Put on your dressiest sweatpants, light a candle, sit back in your comfiest recliner, and buckle up for another installment of the festive drowning in what are, supposedly, some of the world’s finest beers. Oh holy no!
December 9th – Bronx American Pale Ale
The Bronx Brewery
Pale Ale – 6.3%
This extremely malty pale ale pours into the glass with a nice copper colour and pillowy head. It somehow manages not to be overly bitter, despite citrus and pine playing a vital role on the tongue. A well-balanced beer, this is good for a try if you like nice deep flavours. Having said that, there really isn’t much else to go on. It’s fairly plain, but what it does accomplish is well done.
Final Score: 3.5 / 5
December 10th – Duluth Coffee Pale Ale
Earth Rider Brewery
Pale Ale – 5.2%
Yes! SO MUCH YES! A bright and light ale that has an incredible amount of depth. The coffee is very pronounced without being overbearing. The nose alone reminds me of freshly brewed coffee and sunny mornings. Very smooth and clean. Definitely an ale, although I do question it being marketed as a pale ale since it seems to have very little of the characteristics that have become common with the style. I can’t rave about this one enough.
Final Score: 4.25 / 5
December 11th – Granola Brown Ale
Black Hog Brewing Co.
Brown Ale – 5.7%
This is a fine example of a solid brown ale, although it’s darker than most. Leans very close to stout territory, surprisingly, without crossing that line. Malt rules the day and pairs with some nice chocolatey notes. Overall, this brown offers a fairly smooth ride with a big finish. I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand the whole push behind labeling it as a granola beer. But you’ll learn to forgive it quite easily once it’s in your glass, and in your stomach.
Final Score: 3.75 / 5
December 12th – Undercurrent
Deep Creek Brewing Co.
Pilsner – 5%
This pilsner has a very metallic and hoppy smell to it. As far as general notes go, it’s light and crisp with very little sweetness at all. Much of the flavour profile reminds me of sharp, bitter citrus – maybe lemon for acidity. Overall, a fairly standard pilsner with some odd things going for it. This was far from my favourite – a light patio beer with little substance or depth.
Final Score: 3 / 5
December 13th – Ripple White Ale
4 Hands Brewing Company
Wheat Beer – 5%
I’m usually not fond of whites or wheat beers. That being said, this one is very light and smooth. There’s a beautiful level of citrus here that adds to its base without being offensive. Throw in a nice subtle spice and suddenly you have a beer that’s good for Christmas as well as summer! The unfortunate part is that the more you get into it, the stronger and harsher it gets. I struggled a bit towards the end, but I’m not sure if that’s because it tasted bad, or I have bad taste. Serve this one ice cold.
Final Score: 3 / 5
December 14th – Hi-Wire Lager
Lager – American – 4.6%
This is a prime example of a patio lager for sure. Hi-Wire is super easy to drink but there’s not much to it at all. The colour suggests it may be hoppy, but there’s very little hops. The style suggests malt, but there’s very little malt. In fact, there’s almost nothing noteworthy about this. If you’re looking for a beer that tastes like yeast and water, this is your guy. Has a metallic finish.
Final Score: 2 / 5
December 15th – Graham Cracker Porter
Denver Beer Co.
Porter – American – 5.6%
I can’t believe how good this actually is! A beautiful deep porter with a coffee and nut flavour that provides a smooth ride from start to finish. Cocoa on the nose. There’s a nice touch of sweetness here with a slight bitterness towards the end. They label this as a campfire beer and I honestly can’t say that they’re wrong. What we have here is deep, dark, and absolutely delicious!
Final Score: 4.25 / 5
December 16th – Jetty Ale
Great South Bay Brewery
Cream Ale – 5.5%
This ale was one hell of a fantastic surprise! Unbelievably unique. Jetty manages to be light and flavourful all at once. A touch bitter but mostly just for depth. The majority of its profile is a lager and ale base that resembles a floral honey ale with a beautiful sweetness. Smooth and balanced – this was a pleasure to drink the whole way through.
Final Score: 4.5 / 5
December 9 – 16 Average Score: 3.53 / 5
This stretch seemed to reveal some epic highs and some disappointing lows. What will the next eight bring? Nobody knows!
Part 3 coming soon…