It’s no secret that Ninkasi Brewing Company of Bend, Oregon loves hops. Dawn of the Red India Red Ale is a spring seasonal created to blend the best of both worlds; tropical hops and sweet caramel malts. Often the hindrance of such a mixture the sweetness can overpower the glorious hop notes and conceal their flavours. With Dawn of the Red Ninkasi has attempted to create a rich red ale that isn’t overtly sweet so as to allow the hops and malts to live more harmoniously together. Dawn of the Red is a 7.0% brew that includes Galena, Millennium, Ahtanum, El Dorado and Mosaic hops.
Pouring a bright ruby amber in the body with a thick and puffy yellow head on top the glass is coated with tons of lacing rings. The nose is fruity and fresh with noted aromas of tropical fruits, citrus, light pine resin and sweet caramel malts. A malty backbone with toffee and caramel malts props up the sweetness a bit in the middle with a medium to full body. The hops are juicy and fresh with tons of papaya, mango and pineapple flavours seeping through. The typical citrus and grapefruit notes are present but seem less important in the profile. A nice malt to hop balance with the hops edging out the caramel and biscuity notes a bit. The finish is bitter and cloyingly astringent with a typical IPA esque aftertaste of grapefruit and pine resin. Overall a very good mash up style brew with a ton of beautiful tropical fruits.
One of Bend, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewing Company’s most well known seasonal varieties has finally made it into Alberta for the first time. Cinder Cone is a Northwest style Red Ale brewed with Amarillo and Tettnang hops to a pseudo sessionable 5.3% ABV.
Cinder Cone pours out a rich, deep mahaogany with a burgundy hue throughout the body and a thick mess of beige head. The aroma is distinctively rich with toffee and caramel malts atop a toasted bread note. A hint of vanilla extract blends with light floral and spicy hops and a pinch of citrus zest. Quite mellow in the middle with light toasted caramel malts and mild sweetness. Spicy hops with a light vanilla or herbal flavour towards the finish. The finish itself has moderate hop bitterness and lingering astringency with a prominent citrus hop and light pine resins (from the Amarillo). Cinder Cone has a medium to full body with a great hop to malt balance and light carbonation. Overall, not a earth shattering brew by any means but a fantastic example of an Amber ale with lots of flavour.
Several months ago I wrote a review of Le Bilboquet Microbrasserie’s MacKroken; a heavily malted Scotch style ale with tons of robust character and peaty smoked notes. The small brewery located in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec is well known for creating unique yet traditional brews (like many Quebec breweries). L’Affriolante is a stylized as a heavy amber ale but brewed with local honey and spices. At 7% ABV this beer should be perfect as a beer for a winter night with a boozy warmth and an extra kick of spice to warm you up.
Pouring out a silken amber colour with a thick foamy head with soapy density and mild body carbonation. After a few short moments the head fizzles away and leaves a half inch cap of creamy beige foam atop the mild amber body. A wafting spice aroma with components of nutmeg, allspice, cloves and coriander accompany a mild roasted malt, toffee and brown sugar notes. A nice spicy aroma overall with a mild malt character peeking through the blend of spices. A bit sweet and peckish to start with mild caramel and toffee notes, a hint of honey or brown sugar and a rather full body. The spices take over entirely and warm my bones with full nutmeg and allspice notes. The finish has a warm alcohol linger and a noted spice flavor aftertaste. Smooth taste and goes down rather easily for a 7% brew.
Grade: 85/100 Price: $7.00
Amidst a torrent of American craft beers recently released unto the Alberta market are several beers from the mostly unheard of Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company of Belmont, California. At the current, Devil’s Canyon has a small but expanding lineup of diverse craft beers most of which are sold in 500 mL cans. After surviving a grueling pre-Christmas cold and finally getting my senses of taste and smell back, I could hardly wait to dig into some of Devil’s Canyon’s offerings.
The Deadicated Amber ale pours a deep amber and bright ruby red colour with a finger of bland beige head with a solid stream of bubbly carbonation. The nose is sweet with prominent caramel and toffee malts, light floral hop notes and a mild roasted malt. The flavour has a rather sweet foreground with notes of caramel and a hint of molasses. A mild bread and toffee malt flavour throughout with a hint of citrus fruits and floral hop notes. A good balanced with a mild caramel malt and a pent up floral hop bitterness with moderate astringency on the finish. Overall, Deadicated Amber is a flavourful, balanced and sessionable Amber ale. Grade: B-
At 75 IBU’s and 7.1% ABV, California Sunshine IPA is definitely not a beer directed at the general beer audience. California Sunshine pours a bright orange with a thick frothy white head with a wafting aroma of orange peels and freshly squeezed grapefruit. The aroma is mostly of fresh citrus fruits and juicy hop resins with a hint of pine. Toasted rye bread and slightly caramalized malt flavours with a monotone citrus hop taste and prolonged moderate hop bitterness. Mild sticky and resinous hop notes accompany a moderate and lingering hop bitterness. Overall, a great hop forward beer with a genuine crisp taste and a mild yet lingering bitterness.
Full Boar is a 7.4% ABV Scotch Ale brewed in the traditional Scottish “Wee Heavy” style. A beautiful dark burgundy pour with a thick creamy beige head standing high atop. An aroma of rich roasted malts, light chocolate and vanilla notes and a mild smoky and earthen wood aroma. A rather sweet malty first sip with brown sugar and molasses flavours accompanying toasted bready malts and roasted chocolate notes. A bit of a smoky undertone with beautiful chocolate and earthen subtleties. Full Boar Scotch Ale is far and wide the best of this bunch with a big roasted flavour.