Town & Country Blonde Ale from Dominion City Brewing Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a clear golden colour and has a small white head that dissipates in a hurry, leaving a stringy collar behind. The American-style ale smells of fresh barley, with a light floral or perfume note, one of dry apricot and a honey-like sweetness that has a bit of a maple edge. I also got a faint vegetal whiff that reminded me of green peas.
The taste of Town & Country Blonde Ale is fairly sweet and carries the same apricot/stone fruit character as the smell. The grainy body is fantastic and fresh tasting, while restrained hopping lends a grassy bitterness and soft lemon pith tone to the finish. The aftertaste is quite clean, with some residual grain flavours. A medium body and mild carbonation level make this ale feel hearty, yet easygoing.
Underdog Pale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a chill hazed golden colour with orange tinges and pours with a creamy off-white head that leaves thick, web-like lacing behind as it settles into a thin cap on your glass. This American pale ale is bursting with tropical fruit aromas like mango and passionfruit, with notes of honey and light caramel malts, as well as a hint of pine resin.
The taste of Underdog Pale is firmly anchored by an earthy grain character that is complemented by citrus peel and honey flavours, along with a moderate bitterness. A peppery tone comes forward in the finish of this lightly carbonated and slightly syrupy feeling ale that is on the thinner side of medium-bodied. Grain and mineral notes return in the aftertaste, which is quite dry.
This extra special bitter from Beyond The Pale Brewing Company in Ottawa is a hazy, rusty brown colour and pours with a creamy white head that leaves a few small spots of lace on your glass and hangs around as a thin collar. Breaking Bitter has a breadlike smell, with aromas of fresh and toasted grain accented by notes of wild grasses, raspberry jam and hints of citrus and pine.
The taste of Breaking Bitter has a nice toasted character, with grainy flavours that bring breads, biscuits and bran muffins to mind. This ale is very well-balanced with an amount of bitterness in the finish that I consider to be spot on. The beer is full-bodied with mild carbonation and a slight oiliness. A dry lemon rind and pith flavour comes out in the aftertaste.
Wishart’s ESB from Clocktower Brew Pub in Ottawa, Ontario is a deep, rusty amber colour with streaks of gold throughout. A frothy, light tan head settles as a climbing collar and thin film while leaving small spots of lace on your glass. Chocolate and toffee malts anchor the smell of this English ale, with notes of plum, roasted grain and lemon pith rounding it out.
The taste of Wishart’s ESB brings forth fruity esters that remind me of plum, black cherry and lemon, as well as a flavour not unlike black tea. This full-bodied and lightly carbonated ale carries a moderate, yet sharp and mineral-like bitterness. Chocolate and coffee notes in the finish lead to a dry aftertaste with hints of pepper and grapefruit.
This English IPA from Kichesippi Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a lovely golden amber colour, with a large and creamy off-white head settles as a collar and rocky film while leaving thick rings of cascading lace. Wuchak UK smells prominently of caramel sweetened grains, both fresh and toasted, with accents of red berry, lemon zest and coffee.
The taste of Wuchak UK is also anchored by grainy tones, with notes of baker’s chocolate, berry, honey, lemon and black tea. A bitterness that is spot-on in terms of amplitude takes hold in the finish of this easy-drinking, mildly carbonated and medium-bodied ale, while hints of citrus and minerals linger in the aftertaste.