Kentucky Bastard Russian Imperial Stout – Nickel Brook


From Burlington, Ontario’s Nickel Brook brewed by Better Bitters Brewing Co. comes their “Kentucky Bastard” a bourbon barrel aged version of the Bolshevik Bastard Russian Imperial Stout.  The beer pours an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of chocolate, toffee, coffee, dark fruits, earth, bourbon, vanilla, oak and sweetness.  The flavour is of chocolate, coffee, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, brown sugar, oak, earth, ash, bitterness and some alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 14.5% with an IBU of 70.  Not that I have had a ton of beers from Nickel Brook but I have to say that this beer is by far their best beer and I would love to have it again soon!

Commercial Description:  We kicked it up a notch with our Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout,aging it in Kentucky Bourbon barrels. The rich chocolate, coffee and dark fruit flavours from our Imperial Stout are married together with the vanilla, oak and warming alcohol from bourbon barrels. Together as one,the result is an incredible blend of aroma and taste. Drink it today, or cellar it to enjoy later as it matures. Cheers!

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Stormy Monday Barley Wine – Bush Pilot Brewing


From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewery (brewed out of Nickel Brook in Burlington) comes their “Stormy Monday” a Barley Wine aged in Calvados Barrels.  Unfortunately my bottle was leaking when it arrived and had lost some of its carbonation.  The beer poured a deep cloudy brown colour with a small head.  The aroma consists of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, apple, clove, spices, hint of chocolate and some brown sugars.  The flavour is of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, dried apple, orange peel, orange, cinnamon, clove, spices, brown sugar, syrup, mild coffee, bitterness, vanilla, wood and a hint of what I can only guess is Calvados.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.3% without being super boozy.  This beer was a blend of barrel aged and non barrel aged versions of this beer.  With the unfortunate leakage of the bottle the carbonation was basically lost but the flavour was still really tasty.  I am really enjoying this beer and I hope that if you get a chance to try it you let me know what you think of it with a full carbonation!

Commercial Description:  We started with a clear mission that our first beer had to be a drink that we ourselves would want to seek out and enjoy. See, we are a bit spoiled – an almost decade long background in craft beer importation blessed us with access to some very fine and unique beers. Therefore, when we decided to embark on this long and turbulent journey we knew we had to create something very different. Needless to say though, we had a few Stormy Mondays along the way… With the help of our experienced mentors and collaborators, we managed to pass through some nasty looking clouds.  Our Stormy Monday is a spiced barley wine aged in Calvados barrels. Legendary Danish craft brewer Anders Kissmeyer (of Nørrebro Bryghus fame) created the recipe and supervised the brewing/aging process. We prepared a huge cargo of spices consisting of star anise, bitter orange peel, cocoa, cinnamon, dried fruit (quince, apple, dates, raisins, figs), real vanilla beans, cardamom, juniper berries and the list goes on and on… We also used pure maple syrup from our long time supplier and friend Frank Higgins of Combermere, Ontario. It is fair to say we logged quite a few hours sourcing some of these ingredients all over the world.  The resulting beer was aged for over seven months in Calvados barrels sourced from Domaine Dupont, Normandy, France. A second, non-barrel aged batch was brewed in order to create a rather harmonious presence of oak and Calvados notes. At the end, we settled for the 60:40 blend (barrel vs. non-barrel batches).  Special thanks go to our collaborators Jon Downing, Sam Corbeil, John Romano, Ryan Morrow, Matthew Howell and everyone at Niagara College Teaching Brewery and Nickel Brook Brewery.  Hope you enjoy your bottle of Stormy Monday.

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Pengo Pally Saison – Bush Pilot Brewing


From Bush Pilot Brewing an Ontario Gypsy brewery (brewed out of Nickel Brook in Burlington) comes their “Pengo Pally Saison” a beer brewed with Arctic Herbs.  The beer pours a hazy yellow colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of citrus, yeast, grain, wheat and spices.  The flavour is of citrus, almost tropical fruit, yeast, spices, grain, wheat, sweetness and an almost herbal, flowery finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.5%.  This is a an enjoyable saison made by some great Gypsy Brewers.

Commercial Description: Our third bottled release is a beer inspired by legendary Inuit pilot Johnny May. “Pengo Pally” means “I miss you” in the Inuktitut language and this message (in English and Inuktitut) was stencilled on the fuselage of Johnny May’s De Havilland Beaver, as a personal note to his wife Louisa.   Johnny May, was born in 1947 in Kangiqsualujjuaq to Bob Martin May of Manitoba and an Inuk mother named Nancy. Johnny decided to become a pilot when his was six years old, during a flight to his father’s fishing camp when the pilot let Johnny briefly take the controls. Right on the spot, little Johnny knew he wanted to fly for a living. He flew his first solo flight at age 16 and has since embarked on a career that spanned well over five decades.  For most of his career, Johnny May flew in areas where topographical maps didn’t exist, and where the conditions were hostile and filled with danger. It was a vast and uncharted frontier where he landed on tundra or ice, depending on the time of year and the weather.   You can learn a lot more about Johnny May and his adventures by viewing a full feature documentary called “The Wings of Johnny May” which is available for download at the National Film Board.  This film not only depicts Johnny’s adventures, it brings out so much more… the harsh beauty of the Nunavik territory, history of the the Inuit people going through dramatic“ends of the world” events such as the arrival of the snowmobiles which lead to a change from a traditional to a more sedentary lifestyle and more recently, the dramatic effects of climate change on the Arctic ecosystem.  Interestingly, despite ample stories and adventures, the makers of the film said it was difficult to convince the very modest Johnny May to agree to a film about his life.  We are eternally thankful to this humble and brave man for letting us tell his story.   The Arctic herbs for this brew were hand picked in the Nunavik region. After obtaining a small sample batch of several herbs (Labrador, Small Labrador, Crowberry, Ground Juniper and Cloudberry, we experimented with different combinations and ratios. In the end, we settled on three herbs: Labrador tea (Rhododendron Groenlandicum), Small Labrador tea (Rhododendron Tomentosum) and Crowberry leaves (Empetrum Nigrum).  Our long-time collaborator, brewmaster Ryan Morrow brewed a balanced yet complex saison-style beer infused with these exotic herbs. Sip Pengo Pally on its own, or with  a nice summery meal of cedar-planked salmon, served over wild rice or mushroom risotto and steamed fiddle heads.  We sincerely hope you will enjoy both the beer and the story behind it. Cheers!

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Cause & Effect Blonde – Nickel Brook


From Burlington, Ontario’s Nickel Brook brewed by Better Bitters Brewing Co. comes their “Cause & Effect Blonde”.  The aroma consists of a cloudy golden colour with a white head.  The beer pours a grainy, bready,  fruity and floral hops.  The flavour is of grain, citrusy lemon, some earth, resin, grassy hops and bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.7% with an IBU of 19.

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Uber Berliner Style Weiss – Nickel Brook


From Burlington, Ontario’s Nickel Brook brewed by Better Bitters Brewing Co. comes their “Uber Berliner Style Weiss”. The beer pours a golden colour with a white head. The aroma consists of tart lemon, yeast and a wheat finish. The flavour is of big tartness, citrus, grainy bread and wheat. The alcohol content comes in at 3.8% with an IBU of 31. This beer could have use a little more flavour but I enjoyed our it none the less.

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