Another pumpkin beer. This one was by Nickel Brook Brewing Company (Burlington, Ont.) which I’ve tried a couple of beers from previously. I haven’t been thrilled with their beer in the past – kind of a good but not great selection of beer. Similarly, I have yet to find a pumpkin flavoured beer that is great. I love pumpkin but that love doesn’t seem to transfer into pumpkin beer.
The “Pie Eyed Pumpkin Ale” fell about middle of the road in terms of pumpkin beer. It poured a hazy copper colour with minimal head and smelt fairly strongly of spice. The taste was predominately spice (cinnamon, all spice, cardamon) with a little bit of malt. The spice wasn’t crazy strong but the balance didn’t quite do it for me. It wasn’t really the flavour mix I associate with pumpkin and felt more like just a bottle of spices tossed together. It was good but not really pumpkin at all.
The True South of 7 beer from 4 Degrees Brewing is the final of the four different selections Andrew and I received in the latest beer of the month shipment. This beer is the counterpart to the North of 7 beer that was also included in the shipment. And similar to the North of 7 beer I really enjoyed the can design and the linking of the beer name to a geographic region (namely Hwy 7 in Southern Ontario)
This was a fairly standard pale ale that poured a pale amber with minimal head. This was definitely a sessionable beer that was smooth and fairly standard. There was a slightly citrus note and a very subtle amount of hops. A step above your generic beer but not anything world shattering in terms of taste.
The final two beer selections from our latest beer of the month delivery were from Pepperwood Bistro and Brewery, located in Burlington, Ontario. By the looks of things Pepperwood is a fairly standard small scale brew-pub operation (albeit with classier food/eating area) and they routinely make five standard beers, two of which were in this shipment.
One interesting thing we noticed about the Pepperwood beers was that the bottles seemed to be much lighter than the standard beer bottle. Maybe they were made with thinner glass?
The first Pepperwood brew I tried was their Cream Ale which poured a hazy blonde colour with minimal head. It had a slightly smell of hops and citrus. There was a slight malty taste and a hint of bitterness while still being easy drinking. A good summer weather beer that was a step above generic.
The second Pepperwood selection was their Monkey Brown Ale. For whatever reason the Monkey Brown Ale’s we’ve tried so far seem to have been over carbonated or something — they poured with far too much head and took a very long time to settle. That fact alone may have impacted the taste — it was okay but I’m not sure it was representative of how the beer would typically be like. It poured a dark brown and had a classic nutty taste. A bit darker than I prefer my nut brown ales typically, but lots of flavour packed in.
The second Stonehammer Brewing selection this month was Red Maple Ale, an ale style beer that was brewed with locally sourced maple syrup. I had no idea there were categories for maple/honey beers at so many beer contests — but there are and apparently this beer has won a handful of awards.
When I think of maple syrup I think sweet tasting. I had anticipated the Red Maple to have a sweet aftertaste to it and oddly enough it doesn’t. The ale has a very bitter finish and if you’re craving maple syrup this isn’t the way to go — it’s hard to pick out the maple among the other flavours.
The beer poured a very dark red, almost brown colour with minimal head. Aroma wise there was a hint of hops and maple and a lot of malt. This beer was surprisingly subtle and is a good balance of bitters, malt, and sweet. It tastes more like a classic red ale than a proudly maple beer – but it works and it was surprisingly smooth drinking.
Back to beer blogging! Two of this month’s selections came from Stonehammer Brewing in Guelph, Ontario. Formerly known as F & M Brewery, Stonehammer has been around since 1995 and all of their beers are made using spring water from Guelph’s artesian wells.
The first Stonehammer brew I tried this month was the Queen’s English Mild Ale. It poured a dark almost black mahogany with almost no head. Judging by their website this was a one-off specialty brew that was available for a a limited time. Though the description mentioned hops I didn’t really get a hops smells or taste with this one — the malt flavour and caramel notes took precedence.
Despite this being a dark beer than my standard fair I really enjoyed it. It was flavourful enough without being overbearing – and is the type of beer that both Andrew and I could agree upon. I’m looking forward to trying the Red Male Ale that also came from Stonehammer Brewing.
Andrew and I were both finally feeling well enough to sit down an sample a couple of craft beers. The most recent Beer of the Month Club shipment included two selections from the Barnstormer Brewing Company (BBC). The BBC was established in 2013 in Barrie, Ontario. All of their beers are unfiltered, they don’t pasteurize, and their brews doing include preservatives. In addition to their beer offerings they offer brewery tours and operate a microbrewery restaurant (aka brew pub). I also loved the fact that many of the names of the beers have regional references, which been from Simcoe County tickled my sense of nostalgia. Though I’m not a huge fan of the pin-up style girl that seems to be on all of their products…but that’s more of a personal preference than anything.
The first selection from BBC I tried was the Flight Delay IPA. It poured a golden blonde colour with very minimal head. It had a very citrus smell with a touch of pine. To say it was hoppy would be an understatement. It was like a hop explosion. I really like IPA style beers but this may have been too much hops even for me.
The second beer I tried was the 400 Blonde Ale. This was a fairly standard ale that I could see being great on a warm summer day. It poured a slightly hazy golden with minimal head, a paler colour than the Flight Delay IPA. I didn’t pick up much on the smell side, maybe a slight sweetness note, but that might be stretching it. There wasn’t a ton of depth in this beer. It wasn’t bad, but nothing particularly special.
On the weekend Andrew and I relaxed while watching curling and sampled a couple more of the beer of the month club brews. This time I tried the Lager by Cameron’s Brewing Company. Similar to their Auburn Ale, the Lager has recently underwent a rebranding and is now known as “Cameron’s Captain’s Log Lager.” By the looks of it the rebranding resulted in all their beers having slightly punny names. My sense of humor approves even if the names are almost groan inducing.
I was pleasantly surprised by this selection. I tend to shy away from lager style beers as they often have a harsher taste that I don’t particularly enjoy. This lager was smooth drinking with a clear crisp finish. It poured with almost no head and was a light straw colour. The lightness of this selection reminded more of a pilsner than what I typically associate with a lager. And given my preference that’s more than okay. But if you’re expecting a hard hitting lager I’d recommend searching elsewhere.
Andrew and I finally got around to trying some of the beer that was delivered the last week of January. This month’s selection included two beers from Strathroy Brewing. Back in September we tried the 1815 Lockstock Ale by Strathroy Brewing. As soon as I saw the bottle label for these couple of beers I remembered that we’d sampled something from this brewer before — the images of the griffin/almost dragon looking creatures on the labels apparently stuck with me.
The first selection from Strathroy this month was the Hop Happy Haymaker. It poured with very minimal head and was an amber colour. It smelt more hoppy than it tasted and had a slightly citrus undertone. It wasn’t quite hoppy enough to fall into the IPA category in my mind and was more of a mild APA style beer.
Andrew tried the other Strathroy beer this time so I can’t really comment on it, but it was a darker style beer and he seemed to enjoy it.
We’re a bit behind on the beer of the month consumption. I think this beer might have arrived in November but I just got around to sampling it last week. Two of the selections in this shipments were by Taps Brewing Co. from Niagara Falls. By the looks of it Taps is a brew up that does a bit of side business in bottled and growler beer.
The Rye Knot brew poured a hazy slightly dark colour with a rye, spicy, and slightly hoppy smell. The slightly citrus taste combined with the rye notes surprised me a bit. I normally associate citrus with a much lighter style of beer. We’ve tried a few rye beers in recent months. They are an interesting mix of flavours and have a range of depth to them. This was an okay rye beer, not my favourite but not bad.
Andrew sampled a couple of the Red Cream Ales from Taps. He liked them but each time he opened the beer there was way too much carbonation and head ended up going everywhere. Even when poured there was far too much head (eg. almost a whole glass of head). We’re not sure if we got a bad batch or what, but it definitely wasn’t a great drinking experience.
Now to keep tackling the beers that were Christmas gifts.
New beer of the month shipment! This month’s selections seem promising and are already better than last month’s less than tasty beer.
The first beer I tried this month was the Brasserie des Quatre Lunes’ Pumpkin Saison. The brewery is an offshoot of Trafalger Ales and Meads. I love mead so I’ve actually tried some of their mead products previously.
I like pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice tea. Pumpkin falvoured beer seems like it would be a good thing. Yet it rarely lives up to the hype. This particular beer didn’t really taste like pumpkin but was alright.
The most noticeable part of this beer was it’s aroma – it was very spicy smelling, lots of cloves nutmeg, and cardamom. You could see some of the spices in the bottom of the glass when it was poured. The spice mixture was decent and made me think of fall – but not quite pumpkin pie spice. It was a unique tasting beer, I didn’t mind it but I’m not sure I could sit down and drink more than one.