This rye-based American red ale from Waller St. Brewing in Ottawa, Ontario pours a steely copper colour with amber highlights and a slight chill haze. The small and tight off-white head has decent retention, hanging around as a small collar and film. Speakeasy Red immediately struck me as hoppy for the style, with pungent pepper and grapefruit aromas popping out over earthy rye and honey-sweetened biscuit malt tones.
Rye is prevalent in the taste of Speakeasy Red, bringing a distinct sharpness and pushing the ale’s sturdy bitterness to the forefront. Juicy citrus and red berry characteristics are complemented by grassy and zesty notes before a rather dry finish takes hold. The ale is mildly carbonated and full-bodied, giving the illusion of a much stronger brew despite a relatively tame ABV of 4.4%.
This radler from Kichesippi Beer Co. In Ottawa, Ontario is a hazy goldenrod colour and pours with a loose white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small chain link of bubbles behind as a collar. Kichesippi Radler is anchored by lightly toasted German malts that emanate sweet and warm caramel and honey tones. The expected grapefruit aroma is far more subtle than other radlers and is complimented nicely by grassy hop notes (no, really).
The taste of Kichesippi Radler is more grapefruit forward and though the citrus fruit flavour is far from dominant, it does provide a refreshingly sharp bite. The well-crafted malt base reminds you that you’re drinking an honest-to-goodness beer and leaves sweet and toasty characteristics in the aftertaste along with dry notes of citrus peel and pith. The beer has a medium body and a modest level of carbonation along with a mildly grainy and surprisingly un-syrupy mouthfeel.
Bentley Brewers Copper Lager from Brewer’s Delight, Inc. in Ottawa, Ontario is a clear golden copper colour and pours with a soapy white head that hangs around as a mossy cap. This Vienna lager has deep aromas of toffee-sweetened malt, juicy stone fruit and biscuit, along with more subtle notes of lemongrass and minerals.
The sturdy and well-balanced taste of Bentley Brewers Copper Lager is built on an earthy, yet smooth malt base with light toffee and cocoa accents, as well as a light lemon tone that keeps things from being too heavy on the tongue and palate. Bitterness becomes more prevalent in the finish of the medium-bodied lager, while mineral, salt and citrus notes linger in the crisp aftertaste.
The second retail release from Ottawa’s Big Rig Brewery is Release the Hounds Black IPA. Also referred to as a Cascadian dark ale, the beer is black and completely opaque. A large and creamy tan head leaves web-like lacing as it settles into a long-lasting and rocky cap. This hybrid ale has a rich and roasty smell, with deep coffee and dark chocolate aromas joined by bright notes of cherry juice and lemon peel, along with a pleasant air of dewy grass.
The roasted character megers with a thick sweetness in the taste of Release the Hounds Black IPA, which is balanced by dry and bitter chocolate and coffee flavours. Punchy notes of citrus and pine bring along a sturdy bitterness (I’d guess 60-70 IBU) and there’s a hint of salt in the finish. The aftertaste of this full-bodied ale has roasted grain and dark toffee flavours that tend to linger.
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.