Beyond The Pale Brewing Company opened its doors at 5 Hamilton Avenue North in Ottawa, Ontario on November 29, 2012, though it’s inception began about two years earlier when avid homebrewer Shane Clark and his longtime friend Rob McIsaac, a Harvard and Cornell University graduate, were lamenting the fact that Ontario, in particular Ottawa-area breweries were well behind the craft beer scenes of neighbours such as Michigan and New York in terms of creativity and bold beer styles being available.
With a lot of hard work, physical labour, jury-rigging of equipment and some planning help from Shane’s dad Al, the partners set up a brewing facility that yields roughly 400 litres per batch in a space formerly filled with storage lockers. Though a somewhat risky endeavour, Beyond The Pale Brewing Company launched with four beers, whereas most new microbreweries start with one or maybe two on offer.
Shane and Rob started with a list of 12 recipes and whittled it down until they simply couldn’t eliminate any more. If early indications are anything to go by, they chose the right beers to go with and their launch was extremely successful. There were already five patrons seated at the tasting bar when I got there half an hour after opening and by the time I left an hour later I had seen probably 40-50 bottles go out the door.
They had someone restocking the fridge constantly, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sell out on occasion (which they did their first weekend). I reviewed all four beers in the order that they appear on the brewery’s tasting list.
A rarely-brewed style of American Porter that originated in Pennsylvania in the early 1900s, Kichesippi Logger from Kichesippi Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a nut brown and ruby colour with a frothy beige head that persists as a thin collar and leaves some heavy lace behind. Kichesippi Logger has a woody and nutty smell, with a solid whiff of lager yeast, dark fruit and cocoa accents and a light toastiness about it.
The taste of Kichesippi Logger really shows its lagered roots with a crisp bite. Ripe fruit, chocolate and wood flavours are present and a fairly strong bitterness is found in the finish. The mouthfeel is typically thin and yeast creates a tangy sensation on the tongue. The aftertaste is mildly syrupy with lingering fruit and chocolate notes.
Ambre de la Chaudière from Mill Street Brewery’s Ottawa Brewpub pours a hazy, rusty orange colour with amber tinges and a moderate tan coloured head that gets retained as a string-like collar and leaves some spotty lace behind. This Bière de Garde smells of wheat, grains, yeast, banana and bubble gum and it has a subtle hint of alcohol.
Ambre de la Chaudière has a deep taste of biscuit-like grains with a toasted, earthy character. Sweet, fruity accents of strawberry and banana and an assertive boozy bite round out the taste. The unfiltered beer is full-bodied with a low carbonation level. Yeast provides a pop on the tongue before a bready character takes over. The finish has a nice dryness and the aftertaste has a honey-like flavour and syrupy quality.
This American blonde ale from the Kichesippi Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a deep and clear golden yellow colour with a small white collar of a head that gets retained well and leaves some spotty lacing. Freshly cut grains and toasted light malts dominate the aroma of Kichesippi Natural Blonde and are accented by a soft, honey-like sweetness as well as a subtle fruit character.
Kichesippi Natural Blonde has a surprisingly rich and balanced taste for its style. The toasted malts and honey sweetness are joined by notes of floral and soapy hops, a hint of berry juice and a good wallop of bitterness comes through in the finish. Also somewhat surprising is the hearty, bready mouthfeel; though a medium-heavy carbonation eases the beer over the tongue. The aftertaste has a certain syrupy sweetness to it, but then fades away crisply and cleanly.