is also a subtle syrupy quality that smooths everything out a bit.
This spiced bock from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a clear ruby tinted orange colour and pours with a spongy off white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a stringy collar and a few spots of lace in its wake. Hogan’s Goat is ripe with earthy, herbal and outdoorsy aromas like juniper, mint and pine oil standing out against a sweet malt backdrop with a hint of wood.
Herbal flavours of peppermint, orange peel and juniper berry also permeate the taste of Hogan’s Goat. The addition of rye malt contributes to a decidedly dry experience, with toasted grain, red berry juice and a sharp hickory-like note rounding things out in the finish. This lager has a medium body and light carbonation, as well as a pronounced oiliness that lingers in the aftertaste with a blend of herbal tones that bring dry gin to mind.
This strong ale, aged in Caribbean rum barrels for seven months by Cameron’s Brewing Company in Oakville, Ontario is opaque black with a small beige head that is retained as a frothy collar and leaves small streaks of lace. Obsidian Imperial Porter (Rum Barrel Aged) has an unmistakable and sharp rum tone that stands out in front of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and berry aromas as well as notes of wood, pine and roasted grains.
The taste of Obsidian Imperial Porter (Rum Barrel Aged) is similar to its robust smell. Dark Chocolate and coffee flavours are accented by red berry and wood notes. This brew is full-bodied, viscose and grainy with a small spark of carbonation and a mild creaminess. It has quite a bitter kick and a very dry finish, with rum and lemon rind permeating the aftertaste.