A spiced imperial stout from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Channel Ocho is opaque black and pours with a large, creamy, tan-coloured head that leaves swathes of lace and hangs around as a tight collar and film. There is a lot going on in the smell of Channel Ocho. Smoke is front and centre, with notes of clove, red pepper, plum, cinnamon and banana all coming through behind it. The ale also has a sort of chemical edge to it (likely from chipotle peppers) that softens as it warms.
The taste of Channel Ocho is quite spicy, particularly in the warming finish. Along the way, flavours of dark chocolate, black and white pepper, wet mushroom, and dark fruit like fig or raisin can be found in the full-bodied, mildly carbonated and very earthy feeling ale. The burn of white pepper lingers in the aftertaste along with a note of fresh grass.
This spiced bock from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a clear ruby tinted orange colour and pours with a spongy off white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a stringy collar and a few spots of lace in its wake. Hogan's Goat is ripe with earthy, herbal and outdoorsy aromas like juniper, mint and pine oil standing out against a sweet malt backdrop with a hint of wood.
Herbal flavours of peppermint, orange peel and juniper berry also permeate the taste of Hogan's Goat. The addition of rye malt contributes to a decidedly dry experience, with toasted grain, red berry juice and a sharp hickory-like note rounding things out in the finish. This lager has a medium body and light carbonation, as well as a pronounced oiliness that lingers in the aftertaste with a blend of herbal tones that bring dry gin to mind.
The second edition of the Best of Beau’s Mix pack has made its way around Ontario in time for the holiday shopping season. Fans voted earlier this year to chose which four one-off beers would be re-brewed and included in the package. Interestingly, three of them were born from the Vankleek Hill, Ontario brewery’s Pro-Am Series for which they collaborate with homebrewers.
Screamin’ Beaver is the only beer to return from the 2012 Best of Beau’s Mix pack and is joined by the Pro-Am Series favourites Burnt Rock Vanilla Porter, Doc's Feet Dubbel and Rudolphus VI. Below you will find my reviews of all four beers as well as some pairing suggestions.
This milk stout from Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is opaque black and pours with a very creamy tan coloured head that doesn't stick around long, but leaves a tidy collar behind along with a few spots of lace. The Tom Green Beer! is thick with aromas of ground coffee, dark fruits such as cherry and plum and chocolate, with outdoorsy notes of musty wood and fresh tobacco.
The taste of The Tom Green Beer! has an undeniable sharpness to it when it first hits your tongue and plays out much like the smell. Coffee, chocolate and dark fruit flavours are warmed by a woodsy accent, before a suitable sweetness takes over in the finish. This ale has a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel despite its full body and grainy undertone. A mild oiliness helps to ease the brew down, leaving subtle chocolate and cedar tones behind in the aftertaste.
The 2013 Vankleek Hill Oktoberfest presented by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company is just around the corner. Last year the award-winning brewery put together a commemorative six pack that was made available during and after the Oktoberfest celebration and I was a big fan of the beers that they included.
Building off of this idea, the team at Beau’s decided to offer a Mix Pack containing four of the beers that will be available at the 2013 event a few weeks beforehand. It’s basically a “best of” package to promote their signature event and it’s being distributed to LCBO stores all over the province. I'll briefly review the four beers and preview the annual festivities, which are set to take place rain or shine on October 4th and 5th at the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds.