Yuletide Cherry Porter: Much Better than Fruitcake

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
A Juicy Character Highlights this Porter

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.

Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout: Holiday Cheer

Dubbed “Winter Beard”, this flavoured imperial stout from the Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ontario pours an opaque black with a small light brown head that gets retained as a collar and leaves little in the way of lacing. Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout has a deep, dark chocolate aroma accented by the smell of freshly picked cranberries and grains.

Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
This Amazing Seasonal is like Liquid Cake

The taste of Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout starts with a bright, slightly sweet berry taste before bitter dark chocolate, roasted malt and coffee flavours take over and linger throughout the finish. The stout is full-bodied with just enough carbonation to give off a subtle pop and a nice creamy sensation on the tongue. The aftertaste is tart, with the cranberry flavour whetting the palate for another sip.

Church-Key West Coast Pale Ale: Go West Young Man

This American IPA from the Church-Key Brewing Company in Campbellford, Ontario pours a clear golden-amber colour with a medium-sized tan head that’s quite frothy and leaves a nice bit of lace before it settles as a collared film. Church-Key West Coast Pale Ale has a very fresh aroma led by grains and floral hops. There’s an earthy tone, a bright citrus bite and a honey-like sweetness to be found as well.

Church-Key West Coast Pale Ale
West Coast Flavour From an Eastern Ontario Town

Fresh, toasted grains and a yeast-like flavour dominate the taste of Church-Key West Coast Pale Ale before a solid bitterness takes hold. A tangerine-like citrus flavour pops on the tongue and lingers through the finish. The mouthfeel is a bit thin with a moderate carbonation level. There is a light creaminess and a nice oily character on the tongue and the aftertaste is bitter, bready and earthy.

Barking Squirrel Lager: Nuts to You

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.

Barking Squirrel Lager
This Red Lager has a Nutty and Fruity Character

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: Same Old Song and Dance

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
The Label Details When and Where the Hops were Picked

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.