Ayinger Celebrator: Celebrate Good Times

Ayinger Celebrator from Brauerei Aying (Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG) in Germany pours a deep chestnut-ruby colour with amber highlights around the edges when held up to light and a small tan coloured head that gets retained as a thin, but frothy collar without leaving much lacing. This doppelbock has a rich and complex malty aroma with a strong oak tone. Dark fruits, chocolate, coffee and molasses can all be found and a hint of alcohol comes out as you make your way through the glass.

Ayinger Celebrator
This Hearty Beer is Perfect for Sipping on a Cold Day

The taste of Ayinger Celebrator follows the aroma and is equally rich and complex. Dark fruits, chocolate, sweet malts, roasted grains, oak and a hint of vanilla are all present before a bitter and herbal finish takes over. The mouthfeel is creamy and hearty with a low-medium carbonation and a yeasty sensation on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry with oak and fruit tones. This heavy beer is surprisingly drinkable, with little trace of alcohol aside from a pleasant warming effect.

Pumking: Royally Smooth and Buttery

Pumking from the Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York pours a clear golden-amber colour with a scant white head that sticks around as a thin collar, but leaves no lacing behind. This strong pumpkin ale has more of a pumpkin pie aroma than any other pumpkin ale I’ve tried to date; it has a real buttery pastry tone that compliments the pumpkin and spices nicely. Freshly cut grains and honey poke through after warming.

Pumking is Best Described as Pumpkin Pie in a Glass

The taste of Pumking is nicely balanced between the pumpkin and the dry, peppery spice notes. Again, a pastry-like butter flavour defines the taste and makes it distinctive amongst pumpkin ales. The finish is peppery and bitter. The mouthfeel is on the thin side with a low, but noticeable carbonation. A grainy note comes through on the tongue and the aftertaste is dry tasting, but also has a syrupy quality. Pumking is extraordinarily smooth and drinkable given its ABV.

Smashed Pumpkin: Gourd-geous

This strong pumpkin ale from the Shipyard Brewing Company in Portland, Maine pours a hazy golden-copper colour with a moderate white head that burns off quickly, leaving a small collar and almost no lace behind. Smashed Pumpkin has a syrupy and noticeably boozy aroma with notes of wet grain, pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The beer takes on a sharp white wine-like smell as it warms.

Smashed Pumpkin
This is a Rich, Hearty and Balanced Pumkin Ale

The taste of Smashed Pumpkin is on the malty side with a very sweet honey tone and a hint of yeast. The pumpkin and spice flavours both rich and surprisingly balanced. The finish is quite bitter with floral, soapy and alcohol notes. This beer is full-bodied with an above average carbonation level and gives off a creamy, bready effect on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry, but syrupy and alcohol lingers on the back of the tongue and throat.

Muskoka Harvest Ale: I Want to See You Dance Again

This strong seasonal ale from the Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ontario pours a copper colour with amber highlights around the edges of the glass and has the appearance of wavy lines on a hot road. A moderate tan coloured head burns off quickly, leaving a bit of lace and a thin collar behind. The aroma of Muskoka Harvest Ale is dry in nature. The beer smells of fresh grains and grasses, caramel malts, baker’s chocolate and it has a peppery spiciness to it. A sweet, honeydew-like fruity note and a hint of alcohol appear as it warms.

Muskoka Harvest Ale
This Beer Pairs Well with Stews and Other Hearty Fare

Muskoka Harvest Ale tastes like dark or toasted malts, a dark fruit like raisin or date and it’s highlighted with a note that reminds me of a buttered bran muffin. The ale has a very crisp and bitter finish with a hint of grapefruit and there is little trace of alcohol in the taste, but there is a definite warming effect. The beer has a medium body with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. There is a yeasty pop on the tongue and the aftertaste is dry, but with an oily quality and a peppery bite.

Dunkel Buck: You Should See the Toast

Dunkel Buck from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario pours a hazy nut brown colour with a rusty orange tone around the edges. A very frothy, tan-coloured head takes a while to burn off, leaving minimal lacing behind and a nice, thick collar and film.

This dark, strong and unfiltered German ale has strong fruit tones in its smell. Banana and bubble gum notes are joined by a plum or cherry-like smell and a hint of cloves. A honey-like sweetness and alcohol come though after warming.

Dunkel Buck
"A lot of people hate this hat. It angers a lot of people, just the sight of it."

The taste of Dunkel Buck follow suit with a slightly sweet, fatty banana flavour taking the lead. The beer is backed by a toasted wheat taste and a cocoa or roasted baker’s chocolate tone that fills out the body and lends a nice bitterness to the finish. The mouthfeel is quite creamy thanks to the long-lasting collar and sediment, while managing to not come off as too thick.

There is a low carbonation but a mild prickly sensation occurs on the tongue. The aftertaste is dry and tart, with a peppery note and the warming effects of the alcohol coming through on the back of the tongue and throat.