This traditional English stout from the Black Creek Historic Brewery in Toronto, Ontario pours an opaque black with a spongy, tan coloured head that gets retained as a frothy collar and leaves some spotty lacing. Black Creek Stout has a thick aroma with smoky wood and roasted grains backed by a fatty, nutty tone. A soft and appealing chocolate smell also comes through, along with hints of coffee and dark fruit after warming.
Black Creek Stout tastes of thick, roasted chocolate malts and burnt coffee, with a defined oak-like wood flavour and a hint of smoke. The finish is very dry and bitter. This stout is full-bodied and thick with a low carbonation, but still delivers a nice pop on the front of the tongue. It takes on a heavy, bready character, but the aftertaste is fairly clean with subtle smoky and earthy notes.
The appearance of Bog Water from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario certainly lives up to its name. This gruit ale pours a murky, sludgy rust red and copper brown mixture with an off-white head that burns off almost immediately, leaving a thin ring and almost no lace. Bog Water has a very smooth and appealing aroma anchored by earthy grains, grasses and malts. Sweet flowers, raisin, banana, spices and a bit of an overripe pear note also come through.
Bog Water tastes of honey sweetened flowers with a syrupy malt backing. A solid bitterness takes over, then grassy and flowery tones come through in the finish. The wild ale is medium-bodied with a very low carbonation, with both syrupy and yeasty qualities noticeable on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter, with a floral taste and a sort of medicinal quality.
Yuletide Cherry Porter from the Barley Days Brewery in Picton, Ontario pours an opaque black with a deep, brownish red visible around the edges and a small tan coloured head that hangs on as a thin collar and leaves a fair amount of lacing. This seasonal beer smells like dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans and fresh, unripened cherries. Its aroma has a liqueur or boxed chocolate feel about it.
Yuletide Cherry Porter tastes like freshly ground bitter coffee, with a strong chocolate tone behind it. Juicy dark cherry and plum-like fruit flavours are very bright and are mellowed by a slightly woody finish that carries a roasted note. The porter is medium-bodied with a low carbonation. Yeast creates a subtle prickly, but creamy sensation on the tongue and the bright fruit tones linger in a moderately bitter aftertaste.
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.
Dunkel Buck from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario pours a hazy nut brown colour with a rusty orange tone around the edges. A very frothy, tan-coloured head takes a while to burn off, leaving minimal lacing behind and a nice, thick collar and film.
This dark, strong and unfiltered German ale has strong fruit tones in its smell. Banana and bubble gum notes are joined by a plum or cherry-like smell and a hint of cloves. A honey-like sweetness and alcohol come though after warming.
The taste of Dunkel Buck follow suit with a slightly sweet, fatty banana flavour taking the lead. The beer is backed by a toasted wheat taste and a cocoa or roasted baker’s chocolate tone that fills out the body and lends a nice bitterness to the finish. The mouthfeel is quite creamy thanks to the long-lasting collar and sediment, while managing to not come off as too thick.
There is a low carbonation but a mild prickly sensation occurs on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry and tart, with a peppery note and the warming effects of the alcohol coming through on the back of the tongue and throat.