Traditional Ale – Big Rock Brewery

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.


Frank’s Brown Ale – Strange Fellows Brewing

From Strange Fellows Brewing in Vancouver comes their “Frank’s Brown Ale”.  The beer pours a brown colour with a light brown head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, nuts, chocolate and caramel.  The flavour is of toasted malts, nuttiness, chocolate, caramel with a hint of toffee.  The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 16.  This beer made to honor Frank Appleton one of two of the founders of the craft beer movement here in BC is a well made basic brown ale that hits on all the points needed to be an enjoyable addition to the scene.

Commercial Description:  Inspired by the first recipe for Frank’s Nut Brown Ale made at Yaletown Brewing Company circa 1994, our Frank’s Brown Ale honours Frank Appleton – the father of craft brewing in North America. In the early 80’s, Frank and John Mitchell opened North Americas first “micro brewery” in Horseshoe Bay, BC. This English style ale brings together several specialty malts, using hops only to balance its rich chocolaty backbone.

Food pairing as per the brewery:  Burgers & Fries, Stew.


Black Pearl Ale – Fort Garry Brewing Co

From Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Fort Garry Brewing Co (Owned by Russell Brewing Co in Surrey BC) comes their “Black Pearl Ale” a brown ale.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of chocolate, coffee, vanilla and is quite sweet overall.  The flavour is of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, toffee and some nuttiness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 16.  Its been a while since I have tried a Fort Garry beer but this one hits the spot especially as their are not enough brown ales out there.

Commercial Description:  A small batch craft brewed ale that is naturally aged without preservatives. This beer is a medium bodied, slightly sweet brown ale dry hopped with locally roasted Black Pearl coffee beans which bring out the coffee and chocolate notes naturally present in the malts.


Yukon Gold English Pale Ale – Yukon Brewing

From Yukon Brewing in Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories (Northern Canada 2,400km North of Vancouver BC) comes the “Yukon Gold English Pale Ale”.  The beer pours a deep golden colour with a small white head.  The aroma consists of citrus, floral hops and some bready malts.  The flavour is of caramel, bready, mild citrus, mild nuttiness, earth and some very mild hops.  The alcohol content comes in at 5%.  This is a very mild Pale Ale and fits the bill as an English version.  Do not look at this beer as anything West Coast but do look for a nice flavoured quite mild Pale Ale.

Commercial Description:

The Yukon’s number one selling draught (yes, including the mega-breweries), this ale was designed to be an almost “non-ale”. It is golden in colour, brilliantly clear, and clean across the palate. The mix of 5 malts still provides subtle character in the body, and the addition of malted wheat provides a slight, but characteristic citrusy finish.  Hopped with noble Saaz, Sterling and UK Golding, the bitter is barely perceptible, but mild hop flavours linger in the after-taste; the dry, clean finish provides a refreshing perk at the back of the palate. The full package mimics the classic milds of the British Isles, with a bit of Yukon spirit, just to make sure you remember what part of the world it’s from!  The artwork on the package and label was created by Artist Lynn Blakie. Her piece captured the gold that’s present not only in the soils of the Klondike but in the spirit of the north. Gold is in the colours and culture of this place, the campfires and the ever-lasting summer sun. To learn more about Lynn’s work, click here.

Food pairing as per the brewery:  Pan Asian, earthy cheeses, camembert, fontina, asiago, colby cheese, Parmesan, Edam, feta, salad, poultry.



Ground Control Imperial Stout – Ninkasi Brewing Company


Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene Oregon has brought beer to the final frontier!  The “Ground Control” Imperial Stout had it’s yeast shot into space on a rocket before being used to brew the beer!

Two separate rockets were launched in 2014 with the second one delivering viable yeast samples that had flow to 408,035ft or 77.3 miles above earth!  The first rocket was not found for to long and the yeast was no longer viable.  Ground Control pours an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of chocolate, malty, sweetness and some anise.  The flavour was of anise, chocolate, toffee, nuttiness, dark fruits, earthy and hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 10% with an IBU of 80.  Beyond the shear curiosity of this beer it is a well crafted imperial stout and well worth the pickup.  I personally enjoyed every sip!

Commercial Description:  Seven years after we started brewing in Oregon, we decided the sky was not the limit. One year, two rockets and countless lab hours later, we successfully launched a payload of brewer’s yeast into outer space with the help of rocket scientists. After a much awaited return to Earth, the mission of creating space beer is now complete.  Ground Control boldly combines local and out-of-this-world ingredients. This rich, complex Imperial Stout is brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs, and fermented with an Ale yeast that survived a trip to space and back. Mankind will enjoy the sweet finesse of this beer that only fares better with time.

Launch Stats (Second Rocket)
Rocket Name: SL 9
Launch Date: Oct. 23, 2014
Launch Time: 7:33 am

Launch Location: Spaceport America, New Mexico
Maximum Altitude: 408,035 ft, 77.3 Miles
Maximum Speed: Mach 5.5
Payload Recovery Site: White Sands Missile Range