Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA
Amber colour; lovely citrus notes on the nose; a hoppy attack and an almost unbearably bitter finish.
Hop City Big Mouth Pale Ale
Light amber colour. The nose has nice citrus hop notes. The hoppiness is less on the palate than the nose suggests but is perfectly balanced with the maltiness to make this a smooth and easy drinking beer. This is definitely a beer to bring to a backyard BBQ in multiples of six.
Amsterdam Tempest Imperial Stout
Unfortunately, I tried this a few months back and lost my tasting notes in the meantime. I remember enjoying it but being very interested to see if a year or so in the cellar would make it a bit more robust on the palate.
Stalk & Barrel Single Malt Whisky Cask 1, Bottle #67 from Still Waters Distillery
Up until several months ago I was completely unaware of Still Waters Distillery and the larger grain-to-glass craft spirit movement in general. Fortunately my ignorance ended when I met Still Waters’ co-founder, Barry Stein, at the Summerhill LCBO where he was pouring samples of their vodka.
I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t really expecting much. I mean, come-on, the phrase “distilled in Ontario” doesn’t really engender much confidence. Or that’s what I thought until I sipped one of the smoothest vodkas I’ve ever tasted.
Standing at the tasting bar, trying to conceal my shock at the unexpected quality of the spirit I’d just sipped, Barry hit me with the follow-up punch that in a few months they would be releasing Ontario’s first ever single malt whisky.
Fast-forward to a morning in early May and I’m driving around a nondescript industrial park north of Toronto looking to drop $100.00 on a bottle of whisky that was mashed, fermented and distilled by-hand right here in Ontario.
Unfortunately, getting buzzed into the closet-sized room that serves as Still Waters’ storefront will never cause the same goosebumps one would get passing through the gates of a centuries old distillery in Scotland. But the service is friendly and it’s what’s in the bottle that matters.
And what’s in the bottle has a lovely golden amber colour. Cedar and honey notes on the nose, with a hint of paint thinner (in a good way). At 62.3% a.b.v. its no surprise that there is also plenty of alcohol—nose hair singeing on deep breaths. But, honestly, I could keep my nose in this glass all day. On the palate the cask-strength alcohol content warms without the burn and settles down for a lengthy finish that has salty hints at the edges.
Hard to believe it slept for only three and a half years in ex-bourbon casks nowhere near the North Sea.
Visit http://www.stillwatersdistillery.com to buy online.
Tree Brewing Co. Captivator Doppel Bock
Dark amber/brown. Malt and black liquorice yet unexpectedly light on the palate. Not a heavy beer despite being a Doppel Bock.
The mandarins seem to like it as well since it just won a gold medal at the 2012 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Bock – Traditional German Style category. Congrats!
Hopwired IPA by 8 Wired Brewing Co. New Zealand
Deep amber, lovely hopiness on the nose, surprising black liquorice hint in the palate with a fair amount to malt interplay with the expected bitterness.
Legendary Muskoka Oddity
Fresh & yeasty on the nose & palate. The Belgian influence comes through loud & clear.
Lake of Bays Spring Maple Belgian Blonde Ale
Golden yellow; distinct Belgian sweetness on the nose and palate with a hint of banana.
Nickel Brook Maple Porter
Black/brown; hints of cedar wood on the nose; slightly metallic and lighter on the palate than expected. Overall the maple is very subtle.