Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Starry Night Chocolate Porter

From beautiful, peaceful Bobcaygeon, Ontario, comes Starry Night Chocolate Porter. Lovingly brewed with lactose and cacao nibs by the folks at the Bobcaygeon Brewing Company, this potent ale packs 6.3% into each 473mL can.

This dark ale has a lovely deep brown hue and pours with a lush, but short-lived tan head. It has a malt-heavy, bitter chocolate aroma. The flavour is, at least initially, less robust. There is a silky mouthfeel that exudes sweet, chocolatey warmth. This gives way to a bitter, almost slightly sour finish. 

A pleasant dessert beer with good, but not impressive, strength, Starry Night is a pretty good chocolate stout. It’s not as deep or impressive of some of the genre’s finest offerings, but it’s a pretty solid little offering out of small town Ontario. A fun beer!

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Brews From the Six: Belgian Wit

I don’t often find cause to use my witbier glasses during the winter months, but I made an exception for The Six Brewing Co.’s Belgian Wit, so that I could complete my quartet of reviews. Clocking in at 5% alcohol, 6BW is a nicely carbonated golden grog—less cloudy than many beers in the style—under a fluffy white head.

6BW has a cheery banana and yeast scent. It tastes somewhat similar, with a lot of banana esters. Like a classic witbier, this Belgian-style ale has some spicy notes, in the form of clove. However, these aren’t as robust as in some of my fave wits.

I suspect that 6BW will be a big hit in the steamy summer months. On a seasonably chilly March afternoon, it was a bit out of place, though I liked it well enough. If I were pulling the levers, I’d have upped the spice quotient, though that would have sacrificed some of the beer’s quaffability.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Brews From the Six: IPA

At just 6%, the as-yet-unnamed IPA from The Six Brewery is understrength for the style, but it has a lovely copper colour and a lustrous off-white head. The unadorned 500mL bottle poured nicely, and its contents gave off an agreeably juicy, fruit-focused scent.

Tropical fruit was the most prominent flavour note—sweet, but not too much, with subtle piña notes and a solidly dank and dry bitter vibe.

This was an agreeable, easy-drinking IPA with a lot of charm, but an unfortunately low-test percentage. If this stuff was 7+, it’d have been a big winner. As a 6% jobby, it is nice, but a bit light.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Brews From the Six: Lager

My second venture into The Six Brewing Co. was their lager, a 4.8% sold in 500mL bottles. A pale lager, this one was sunny gold, faintly hazy, modestly carbonated, and topped with a cloud of white fuzz.

Grainy and malt-driven to the nose, The Six’s Lager was more flavourful than some, though not particularly remarkable. It had a classic malt to hops progression, with cereal notes up front and noble hops in the rear. Fairly crisp, despite the fact that the beer wasn’t overly carbonated, the flavour really started to deliver at the finish, which was quite dry and acerbic.

As with most Ontario craft lagers, this was a wildly drinkable, though hardly memorable little brew. The IBU count was slightly higher than I expected, lending it a drier, more pilsner-like finish, which was a plus. The low alcohol percentage was a get for crushability, but didn’t help my overall enjoyment, particularly as I was downing this beer on the past day of February, instead of on a hot summer’s eve, as, in my opinion, a pale lager is meant to be enjoyed.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Brews From the Six: Pale Ale

During my first visit to The Six Brewing Co., the beer that was recommended the most effusively was their pale ale, so that’s where I decided to start my reviews. So new it lacked a name and a label, the pale ale came in an unadorned 500mL (?) bottle with a tag that indicated an alcohol percentage of just 4.7, putting it in the session category for me. Given the light percentage, the beer was darker than I’d have expected, with a slightly hazy amber-gold hue and a standard off-white head.

To my sniffer, this li’l pale ale had a light, tropical fruit nose, backed with some slightly resinous hops. The flavour echoed those elements, though the murky, resinous quality was amplified and the tropical notes took more of a back seat. The mouthfeel was agreeably crisp, but it should be noted that it was a bit brittle—I was hoping for a fuller texture, particularly in the front end, which I found to be thin.

Folks, my first brush with a brew from The Six was a big net win. Given their somewhat unambitious early roster of standard brews, I was worried that the beer would be equally plain, but I must say, I found their pale ale to be a fairly assertive and enjoyable number. Given the proximity of this brewery to my home, I imagine that I’ll be downing a lot of this as-yet-unnamed pale ale in the months/years to come.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Brews from the Six

It’s not often that I am right on top of a new brewery when it opens, but The Six Brewing Co. is four blocks from my front door, so I’d have felt remiss if I didn’t get there in the first week. As it happened, I stopped by the brewery/bottle shop on their second day. Had a nice chat with one of the owners/managers(?) and left with a four-pack of the beers he recommended. A pale ale, a Belgian Wit, an IPA, and a lager. In fact, the brewery was so fresh that the beers hadn’t even been named yet—they were having a contest to name them when I came it (we’ll see if I win).

So stay tuned this week for my thoughts on four of the debut brews from The Six.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Rabble Rouser

Walking around aimlessly on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Toronto, I often find myself drawn, like a moth to a flame, to Bar Hop. On my most recent visit, I opted to sample a 15oz pour of Rabble Rouser, a 6.8% IPA from Ottawa’s Tooth and Nail Brewing Company.

My glass of draught showed up clear, brassy, and covered with a loose cream head. The beer had a fruity scent, with just a scintilla something metallic. The flavour tends toward juicy fruit notes, particularly peach. In the shadows around the back end, sticky hops lurk.

While Rabble Rouser wasn’t quite as bitterly bombastic as I wanted it to be, it did have a charming flavour and very close to the perfect strength for an IPA. Based on the strength of this brew, the next time I’m in Ottawa, I’ll definitely be checking out Tooth and Nail.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.