Beer In The Burbs- Putting the “Great” in the “Greater Toronto Area”

Or perhaps… making the GTA great again? Nah- I’d rather not go there…

For the past few years I’ve either been working or studying in Toronto while living in Ajax with my roommates (see: Mother and Father). I’ve found that it’s very easy to become very narrow-minded about the city, and all of the things going on in it. Many people can be reluctant to go North of a certain street if they live in the Entertainment District, hesitant to travel West of a certain street if they live in the Beaches, and so on. I’ve noticed that this hyper-local allegiance is also prevalent in beer, as well as when discussing better beer bars. Some people are choosing to drink only from breweries that are from their stomping grounds of Toronto, or will only support a bar that’s within spitting distance.

This observation has only been amplified by the recent adoration for the “Toronto VS Everyone” trend. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with this trend (much love to Peace Collective, do your thang dawg). I actually think it’s awesome to see people showing love for their city and remaining loyal to their neighbourhoods and local stops. However- there’s some seriously good stuff happening in the suburbs these days, and I don’t think they are getting enough recognition. You may be thinking I’m being biased since I’m a burbs girl born and raised, but I have actually just signed a lease on an apartment in the city, so I see firsthand the draws to both ways of living. I’ve also noticed while working at a brewery, that events like Ribfests or some of the specialty activations during Ontario Craft Beer Week are far more impactful and well attended in these regions. Of course this is, in part, due to the relative quietness of the regions in comparison to the city. But the significance of the events to these communities is, in turn, exponentially more impactful- and I think that needs to be noted and rewarded. I think there should be more attention paid to the suburbs and the GTA, because any effort exuded in these regions seems to be paid back tenfold by the appreciation and participation of consumers.

Outlined below are three examples of areas outside the city that are home to some awesome bars and breweries, with a few gems being highlighted as inspiration for you to get in a car, or dare I say it, on the GO train, to visit these not so sleepy suburbs.

Whitby/Oshawa

Bar to Visit: Tap & Tankard

Live Music, daily specials, and two different bars with over 15 taps and plenty of tall cans to choose from. This bar is a hub for the community, and houses many different groups throughout the week including philanthropic and running groups. The food is excellent, proving it’s far more than just that bar you went to when you were perhaps slightly less than 19 years of age.

Breweries To See: 5 Paddles, Brock St, and while you’re out here, go to Bowmanville and see the nice folks at Manantler.

Photo by The Tap & Tankard.
Photo by The Tap & Tankard.

Mississauga/Etobicoke

Bar to Visit: Rib Eye Jack’s Ale House

Ridiculously long bottle list (100+ beers in total between bottle and draught) with goodies from Ontario and Quebec, as well as rotating cask selections. Need I say more? Oh yeah, they also have pretty great whisky if that’s your thing. They try to use local ingredients when possible, and the atmosphere is laid back and welcoming.

Breweries to See: Trafalgar and Cameron’s in Oakville, Black Oak & Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke

Photo by Hungry Brew Hops.
Photo by Hungry Brew Hops.

Newmarket

Bar To Visit: Hungry Brew Hops

Amazing rotating tap selection that changes so often they have an “on deck” section in their beer menu so you can plan accordingly. The owner Boris is well known in the industry, and for good reason. Tons of variety in the food offered, amazing beer and the atmosphere is exciting and just upscale enough without feeling stuffy. If you know someone who’s been here or lives in Newmarket, people love to rave about this place! Good vibes all around.

Breweries to See: Arch Brewing

Photo by @rebeccabentolilaphoto on Instagram.
Photo by @rebeccabentolilaphoto on Instagram.

I’ve barely skimmed the surface of what these regions have to offer, but I hope this encourages you to venture outside of Toronto if you get the chance. Thanks to the following lovely folks for inspiring this article, who work (and drink) in these places and helped me create this blog post: Kristin MacDonald, Jen Reinhardt, Mike Relic, Jon Graham, Jared Allen.

Have any suburban spots that you think should have been included? Tweet me and tell me about them: @_VictoriaBrews

PRESS RELEASE: Half Hours on Earth Brewery announces online pre-ordering

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Many of you might have never heard of Half Hours on Earth Brewery, but if you live Farmhouse/Brett Ales like we do then you need to pay more attention to the brewery. Half Hours on Earth Brewery is a small batch brewery located in Seaforth, Ontario, Canada.  The brewery will be launching a Pick-up service, as well as a home delivery service which is still in the works. See the full press release below


For Immediate Release – May 25, 2016

Half Hours on Earth Brewery announces online pre-ordering

Seaforth, ON – Huron County’s destination brewery, Half Hours on Earth, is proud to announce details of their online pre-ordering services.

In order to better meet the demand for their unique, small-batch beers, Half Hours on Earth now allows customers to order beer ahead of time so that it is available for pick up from the Main Street brewery.

Focusing on Farmhouse Ales, American Wild Ales, and 100% Brett Fermentation beers, Half Hours on Earth is currently open for retail sales every Saturday from 11am – 6pm.

Owner and founder Kyle Teichert says the addition of online ordering is in response to the overwhelming popularity of the fledgling brewery’s beers. “We have people driving from Toronto to try our beer as well as a lot of people passing through Seaforth on the way to the cottage who want to pick up some local beer,” he says. “Letting people order and pay for beer ahead of time means we’ll be able to ensure people get to try what they want and that, as a very small company, we’ll have more time to interact with our growing local customer base who come in to chat and sample beer.”

Half Hours on Earth Brewery’s next retail and brewery pick-up hours will take place Saturday May 28th.

 For more information and to pre-order beer, please visit: http://bit.ly/HHOEorders.

About Half Hours on Earth

Half Hours on Earth is a small batch brewery located in Seaforth, Ontario, Canada.

With a focus on beers that impart a refreshing dryness with yeast forward flavour and aromatic characteristics, Half Hours on Earth is dedicated to introducing the Seaforth community to beers that are as interesting as the people who live here.

www.halfhoursonearth.com

5 Things I Wish All Beer Nerds Would Start Doing

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4 Beer Nerds in the wild drinking from their local watering hole. The Festival-branded 5oz glassware is native to their geographic area.

In the craft beer world, we like to brand ourselves as a welcoming and friendly industry that is filled with people and companies that are more like friends than competitors. Yet, there’s still so many people too intimidated by condescending beer nerds to get into craft beer, people that back away hesitantly from their local breweries clinging to their wine glasses with white knuckles.  Humour me here, let’s pack away all of our certifications and beer biases for a hot minute and get back to why craft beer is so great- community. Too far up your own butt to know how to do that? Don’t worry, I got you covered- in a fancy listicle format because who doesn’t love listicles??  HERE’S HOW:

  1. Stop bashing people’s beer choices.

If you think you’re going to switch somebody off of a corn-based macro brew to your barrel aged saison by berating and belittling their beer choices- you’re going about it the wrong way. I know, we all get a bit caught up in the excitement and wonder that is locally made, quality driven, and naturally created beer. It’s easy to become blinded by passion for quality and complexity in your beer and let it take over your better judgement. That’s why I’m here. So don’t. Okay? It’s mean and it’s not cool, especially when you know that person paid money for that beer.

2. Remind yourself that craft beer is for everyone- not just you and your super rad friends.

Remember when men used to think women couldn’t drink beer? That was pretty terrible and no fun at all. Can we please just let everyone enjoy beer now? Don’t overlook a person or rule them out because of the group of people they associate with. Don’t assume Brad in the Leafs Jersey only enjoys crushing Budweiser in the locker room, he is just as capable of enjoying and respecting craft beer as you are.

3. Be confident in your own preferences and tastes, and let that be enough.

Be confident enough that you don’t have to try to validate yourself by bullying someone else into agreeing with you about what specific orchard fruit is on the nose of that Belgian ale you cracked open. Shoving beliefs of any kind down a persons throat is generally a terrible idea, but it can be pretty discouraging to a person just starting out their foray into craft beer. I’ve said it before, but beer is totally science, so take a hint from scientists and encourage people to prove you wrong and give you different results from the particular beer experiment in your hand. Any time I’ve spoken with Brewers about their beers, they’re intrigued and open to hearing about what flavours and feelings you get from their brew, so don’t take it upon yourself to decide that there can only be one correct way to experience any given beer. Science, bitch.

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Bar Hop Peter St.- Natural habitat of the wild Torontonian Beer Nerd. Photo by Mike Burton.

4. Understand that craft beer is not the be all and end all of beverages.

The Craft Beer world is amazing, but there are many different worlds our there that are amazing to a lot of people. Let’s talk about Brad again. Maybe he’s crushing a Budweiser. What you may not know is that maybe he’s hesitantly enjoying that Budweiser because last night he dipped into his private scotch collection that he’s been grooming for years and got a little too crazy and just wants something different today. Brad is a genius when it comes to scotch and knows a whole lot more than you, and places a lot of value in scotch rather than beer- but you didn’t know that when you interrupted him and trashed his beer choice. Respect that, appreciate it, and give that Brad some props for having a beer at all. Because he’s a whole lot closer to being persuaded to drink craft beer than a full-on beer hater. Feel me? It is okay for people to not enjoy beer.

5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

I’ve met a lot of people who have been in the beer industry for longer than I’ve been alive, and they are the first ones to reach over and shake hands and make friends and buy rounds, and most of the time they aren’t the ones bashing anyone else. Remember that beer has been around for a pretty long time, and just because you developed a passion for it when it started to become trendy, does not make you an expert. Be forgiving and allow yourself to enjoy a beer without scrutinizing it too carefully, or attend a party without trying to convert someone to craft beer. It’s just beer after all, we’re all going to carry on living our lives after we finish our pints. And don’t get me wrong, if you love craft beer, please indulge in all of the resources and literature and certification programs there are in this world and soak up every piece of information you can. Learning is seriously the best. Just remember why you liked beer in the first place, and allow yourself to take it easy every now and then.

Thats all for now. Feel free to disagree with me, or if you’d like, add to this list. I’m open to discussing with anyone who has an open mind. Let’s try a bit harder to live up to the reputation of the inclusive community that we started out as and are known as, and appreciate the different places and backgrounds that all beer drinkers come from.

*exhale*

I Say Kombucha, You Say Ketchup – Why Beer is Subjective and You Should Drink Whatever You Want

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Beer is pretty. Photo taken by Mathew Renda at Folly Brewpub

Picture yourself in a crowded and dimly-lit bar with your best pal, trying out a fancy new kombucha flavoured beer. You’re sipping it, you’re well on your way to reaching pinnacle Adventurous Beer Drinker status, and the Untappd badges are just rolling in. Tastes like glory. But then, in a cruel twist of fate, the girl next to you looks at you and says, “I don’t know, it kind of tastes like ketchup.” You take another sip, convincing yourself that there’s no way that this super awesome beer could taste like a processed red condiment… oh wait, there it is. It’s all you can taste now. (This story is based on true events, sorry to publish your pain, Melissa).

Even though that’s a tragic tale that ended in a dumped pint- there is an important lesson to be learned here. Beer is completely and exclusively subjective, and the way you taste a beer can be affected by a whole lot of different factors. The kombucha story wasn’t enough to convince you??

Take for example a story from my coworker: she was guiding a tasting of 7 different beers at Your Friendly Neighbourhood Brewery, and bravely led people through flavour profiles of one of her favourite Scotch Ales, only to realize afterwards that she actually poured them a very bitter American brown ale (okay, okay, it was totally me, I am ashamed). But the weird part is, as she (ahem, I… cowers in embarrassment) was describing the sweet flavours of honey, caramel, bold notes of coffee and espresso etc. to the group, absolutely NOBODY stopped her and said “I don’t know, I taste pine needles and a grassy bitterness.” Could this have come from lack of experience on behalf of the tastees? Quite possibly. But it brings up an important point: you probably shouldn’t believe all of the things people tell you about flavour.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve had someone taste the same APA as me and tell me that they taste dill. Like the pickle. To that person, I say bravo. Congrats on not letting anyone tell you how to enjoy your beer, and I applaud this person’s ability to dig deep and find complex flavours out of their beers. This method is referred to as The Drinking Whatever You Want, and Not Giving A Shit Method, and I wish for all beer enthusiasts to embrace it.

Basically, the purpose of this article is to tell you to trust in your own abilities and tastes. People will always be eager to tell you what you SHOULD be tasting, and sometimes that can be really helpful. But the best way, in my opinion, to truly taste a beer is to draw your own conclusions rather than adopting the views of others. This requires a certain degree of attention to context (see more about being present in Mike’s article here) because there are way too many things that can affect the way you taste your beer. Whether it is what you ate earlier that day, what the room smells like, what order you tried beers in, or what the label says- there are tons of ninja deception tools that can trick your tongue into tasting specific things. It can get pretty confusing, but it will inevitably always lead to you tasting a beer differently than someone else. It also takes a degree of confidence- it can be hard to offer up your take on a beer to a bunch of seasoned beer snobs.

Ultimately you have to learn how to come up with these tasting notes yourself, and discover new aromas and flavours that are personal to you. It starts with being able to distinguish flavour profiles that you like and don’t like, and then from there, trying out more and more different styles of beers until you can decipher what it is that you are tasting in a brew. Trust your own palate, and understand that your opinion about a beer is the only one that matters. When it comes to Yours Truly, I’m recently discovering that I am not a huge fan of Galaxy hops- or at least that’s what my beer sleuth skills have been leading me to believe. I could be wrong, but hey, that’s my take on it. Yours can be completely different.

Me and three other beer nerds, drinking whatever we want.
Me and three other beer nerds, drinking whatever we want.

P.S. Yes I work at a brewery, no they don’t pay me to say anything, yes I can still have neutral views on issues in the beer industry. Drops mic

 

The West Gone Wild, For Sour Beers

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The West Gone Wild, For Sour Beers Out in beautiful British Columbia, we have amazing outdoor activities in the wild and a rocking beer culture, evident by the 30% share of awards BC took at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. The craft beer industry has really taken off here, doubling the amount of breweries in the last two and a half years with no sign of slowing down. What’s most interesting about this growth is that most new places aren’t opening up with just a basic line-up, rather it’s become almost a standard to open with a barrel aging and sour program from the get go. We’ve experienced a rapid rise of sour beers in the BC craft beer market thanks to some early success and a few hard core brewers who’ve been doing it for years and of course a tight knit beer community.

Now sour beers are new to some folks, but they’ve been around forever in Europe, including some styles like a Polish Gratzer which has been recently revived in North America thanks to creativity and the need to be different. There are many ways to sour a beer, some are quicker than others, but essentially it involves introducing some form of bacteria or wild yeast into the beer and letting it go to work. It often takes many months or years before a sour beer is ready to drink. Beer can be soured during the brewing process with Lactobacillus, it can be soured in barrels by spontaneous fermentation from wild yeasts, or the brewer can add a wild yeast type like Saccharomyces or Brettanomyces to give the beer some funky notes among other unique souring methods. What likely started out as an oops, has long since become a meticulous brewing process that can produce some amazing flavours in craft beer.

Out West, we’ve been privy to a huge influx of soured beers this year.  I can think of over 30 breweries that have released a sour type beer on the market in the past month or two, typically to a lot of fanfare and excitement. Some places are even releasing them within their first year or so of operation. They typically brew the beer soon after opening and let it sit for 9-12 months to let it develop in a barrel. Others are kettle souring beers and putting them out on the market regularly in limited releases or in some cases have built long term souring and blending programs to keep a consistent sour on tap and in the market. Honestly, it’s been crazy to watch as we have more sour beers on the market than double IPA’s in BC, a style ratio that’s quite rare for the rest of North America where double IPA’s are worshipped like gods and celebrities.

This is standard family summer BBQ beer in BC, also a Gold Medal winner at the CBA’s
This is standard family summer BBQ beer in BC, also a Gold Medal winner at the CBA’s

Sour beers aren’t new to BC brewing, Yaletown and Storm Brewing have brewed sour beers forever and Driftwood brewery, who is famous for Fat Tug IPA, has been releasing them since they opened. However, they’ve been part of a fairly niche market until 2015 where you can’t go into a liquor store now without seeing at least a solid selection of sour beer. Clearly the population out this way has adventurous palates and desire to try new things and the brewers are happy to oblige, encouraged by the evolution of the craft beer community in British Columbia.

To give a few examples, sour beers like Four Winds Nectarous (which is a dry hopped sour ale that will blow your mind) are here to stay and are actually becoming hard to get because of demand. More breweries are dreaming up new ways to entice the market into trying a sour beer, like Dageraad Brewing’s Passion Fruit De Witte Sour Ale, a citrusy sour special release that was so popular they were compelled to brew it again for a second summer release. Parallel finally released Lil Red Redemption, a third year anniversary special release as a comeback from their first sour nightmare (hey, they don’t all go so well, sours aren’t easy to make). Finally, breweries are even releasing Gose beers, one of the more ‘out there’ sour styles I can think of, often tasting like sweaty tart lemonade but pairs great with sushi just to stay relevant. I can’t recall other markets that have embraced this style of beer so quickly.

British Columbian beer drinkers have gotten a taste of the sour bugs (literally, those are bacteria after all) and we aren’t going to back away from them anytime soon. Even some of the insanely mouth furrowing sour Cascade Brewing beers are on the liquor store shelves now, each Cantillon release flies off the shelves before you can blink and the importers are clearly reacting to the market accordingly by bringing in more sour styles to choose from. Be it a mild Berliner Weise, a sour Red Lager, a Brett IPA, a Sour Wheat Ale from a Belgian trained brewer in Powell River or an Imperial Flanders Red from the weirdest brewery in town, if you’re looking for a sour beer experience there’s never been a better time out West than now to get it. We are wild for beer, and even wilder for sour ales! In British Columbia we are ready to pucker up for even more, cheers!

Practically Irish Brings Craft Beer to Pickering

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There are a growing number of breweries opening up in the Durham Region, which is amazing if you live in the area. Practically Irish is one of the new additions to the growing list of craft brewers in the area.

Practically Irish officially started in June 2014. The idea came about like most great ideas, over a few beers with friends. In this case, it was between long time friends and homebrewers Brian James (President) and Dwayne Fernandes (Brewmaster). Their dream started back in 2012, after attending OCB Conference, which after creating a business plan and working out all the details, they took possession of an industrial unit in January 2014. As things started to take shape, Brian and Dwayne brought in Alex Bitterman, who is Vice President and Sales and Promotions. Not only are the 3 friends working hard to complete the brewery, they have hired a couple of assistants in addition to having had tons of help from friends and family.

Currently they are running on a 250L system, which with help from an overseas investor will allow them to double their production in February 2015. Practically Irish is already looking to expand with the addition of a bottling line, 8 new fermenters and a new Brite Tank. As of right now, they are brewing their Blonde Ale which can be found in bars and restaurants in Durham Region and 9 bars in Toronto. They are already expanding their selection with a Midnight Milk Stout, which I was lucky enough to sample and I must say it was amazing. Already there are plans for a Cream Ale and an ESB in the Spring. Practically Irish is also in talks about the possibility of opening a brewpub in Pickering at a later date.

The retail area of the brewery will be fully completed and licensed in early February 2015. They are located at 1033 Toy Ave, Unit 8, Pickering, ON. So give them a follow on twitter (@pracirishbeer) and check out their site at practicallyirish.com for all the information on their opening date.

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel Raspberry Chocolate Ale Now Available at the LCBO

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The pink bottle is back! Rogue Ales has collided with Voodoo Doughnut yet again to create Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel Raspberry Chocolate! This is the third beer in the Rouge Voodoo Doughnut collaboration. This unique artisan creation contains a baker’s dozen number of ingredients including pretzels and raspberries from one of Voodoo’s signature doughnuts. This very unique beer is now available at the LCBO in 750ml bottles, priced at $10.95.  Check online (http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/search?searchTerm=Rogue) at the LCBO for store availability as it is just rolling out into stores.

Tasting Notes: 860e11a2-dc47-4ca4-9f4d-2a319385310b

The aroma begins bready with subtle toasted malts, and milk chocolate, before developing a hint of raisin.  Midway through the aroma there are notes of raspberry and slightly salty pretzels before a long, lingering chocolate finish.  The aroma at least hits all the expected notes, with the right mix of doughnut-y malts, raspberry, pretzel, and chocolate.

Food Pairing:

Deserts, Crème Brulee, Donuts.

Ingredients:

2-Row, Munich, C120, Chocolate, Black – Kiln Coffee & Rogue Farms Dare™ and Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Rebel Hops™; Pretzels, Rasberry Extract, Chocolate, Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water

 

*Information provided by Premier Brands, Ltd

Dial “Z” for Zwickel (Beau’s Brewery)

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Origin: Vankleek, Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Zwickelbier

Alc./Vol.: 5.7%

IBU: 27

Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Acidulated, Carafoam, Caraaroma (All Organic)

Hops: Strisselspalt, Triskel (All Organic)

Suggested Glassware: Mug or Stein

Suggested Serving Temperature: 7-10° celsius

Availability: Seasonal (Oktoberfest)

Where to buy: Beau’s brewery or select LCBO locations

This review features a beer from the Beau’s Oktoberfest mix pack. It will be one of four reviews I will be posting, as I drink my way through the pack.  Dial “Z” for Zwickel is a zwickelbier style beer which is,  as the Beau’s website states, “Closely related to kellerbier, zwickelbier literally means beer sampled directly from the maturation vessel in the beer cellar. This German-origin beer takes on the character of the base style: in the case of Dial ‘Z’, an amber lager.”

Dial “Z” poured a a dark copper colour with a hazy clarity to it. The beer had no visible settlement at the bottom of the glass or during the pour. Once poured into the glass, I instantly noticed the freshness of this beer. Right off the bat, I could smell lemon grass notes with a sweet smell of bread/yeast. I also noticed light hints of caramel aromas. The beer poured with a very think head in my stein, which faded out to a thin off white colour. The head left little lacing on the glass as I drank the beer.IMG_6981

At first taste, I experienced fresh lemon grass and citrus notes. There was not a lot of bitterness to Dial “Z”, but had more  sweet bread and yeast notes. The beer was a medium body, with a light creaminess to it. The beers carbonation really brought out the freshness of the beer, and helped bring out all the flavours. Dial had a dry finish to it but the dryness did not take away from how fresh this beer really was.

My overall impression of this beer was amazing. It was something I really enjoyed and never experienced before. The freshness of the beer really blew me away. It was easy drinking and definitely a beer I wish I could get my hands on year round. So, if you can find the Oktoberfest Mix Pack at your local LCBO or your lucky enough to get to the brewery, be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself.

Shoot me a message or follow me on Twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and let me know what you think.

Cheers!

Calabaza (Northumberland Hills Brewery

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Origin: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alc./Vol.: 5.0%

IBU: NA

Malts: NA

Hops: NA

Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Goblet, or Snifter

Suggested Serving Temperature: 3-5° Celsius

Availability: Seasonal (Fall)

Where to buy: Northumberland Hills Brewery, Cobourg Ontario

This review features my last pumpkin beer of the season from Northumberland Hills Brewery, which is located at 1024 Division St in Cobourg, Ontario. This is my first beer review from NHB, but it sure won’t be my last. If you are in the Cobourg area and haven’t been to the brewery yet be sure to go by or check out my brewery tour post at http://wp.me/p4Nse2-5r. Like I stated before, Calabaza is a pumpkin ale just like the name states, but like all the pumpkin ales out there this one is slightly different in taste and balance.

Calabaza poured a pale orange colour with a slightly murky look to it. The beer had no visible settlement at the bottom of the glass or during the pour. Once poured into the glass, I instantly noticed a sweet pumpkin smell that filled my nose. As the beer sat, I started to smell hints of nutmeg and clove with a slight hint of toffee. The beer displayed little to no head when settled, that also resulted in no lacing on my glass.
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At first taste, I experienced sweet pumpkin. It was not overly sweet, but had the characteristics of fresh pumpkin. The pumpkin notes had a slighlty earthy flavour to it, which helped to balance out the sweetness. As I enjoyed the beer it slowly started to transition from sweet to notes of spice. I picked up hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. Calabaza is a light to medium bodied beer, that contains tiny micro bubbles which covered my tongue. There was a slight creaminess to the beer, but it was more dry than creamy. The beer finished with a mouth drying  taste of clove and citrus, which left my taste buds wanting another sip.

My overall impression of this beer was excellent. It was a very balanced and easy drinking beer. I do wish there was more creaminess to the beer and that it had a little bit more spice to it. Calabaza hit all the right notes to a pumpkin beer and was the perfect beer to drink with a sweet dessert or as an after dinner beer.

I give this beer an overall score of 40/50. Be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself. Shoot me a message or follow me on Twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and let me know what you think.

Cheers!

Jumpin Jack (Tree Brewing Co.)

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Origin: Kelowna, B.C, Canada

Beer Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alc./Vol.: 6.5%

IBU: 65

Malts: Pale, Chocolate, Crystal, Light Munich, Dark Munich

Hops: Perle, Golding, Tettnang

Suggested Glassware: Pokal

Suggested Serving Temperature: 3-5° Celsius

Availability: Seasonal (Fall)

Where to buy: LCBO and Tree Brewing Co.

This weeks beer review features a beer from Tree Brewing Co. in Kelowna, B.C. This is my second beer from this BC brewery. This time I will be reviewing Jumpin Jack, which is a India Pumpkin Ale. Jumpin Jack is a seasonal limited edition beer. Like the brewery states on their website,  “a brew that brings together the classic flavours of a full bodied India Pale Ale and our Pumpkin Ale resulted in our newest IPA – Jumpin Jack ‘India Pumpkin Ale’.” This was a very unique combination of two, in my opinion, very different styles of beer.

The beer came in a 650ml bottle that I bought from my local LCBO, but like I stated above, is also available at the brewery. When I poured the beer into my branded glass, I noticed a dark copper colour with shades of ruby red. The beer was not very translucent, which to me had a cloudy appearance to it. The head of the beer was thick and full, which slowly settled to a thin head that left great lacing all the way down the glass.

Since Jumpin Jack is a combination of an IPA and Pumpkin ale, the aroma was very unique. At first, I could smell the pumpkin characteristic of the beer. I could instantly smell nutmeg and spice. The pumpkin notes were light on my nose and not very strong. The more powering aromas came from the IPA part of the beer. I could easily notice notes of citrus and lemon, which gave the beer an almost bitter smell to it.DSC02813

At first taste, you notice the full body flavours of this beer. The pumpkin notes stand out first. It is a real pumpkin taste, which is not overly sweet. The spice balance is perfect. It has hints of nutmeg and allspice with faint notes of cinnamon. The pumpkin slowly faded into the bitter portion of the beer.  I could taste bitter citrus and lemon. There was a light hint of grapefruit which gave it a very dry finish. The bitter was a great contrast to the lightly sweet pumpkin that the beer started out with. This was a very full bodied beer that was lightly carbonated. 

My overall impression of this beer is that it is a good balance of  different styles of beer. Jumpin Jack hit many areas of my taste palate, which made it very enjoyable. To me, this stood out from a lot of the pumpkin beers I have had this year due to the balance of sweet and bitter tastes. This is definitely a beer that I would recommend to any IPA and Pumpkin ale fan.

I give this beer an overall score of 39/50. Be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself.  Shoot me a message or follow me on twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and tell me what you think.

Cheers!