This spiced bock from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a clear ruby tinted orange colour and pours with a spongy off white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a stringy collar and a few spots of lace in its wake. Hogan’s Goat is ripe with earthy, herbal and outdoorsy aromas like juniper, mint and pine oil standing out against a sweet malt backdrop with a hint of wood.
Herbal flavours of peppermint, orange peel and juniper berry also permeate the taste of Hogan’s Goat. The addition of rye malt contributes to a decidedly dry experience, with toasted grain, red berry juice and a sharp hickory-like note rounding things out in the finish. This lager has a medium body and light carbonation, as well as a pronounced oiliness that lingers in the aftertaste with a blend of herbal tones that bring dry gin to mind.
Wishart’s ESB from Clocktower Brew Pub in Ottawa, Ontario is a deep, rusty amber colour with streaks of gold throughout. A frothy, light tan head settles as a climbing collar and thin film while leaving small spots of lace on your glass. Chocolate and toffee malts anchor the smell of this English ale, with notes of plum, roasted grain and lemon pith rounding it out.
The taste of Wishart’s ESB brings forth fruity esters that remind me of plum, black cherry and lemon, as well as a flavour not unlike black tea. This full-bodied and lightly carbonated ale carries a moderate, yet sharp and mineral-like bitterness. Chocolate and coffee notes in the finish lead to a dry aftertaste with hints of pepper and grapefruit.
This English pale ale from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a beautiful, chill hazed ruby colour with a small tan head that evaporates quickly, leaving a stringy collar and very little lace. The smell of Woodworth and Edwards Honey Bee’lixer is so thick with nectar that it takes on a caramel hard candy tone reminiscent of liqueur. Notes of dark plum and chocolate malt contribute to an overall warmth.
Woodworth and Edwards Honey Bee’lixer has rich flavours of roasted grains, bread, plum, chocolate and of course, fresh honey. There is a soft bitter bite that is just enough to strike a balance with the sweet malt base of this full-bodied and grainy ale. Despite the amount of honey used in this mildly carbonated brew, it manages not to feel too syrupy and a subtle pop of yeast comes forth on the tongue. The finish has a certain booziness to it that leads to an earthy and grainy aftertaste.
Lake Effect IPA from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario is hazy golden orange colour, with a loose off-white head that settles as a bubbly collar and film and leaves long, thin streaks of lace on your glass. This American IPA is loaded with grapefruit, toasted grain and pine aromas that are accented by notes of black pepper, honeydew, coconut flesh and baked apple.
The taste of Lake Effect IPA is quite bitter, clocking in at a solid 80 IBU. Unsweetened grapefruit juice is balanced by fresh and toasted light grain flavours, with an apple or pear note coming forward in the finish. This ale has a medium body with a good amount of fine carbonation. It feels creamy and a bit grainy in the mouth and also has a nice oiliness to it. The aftertaste has a lingering citrus rind tone and residual bitterness.
The second edition of the Best of Beau’s Mix pack has made its way around Ontario in time for the holiday shopping season. Fans voted earlier this year to chose which four one-off beers would be re-brewed and included in the package. Interestingly, three of them were born from the Vankleek Hill, Ontario brewery’s Pro-Am Series for which they collaborate with homebrewers.
Screamin’ Beaver is the only beer to return from the 2012 Best of Beau’s Mix pack and is joined by the Pro-Am Series favourites Burnt Rock Vanilla Porter, Doc’s Feet Dubbel and Rudolphus VI. Below you will find my reviews of all four beers as well as some pairing suggestions.