More Beer!

In this last installment of my series dedicated to my hometown, I would like to address some of the miscellaneous beers I enjoyed during my most recent trip. They were several, and diverse, so no single brewery could be cited for exclusive praise. However, I shall do my best to give credit where credit is due. Here goes:

Barn Dog Ale: This beer is nominally known as Nickelbrook Draft, but which is made specially for Woody’s Bar and Grill on Elgin Street. This beer is naturally golden, has light malts and a light hop bite, this beer is unassuming, unpretentious, and a generally refreshing brew. Not the most complex or palatable beer I’ve ever had, but well-suited to easy drinking and well paired with pub grub. 3.5/5

Beaver River IPeh?: An interesting take on the traditional IPA’s, combing both British and American styles. Based in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, this brewery is a relatively new operation, and during my trip, I saw there beers just about everywhere I looked. However, once i cracked a bottle and got down to sampling it, I was somewhat unimpressed. IPA’s are renowned for being hoppy and bitter, but generally manage to balance that with citrus and floral notes. Unfortunately, this beer is heavy on the former, light on the latter. However, it does possess some dark, tawny malts that add to the aftertaste, which is just unfortunately a little too bitter for my liking. 3.5/5

Churchkey WCPA: Generally, I have nothing but nice things to say about Church Key brewery. However, this particular attempt at a West Coast Pale Ale was a bit of a misfire for me. Much like the IPeh? it was too bitter and not provide any balance to its strong hop bite. Although it too had some smooth malts, they did not balance the hops, which were too powerful and too bitter, and combined with a very light aftertaste, made for an experience which was kind of over and underwhelming at the same time. Oh well, can’t knock em all out of the park, can ya? 3/5

Kichessipi 1855: Located right in Ottawa, this brewery is a relatively new addition to the capitol’s beer scene. Naturally, I was sure to sample all that they had on tap before leaving, and was lucky in that there are only two for the time being. Of them, this beer was the lesser for me. Though it too had good malts, it was a bit underwhelming when it came to hop flavor and complexity. In short, it had a bitter start, a watery finish, and some maltiness to speak of but not enough to satisfy yours truly. 3.75/5

Kichessipi Blonde: As already noted, the better of the brewery’s two signature creations! Once again, we have a beer that boasts nice, smooth malts, a nice dry-hop bite that is reminiscent of Pilsner, and a certain minerality that is reminiscent of Creemore’s own Lager. I suspect that this is due to the use of natural spring water to make this beer, which I highly approve of! I will be looking for it and any additional Kichessipi products during my next visit. 4/5

Muskoka Dark Ale: A newer installment in Muskoka’s lineup, and comparable to everything else I used to enjoy by them. Much like Neustadt’s own 10w30, which I tried a few nights prior, this is an English-style brown ale. And like a good brown, it is smooth, dark, and tawny with discernible notes of chocolate and caramel amongst the malts. A delicious dinner or desert beer, well paired with meat, chocolate, or creme caramel. 4.5/5

Trafalgar ESB: From Oakville, nestled in the nook of Lake Ontario, Trafalgar Ales and Meads is a brewery that keeps popping up on my radar. Years back, I was regaled by their tallboys of Irish Ale. Crisp, clean, and slightly tawny, it was one of those beers that just goes great with spicy food or on its own after a tough workout! During my most recent visit, I was lucky enough to spot the newest addition to their lineup, the Trafalgar Extra Special Bitter. I can honestly say without exaggeration that it is one of the better bitters I have ever had. Like a good bitter, it is light in color and taste, but possess a smooth, tawny taste and dry hop bite that provide complexity. Good job Trafalgar! Can’t wait to try your meads! 4.5/5

Trafalgar Irish Ale: Now this one was a little less impressive, but still good as beers go. Typically, Irish Ales are smooth, creamy, and have a little bit of a bitter bite in addition to their tawny malts. However, this particular Trafalgar beer was particularly bitter to taste, with dark malts that contain coffee notes, and a rather underwhelming finish that was just the slightest bit watery. 3.5/5

Well, that was Ottawa! I still have more Ontario breweries to cover and compliment, but those are amongst my all-time favorites and fell outside of my sampling repertoire this trip. I look forward to our next trip, seeing our friends and sampling more beers. Preferably at the same time!

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