Grindstone Amber Ale from Broadhead Brewing Company Limited in Ottawa, Ontario is a fairly light golden-amber colour and pours with a tight, creamy white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a thin film behind. The smell of this American red ale is punctuated by various citrus tones such as lemon and tangerine, which are sharp against a sweet toffee malt base.
That toffee character anchors the taste of Grindstone Amber Ale, which also carries notes of light berry and grape juices. A semi-sweet chocolate flavour is balanced by a solid, lemony bitterness that comes forward in the finish and checks in at 25 IBU. The aftertaste goes dry, but still holds a hint of light caramel. The ale is full-bodied and grainy with a moderate carbonation level. It’s certainly hearty, but not too filling as to discourage a second pint.
Brewed in collaboration with Ottawa’s Bridgehead, Winterbrewed from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a clear, rusty amber colour and pours with a healthy off white head that leaves some spotty lacing before settling as a thin collar and film. This coffee-infused amber brings sharp citrus, toasted grain, light caramel and mild vanilla notes to the aroma, which is anchored by a warm and strong presence of freshly roasted and brewed coffee.
The taste of Winterbrewed builds off the coffee-heavy aroma with a distinctly dark and bitter flavour. Toasted barley and a light fruit note that brings peach or mango to mind create a sturdy and slightly sweet base. The mouthfeel is grainy, yet creamy with mild, fine carbonation. Coffee and light chocolate flavours are found in the finish while the aftertaste is dry with a slightly sharp lime rind character and thin oiliness.
This American Amber Ale from Hockley Valley Brewing Company in Orangeville, Ontario pours a clear amber colour with a foamy white head that leaves very little lacing and settles as a healthy collar. Hockley Amber smells of mineral water, caramel and toasted grains with an earthy backing and a smooth, plum or raisin-like note.
Hockley Amber has a fairly heavy, slightly sweet and bread-like toasted malt flavour with hints of chocolate and plum, along with a well-balanced bitterness. The ale is full-bodied with medium carbonation and has a subtle, yeast-like tingle and pop on the tongue. The finish is dry, with caramel, earth and toasted grain notes in the aftertaste.
Plowman’s Ale from Grand River Brewing in Cambridge, Ontario pours a fiery copper-amber colour with a large and frothy tan coloured head that leaves rings of lace and settles as a collared film. This American red ale has a nice dark fruit and bread aroma that has a metallic or mineral-like tinge when first poured. Once that wears off, fresh grains and chocolate can be noted. There is also a slight nuttiness and a bit of diacetyl smell after warming.
Plowman’s Ale is surprisingly complex in taste. Sweet and toasted malts, chocolate, sweetened raisin, caramel and smoky wood are capped with a solid and bitter floral hop finish. The ale has a creamy, bready and earthy mouthfeel with fairly heavy mineral and grain characteristics. The aftertaste is dry with a hint of caramel and a toasted bread note.
Smithwick’s Irish Ale from Guinness and Company in Dublin, Ireland is brewed using roasted barley, giving it a distinct aroma with hints of wood and honey and a beautiful amber-ruby colour. It creates a rich and frothy head that laces your glass, though without the use of a pressurized widget.
The beer has a malty taste in which the roasted barley really comes through along with chocolaty and toffee-like undertones. Smithwick’s Irish Ale has a pleasant, creamy mouthfeel and a mildly bitter finish with a rather strong aftertaste.