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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Reblog! Five Great Craft Beers – And Where To Drink Them

Last week our resident Brewer-Poet wrote a short piece as part of a collaborative publication put together by Apt613, Herd Magazine and Guerrilla Magazine. There’s no online copy of the article but it is available across Ottawa at Bridgehead coffee shops. Did I mention its free? Or you can squint and read the jpeg below. Also free.

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Nice work Steve, your English is really getting better…

 

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Reblog! Foodie Friday: Interview with Ottawa’s Nita Beer brewery

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Sometimes we like to branch out beyond the technologically and traffic deficient confines of our own pixelated blog to some of our better local arts & culture outlets. Here’s some recent work we did with our friends over at apt613.ca

Enjoy:

Foodie Friday: Interview with Ottawa’s Nita Beer brewery

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Review: Rockin’ Root Beer

Brewer: Broadhead Brewing Company
Brewed in: Ottawa, ON
Percentage: 5.2%
Found: Broadhead Brewing Company

Broadhead Brewing has a fantastic experimental series where they create weird and wonderful recipes in their lab. This was my first sampling of one of the workshop results: a root beer. Now let me preface this by admitting that I like root beer, I know it’s not often the most popular soft drink of choice, so I was intrigued.

IMG_6763This Root Beer beer, builds bright light amber with little head and low carbonation. The nose is very sweet with sugary malts shining through. On the nose and the palate, the Newhoney malts are strikingly similar to those used in the uniquely delicious Golden Rails Honey Brown from Cassel Brewery.

Smooth across the palate before the carbonation kicks in with a little tingle. The flavour is packed with lots of caramel sweetness with a sharp bite as the mercifully mild licorice and sarsaparilla enter the scene. Fun Fact: sarsaparilla used to be used as a treatment for syphilis! While it is an odd beverage, I love the innovation and experimentation. In a perfect world I might have preferred an experimental pint rather than a personal growler… The result of this  experiment is interesting and nostalgic. It’s not simply alcoholic root beer and it’s not beer, it’s something somewhere in between. Someone get me a teen burger.

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Review: Zeste Saison

BrewerLe Castor Brewing Company
Brewed in: Rigaud, QC
Percentage: 4.5%
FoundDépanneur Proprio Marché Les Deux Soeurs Inc., Mont-Tremblant

This brewery is rapidly earning my trust and love by consistently delivering deliciously innovative brews. This springtime saison is designed to excite the senses at the prospect of warmer days ahead and, after this Ottawa winter, I think we all could use some warmer weather to pair with delightful beer.

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Zeste Saison is brewed with three types of malts, both grapefruit juice and zest, cracked pepper, and traditional saison yeast. The beer pours slightly murky and pale straw in colour with consistent carbonation and a sticky white head with stay power. A sharp nose of grassy grains and cracked pepper is unmistakable. The sharp carbonation works harmoniously to deliver the grapefruit zest before the razor sharp pepper notes reassert themselves on a clean finish. Be forewarned it’s an aggressively peppery saison but if your into that, find yourself some Le Castor in La Belle Province!

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Review: Immodest

Brewer: Nickel Brook Brewery
Brewed in: Burlington, ON
Percentage: 9.0%
FoundNickel Brook Brewery

Steve scored us a sample of this brew last Fall and I knew I would have to wax poetic if I was ever again so fortunate to taste this ode to hops. Serendipitously, my day job sent me off to a conference in Hamilton, where Burlington’s Nickel Brook (though soon to be a Hammer resident) was pouring at the soirée. The rep informed me that Immodest IIPA had just been brewed and a couple skids of cans remained at the brewery. Fast forward to the next day and I am slipping out of my conference and down the 403 to load up my rental with this incredible IIPA.

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The beer pours an opaque murky golden orange with a robust sticky white head. The nose is a gorgeous crescendo of citrus and sharp hops. The delivery is easy with a tropical tease and a bitter pine bite. The body, carbonation and high ABV work together to provide the perfect platform for this beer. A lingering resin of hop oil coats the throat as sugary lacework decorates a rapidly emptying pint. I’ve sampled a lot of IPAs (my Untappd account is both proud and concerned) and I must say that, in my experienced opinion, this beer is one of Ontario’s best and would hold it’s own against some big American brews too

Canned perfection.

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Review: Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry, and Chocolate Ale

Brewer: Rogue Ales and Spirits
Brewed in: Newport, OR
Percentage: 5.4%
Found: Uptown LCBO

Jordan St. John wrote a good piece on beer a few days past, listing various “beer facts” including this nugget:

“Interesting” is different than “good.”

I will admit that I fully expected this choco-jam-pretzel-cruller-beer to be interesting and not necessarily good. I bought their maple bacon beer previously and thought Wow! You can really taste the salt!; which really is more of an “interesting” tasting note than a “good” tasting note. But being the sucker consumer I am, I saw a new beer at the LCBO and needed to try it. I was pleasantly surprised: It was actually an alright tasty brew.

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The obnoxiously pink bottle pours out a dark ale with a fading beige head and a glimmer of amber red. The strong raspberry nose immediately filled my kitchen while lesser undertones of dark malts and chocolate required a closer inspection. The beer starts slow on the palate before building to a malty and chocolate finish. A world of flavour contained within this Pepto-hued bottle. The beer is well rounded, especially considering the ambitious and downright terrifying ingredient list. This may be a rare example of a brew that manages to be both “interesting” and “good”.

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