An Octet of Beer Reviews

Lapidary reviews, couple of lines or so. Paragraph-long, adjective-laden cogitations are still valid – I cut my teeth on the best of them. As I get on though brevity rules.

Golden Pheasant

Czech lager, very fresh at LCBO currently, a classic Pilsen-style. Shade lighter than Urquell but just about as good. Rich malt, clean flavory hops. It spells the uniqueness of Czech lager.

Guinness Foreign Export Stout (Dublin-brewed)

Better than ever, woodsy, slightly smoky, a touch lactic, winy, malty: so different from standard Guinness. Inexplicably not available in Ontario.

Loon Lager, Barley Days

I had to try this despite, or maybe because of, the fever raised about a brew people on a budget can afford. It’s all-malt, good European hops, a Helles. Similar to many German or craft examples, just lighter. If you don’t believe me, believe LCBO’s notes.

Henderson’s Best (Amber Ale)

A reddish ale,  mainstay of Henderson Brewing in Toronto. Caramel-malt driven, good underpinning of hops but not “hoppy”. A great beer with food, its forte, IMO. Excellent with the brisket sandwich at Drake Commissary next to the brewery.

Tennents 1885 Lager

An export 5% ABV, very fresh from LCBO again, but not that interesting. Adjunct brew? Palate seems to show it. Decent, but not more.

Second Wedge Rain Maker Porter

A gold medal winner at the recent Ontario Brewing Association awards. 5.5% ABV, from Uxbridge, ON. Brewed by industry veteran Doug Warren. Tasty, not too dry, faultless. I hope an “export” version will emerge over winter: deeper in extract and hopping.

Great Lakes Brewing Solbaer Black Currant Kviek

6.1% ABV. Sampled at LCBO. Interesting brew, good fruit, not sugary. Yeast background “different” but mild. Farmhouse without the spicy/clove of Belgian-yeasted beer.

Cowbell Brewing McNall’s Mission (Honey Brown Ale)

Lots of flavour, grainy, like multi-grain dark bread. Local raw honey in the fermentation. No mead-like aftertaste though, all to the good. Reminds me of Black Oak Brown Ale but with a floral twist, and a touch sweeter.

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