Rating: 85 points
Stats: Pale Ale. 5.2% ABV. Etobicoke, Ontario.
Size: 473mL can
Colour: Amber — unfiltered, cloudy ending.
Mouth Feel: Medium, very natural carbonation; dry and refreshing ending.
Pairing Notes: n/a
It’s been said that ‘Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.’ This beer doesn’t help much with that crisis….
I couldn’t exactly do a “Can” series without talking about Can-ucks, could I?
Indeed, this is a beer that is very much brewed in the tradition of American pale ales — but in terms of identity, I’d argue this beer very much has one of its own.
Here’s a brewery (not the beer, to be clear) that won Canadian brewery of the year in 2013. It’s a brewery which I’ve quite loved exploring. Many of their beers that I love, however, turn out to be seasonal and I have to wait for them to return. Their Lake Effect brew is good example. And another of theirs will be featured in a series I’m going to start shortly (hint, hint).
Off the nose and with the first sip, this is a beer that says I’m an American-styled beer with lots of hop and lots and lots of west-coast hop especially. It’s tropical and fruity — some peach even. A yummy beginning, familiar, and I for one was prepared for that I thought was coming next. After all, it’s a style I quite love and I continue to hold Rhyme & Reason as the standard in this style. So based on that nose, I expected this was going to follow those footsteps well. In the middle of the beer, however, there is a clear transition and departure from the taste my memory imagined. I expected these upfront tropical American hops to be followed with decent malts (sugars in other words) that would round out those flavours and impress on the tongue that this was ‘fruity.’ What instead followed was a very dry finish. I’m not saying this is out of balance, but there was a definitely a switch on the tongue.
The result, while surprising, was very tasty, very welcome, and very inviting … but I wouldn’t say “American.” Still, the good fruit esters and diacetyl properties, the hops and their characteristic are on full display. Indeed, this is a beer that possesses a remarkably creamy finish with just hint of astringency at the end — all in keeping with the style.
All in all, an excellent pale ale, a nice one to keep in your fridge, and another example of what can be done in a can … well.
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