I wrote earlier about the beers from Black Creek Historic Brewery in our beer of the month club delivery. The other featured brewery, Kichesippi Beer Co., in this month’s delivery is also from Ontario. Located in Ottawa the name of the brewery means ‘The Great River’ and prior to 1855 the river running through Ottawa was known as the Kichesippi.
We tried two beers from Kichesippi, the cleverly named Heller Highwater beer and the Wuchak Black. Heller Highwater is brewed in the style of a Munich Helles lager and the pun in the name won me over immediately. A pale yellow colour and fairly mild tasting with subtle depth. ‘Hell’ in German means light and ‘helles’ translated as noun means ‘the light one’ the colour and bubbly nature of this beer do it’s name justice. This is a perfect patio or dock sipping beer.
Both Andrew and I were weary about the Wuchak Black – described as a Cascadian Dark Ale or a Black IPA – it boasts a pitch black colour with a hop flavour. I love hops. Andrew loves dark stouts. Rarely have we found a beer that mixes these two components well. But the Wuchak Black seems to have pulled it off. The Wuchak pours a dark black that is slightly opaque and has a lovely hop smell with a hint of malt. It is an excellent balance of hop and stout – not too heavy and the hops aren’t overbearing. For a beer were both apprehensive about this was a pleasant surprise. Kitchesippi is wisely selling this as a seasonal offering. The Wuchak is more suited for a cozy evening next to the fireplace than a sunny day in a lawn chair.
For Christmas I gave Andrew a membership to a beer of the (every other) month club. Since January we have been enjoying the bi-monthly surprise of craft beers delivered to our door. This month’s selection included two beers from Black Creek Brewery.
Located at the Black Creek Pioneer Village heritage site the Black Creek Historic Brewery opened in 2009 and employs the techniques, tools and recipes used by Ontario brewers in 1860s. In the 1860s there were 155 registered breweries in Ontario.Black Creek Historic Brewery is the first to recreate the brewing processes of this era.
Each batch is created entirely by hand, uses no electricity, and much of the equipment is made from wood and cooper. The beer ferments in wooden casks, barley is shoveled by hand, and filtration is done in the ‘old style’ using barley husks.
For those interested in learning more about brewing in the 1860s you can visit the Brewery as part of the Pioneer Village and they run a program where you can ‘brew with the brewmaster‘ for a day. A visit to the Brewery is an added cost ($4.50) to admission to the Pioneer Village and includes tours of the hop garden, cooperage, mill, brewery, and beer samples. For those living further afield the Brewery maintains a blog, The Black Creek Growler, which is filled with interesting historical and beer related facts.
The two Black Creek selections we received from were ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Marzen’. What struck me most about Brilliant was the cloudy nature of it. The old style filtration process means that the beer is almost akin to unfiltered beer and has a dense slightly opaque look. As far as taste goes the Brilliant was light, kind of sweet, and fairly smooth drinking. In contrast Marzen was red in colour, had a fruity smell, and a delightful hoppy malt taste. The Marzen falls under the brown ale category of beer that would have been brewed in the 1860s. It was a neat experience to try ‘historically brewed’ beers that were made on a historic site.