Beau’s The Tom Green Beer! Milk Stout

tom-green-beerBrewer: Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., Vankleek Hill, ON
Style: Milk Stout
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 27

Description: Beau’s and Canadian actor and comedian Tom Green have collaborated to create The Tom Green Beer. A milk stout, The Tom Green Beer displays flavours of chocolate and coffee, while delivering a creamy, velvety texture, and finishing with a mild sweetness. Malts: 2 Row, Munich, Oats, Caramel 120, Roasted, Chocolate, Black; Hops: Perle, Hersbrucker.

Tasting Notes: This was a relatively light beer, as milk stouts go. It pours a black that is not opaque and smells of toasted malts, dark chocolate and espresso. And it has a taste that is both smooth, but possessed of the chocolate and espresso notes. Still, the end result is quite refreshing and nicely balanced.

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Dieu du Ciel Herbe à Détourne New World Triple

Dieuduciel_HerbeDetourneBrewer: Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, Montreal, QC
Style: Triple Ale
ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of Dieu du Ciel’s Rotation series, a limited-release that is available from January to April. As the name suggests, it is a North American take on the traditional Belgian Tripel, combining American Citra hops with pale malt and Belgian yeast. The beer takes its name from the French Canadian legend of the Herbe à Détourne, which makes one lose their way should they happen upon it.

Tasting Notes: Quite the powerful triple! This beer has a rich malt base and the telltale flavor of candi sugar to boot! This leads to a rich and coarse malt flavor, a yeasty backbone, and some serious alcoholic warmth to finish. The addition of Citra hops also imparts a nice citrus twist.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy with sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, candi sugar, strong yeasts, alcoholic bite, citrus
Taste: Strong, coarse malt, sugars, yeasty effervescence, citrus, alcoholic warmth
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, sugars, and alcoholic bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Trafalgar Fresh Hop Harvest

trafalgar_hopharvestBrewer: Trafalgar Ales and Meads, Oakville, ON
Style: Pale Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This recent addition to the Trafalgar lineup is brewed using a combination of pale malt and fresh hops harvested from from the local Van De Slyke Farms, located in Statfordville, ON. This is the second fresh-hopped beer in their lineup, and carries on in the tradition of Trafalgar being the first modern brewery to locally source fresh hops for use in their beers.

Tasting Notes: Here is a brewery which I have sorely missed since moving to BC, especially their Celtic Ale. And while I could not find this beer while in Ottawa, I did stumble across their Fresh Hop Harvest and knew I had to try it. And while it is certainly on the powerfully bitter side, I can’t deny the quality and craft of it. A smooth and semi-sweet malt base combines with strong notes of grapefruit, citrus and floral hops, augmented by a yeast culture that is somewhat reminiscent of a saison. Basically, a sharp and bitter punch to the tastebuds. Glad I got it!

Appearance: Golden orange, slightly cloudy, thick and lacy foam, good carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt nose, notes of citrus, grapefruit, floral traces, sharp yeast
Taste: Syrupy malt, immediate burst of grapefruit rind and dry herbs, yeasty backbone
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, smooth malt, yeasty undertones
Overall: 8.3/10

Hop City Barking Squirrel Lager

hopcity_lagerBrewer: Hop City Brewing, Brampton, ON
Style: Lager
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 24

Description: This lager, which is Hop City’s flagship beer, is brewed using a combination of of Pale Two-Row, Crystal, Dark Crystal , Munich, and Torrified Wheat malts, which are then bittered with Hallertau Mittelfrueh and Saaz hops.

Tasting Notes: This is the second time I’ve sampled Barking Squirrel, the first time being during my 2013 trip to Ottawa. Somehow, my review card was full and I neglected to give it a proper write-up, which I am corrected now! This is very much a good, clean-drinking lager, with some maltier notes that are reminiscent of a good Marzen. A crisp and slightly sweet malt base with notes of sweet bread and caramel combine with a dry, noble hop flavor to create a very quaffable and drinkable lager.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sharp and grainy malt nose, noble hops, dry grasses and herbs
Taste: Clean, crisp malts, sweet bread, caramel, grassy and herbal hops, minerals
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, grainy and sweet malt flavor
Overall: 8/10

Muskoka Detour Sessional IPA

muskoka_detourBrewer: Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge, Ontario
Style: Sessional IPA
ABV:
4.3%
IBUs: 30

Description: This beer takes it name from the fact that it is a departure from the regular North American style India Pale Ale. In addition to being dry-hopped, it is also sessionable, creating a lighter, more accessible IPA that is easy drinking.

Tasting Notes: This was one of my first sampling from 2015 trip to Ottawa. Muskoka is an old favorite when it comes to craft brewing, and it seems they have been getting better and more experimental in my absence. This was a neat take on a traditional IPA, and not just because its subtler and lighter. It also has some very interesting flavor notes – which include orchard fruits you don’t normal expect in an IPA. And that accompanies the usual citrus and grassy hops. Quite an interesting take.

Appearance: Golden, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth malts, subtle hops, fruity esters, apricot

Taste: Crisp malt, mineral tang, notes of citrus, grassy hops, orchard fruit 
Aftertaste: Lingering fruit esters, hop bitterness, grassy hops and citrus
Overall: 8.3/10

Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout

muskoka_beardBrewer: Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge ON
Style: Strong Stout
ABV: 8%

Description: Muskoka’s Winter seasonal beer, this stout is brewed using dark roasted chocolate malts which are then infused with cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. The result is a strong stout with hints of sweetness and a smooth backing.

Tasting Notes: This is one of those “long time coming” drinking experiences. I can recall seeing this beer on the shelves back when I visited Ottawa, and made a mental note to try it once I saw that it was available here in BC. It took awhile, but I finally managed to get my hands on one and give it a go. And the combination was pretty pleasing. Tart and sweet cranberry flavor play well with a strong stout, cutting the bitter malt flavor, while chocolate provide an undertone of smoothness.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, roasted malt, chocolate, hint of espresso, licorice
Taste: Dark, rich malts, cocoa and espresso, hint of tartness and sugary finish
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt flavor, chocolate and espresso, licorice
Overall: 8.5/10

Muskoka Legendary Oddity

muskoka_oddityBrewer: Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge ON
Style: Vintage Ale
Alc/Vol: 8%

Description: This limited release Spring-seasonal ale pays homage to the legends of the lumberjacks and furtraders who experienced the mysterious culture and wildlife of the North during the 1800’s. Brewed in the Belgian style, it brings together a combination of North American malts, Noble hops, heather tips, juniper berries and sweet orange peel shavings, before being fermented with Belgian yeast and fortified with Candi sugar. The end results is then bottled and cellar aged to bring the flavors together to maturity.

Tasting Notes: This beer brought to mind many drinking experiences, all of them pleasant. First, there are the distinctive Belgian-style elements, which are similar to a good Tripel; a barley-wine in terms of the sweet and sugary notes; and a juniper pale ale with the infusion of gin-like flavor and a crisp finish. I am always happy when I get to reconnect with breweries from back east that I don’t always have access to. And this beer was definitely a lovely and worthy addition to Muskoka’s lineup.

Appearance: Gold/orange, clear with sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, sugary nose, barley wine-like, floral, citrus, Belgian yeasts
Taste: Strong malts, sugars, Belgian yeast, citrus rind, crisp finish, hint of juniper
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt and yeast bitterness, juniper berry, citrus rind
Overall: 9.5/10