The Malt and the Grape

Some taste notes:

Rickard’s Red IPA

Quite good, the first Rickard’s brand (Rickards is from Molson Coors) that has a craft beer taste IMO. The hop flavour is genuine Pacific North West. The malt is a little flat and thin, at least by craft standards (if pasteurized that may have some impact too) but still a worthy beer, I’d like to try it on draft. More proof that the megas and micras are slowly merging in character.


Stratus Tollgate (red wine blend).

Tasted at Cork’s Wine and Beer Bar at Longo’s on Laird. This classic Niagara marque is an outstanding, rich wine, blended from 8 grape types grown on the property. I believe it is similar to the Stratus Red at LCBO which goes for about $44.00. (The Tollgate line is limited distribution and not available at LCBO). The varietals blend seamlessly to produce a pinot-type flavour, or perhaps pinot-and-cabernet if that makes any sense. No green veg aftertaste as in most Niagara reds as of yore. Showing the maturity of the Canadian wine industry. (Image sourced from the excellent Vivino website).


Wells Young Courage Imperial Russian Stout 2013 Vintage.

Cocoa-like notes, which show a light oxidation, characterize the beer after two years’ cellaring. I think I still prefer it fresh but this is a fine sensory experience by any definition pertinent to the bibulous world. This is the gran-dad of all imperial stouts, gratefully brought back a few years ago by current label-owner Wells Young in England. I hope they are still making it though.