The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale from McAuslan Brewing Incorporated in Montréal, Quebéc pours a clear honey-copper colour with a large light beige head that doesn’t leave much, if any lace before settling as a thin collar that’s present throughout the glass. This limited-release seasonal offering smells of a spice blend that includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves over a caramel malt body with a faint pumpkin aroma.
The spice blend also dominates the taste of The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale. Sweet malts are kept in check by a nice hoppy bitterness and a mild pumpkin flavour. The beer finishes with a dry, wheat-like tone. The Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale is medium-bodied with a low to medium carbonation level. It creates a slightly oily, bread-like feeling on the tongue and has a crisp, grainy and spicy aftertaste.
Goliath from the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire, UK pours a clear golden-amber colour with a large frothy white head that gets retained as a thick film and leaves a fair amount of lace behind. This mild English pale ale has a mild, yet malty aroma with a ripened fruit tone that reminds me of white grapes and a definite toasted character.
Goliath has a malt forward taste with a strong grape or cherry-like fruit tone. A somewhat surprising alcohol taste comes through in the bitter finish, along with a subtle metallic or mineral quality. The ale has a rather thin body with a moderate carbonation level. A nice creamy sensation with a slightly yeasty character can be felt on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry with a fresh, grainy quality to it.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest from the Boston Beer Company in Massachusetts pours a very nice amber-ruby colour with a rather large off-white head that burns off quickly without leaving much lace, but gets retained as a fairly thick collar. This traditional German-style lager has a surprisingly hop-centric aroma over a solid base of caramel malts. There is some bread-like character and a hint of plum, but it’s kind of muted over all.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest tastes primarily of toasted caramel malts and has a brown bread quality. The beer has a nice balance between sweet and bitter, and a slight lemon zest character comes through in the dry finish. It is fairly thin-bodied with a medium carbonation level and a dry, syrupy resin feeling on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter with a slight floral note.
Red Leaf Lager from the Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto, Ontario pours a nice copper-amber colour with a rather small white head that has good retention and a fair amount of visible carbonation. This American amber lager has a very malt laden aroma. Chestnut, caramel and a plum-like fruit tone are accompanied by toasted note and a nutmeg-like spiciness.
The taste of Red Leaf Lager is relatively sweet with characteristics similar to the aroma. Dark toffee malts with a plum or red grape-like fruit tone backed by a fatty, nutty flavour and a hint of chocolate. The beer is thin-bodied, giving off a prickly pop on the front of the tongue before a creamy sensation takes over. There is a bit of a syrupy, resin-like feeling to the aftertaste, but it’s clean overall with a hint of fresh grains.
This West Coast-style American IPA from the Paddock Wood Brewing Company in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan pours a clear, rusty amber colour with a generous light tan-coloured head that takes a good 7-10 minutes to burn off, leaving a healthy amount of lace and a small collar in its wake. 606 IPA smells of caramel-sweetened, toasted malts and has lemon, pineapple and orange citrus notes. A dark floral tone and a hint of earth come through as well.
606 IPA is fairly well-balanced, though a syrupy, dark caramel taste is most prevalent. The beer has a nice, bright tangerine-like citrus tang at first, a dark fruit like cherry taste on the tongue and a crisp, lemon zest note to the finish. It is medium-bodied with a perceivably low carbonation. A long-lasting collar provides a creaminess on the tongue before a suitably oily aftertaste takes over.