From Calgary Alberta’s Big Rock Brewery comes their “Traditional Ale” an English Style Brown Ale that is also brewed at the breweries in British Columbia and Ontario. The beer pours a medium chestnut brown colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, mild roast, nuttiness, earth and a sweet finish. The flavour is of nuts, caramel, mild roast, earth some mild bitterness and sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 20. This beer isn’t going to knock your socks off but that is not what a brown ale is about anyways. This is a tasty clean brown ale that hits the right notes.
Commercial Description: A recipe gone untouched since Big Rock’s founding. Toasty malt and sweet caramel up front, finishes with a nutty flavour, medium creamy carbonation and mild hop bitterness. “The unmatched quality of our Canadian grown barley is still the backbone of this beer over 30 years after it was first brewed. My comfort food in a glass, some things just never get old.” ~Brewmaster Paul Gautreau
Food pairing as per brewery: Sharp cheeses, red meats and stews.
From Brewsters Brewing Company out of Calgary, Alberta comes their “Blue Monk Bourbon Barley Wine” a bottle from the 2016 vintage. The beer pours a deep copper colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of bourbon, oak, toffee, caramel, booze, candied sugar and dark fruits. The flavour is of bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, treacle, dark fruit, earth, mild roast and alcohol. The alcohol content comes in at 11.8% with an IBU of 60. While I cant say that I have had a huge amount of Brewsters beers I feel comfortable saying this is the best beer that Brewsters makes. If you find this beer buy more than one bottle for sure!
Commercial Description: The 2016 edition of Blue Monk Barley Wine aged for 3 months in Kentucky Bourbon Barrels. After a bit of research with the brewery I have found out that the barrels are a mix of Woodford Reserve and Heaven Hill Barrels.
From Tin Whistle Brewing in Penticton comes their “Hands Up Red Ale” their newest seasonal release. The beer pours a deep red colour with a small brownish head. The aroma consists of raisins, fruit, molasses, malts and some rum. The flavour is of raisin, rum, fruits, molasses, oatmeal, mild roast, bitterness and a hint of earth. The alcohol content comes in at 6.5% with an IBU of 20. This is a tasty red ale that sits on the sweeter side of the spectrum.
Commercial Description: A raisin oatmeal red ale to commemorate Bill Minor, the Gentleman robber.
Backstory: Bill Miner (1847-1913). Bill Miner, the first train robber in Canada was known as the “Gentleman Bandit” because of his good manners during a hold-up. He was also the originator of the phrase “Hands Up!”. On May 8, 1906, he held up the C.P.R near Kamloops making him a local folk hero. He was later arrested by the Royal North West Mounted Police and sentenced to 25 years in the New Westminster Penitentiary. The 1982 Canadian film The Grey Fox was based on Billy Miner’s life.
From Brouwerij Bosteels in Belgium comes their “Pauwel Kwak”. The beer pours a deep copper with a light tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, candied sugar, plums, sweetness and a hint of alcohol. The flavour is of toffee, caramel, candied sugar, raisins, earth, mild roasted malts and sweetness. The alcohol content comes in at 8.4%. This is a great Belgian Strong Pale Ale that hits on all the notes you would expect from the style.