This seasonal dunkelweizen from Muskoka Brewery Inc. in Bracebridge, Ontario is cola brown in colour, with a deep ruby tone visible when held towards light. It pours with a small and rocky tan cap that doesn’t tend to stay around very long, though a steady stream of bubbles appeared at the top of my glass. The smell of Winter Weiss is an inviting blend of chocolate, stone fruit and plantain that reminds me of warm fruitcake, with notes of clove and evergreen punctuating the beer’s wintry feeling.
Winter Weiss has a robust taste, with flavours of dark toffee and stone fruit at the fore over a biscuit-like malt base. A sharp note of herbal liqueur and mild bitterness keep things from getting too sweet and the ale finishes dry, while hints of clove and lemon peel tend to linger on my palate. Though Winter Weiss is fairly light-bodied, there is a noticeable viscosity and some earthiness to the mouthfeel.
This American blonde ale from Nickel Brook Brewing Co. in Burlington, Ontario is slightly hazy, golden-amber in colour and yields a large and spongy white head that has good retention as a rocky cap before receding to a thick collar. Cause & Effect has a hop-forward smell, with grapefruit and tangerine joined by herbal, grassy, piny and peppery aromas. A light blend of English and German malt creates warm, honey and caramel notes that serve as an inviting backdrop for the bright hop characteristics.
The taste of Cause & Effect is hop-forward and quite crisp, but certainly not overbearing. Stone fruit, juicy tropical fruit and grapefruit flavours are accented by an earthy note, while the malts create an air of darkened (but not quite burnt) toast. The ale has a medium body and is mildly carbonated. The finish is dry, earthy and mildly bitter while a hint of pepper lingers on the tongue.
This radler from Kichesippi Beer Co. In Ottawa, Ontario is a hazy goldenrod colour and pours with a loose white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small chain link of bubbles behind as a collar. Kichesippi Radler is anchored by lightly toasted German malts that emanate sweet and warm caramel and honey tones. The expected grapefruit aroma is far more subtle than other radlers and is complimented nicely by grassy hop notes (no, really).
The taste of Kichesippi Radler is more grapefruit forward and though the citrus fruit flavour is far from dominant, it does provide a refreshingly sharp bite. The well-crafted malt base reminds you that you’re drinking an honest-to-goodness beer and leaves sweet and toasty characteristics in the aftertaste along with dry notes of citrus peel and pith. The beer has a medium body and a modest level of carbonation along with a mildly grainy and surprisingly un-syrupy mouthfeel.
Sweetwater Squeeze Radler from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is made with blood orange and grapefruit juices, as well as the brewery’s house made soda. This flavoured light beer is golden orange in colour with a turbid appearance. It pours with a loose white head and tends to leave bits of pulp on your glass.
Unmistakably bright aromas of grapefruit and blood orange are weighed down somewhat by an earthy rind tone and there is a hint of lake water to be found. The not-from-concentrate juice flavours burst forth on your tongue and despite the addition of soda, Sweetwater Squeeze Radler is relatively dry and tart, with a hint of sourness before an acidic aftertaste takes over.
The second retail release from Ottawa’s Big Rig Brewery is Release the Hounds Black IPA. Also referred to as a Cascadian dark ale, the beer is black and completely opaque. A large and creamy tan head leaves web-like lacing as it settles into a long-lasting and rocky cap. This hybrid ale has a rich and roasty smell, with deep coffee and dark chocolate aromas joined by bright notes of cherry juice and lemon peel, along with a pleasant air of dewy grass.
The roasted character megers with a thick sweetness in the taste of Release the Hounds Black IPA, which is balanced by dry and bitter chocolate and coffee flavours. Punchy notes of citrus and pine bring along a sturdy bitterness (I'd guess 60-70 IBU) and there’s a hint of salt in the finish. The aftertaste of this full-bodied ale has roasted grain and dark toffee flavours that tend to linger.