Five Reasons Why Ottawa Winter Brewfest 2016 Failed in a Spectacular Fashion

Five Reasons Why Ottawa Winter Brewfest 2016 Failed in a Spectacular Fashion

It took me a while to let my thoughts settle on this year’s Ottawa Winter Brewfest.  I’m far from an apologist in the craft beer community, but I am the kind of guy who likes to look for the good in everything.  That said, it was very difficult for me to find anything good to say about the 2016 Ottawa Winter Brewfest.  Here are my five main reasons why this festival failed miserably:

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Review: Grand River Brewing - Russian Gun Imperial Stout

Review: Grand River Brewing - Russian Gun Imperial Stout

Several fantastic brews come to mind when we think of imperial stouts made here in Ontario.  We've got Beau's and their Matt's Sleepy Time, Bolshevik Bastard from Nickel Brook, and of course Wellington's Russian Imperial Stout.  All great stouts, all readily available at any LCBO with a decent craft beer selection (readily available during stout season, of course.)

   Now, let's get sidetracked for a moment here...  Way back when the Ottawa Beer Club had its first meeting, our host - one Nick Kutlik - decided to go big or go home and kicked off our monthly meetings by introducing us to the Russian Imperial Stout style (paired with some awesome sausages and cheeses.)  His choices?  The previously mentioned Wellington's Russian Imperial Stout, and today's feature: Grand River Brewing's Russian Gun Imperial Stout.  In celebration of nearly five years of us doing this Ottawa Beer Club thing, I decided that it was only fitting that we do a throwback to one of our first beers as a club (I know, throwbacks are for Thursdays... but can we just pretend that they're a Tuesday thing, just this once?)

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Review: Left Field Brewery - Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale

Review: Left Field Brewery - Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale

  Just behind Stouts and Barley Wines comes a close contender for my favorite beer style: Brown Ales.  While we have a few mainstays that are readily available at plenty of LCBOs, such as Amsterdam's Downtown Brown and Neustadt's 10W30 (both of which are just great representations of the style,) I'm always on the lookout for new Brown Ales to try.  My local LCBO (#624 - Innes & Tenth Line location) always carries an amazing stock of new brews to try.  And this past week was no different when I walked in and was recommended to try today's beer, Left Field Brewery's Eephus.

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Review: Stone Hammer Brewing - Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Review: Stone Hammer Brewing - Oatmeal Coffee Stout

   I first encountered StoneHammer several years back while visiting one of my very good friends and honorary-member-abroad of the OBC, Andy, who then resided in beautiful Guelph.  He took us to a place that everyone knows if they've ever been to Guelph: The Woolwich Arrow.  As a budding craft beer enthusiast who was just learning that Keith's isn't an IPA and there is so much more to beer than American Adjunct Lagers, I was blown away by the Wooly.  I was just warming up to the idea of dark ales, porters and stouts.  So when the server brought me a StoneHammer Dark... well, let's just say my socks were veritably blown off.  Since that day, I get excited whenever I come across one of their products on the LCBO shelves here in Ottawa.

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Review: Great Lakes Brewery - Lake Effect IPA

Review: Great Lakes Brewery - Lake Effect IPA

Canadian Brewery of the Year for the last two years.  How?  By making awesome beer, that's how!  Great Lakes has been known for making some pretty spectacular beer, with a strong focus on brewing some stellar IPAs.  Some of my favorite Canadian-brewed IPAs come from these guys: their beautifully named Belgian IPA Audrey Hopburn, their wonderfully balanced tropical fruit-forward Karma Citra IPA, and of course their big and bold Robohop Imperial IPA.  And those are just a few of the long list of IPAs these fine folks put out every year.  While some will say "an IPA is an IPA, why bother with so many?" I have to humbly disagree.  Each one of their IPAs has a distinct flavor profile, and today's blog entry is no different.

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