Moroccan Brown Ale from Spearhead Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is nut brown in colour, with streaks of rust and ruby and a small tan coloured head that leaves small spots of lace and hangs around as a tight collar and cap. This fruit and spice infused American brown ale has a very inviting blend of fruitcake, raisin, hazelnut, roasted coffee and freshwater aromas.
The blend of dark fruits used in the brewing of Moroccan Brown Ale is at the forefront of its taste and the fig, date and raisin flavours are deftly tied together by a touch of cinnamon. A warm and dry chocolaty tone encapsulates the finish, with the dryness persisting throughout the aftertaste along with a shiraz-like red wine flavour. This ale is fairly thin and low in carbonation, but also carries mild oily and grainy characteristics.
Mike’s Authentic Shandy from Mike’s Hard Lemonade Company in Chicago, Illinois pours a cloudy pale yellow colour that unsurprisingly looks like diluted lemon juice, with a loose white head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves sparse lacing. This lemonade and lager mix has a fairly mild, yet overly sweet and syrupy lemon smell. The only hints of lager come from a dirty metallic note and distinct whiff of corn.
The taste of Mike’s Authentic Shandy is also quite sweet and dominated by what I can best describe as a concentrated, “hypernatural” lemon flavour. This shandy is medium-bodied with lots of fine carbonation, but is extremely syrupy on the tongue and teeth. Some tartness is perceived in the finish, but is swallowed by the sweetness provided by a seemingly unhealthy amount of glucose-fructose that lingers throughout the aftertaste and gets joined by a biting, metallic and chemical-like flavour.
Rickard’s Shandy from Molson Coors Canada pours a pale, cloudy straw colour with a loose white head that burns off quickly, leaves no lace and has minimal retention. This hybrid of lemonade and lager smells like freshly sliced lemon, lime juice and has a very light, grainy malt tone.
The taste of Rickard’s Shandy strikes a fine balance between tart lemon and sweet toasted malt flavours. There are notes of earth and lime as well. This beer has a very thin body and moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel has a syrupy quality, but the finish is tart and leaves my mouth feeling dry, with a mild and somewhat dirty lemon rind flavour in the aftertaste.
He will be bringing beers from some of Europe’s oldest and most respected breweries including Erdinger Weissbräu and Affligem Brouweij. I had the chance to chat with Mr. McClelland about the brands he will be sampling at the show and the import business in general. I’ll also briefly review the beers in his company’s Ontario retail portfolio.
This flavoured American porter from The Cannery Brewing Company in Penticton, British Columbia is dark brown and ruby in colour and yields a thick, frothy beige head when poured that leaves some chunky lace and has great retention. Cannery Blackberry Porter has a bright and juicy fruit aroma that brings to mind not only blackberry, but cherry and raspberry as well. The backing is very dark, smelling of coffee, cocoa and roasted grain.
The taste of Cannery Blackberry Porter is anchored by a rich and malty blend of chocolate and toffee flavours, with blackberry not only contributing to the taste, but adding a sturdy tartness to the brew that remains throughout the finish. The porter is full-bodied with a creamy, yet grainy mouthfeel. Sweet fruit and bitter chocolate and coffee notes linger in the aftertaste.