The flagship beer of the Mill Street Brewery Ottawa Brewpub is a cream ale that pours a slightly pale golden colour with a frothy white head that leaves a healthy amount of lace behind as it settles and gets retained as a thin, collared cap. Portage Ale smells mostly of sweet grains, wheat and yeast. There is a strong juice-like tone that hovers between raspberry, cherry and grape, and a slight hint of alcohol on the nose.
The taste of Portage Ale is rather sweet as well, with grains making up the bulk of the body. There is a strong grassy tone, a certain grape or apple juice-like flavour, as well as subtle milk chocolate and red berry notes. The ale is medium-bodied with a high carbonation level and is quite creamy on the tongue thanks to a distinct yeast character. The finish is dry and the aftertaste has lingering yeast and raw grain tones.
HogsBack Vintage Lager from the HogsBack Brewing Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a very nice clear golden colour with a respectable and foamy white head that leaves a fair about of lacing before settling as a collar.
This beer has a relatively hoppy and surprisingly “boozy” aroma with some tangy citrus notes. It also has a sort of dank, earthy smell to it, common to many Ontario craft-brewed beers. Thankfully, these “moldy” traits lighten as the beer warms a bit.
The mouthfeel of HogsBack Vintage Lager is quite bubbly, making for a smooth and refreshing drinkability. The taste itself is more bitter than I’d expect upfront and remains that way, but it also carries a robust malty sweetness in the finish thanks to a three malt blend. I also get faint wood tones in the aftertaste.