This American brown ale from Toronto’s Left Field Brewery is a deep, dark and mostly opaque brown, with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass like a root beer or cola. A billowy mocha-tinted head settles in as a long-lasting soapy cap and leaves small islands of lace behind. Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale carries dark malt notes of coffee and chocolate that intertwine with berry-like yeast and oatmeal aromas, as well as a soft hint of roasted tree nuts. There is also an assertive hoppiness to the smell that brings forward pleasant citrus and grassy tones along with an air of freshwater.
The taste of Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale almost waivers towards a Black IPA, where the richness of the chocolate and coffee tones becomes more apparent, a toffee-like sweetness appears and the citrus-heavy, somewhat earthy hop notes really pop forth with a crisp bitterness that checks in at 35 IBU. Notes of strawberry jam and cooked oatmeal come through in the finish of this light and creamy feeling brew and linger on the palate between sips. To be succinct, this beer tastes like it smells, but more so.
Honey Ginger Shandy from Old Tomorrow Ltd. in Toronto, Ontario is a beautiful golden hue and pours with a loose and spongy white head that tends to leave small islands of lace on the glass. Ginger and botanical extract aromas waft from this blend of beer and ginger ale, along with notes of honey, lemon oil and sharp citric acid.
The taste of Old Tomorrow Honey Ginger Shandy is definitely on the sweet side and carries a solid ginger bite. We aren’t talking Jamaican ginger beer, but it has a defined tang and packs a touch of heat. There is a mild undertone of earthy grains, but ginger takes centre stage here. The beer has a medium body and is fairly viscose, though there’s plenty of fine carbonation to help it from feeling overly sticky as the honey flavour comes through in the finish. A faint lemonade character and hint of florals linger in the aftertaste.
Look: Hazy, honey coloured. Airy and light white head settles as a small, puffy collar. Long streaks of lace.
Smell: Light honey malts. Red fife wheat and spelt are prevalent, bringing a vague sourness and earthy character. Hints of apple, pear, sweet white wine. Mild funk.
Taste: Crisp, dry and earthy. Soft honey sweetness countered by sharp lemon, orange and vinous notes. Finish is very dry, lingering lemon in the aftertaste.
Mouth: Medium to full body. Relatively soft carbonation, fairly viscose, earthy and a bit chewy.
Opinion: Very rustic take on the style. The grain bill is quite hearty, Cascade hops are well used and keep the beer from feeling too heavy. Not a lot of funk, but enough yeasty life on the tongue to give it some pop.
Food: Charcuterie, green or white grapes, creamy cheeses, lighter nuts, soft white bread. Note: Amsterdam Brewing Company provided me with a bottle of Home Grown Saison for evaluation.
Sweetwater Squeeze Radler from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is made with blood orange and grapefruit juices, as well as the brewery’s house made soda. This flavoured light beer is golden orange in colour with a turbid appearance. It pours with a loose white head and tends to leave bits of pulp on your glass.
Unmistakably bright aromas of grapefruit and blood orange are weighed down somewhat by an earthy rind tone and there is a hint of lake water to be found. The not-from-concentrate juice flavours burst forth on your tongue and despite the addition of soda, Sweetwater Squeeze Radler is relatively dry and tart, with a hint of sourness before an acidic aftertaste takes over.
This American Pale Ale from Amsterdam Brewing Company in Toronto, Ontario is a clear and bright golden colour, pouring with a loose white head that’s retained as a small collar and thin film. Cruiser All Day Pale Ale has a pungent and earthy smell, with sharp aromas of black pepper and lemongrass, a relatively neutral umami note, sweet mango and just a hint of ammonia—think cat pee, but in a good way.
When fresh, the taste of Cruiser All Day Pale Ale can be pretty intense. Citrus flavours include lemongrass, yuzu peel and tangerine and are all backed up by a punchy pepper note. A toasty toffee and caramel malt base is light enough to showcase the blend of Citra and Sorachi Ace hops, but not so delicate as to get lost.
Notes of mango and yellow honeydew come forward in the finish, while a mild lemon peel tone lingers in the aftertaste. Cruiser All Day Pale Ale has a light-medium body and is moderately carbonated with fine champagne-like bubbles.