Review: High Noon

Brewer: The Publican House Brewery
Brewed in: Peterborough, ON
Percentage: 4.5%
Found: Gift!

The name reminds me of an old western movie; turns out it should.


You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with craft beer and those who drink.

As I pop the tab on this canned beer, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme drifts along  dry wind in the distance; A coyote yips in the darkness; I realize I can’t pull off chaps; pan to a shot of the horizon… This cowboy-brew pours an unfiltered cloudy gold with a white head. On the nose is a light crisp bouquet of oranges with a baseline of wheat malts. An easy delivery before a malt forward bitterness shines through. Subtle citrus notes make this brew even more refreshing. It’s a good wheat beer and pairs perfectly with this hot Summer.

Gary Cooper approved.



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Review: Nu Saison

Brewer: Beyond the Pale Brewing Co.
Brewed in: Ottawa, ON
Percentage: 4.8%
Found: Beyond the Pale Brewery

A saison is an excellent beer for this hot mid-July day: refreshing. As both many of our readers know, the saison is a style traditionally brewed to quench the thirst of hard working farmhands. Now the hardest work I’ve done today is to chase away my RedBlacks hangover, nevertheless I still felt that I could reward myself with this treat.


The beer  pours pale straw in colour with little carbonation and a faint white head. The nose is subtle citrus and crisp with a mild malt bitterness. The beer rolls across the palate with ease. A light malt finishes sharp. Very easy to drink in the sun or the shade. Not the same level of obvious flavour BTP normally tosses our way but it’s a very a tight brew.


If you’re having a hard time making out the image on the label, it appears to be a lady sunning herself in the “Nu” on a chaise lounge (tanlines!). One of her hands is cups her jug of beer while the other hand cups… ummmmm…. another jug… I think it’s fair to say maturity has ever been a pillar of BTP’s corporate strategy. Nor should it be, if they keep making good beer!


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Review: Sugar Bush Brown Ale

Brewer: Block 3 Brewing Co.
Brewed in: St. Jacobs, ON
Percentage: 4.8%
Found: Block 3 Brewery


They say timing is everything in life. As soon as I moved away from Waterloo Region, breweries starting popping up all over Southwestern Ontario… *sigh* But when I returned for a visit, I made sure to visit the brewery over in picturesque St. Jacobs aaaaaand arrived 5 minutes after it closed. Though the poor fella working the tasting bar and brewery was clearly packing it in, he still let me and my drinking buddy in for a couple growlers and bottles of their offerings. Customer service goes a long way and is much appreciated.

The bottled ale pours deep amber brown with strong carbonation yet barely any head. Nice rich bready nose with a sweet chocolate smokiness. Mild and smooth across the palate. A little dash of robust smoke ends the journey. It has a fairly light taste considering the complex nose. The added maple syrup, the inspiration for the beer’s name, is very understated. I had this beer on growler fresh from the brewery an found the flavours shone clearer so perhaps its best consumed ASAP. It’s still a great Spring thaw brew and I’m thrilled that Waterloo Region has a new brewery. Less happy they all waited until I left.


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Review: Whistling Paddler

Brewer: Whitewater Brewing Company
Brewed in: Forester Falls, ON
Percentage: 4.5%
Found: Ottawa Beer Bloggers Spring Meetup

Door Prize Winner!


My favourite kind of prize, where you need only to be able to walk through an entrance and you have a chance to win. My mother often told me that I’d been blessed with an exceptional ability to walk through a door frame. I was even happier to learn that I’d won a Whitewater brew as I’d ridden down their rapids but never downed their beer.


This growlered English Style Ale pours a medium bright copper with little head or carbonation. The nose is shockingly sweet with toffee and caramel notes overtaking the sugary malts. A subtle delivery carries those same sweet flavours through before a malt-heavy bitterness rudely cuts in. One of the more drinkable English-style beers I’ve tried, as the sweetness makes it more quaffable than some other heavier versions in this style. It’s light enough to have more than one but it’s not quite a patio beer. It’s a good brew, not my favourite style but I’d certainly come back for more from Whitewater.



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Review: Hefeweizen

Brewer: Smithworks Brewing Company
Brewed in: Peterborough, ON
Percentage: 5.0 %
Found: Smithworks Brewing Company

Is there anything better than discovering a new brewery? Peterborough has been home to the Publican House Brewery for a few years and now welcomes a second craft brewery: Smithworks Brewing Company.

The brewery is located in an industrial park (not far from a Value Village where I scored an awesome “Havelock Home Hardware” trucker hat) on the other side of a set of train tracks. It’s not the most scenic of drives… Interestingly, it’s the old Kawartha Lakes Brewing Company. The humble exterior is turned on its head when you enter the finely decorated and laid out tasting bar. Wooden chairs and ables provide a warm atmosphere while the fermenting tanks are visible through glass at the back. It was newly opened when I had the chance to pop in back in May and the people working there were already eagerly touring customers around. The only brew available (and I don’t know if more style have since been released) was a hefeweizen. I picked up a few bottles and headed home to share the goods.


The brew pours pale gold and cloudy with a fluffy white head and consistent carbonation. A deep inhale (with eyes closed for effect) reveals a mild, but present, nose of bananas, citrus and spice. The carbonation delivers the moderate fruity flavours before the weight of the malts cuts the finish. Not a overly ambitious style but a really well-crafted beer. Usually I liked my beer a bit “weird” but this was so well done. Perfectly refreshing for a Summer day. Fantastic work from a new brewery – go give them a visit!


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Review: Waterloo Grapefruit Radler

Brewer: Waterloo Brewing Co.
Brewed in: Waterloo, ON
Percentage: 3.1 %
Found: Nepean Beer Store

As a previous resident of Waterloo Region, I’ve heard tales of Jim Brickman’s tropical treat – this will likely be the closest I ever come to trying the historical brew.

Note this is not a beer by definition, as the can tells me I’m trying a “alcoholic beverage”. Nevertheless the friendly Beer Store clerk tells me it’s been a very popular seller.


The half-beer pours pale gold with a potent sour grapefruit juice nose. This is the mimosa of beers. An at 3%+ it’s probably the imperial of Radlers. Very little carbonation allows this beer to flow easily down the hatch where a little spike of citrus bitterness high fives your uvula on the finish. The light malty beer character seems to settle deep in your throat. I’m quite certain that Brick Brewery wasn’t looking to woo the beer nerds with this offering. Yet, I have to admit its light refreshing character will pair well with the blistering Summer heat, mowing tha lawn and me heaving my bulk around the beach like an unexploded Newfoundland Blue Whale.  It doesn’t pretend to be a bold brew – and it’s not. It’s a beer-cocktail. But if you’ve got a mean hangover at the cottage and need to grease the wheels for another big night, a couple Radlers might help shake the cobwebs.


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Review: El Toro Bravo (Matador 2.0)

BrewerFlying Monkeys Craft Brewery
Brewed in: Barrie, ON
Percentage: 10.1%
FoundNepean Beer Store

To tangle with the brave bull one more time! We were looking forward to this brew not only because we loved version 1 but because this release came with a little touch of controversy. Though the sequel wasn’t as quite good as the original (is it ever?) it’s still a top-notch brew and worth the venture into The Beer Store stronghold.


Matador 2.0 pours murky reddish copper with little head or carbonation. The complex nose of rich malts and spicy pepper has a delicious funky undertone. It’s a fantastic bouquet with touches of citrus and cedar (it’s aged on Spanish cedar chips), all ending in a sharp peppery finish. On the palate, a crisp rye bread and caraway ménage occurs, followed by toffee malts served on a pungent cedar platter. What we love about this beer is that each sip is completely different as you pick up new flavours and nuances you missed before. You’re going to want to take your time with this beer and get to know her. We’ve got one in the cellar waiting to be enjoyed once again.



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