Despite its name, 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager from Mill Street Brewery in Toronto, Ontario is actually a deep golden colour with the faintest of amber tinges and yields a small, tight white head that hangs around as a thin cap while leaving scattered streaks of lace on your glass. This American amber lager smells mainly of sweet grains and light caramel malts, though there is also a noticeably earthy and slightly sour quality reminiscent of freshly cut field grasses.
100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager has a rather sweet taste. Flavours of earth, fresh and toasted grains, white grape and red berry juices, cocoa and citrus peel can all be found in this lager. A distinct and sharp saltiness appears in the finish, along with a mild bitterness that’s just enough to balance the brew out. A fairly thick and bready mouthfeel is lightened up somewhat by a moderate effervescence and a mild grain flavour resonates in the aftertaste.
Let the Gruit Times Roll from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a clear golden-amber colour with a fairly small but creamy white head that gets retained as a soapy film and small collar. The smell of rosemary pops from this spiced, un-hopped ale against a backdrop of sweet malts that carries notes of honey and caramel.
The blend of rosemary, sage and black cumin dominates the taste of Let the Gruit Times Roll. The brew is particularly dry and peppery at first and in the finish, while a light and syrupy sweetness comes through on the tongue to lighten things up. The mouthfeel is on the thick and viscous side and carbonation is minimal. The sage and black cumin notes hang around in the aftertaste.
This hopfenweiss from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a cloudy, saffron coloured wheat ale and pours with a creamy white head that leaves weblike lacing behind as it settles into a thick collar. Wag the Wolf has a distinct earthy yeast smell with fruity aromas of lemon, mango, plantain and passion fruit along with spicy notes of pepper and cloves.
The taste of Wag the Wolf is rather dry and tart from start to finish. Its toasted wheat malt base is joined by lemon and grapefruit citrus tones, a hint of cloves and the beer has taken on a mild sourness since it was packaged that is rather pleasant. This ale has a medium body, a moderate amount of fine carbonation and a veritable ton of yeasty pop that creates a creamy sensation on the tongue and it finishes with an earthy bitterness that feels a bit stronger than the listed IBU of 20.
Spark House Red Ale from Lake of Bays Brewing in Baysville, Ontario pours a rusty amber colour with a large and creamy off-white head that leaves sparse spots of lace as it settles into a rocky film. This American amber ale carries thick aromas of roasted chocolate malts, raisin, black cherry and mineral water.
The taste of Spark House Red Ale shares many of the same qualities. Its roasted character is joined by dark fruit and chocolate flavours that transitions to a light and lemony tone in the finish. This medium-bodied, mildly carbonated ale has a bready, slightly syrupy mouthfeel and moderate bitterness. A pronounced mineral tone is found in the aftertaste.
A spiced imperial stout from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Channel Ocho is opaque black and pours with a large, creamy, tan-coloured head that leaves swathes of lace and hangs around as a tight collar and film. There is a lot going on in the smell of Channel Ocho. Smoke is front and centre, with notes of clove, red pepper, plum, cinnamon and banana all coming through behind it. The ale also has a sort of chemical edge to it (likely from chipotle peppers) that softens as it warms.
The taste of Channel Ocho is quite spicy, particularly in the warming finish. Along the way, flavours of dark chocolate, black and white pepper, wet mushroom, and dark fruit like fig or raisin can be found in the full-bodied, mildly carbonated and very earthy feeling ale. The burn of white pepper lingers in the aftertaste along with a note of fresh grass.