Thursday, 21 September 2017

IPA No. 3

IPA No. 3 comes from Hamilton, Ontario, where it is brought into being by the brew artists at Collective Arts Brewing. Sold in teal 473mL cans with a cubist look, the beer checks in at 7.1%. This Ontarian IPA is brewed using both Citra and Crystal hops. It has a cloudy, dull orange aspect and pours under a bright eggshell foam.

No. 3 has a juicy, fruit-forward aroma that suggests grapefruit bitterness. It's flavour is packed with tropical notes, built above a dank and resin-focused bitterness.

The beer works well enough, although I found it to be a bit too sweet for comfort. To get to the next level, its bitterness would need an amping up, and its juicy fruit sweetness a dimming. However, it was still excellently strong and, incongruously, very easy to drink. Given the sugar content apparent in this beer, I'd expect it to be a hangover magnet if enjoyed in significant quantities. However, a can or two go down fluidly and with few complaints. I like what Collective Arts is doing with its IPAs, and I found No. 3 to be a pretty solid entry, though not as engaging as some others in the series.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


Happiest of birthdays to my dear ol' da! Cheers to you, Pops!

With its 473mL can adorned with neon green and alien symbols and its tiny letters above the barcode that declaim "Space is the Place", Omnipollo's Zodiak fairly screams intrigue. The 6.2% IPA comes from Stockholm/Toronto. It's a cloudy brew with a bright gold tint and a layer of sudsy white head.

To my inexpert but well-practiced nose, there seems to be a resinous, evergreen whiff. Given the scent, the flavour is somewhat surprising, in that it leads off with a slightly fruity zest before veering toward a floral/forest vibe. The mouthfeel is lovely, suggesting a full-bodied and well-made ale. The finish, while fine, cost this beer a bit, owing to the fact that it isn't as dry and crisp as I wanted it to be.

I've been absolutely wowed by Omnipollo before, so I had high hopes for this stuff. It didn't blow me away, but it was still a very nice, mindfully crafted brew with a lot going for it.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

Sunday, 17 September 2017


Mellifera comes from Le Trou du Diable in Shawinigan, Quebec. Sold in 500mL bottles with beautiful luchador/Catholic imagery, the beer has 5.8% alcohol. According to the label, this lil brew is built using local honey and lactic fermentation.

The beer is a dull gold offering, with a fairly thin covering of off-white head. It's hazy and packs a tart aroma, running parallel with a sweet, honeyed note. The flavour is considerably sour, with citrus and acidic notes. However, thanks to the use of honey, there is also a scintilla of apiary sweetness.

Tart and tangy, Mellifera has some bittersweet elements that make it an interesting beer. Not quite a sour, but nearly as acidic, it's an ale with a honeyed tongue. Very thought provoking stuff from an extremely strong Quebec brewery; however, not to be messed around with if you don't dig your beers sharp and assertive.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Raspy Engine--Old Engine Oil

Raspy Engine Old Engine Oil is a 5.3% alcohol porter brewed with Scottish raspberries. Born in Hillfoots Village, Alva, Scotland, this little number was created by Harviestoun Brewery. According to the label enveloping the 330mL bottle, Raspy Engine is a modified and lighter version of Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil--an imperial porter--although I've never had the opportunity to taste the original. As well, the label indicates that the berries used in this brew were used whole--seeds and pulp, as well as juice.

Sure enough, the midnight dark ale with the ruby-tinged highlights and creamy head had a potent whiff of raspberries on the nose. Not the tartness of fresh berries, though. Rather the sweet, sugared aroma of jammed razz. Along with the jammy scent, there was a chocolate and coffee vibe that made it clear that this is a dessert brew. The beer had some loose porter elements--it was relatively malty, had some cocoa notes, a dark chocolate spine, and a modestly bitter fin--however, raspberries were the factor that made this ale's engine turn over.

Not quite as tart or as java-focused as I wanted, perhaps, but Raspy Engine still managed to demonstrate the range of flavours a that a raspberry porter can occupy, and with a bit of flair, too. Extremely easy drinking, I found that my glass was empty long before I expected it to be.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Takumi Saskatoon Berry Sour

Because they are swell, my good pal K.F. and her partner J. Lastname brought me a 650mL bottle of Takumi Saskatoon Berry Sour, a wheat sour beer brewed with fresh Saskatoon berries.

At 5.8% and 7 IBUs, Takumi pours a loud pink colour, with a fuzzy light pink head. It has a hefty and tart aroma with notes similar to cranberry. The flavour is also fairly tart, though with a slightly candied taste reminiscent of punchy gummy bears.

The beer was lively and yummy, but a bit to heavily candied to opt for a second. All told, it was super tasty little brew, and, as a Saskatoon berry virgin, I was grateful for the opportunity to try it.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Canada 150 Best Bitter Ale

Brewed in honour of Canada's sesquicentennial, Canada 150 Best Bitter Ale comes from Toronto, Ontario's Black Creek Historic Brewery. Sold in 473mL cans featuring a canoe full of voyageurs, the cloudy, brown ale contains 5% alcohol and pours with a short lived off-white head.

While its aroma isn't particularly powerful, Canada 150 has a decidedly malty nose, with some mild caramel notes. Chiefly malty to the taste, the beer is also a bit bready, and closes with a clatter of bitterness that has a bit of a molasses streak.

Black Creek makes much of the fact that its recipes are inspired by brewing in the 1800s. Having visited the brewery, I can attest to the fact that the beer making on site uses some traditional methods. However, I'm dubious that the canned and commercially available offerings owe all that much to their beery forebears. This suspicion is heightened by the lack of details on the can concerning the particular recipe used.

Still, Canada 150 was a pretty solid best bitter--unremarkable, maybe, but tasty and made with some skill. I didn't find myself caught up in the excitement that has surrounded Canada's 150th year, so I likely wouldn't have bought this beer for myself. However, my baby bro left me a couple cans in exchange for cat-sitting, and I'm glad he did.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Dankosaurus IPA

Dankosaurus IPA came to me via my man J. It's an India Pale Ale from the Cedar Creek Brewery in Seven Points, Texas. The 355mL can doesn't list a percentage, but does indicate the the suds inside contain 70 IBUs. The website says 6.8%, so that's pretty respectable.

This East Texas ale is hazy, orange-gold in colour, and pours with a thick fog of creamy head. It has a fairly standard West Coast IPA aroma; rich in bitterness and tinged with juicy fruit notes. The flavour is a bit more remarkable, though, with citrus notes that are actually fairly tart, but still bitter and enjoyable.

For an IPA, I found Dankosaurus to be a bit light on the crushingly bitter tastes I was craving. However, it was still quite flavourful and tasted reasonably well made. Would buy again.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10.