Some how two months have already flown by and another beer shipment arrived in the mail this week. The month’s selection includes three beers beers from three different breweries – four bottles of each beer. The first one we’ve tried is the Break of Dawn Session IPA by Black Oak Brewing Co.
Black Oak is a craft brewery that was originally started in Oakville in 1999. It now calls Etobicoke home and the brewery prides itself in brewing in small batches.
The beer poured a slightly hazy golden colour. The Break of Dawn beer is described by Black Oak as having notes of grapefruit and mango with a hoppy finish. I found there was a very subtle citrus taste but there was way too much hop for my preference. There seems to be a trend recently to make every IPA style beer overwhelmingly hoppy. I love hops. But I like when they are subtle and you can still taste other flavours in a beer. Needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of this selection and unfortunately there are three more bottles of it still.
The last week of the September Andrew and I received our second last shipment of beer in the mail – unless we decide to sign up for another round. This selection included three beers: Biker Beer Lager by Nickel Brook Brewery, 1815 Lockstock Ale by Strathroy Brewing Company, and Belgian Wit by Niagara’s Best Beer.
This was the first month where Andrew and I weren’t really impressed with any of the beer sections. I was initially excited that they were all small Ontario brews, but all three of them fell short of the mark. None of them were bad by any means but they weren’t great or anything memorable.
Additionally, the Biker Beer label was fairly off putting and was objectifying to women. I get that it’s inspiration was the Friday the 13th bikes at Port Dover and probably has a very specific target market – but come on. Hopefully the final shipment is a better selection of beers!
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.