Review: Ezra

Brewer: Great Lakes Brewery & Amsterdam Brewing Co.
Brewed in: Etobicoke/Toronto, ON
Percentage: 6.2%
Found: King Edward LCBO

I don’t mean to only review GLB beers lately (but if I did, would that be so bad?), yet I thought this post was appropriate for National Dog Day; which is today, August 26th.

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Ezra pours a slightly hazy gold with a white head that fades to a whisper. The nose is crisp and refreshing with assertive notes of apple shining through. The beer bubbles across the palate with a finish so dry it borders on tart. I’d go as far to say this brew feels rather sophisticated, especially as the characteristics of the cider barrel aging really shine through. This is a near-perfect summer brew.

While the beer brings a smile to my face, the story behind the brew’s namesake did not. Ezra was named after a “good dog” that died the day the beer was brewed. Unless you’re a monster, this dry beer will bring a wet tear to your eye.

21/24

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Interview with Ottawa’s Newest Craft Brewery: Dominion City Brewing Co.

Here at BrewBrahs.com, we’re more than just ugly mugs with above-average hair; we’re also the guys that will dive headfirst into the craft beer community and ask the hard-hitting questions that flirt with wrong side of journalistic integrity.

The fellas over at Ottawa’s newest craft brewery, Dominion City Brewing Co., were kind enough to take the time to answer a few of our questions. Find the word-exchange below and clear your next few Saturdays so you can visit their new digs in beautiful Beacon Hill, and grab some of their brews. Enjoy!

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BB: The beer scene in Ottawa has absolutely exploded in the last year, with even more breweries coming soon. Is there ever any fear that the market is getting too crowded or are the people of Ottawa still thirsty for more?

DCBC: We’ve got it in our heads that Ottawa is truly taking over the role as Canada’s national capital of craft beer. The fact that new breweries popping up continue to be quality-focused and producing exciting new flavours is only helping to fuel local interest in delicious beer. Despite what feels like a massive explosion, craft beer sales as a percentage of total beer consumed in Canada is still very small. We don’t have any doubt that as more and more people try full-flavoured, quality-brewed beer that craft consumption will only continue to climb.

One of the really cool things we get excited about is that as recently as a few years ago your typical craft beer drinker was probably a late 20-something male. Today you’re seeing more and more women and Boomer parents taking a real interest and demanding all kinds of new flavours.

At our opening weekend we had a couple in their 80s taking a selfie at the bar holding up a sample of our beer. It kind of rocked our world.

That’s a long way of saying, the craft is strong!

BB: Beyond your own start-up, are there any soon-to-be-open breweries that you’re excited about?

DCBC: We’ve had the chance to chat with the folks behind Bicycle, Waller Street, Whiprsnapr and Broken Stick and they’re all passionate about their projects. We’re pumped to try some when they get going!

BB: The Dominion City dream began over a couple pints at Vineyards Bistro; will they be carrying your beer, thereby bringing the story full circle? 

DCBC: Great question! That’d be surreal! Currently we are on tap at Ottawa’s Beer Brothers Bistro, Bowman’s Bar and Grill, The Wellington Gastropub and Union 613.  For now our goal is to make sure we don’t take on one more customer than we can consistently support so the plan is to grow slowly.

We’re pumped to see Dominion City on tap in more spots around town however, and we’ll be working on making that happen in the weeks to come!

BB: Give us the straight goods: is there actual marmalade in your Earl Grey Marmalade Saison?

Our original experimental batches included real marmalade. At our scale now that much pectin in a beer could produce some undesirable results so instead we’ve phased out the finished marmalade and instead brew it with a combination of pith and zest of more than 250 oranges per batch. We’re really pleased with how that slightly bitter, tangy orange aroma has been maintained!

BB: Was the Earl Grey Marmalade Saison inspired by Paddington Bear? He’s the best.

DCBC: Who doesn’t love a bear who rocks a peacoat and loves to get down on marmalade? The story on our Earl Grey Marmalade Saison started with Josh’s wife Margaux who makes her own delicious jam (Spread the Love Jams). Margaux made an Earl Grey Marmalade and we thought the floral, bergamot flavours were just begging to be paired with the estery, fruity notes in Saison yeast. The rest is history.

BB: Any other flavor of tea considered for this brew? Any weird combinations?

DCBC: We always knew we wanted to incorporate Earl Grey because of the citrusy, bergamot flavours. We experimented with a few different varieties before landing on Bridgehead’s Organic Earl Grey. It was rich and did the best job of coming through in all the right ways in the finished beer. We absolutely love incorporating local ingredients in our beers and it’s a theme we plan to come back to you again and again. Already we source hops from a number of regional suppliers and we’re working with a local organic grain farmer who has started micro-malting his own wheat and barley.

BB: Beyond the timeless Kenny Loggins masterpiece, “Highway to the Danger Zone“, what is the best song to brew to?

DCBC: That’s an easy one. Long brew days call for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s “Night Moves“. Every time.

BB: If you could pick any brewery to do a collaboration with, who would it be?

DCBC: We’ve had a thought that it would be cool to do a collaboration with a brewery from both coasts and to brew it here in the national capital. We’ve got a few ideas that we’re holding close to our chest, but it’s something we’d love to do at the right time!

BB: Can we get a sneak peak at anything you guys are planning for your next release?

DCBC: We brewed a 3.5% ABV session ale that we plan to pour at the Ottawa Folk Festival in September. We called it ‘Working Lunch’ and while very light on the palette, the beer maintains enough body and juicy citrus flavours to satisfy. We’re excited to move into a couple one-off releases this Fall that’ll be on the maltier end of the spectrum and we’ll look forward to sharing more about those soon!

BB: Rapid fire! Just breathe deep and let the answers come naturally:

BB: Favourite Ottawa-brewed beer?
DCBC: Big Papa, Stock Pot Ales

BB: Favourite Canadian-brewed beer?
DCBC: Pandamonium Double IPA, Phillips Brewing

BB: Favourite American-brewed beer?
DCBC: Not The Stoic Quadrupel, Deschutes Brewing

BB: Favourite Internationally-brewed beer?
DCBC: Lion Stout, Ceylon Brewery

BB: Favourite big beer?
DCBC: Bellwoods Lambda Brett Barrel Aged Quad

BB: Well done!

Thanks to the guys over at Dominion City, not only for adding to the Ottawa beer scene, but also for the chat. Any friend of Night Moves is a friend of ours!

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Review: Karma Citra

Brewer: Great Lakes Brewery 
Brewed in: Etobicoke, ON
Percentage: 6.6%
Found: Glebe LCBO

As I drink this beer, it’s IPA Day – how appropriate.

This sensual IPA pours murky gold with a ring of white head. The nose is a ode to hops with tropical and citrus goodness powering through. The delivery is deceptively smooth before the bitterness of the Citra hop spanks the backside of your palate. The bitterness fades with a slow sizzle as this brew clocks in at a reasonable 65 IBUs. The best part about this beer is that all its power is owed to a single hop, the mighty Citra. The Citra Hop is described as imparting “interesting citrus and tropical fruit characters to beer”. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. This beer is exciting yet approachable. Karma Citra is my new favourite drinking position.

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I’m not alone in throwing accolades at this beer: it is the 2012 & 2013 Gold Medal winning American IPA at the Canadian Brewing Awards (falling to lowly Silver in 2014, being usurped by another GLB creation) and it scores well on Rate Beer, Beer Advocate and Untappd. But why trust us and all these other professional drinkers when you can just go get one yourself?

22/24

 

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Review: California Sunshine APA

Brewed by: Cameron’s Brewing Company
Brewed in: Oakville, Ontario
Found: King Edward LCBO
Percentage: 5.1%

Only a couple years ago a Cameron’s brew would barely have caught my eye but they’ve been releasing some exceptionally tasty brews, notably the super floral RPA, and so I rarely let a new release pass me by untried.

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Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone It’s not warm when she’s away.

Pours sunshine bright and pale gold with a mild white head. A subtle nose hints at tropical floral fruit. The palate is much less subtle and finishes sharp and piney. The sharp hoppy bitterness lingers, just as the sticky lace lingers on the pint glass. Normally, I find APAs walk a a little on the weak but this brew hits all the right notes.

19/24

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A Misguide to Beer Terms vol. 2

With the stunning lack of success or pick-up on our Misguide to Beer Terms Vol. 1, we felt obliged to collect the extra Vol. 1 pieces from the cutting-room floor and cobble together a second volume. If there’s anything movies have taught me, it’s that sequels are always better received than originals. Our apologies to Jamie Farr.

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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.

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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.

18/24

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

19/24

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