Top Toronto Tastes

Amsterdam Sticke Alt, Rush Canadian Golden Ale

Amsterdam Brewery recently released under a loose Oktoberfest banner a four-pack comprising the Sticke Alt shown, a Rauchbier, a Marzen, and Unfiltered Lager. More detail at Greg Clow’s Canadian Brewing News.



The Sticke Alt has appeared before at Amsterdam but shines especially this year with rich malt, a steady current of German hop support, and a slightly fruity palate.

As the brewery claims, there is a note of raisin in the taste but it does not dominate as in some Belgian ale. And while looking rather English in the half-pint glass, it is not quite Britannic either.

Instead it is perched half-way between, as quite appropriate for a German take on dark, top-fermented beer.



I have not patronized the Dusseldorf pubs as yet but apart from bottled examples, did drink two glasses of Zum Uerige Sticke Alt flown over for a Baltimore beer festival some years ago.

It was tapped from a wood keg and as fresh can be.Ā Amsterdam’s version is close, malty and satisfying yet inviting another sip, another can.

As always, one should drink beer of this quality not chilled to within an inch of its life. I leave mine open in the fridge a day or two (and even outside the fridge won’t hurt), to bleed off some carbonation, and then it is even better.

Now the beer below came out in mid-August, justly trumpeted due to its unusual genesis: a collaboration between legendary Canadian rockers Rush* and Henderson Brewing in Toronto. The Henderson website has a good taste note.



in the same page Geddy and Alex are shown talking up the brew. And so they should because it rocks, man.

To Henderson’s notes I’d add the beer has a good malty quality, as does Amsterdam’s Sticke Alt. In neither is it overdone, the right balance is reached, for me and I suspect most who will try them.

Having studied Canadian ale make-up of the 1930s and 40s, I think the Rush Golden Ale probably is close in character. True, rye wasn’t used in beer mashes back then (even in wartime to my knowledge) but here it enhances the malt without obtruding.

And that’s kind of nice, to those of a beer-historical bent.


*Of course the two surviving members, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Drummer Neil Peart passed away some years ago.



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