Review: Black Bear Bock

Brewer: Gananoque Brewing Company
From: Gananoque, ON
Found: Gananoque Brewing Company
Percent: 5.8%

Happening to be in the 1000 Islands region (gorgeous if you’ve never been), I thought I’d make a detour into downtown Gan to visit their brewery. Housed in a historical industrial building the space is perfect. With a wide tap list in front of me from Pilsner to IPA to Bock, I ran the gauntlet and settled on the bock as the tastiest of the bunch.

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Living up to its alliterated name, it pours dark black with a shimmer of ruby contour in the light. Low carbonation and a subtle brown head cap it off. Nice bready malts of the nose accented with roasted notes of chocolate and dried fruit. The delivery is subtle with the roasted malts latching on to the back of you palate and hanging around for a pleasant aftertaste. The beer is heavy enough that you can skip lunch but it’s light enough to pair with it. Check this place out next time you’re travelling eastern Ontario!Here’s Hh

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Review: Brett de Hull

BrewerLes Brasseurs Du Temps
Brewed in: Gatineau, Quebec
Percentage: 10%
FoundLes Brasseurs Du TempsBDT

Admittedly, I was first attracted to this beer because of the name; that’s an awesome name. For the uninformed, allow me to explain the joke: A beer brewed with brettanomyces in Gatineau (formally Hull) named after former NHL sniper Brett Hull! *pause for laughter, 1-2-3…

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A double white with brett and aged in wine barrels: haaaallo complexity! Pours very murky, opaque and light copper in colour. Small bubbles climb the inside of my glass as the head fades to a whispy ring of white. The sharp funky nose marries beautifully with the red wine bouquet. Again, on the palate the two flavour of funk and deep fruit mingle beautifully. This beer drinks more like a fine wine than a beer with its with low carbonation, complex flavours, dry tannic finish and slight bitterness. The tasting notes promise the citrus and spice flavours, which are normally present in a white ale, but I find the grape and funky Brett overwhelm those more subtle flavours. I quite enjoy this beer; it’s unlike most you’ll find out there. Be warned, it’s a pricey bottle but you can always re-coop your costs by selling your 1991 Brett Hull autographed All-Star card (bidding starts at $19.99 and I can be contacted here).

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Review: HefeWheaton

Brewer: Clock Tower Brewpub & Wil Wheaton
Brewed in: Ottawa, ON
Percentage: 5.0%
FoundOttawa Comiccon EY Centre

This hefeweizen was brewed specifically for the Ottawa Comiccon and is only available there. Thanks to Ottawa Magazine, I attended the Friday session dressed as Peter Parker (my spandex Spidey outfit was expertly hidden under my collared shirt and casual slacks). Once inside, I was able to sample some of this very limited (only 15 kegs!) brew.

Collaboration brews aren’t new, lots of breweries team up with celebs and piggyback a little marketing off of them. What is different about this Clocktower and Wil Wheaton (Stand by Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation) collab is that Wheaton is a legit beer geek. Not that he doesn’t have star power: he’s starred in TV and films with the likes of Sir Patrick Stewart and Jerry O’Connell (My Secret Identity!). But he’s not just lending his name to a beer, he’s all in. This isn’t his first rodeo. Heck, it’s his recipe! His appreciation for craft beer comes through very clearly listening to him talk about his hundreds of hours of home brewing experience, dropping reference to Westvleteren 12, and his homebrew extract kits. This is a beer geek standing in a room of regular geeks. You can peruse his Untappd account if you need proof!

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HefeWheaton pours pale straw in colour with a slightly unfiltered murkiness and a white head. The nose has notes of subtle fruit, mild clove and banana with a crisp wheat touch. CT Brewer Patrick Fiori also notes bubblegum, I never pick up bubblegum, must be missing that taste bud. Across the palate it’s light and refreshing with the soft fruit notes saying ‘hello’ before a refreshing finish and slight malt bitter lingering. Very approachable beer, as Wheaton indicated was the intent. This beer was built for the patio – it’s a shame the EY Centre doesn’t have one of those, because its 30 degrees out and my under-Spidey suit doesn’t breathe…

HefeWheaton will be available through the weekend at Ottawa Comiccon so throw on your Jedi robes and get out there to sample some.

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May Day

Brewer: Stone City Ales
Brewed in: Kingston, ON
Percentage: 8.7%
Found: Stone City Ales Brewery

My new favourite reason to visit K-town. And I don’t mean this fantastic little urban brewpub brewing the beers with the big flavour; I specifically mean this beer is worth the travel time and mileage.

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Brewed in celebration of May Day, which I learned is a socialist day celebrating workers not a day that celebrates rhyming, this Belgian Imperial IPA pours golden-orange murky with a sharp looking white head. The potent nose of citrus hops is reigned in and complimented by the sweet Belgian sugary sweetness. The delivery is sharp but balanced as the tropical fruit play off their more aggressive pine-forward cousins. The finish is sweet, begging for more. In short: Delicious.

This is a limited run so I recommend getting there before May runs out, though they certainly have a fair number of tasty treats to soften the blow if you are too late to enjoy this IIPA.

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Reblog! Capital Pint: The Ultimate Beer Run

Once again, one of the underpaid staffers of BrewBrahs.com weaseled their way into the sophisticated world of print media!

Keep your head on a swivel in magazine shops across Ottawa and look for the May edition of Ottawa Magazine to find our contribution to Capital Pint. We humbly suggest 18  (a brewer’s dozen?) breweries you should get out and visit from Beau’s to Whitewater and all the alphabet letters in between.

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Thanks to all the breweries fir participating and providing info. Already “researching” this list for next year!

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Review: Grande Reserve Wee Heavy Bourbon

BrewerLe Castor Brewing Company
Brewed in: Rigaud, QC
Percentage: 11%
FoundDépanneur Proprio Marché Les Deux Soeurs Inc., Mont-Tremblant

For our readers out there, the few the proud, you may be thinking “Another wee heavy review?!” or “Another Le Castor review?!”. Yes. And it was the right decision.

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Pours murky brown with a amber tinge and a soft ring of head. Solid malt and bread nose promises a heavy wee heavy. The faintest sweet booze and roasted character round out the bouquet. Low carbonation lays down the liquid groundwork for this robust brew. Bourbon sweetness levels out the massive malts. Enjoy a little complexity in your glass? As your palate adjusts and the beer warms, the oak flavour, imparted from the barrel aging process, shines through. This is smooth. While  I’m enjoying this on a beautiful day of spring warmth and winter melt, a cool quiet evening is probably the ideal setting. But a beer this rich and smooth will work well any climate or setting.

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Review: Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

Brewer: Amsterdam Brewery
Brewed in: Toronto
Found: Hunt Club & Merivale LCBO
Percentage: 6.2%

The bottle’s adorable kerchiefed Scottie dog caught my eye and, like a sucker at the humane society, I took the little guy home.

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You may remember this winter release from Amsterdam under its former name: Tilted Kilt. This Scottish style was popular through England in centuries passed and, to differentiate from hoppier English Ales, was named Scotch Ales. The higher ABV versions that were exported across the UK were given the moniker of Wee Heavy. Now you’re all caught up!

The beer builds beautiful bright red-hued copper with a fleeting head. Sweet bready malts own the bouquet. The body and taste are much the same: Big bold bready grains with a touch of sweetness (those wizards added honey!).  As the beer warms, I discern the promised heather tips that break the heaviness with a lighter sharp note. The honey and heather work nicely with the solid malt base. Nice brew.

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