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.
This American Pale Ale from Amsterdam Brewing Company in Toronto, Ontario is a clear and bright golden colour, pouring with a loose white head that’s retained as a small collar and thin film. Cruiser All Day Pale Ale has a pungent and earthy smell, with sharp aromas of black pepper and lemongrass, a relatively neutral umami note, sweet mango and just a hint of ammonia—think cat pee, but in a good way.
When fresh, the taste of Cruiser All Day Pale Ale can be pretty intense. Citrus flavours include lemongrass, yuzu peel and tangerine and are all backed up by a punchy pepper note. A toasty toffee and caramel malt base is light enough to showcase the blend of Citra and Sorachi Ace hops, but not so delicate as to get lost.
Notes of mango and yellow honeydew come forward in the finish, while a mild lemon peel tone lingers in the aftertaste. Cruiser All Day Pale Ale has a light-medium body and is moderately carbonated with fine champagne-like bubbles.
This English-based pale ale from Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke, Ontario is light amber in colour with caramel-toned highlights. It pours with a large and creamy off-white head that settles as a rocky cap. Pompous Ass English Pale Ale has a bright, lemony smell with hints of black pepper and light fruit juices that compliment a toasty, toffee-sweetened base.
There is a pleasant sweetness to the taste of Pompous Ass English Pale Ale, which carries notes of caramel, milk chocolate and raisins. A sturdy bitterness precedes a rather dry finish that has notes of black tea and wildflowers. Lemon comes forward in the aftertaste of this medium-bodied, slightly grainy and effervescent ale.
It’s that time of year again. The weather is cooler, leaves are changing colour and tables are filled with comfort food. For the third year, the folks at Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario have put together a mix pack of beers to celebrate and promote their famous Oktoberfest event that sees thousands of beer lovers from far and wide descend on the quaint eastern Ontario town in search of revelry, great food, big name musical acts and, of course, beer.
This year we see the return of some favourites from years past in Dark Helmut (complete with a new label) and Happy Pilsner, while Dial “Z” for Zwickel and Rauchstack represent the newest entries in Beau’s Wild Oats Series. I briefly reviewed the four beers, which are presented in alphabetical order.
Nickel Brook Brewing Company in Burlington, Ontario has crafted an extra special bitter that is a lovely ruby colour and yields a large, spongy tan head when poured that gets retained as a small cap and leaves scattered spots of lace behind. Equilibrium has a thick, chocolaty smell with aromas of dark stone fruit such as plum and black cherry, as well as mild pine and citrus accents.
The taste of Equilibrium carries similar notes of prune juice and raisin on top of a base that has both light and dark chocolate flavours. The beer’s balance certainly lives up to its name and once the lemon-toned bitterness sets in, it hangs around throughout the somewhat woody finish and fruity aftertaste. This ale is very mellow and full-bodied, giving it an authentic English pub feel.