Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus from Sawdust City Brewing Company in Gravenhurst, Ontario is completely opaque black with a creamy dark beige head that is retained as a stringy collar and leaves long swaths of lace on the glass that appear to drip like spray paint. This Russian imperial stout predominantly smells like coffee and dark chocolate with a syrupy and cordial-like fruit tone, woody hints of pine and fir and an unmistakable whiff of alcohol.
The taste of Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus is uncommonly dry, which allows rich chocolate, pepper and coffee flavours to poke through individually and then blend together. A deceptively strong bitterness is balanced by thick notes of cherry, anise and blueberry. Though the finish of this full-bodied and grainy ale a bit hot, it’s not too out of line and leads to an aftertaste of lemon oil that helps to refresh the palate somewhat.
The Wayward Son from Radical Road Brewing in Toronto, Ontario is light amber in colour with tinges of old gold and a loose, but creamy white head that tends to leave thick swathes of lace and settles as a thin but frothy collar. This Belgian strong pale ale is matured in Ontario sourced pinot noir wine barrels and has a pungent smell. Sour, rotting apple and grape tones converge with candi sugar-sweetened malts converge to create an air of apple crisp or rhubarb pie. Hints of yeast and pine contribute to an overall outdoorsy character.
The taste of The Wayward Son brings to mind a union of fresh, crusty white bread, red wine and a honey-soaked bran muffin. The ale has a yeasty and creamy mouthfeel with mild viscosity and carbonation. Mildly sour crab apple and grape notes create a dry finish while a juicy hint of the pinot noir barrels lingers in the back of the throat.
This English brown ale from the Black Oak Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario pours a deep, rusty brown colour with ruby tones. A moderately-sized light tan-coloured head gets retained as a collar and film while leaving some spotty lacing. Black Oak Nut Brown Ale has a strong nutty aroma that reminds me of hazelnut or acorns, with a ripened, cherry-like fruit tone backing it up. Dark, bready malts and fresh grain notes poke through as the ale warms.
Black Oak Nut Brown Ale tastes of thick, slightly sweet dark malts at first with a nicely-balanced crispness as it passes the tongue. Thick, oily nuts and unsweetened dark chocolate come through in the finish. The beer is medium-bodied with a mild, but noticeable carbonation on the tongue. It goes down creamy thanks to the long-lasting collar and has a nice, bitter tartness to the aftertaste.