This American pale ale from Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario is hazy and pencil yellow colour, with a fairly small, but creamy off-white head that leaves a stringy collar and some lace when settled. The smell of Crosswind Pale Ale is built on a chocolaty roasted malt base and accented by aromas of toasted oats and rice, butterscotch, grapefruit and limestone.
Crosswind Pale Ale is led by earthy, roasted grains in its taste and is countered by a punchy grapefruit flavour that brings with it a moderate bitterness. I also get hints of chocolate, light nuts and a tart note in the finish that reminds me of lemon seed. A medium body and carbonation, as well as a fairly resinous and earthy mouthfeel give way to a sharp, mineral-like aftertaste.
The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale from McAuslan Brewing Incorporated in Montréal, Quebéc pours a clear honey-copper colour with a large light beige head that doesn’t leave much, if any lace before settling as a thin collar that’s present throughout the glass. This limited-release seasonal offering smells of a spice blend that includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves over a caramel malt body with a faint pumpkin aroma.
The spice blend also dominates the taste of The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale. Sweet malts are kept in check by a nice hoppy bitterness and a mild pumpkin flavour. The beer finishes with a dry, wheat-like tone. The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale is medium-bodied with a low to medium carbonation level. It creates a slightly oily, bread-like feeling on the tongue and has a crisp, grainy and spicy aftertaste.
This rich, dark beer from the Mill Street Brewery in downtown Toronto, Ontario has real brewed Balzac’s Coffee added during the brewing process. Coffee Porter pours a deep, almost black, ruby-brown colour with a sizable, but fleeting sandy brown head. I find the beer has a surprisingly bubbly mouthfeel, imparting an unexpected, crisp freshness.
Mill Street Brewery Coffee Porter carries a typical deep malt aroma with strong chocolate syrup notes and a hint of smoky wood. The rich, malty and syrupy taste common to porters is very well-balanced by the bitterness of the coffee and a smoke-tinged, slightly fruity aftertaste.
Hoptical Illusion from the flying Monkeys Craft Brewery in Barrie, Ontario is described as an “Almost Pale Ale” by its makers. This unique spin on a classic recipe pours a rich, rusty amber colour with a thin, but lingering beige head. It has a very appealing roasted malt aroma with hints of citrus and spice.
A very hop-forward taste packs a tangy bite up front. Hoptical Illusion has a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel despite a seemingly high carbonation level. It finishes with grapefruit-like citrus tones and carries a nice bitterness throughout.
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.