Lion’s Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewing Company in Vancouver, British Columbia is a deep, cola-like ruby colour and yields a large and frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves small spots of lace on your glass. This winter warmer has strong aromas of store bought chocolate syrup and vanilla extract that choke notes of roasted grain and red berries.
The predominant chocolate flavour of Lion’s Winter Ale tastes more natural than it smells and has a nice dryness to it that helps to balance a rich sweetness, but falls just short. The finish has notes of vanilla and cedar, along with a subtle hint of peppermint that comes through in the aftertaste. This ale has a thin, yet mainly syrupy body that doesn’t really stand up to the richness of the flavours presented, a low amount of carbonation and a vague graininess.
Old Vienna from Molson Coors Canada is a light golden straw colour with a medium-sized and frothy white head that quickly settles as a thin film and collar, leaving small vertical streaks of lace on the glass. This American adjunct lager primarily smells of corn, along with aromas of grape, grasses and grains and a light floral note.
The taste of Old Vienna is fairly crisp, but on the sweet side with a distinct corny flavour accented by mild grain and berry notes. This lager is thin-bodied with ample and fine carbonation. There isn't much life to it, only very mild syrup and grain sensations on the tongue. The finish is quite dry and there is a hint of alcohol flavour in the finish.
This hard cider from Molson Coors Canada is deep straw yellow in colour and pours with an oddly large white head that is even more oddly retained as a small collar and leaves some lace; something I have never seen from a cider before. Molson Canadian Cider smells absolutely rank and quite acidic, like the cheapest of white wines with a vague whiff of green apple juice and a peculiar rubbery note that evokes Silly Putty.
The taste of Molson Canadian Cider does fair quite a bit better. It is sweet at first with a nicely balanced dryness, however the apple flavour reminds me of a store brand drinking box; a cheap melange of Granny Smith and McIntosh apples with a lot of added sugar. The cider has a surprising amount of body and its persistent carbonation and collar give it some life on the tongue, but the experience is rather syrupy overall.
Old Style Pilsner from Molson Coors Canada pours a pale golden colour with a soapy white head that leaves streaks of thick lace and is retained as a thin cap. This German pilsener smells of light, yet earthy toasted grains, honey, apple and it has a mild floral tone that reminds me of lilac as well as a sharp mineral note.
The taste of Old Style Pilsner is grainy, grassy and fairly sweet with a tart acidic bite in the finish and an earthy aftertaste that also leaves a mineral-like bitterness on the back of the throat. The lager has a certain creaminess about it, is medium bodied and exudes moderate carbonation.
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.