The flagship beer of the newly-opened Nita Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario is an American pale lager that had a clear, deep golden colour and pours with a frothy white head that is retained as a dense cap and leaves large wisps of lace behind. Thick, dewy florals, honey and lightly toasted malt aromas permeate from a glass of Ten12, along with a sweet cereal note and a fresh, grainy character that reminds me of harvesting and bagging feed on my uncle’s dairy farm.
The taste of Ten12 is decidedly crisp and refreshing, with an inviting air of light, fruity flavours like grape, apple and red cherry over an earthy and mineral-toned malt base. A surprisingly sturdy bitterness (25 IBU give or take) transitions to a slight saltiness in the finish, with honey and grain notes lingering in the aftertaste. Ten12 is quite full-bodied for a lager, with an ample amount of carbonation that never seems to dwindle.
This English-based pale ale from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario is light amber in colour with caramel-toned highlights. It pours with a large and creamy off-white head that settles as a rocky cap. Pompous Ass English Pale Ale has a bright, lemony smell with hints of black pepper and light fruit juices that compliment a toasty, toffee-sweetened base.
There is a pleasant sweetness to the taste of Pompous Ass English Pale Ale, which carries notes of caramel, milk chocolate and raisins. A sturdy bitterness precedes a rather dry finish that has notes of black tea and wildflowers. Lemon comes forward in the aftertaste of this medium-bodied, slightly grainy and effervescent ale.
St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout from McAuslan Brewing Incorporated in Montreal, Quebec is opaque and jet black, with a frothy tan coloured head that settles as a thick and rocky cap and leaves large splotches of lace on your glass. The simple yet sturdy smell of this stout carries aromas of chocolate malt and syrup, black cherry juice, oatmeal and ground coffee.
The taste of St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is full-flavoured and very well-balanced. There is a very strong chocolate character that gets accented by an earthy, grainy bitterness clocking in at 45 IBU. The oatmeal brings a bit of sourness, notes of plum and raisin mingle in the slightly woody finish and the aftertaste is assertively dry. This ale has a thick and grainy body, mild to moderate carbonation and a pleasant creaminess smooths everything out.
This American IPA from Bicycle Craft Brewery in Ottawa, Ontario is a golden-copper colour, slightly hazy in appearance and pours with a creamy, billowy off-white head that leaves large streak of lace behind and gets retained as a thick cap. Aggressively dry-hopped, Velocipede IPA is chock full of Centennial hop character and the smell is rich with aromas of lemon peel and pepper, as well as a blend of wild grass and flower notes.
The taste of Velocipede IPA is also hop forward and brings a fairly hefty bitterness (70 IBU) to the table. Light caramel and toasted malts construct the base of this medium-bodied ale, which can get a bit lost under the dominant lemon and pepper notes. Thankfully, this is alleviated somewhat as the beer starts to warm up, letting a sturdy graininess balance things out before a more juicy lemon flavour returns in the finish and transitions to dryness in the aftertaste.
A traditional English-style pub ale, Earnscliffe ESB from Dominion City Brewing Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a steely, ruby-brown colour with a small off-white head that remains as a persistent collar throughout your glass. The smell of roasted chocolate malt blends with aromas of caramel and tea biscuit to create a sturdy base, on top of which are deep plum and raisin notes, along with woody hints of pine and cedar.
Chocolate and dark toffee flavours anchor Earnscliffe ESB. The taste of plum and raisin is joined by a vinous and slightly sour grape tone that transitions to a lighter grape jelly-like character in the finish. This ale’s bitterness is spot-on and leads to a dry aftertaste with notes of chocolate and pepper. A full body and low amount of carbonation give the brew an authentic English pub feel.