English Bay Pale Ale: Pales in Comparison

This American pale ale from Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver, British Columbia pours a rusty amber tone with a definite brown tone. A sizable, frothy tan head burns off quickly leaving no lace behind before settling as a thin film and collar. English Bay Pale Ale smells of nuts and fresh grains, with mild butter, ripened fruit and alcohol notes taking shape as it warms.

English Bay Pale Ale
I Couldn't Find Much to Like in this American Pale Ale

English Bay Pale Ale tastes of buttery toffee or caramel before a solid nuttiness takes over. It’s very sweet in the finish with an odd, cloying metallic tinge to it. The beer is thin and watery overall with a slightly yeasty and creamy sensation on the tongue coming from a light carbonation and long-lasting collar. There is an out of place sour sensation found in the aftertaste that is quite unappealing.

Hockley Dark: A Light in the Dark

This English-style brown ale from the Hockley Valley Brewing Company in Orangeville, Ontario pours a dark cherry and brown cola-looking colour with a moderate, frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a collar. Hockley Dark smells like bitter dark chocolate, dark toffee and ripened dark fruit like cherries or blackberries. Wood notes as well as a root beer-esque syrup tone come through after warming.

Hockley Dark
This Dark English Ale is Characterized by Wood and Chocolate Tones

Hockley Dark tastes again like bitter dark chocolate at first. Buttery toffee comes through on the tongue before a solid crispness finishes. The beer is fairly mild overall, it’s rather light on the tongue and leaves a smoky, woody aftertaste. It’s smooth enough, but not something I’d want more than one or two of.

Black Creek Stout: Taste the Pioneer Spirit

This traditional English stout from the Black Creek Historic Brewery in Toronto, Ontario pours an opaque black with a spongy, tan coloured head that gets retained as a frothy collar and leaves some spotty lacing. Black Creek Stout has a thick aroma with smoky wood and roasted grains backed by a fatty, nutty tone. A soft and appealing chocolate smell also comes through, along with hints of coffee and dark fruit after warming.

Black Creek Stout
Smoke and Wood Notes Accent the Taste of Black Creek Stout

Black Creek Stout tastes of thick, roasted chocolate malts and burnt coffee, with a defined oak-like wood flavour and a hint of smoke. The finish is very dry and bitter. This stout is full-bodied and thick with a low carbonation, but still delivers a nice pop on the front of the tongue. It takes on a heavy, bready character, but the aftertaste is fairly clean with subtle smoky and earthy notes.

Russian Gun imperial Stout: Pull the Trigger

Russian Gun Imperial Stout from Grand River Brewing in Cambridge, Ontario pours an opaque black, with dark ruby visible around the extreme edges of the glass. This strong brew has a creamy and soapy tan coloured head that leaves a ton of lace behind and settles as a thick film. The deep and complex aroma of Russian Gun Imperial Stout has strong notes of roasted malts, espresso and dark chocolate, along with a plum-like fruit tone and a piney bitterness.

Russian Gun Imperial Stout
This strong Beer is Loaded with Character

The taste of Russian Gun Imperial stout is anchored by a bitter roasted coffee-like flavour accented by baker’s chocolate and dark fruit juice. The stout is full-bodied with the long-lasting head providing an extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The finish is bitter, with a chocolate tone that lingers in the aftertaste.

Bog Water: A Murky Situation

The appearance of Bog Water from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario certainly lives up to its name. This gruit ale pours a murky, sludgy rust red and copper brown mixture with an off-white head that burns off almost immediately, leaving a thin ring and almost no lace. Bog Water has a very smooth and appealing aroma anchored by earthy grains, grasses and malts. Sweet flowers, raisin, banana, spices and a bit of an overripe pear note also come through.

Bog Water
This Wild Ale is One of Ontario's Most Creative Beers

Bog Water tastes of honey sweetened flowers with a syrupy malt backing. A solid bitterness takes over, then grassy and flowery tones come through in the finish. The wild ale is medium-bodied with a very low carbonation, with both syrupy and yeasty qualities noticeable on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter, with a floral taste and a sort of medicinal quality.