Grindstone Amber Ale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a fairly light golden-amber colour and pours with a tight, creamy white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a thin film behind. The smell of this American red ale is punctuated by various citrus tones such as lemon and tangerine, which are sharp against a sweet toffee malt base.
That toffee character anchors the taste of Grindstone Amber Ale, which also carries notes of light berry and grape juices. A semi-sweet chocolate flavour is balanced by a solid, lemony bitterness that comes forward in the finish and checks in at 25 IBU. The aftertaste goes dry, but still holds a hint of light caramel. The ale is full-bodied and grainy with a moderate carbonation level. It’s certainly hearty, but not too filling as to discourage a second pint.
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.
A spiced farmhouse ale, Earl Grey Marmalade Saison from Dominion City Brewing Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a hazy tangerine shade of orange with a small white head that leaves a few spots of lace and hangs around as a collar that persists until the end of your glass. Aromas of light pilsner malt and honey are accompanied by notes of orange zest, bergamot and an inviting sweet scent that brings to mind wildflowers in the rain.
The taste of Earl Grey Marmalade Saison is clean, with a minimal amount of “farmhouse funk” and based around sweet, bright malts. There isn’t a whole lot of tea flavour at first, but there’s no mistaking the dryness it imparts. This medium-bodied ale is also surprisingly bitter, likely from the addition of orange zest and pith. The peppery Earl Grey character really sneaks up on you, becomes prevalent in the finish and lingers throughout the aftertaste along with a mild earthy note.
This American IPA from Dominion City Brewing Company in Ottawa, Ontario is fairly dark for its style, pouring a hazy tone somewhere between amber and ruby. A soapy, off-white head leaves small swaths of lace and settles into a yarn-like collar. Two Flags IPA has big pine and citrus peel aromas, an unmistakable pineapple scent and a peppery note that sit atop a hearty chocolate and toffee malt base.
That blend of rich malts in Two Flags IPA, along with hints of burnt sugar and coffee combine to remind me the taste of a popular candy that rhymes with “Footsie Toll”. This ale has a great, distinctive transition from dark malt, to sweet berry flavours to a moderately bitter grapefruit tone. Two Flags IPA is full-bodied, has a fairly mellow level of carbonation and a resinous slickness that lingers in the aftertaste.