This kölsch from Hockley Valley Brewing Company in Orangeville, Ontario is a clear and bright golden colour with a thin but persistent cap of frothy white head that caps a steady stream of bubbles emanating from the bottom of your glass. Hockley 100 has extremely faint aromas of fresh grains and sour white grape, with a honey note and the unmistakable, buttery smell of diacetyl.
The taste of Hockley 100 is almost imperceptible at first, with flavours of syrup, light grains, red berry juice and grape struggling to make their presence felt against a bitter metallic note that is woefully unbalanced. This ale has a thin body with a slight creaminess, but mostly just feels like watered down syrup in the mouth. The finish is rather dry with an unappealing and dirty earth note in the aftertaste.
2012 was a pretty good year in terms of both the quality and quantity of regularly-brewed Ontario craft beers hitting the shelves at one’s local LCBO or The Beer Store. I selected 12 of them to quantify as favourites, with a few caveats. First, the beers had to be listed at at least 25 retail outlets.
The beers had to be ones that I’ve published a review for, not just tried at a show or festival. Seasonal and one-off beers were not considered, I’ll try to make a list of those next. Re-branded or re-packaged beers were also not counted, however those that were previously available at a brewery’s retail store or at a licensee were. All that said, here are my selections in alphabetical order.
This American Amber Ale from Hockley Valley Brewing Company in Orangeville, Ontario pours a clear amber colour with a foamy white head that leaves very little lacing and settles as a healthy collar. Hockley Amber smells of mineral water, caramel and toasted grains with an earthy backing and a smooth, plum or raisin-like note.
Hockley Amber has a fairly heavy, slightly sweet and bread-like toasted malt flavour with hints of chocolate and plum, along with a well-balanced bitterness. The ale is full-bodied with medium carbonation and has a subtle, yeast-like tingle and pop on the tongue. The finish is dry, with caramel, earth and toasted grain notes in the aftertaste.
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 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.