Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA from Arch Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario is a clear ruby colour with golden and amber tinted highlights. It pours with a tight and frothy tan head that leaves plenty of streaky and spotty lace behind as it settles into a tight collar that climbs the wall of your glass. This American IPA smells mainly of dark toffee, along with notes of honey, lemon rind and oats. Subtle chocolate and raspberry tones tend to surface as the beer warms up a bit.
There is no mistaking the flavour of roasted caramel malt in Dinner Jacket O’Red IPA, which brings a chocolate note along for the ride. The sweet base is balanced by a sturdy bitterness and distinct lemon juice taste. Hints of cherry and black tea come through in the finish, leading to an aftertaste that leaves citrus, dry oat and a roasted, almost burnt grain flavour behind. This ale is full-bodied and mildly carbonated. Its thick and grainy feeling is smoothed out significantly by the addition of oats and a light viscosity.
This Czech pilsener from Double Trouble Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario is a bright golden colour with a surprisingly frothy white head that is retained as a thin cap and leaves thick rings of lace on your glass. Prison Break Breakout Pilsner has soapy and floral noble hop aromas, a nectarine-like fruity sweetness and notes of light grains, honey, grape, spice and alcohol.
Prison Break Breakout Pilsner has a somewhat sweet, yet crisp taste packed with floral and grassy hop flavours, accented by a juicy berry tone on top of a delicate but study malt base. The finish of this light-bodied and mildly carbonated pilsener is very dry, with a full, grain-flavoured aftertaste that brings with it a mild oily sensation.
2012 was a pretty good year in terms of both the quality and quantity of regularly-brewed Ontario craft beers hitting the shelves at one’s local LCBO or The Beer Store. I selected 12 of them to quantify as favourites, with a few caveats. First, the beers had to be listed at at least 25 retail outlets.
The beers had to be ones that I’ve published a review for, not just tried at a show or festival. Seasonal and one-off beers were not considered, I’ll try to make a list of those next. Re-branded or re-packaged beers were also not counted, however those that were previously available at a brewery’s retail store or at a licensee were. All that said, here are my selections in alphabetical order.
This Russian imperial stout from Wellington County Brewery Incorporated in Guelph, Ontario pours an oil-like, opaque black with a large and frothy, light beige coloured head that burns off quickly, leaving little lace and a thin cap behind. Wellington Imperial Russian Stout has aromas of chocolate syrup, roasted grains, red berries, prunes and coffee.
The taste of Wellington Imperial Russian Stout is deep and rich with roasted grain flavour, accents of dark berries, chocolate and coffee and has a sharp bitterness that lingers throughout the finish. This ale is very full-bodied, grainy and earthy with a subtle tingle on the tongue. The aftertaste is quite dry with notes of prune and pepper.
This European style Lager from the Wellington County Brewery in Guelph, Ontario, Canada is perfect for an afternoon on a patio or dock. It has a crisp, dry and somewhat malty taste and woody aroma thanks to specialty malts from Germany and Czech hops. Trailhead has a smooth, dry finish with a little bitter aftertaste and a light golden colour.
The can is an attractive powder blue that uses the silver aluminium of the can to evoke a river. The logo features a jumping fish drawn with a hard black outline and a distinctive all-caps typeface.