Back in August we did a little review of a few IPAs for IPA Day, and it was met with some success. The format was simple: 3 members of the club got together, shared high level thoughts on each beer, and gave a simply overall score out of 5. It was fun for us and well received by our readers, so we decided to try it again. This time OBC's James, Nick and Luc sit down and review a few fall-themed beers.
Mr. Hyde – Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company – 7%, 600mL
Nick - Great colour and head. Copper tone is dense in the middle, light around the edges. It makes me want to drink it. Rye malt in the nose. Love the dry and bitterness and that the bitterness does not linger. 4.5/5
Luc - Nice colour, visible carbonation. Hazy, the look tells you it’s going to be hefty. No lingering aftertaste. I would drink one and look forward to when it comes around next season. 4/5
James - Love the look. The red/copper tones are gorgeous. Nose is rather mellow, rye malts are quite apparent. Strong maltiness in the flavour, very dry. Rye is extremely pronounced. Very little aftertaste. While this is not something I would drink all night, I would definitely keep a couple in my fridge. 4/5
Autumn Hop Harvest Ale – Amsterdam Brewery – 5.6%, 500mL
Nick - Amazing hoppiness, balanced with great malt bitterness. Hops not overwhelming so you can enjoy the malts. Really enjoy the balance. Feels more like a summer beer than an autumn one. 4/5
Luc - For a hoppy beer, this is light and sessionable. A little watery, but highly refreshing. 3.5/5
James - Light citrus notes in the nose. Crisp mouthfeel. Mild hop bitterness. Very little aftertaste. The wet hops are very pronounced, gives a very “green” feel to the beer. This is a great, sessionable hoppy ale. 4.5/5
Pumpkin Ale – Black Creek Historic Brewery – 5%, 500mL
Nick - Good pumpkin nose. Not too pumpkin-y, nice cloves and nutmeg, not too sweet. Very weak mouthfeel, no head retention. Good flavour, just doesn’t produce in other areas. 3/5
Luc - Watery, too thin, looking for more creaminess and carbonation. No beer feel to it, disappointing. Feels like pumpkin water. 2/5
James - Feels different than last year’s batch, and not in a good way. I wrote a review on this last fall and really liked it. Maybe it's just me and my tastebuds have evolved and changed. Very light carbonation, thin and watery mouthfeel. Weak pumpkin and spice. All in all, very lackluster. 2.5/5
Saison Dupump – Great Lakes Brewery – 5.2%, 650mL
Before we get into this one, I can't believe I didn't take a picture of this beer! Arg! I guess the only thing for me to do is go out and buy another bottle and snap a shot of it... Anyway, back to the reviews.
Nick - Definitely has the saison bitterness and hardiness, coupled with a moderate pumpkin flavour. Good coupling of the saison-pumpkin style. Reserving too much comment as it’s the first of this style I’ve had, but good impression. 4/5
Luc - Sour notes, soapy. Like the carbonation, like the look. Not to my liking. 2/5
James - Very strong malt character. Light pumpkin notes that compliment the light ester tones from the yeast, subtle nutmeg and cinnamon. First of the saison-pumpkin style for me as well, but I'm impressed. 3.5/5
First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale – Rogue – 6%, 750mL
Nick - Smells like whiskey, due to smokiness in the nose. Taste a very pronounced caramel sweetness, balanced with spicy pumpkin flavor and very smooth booziness. 4/5
Luc - Tastes boozy, in a good way. Enjoyable, lively, definitely has the right combination of beer and pumpkin. As a rule beer shouldn’t have pumpkin in it, but this works. Feels like it’s pumpkin first, then spiciness. 4/5
James - Good pumpkin nose with some nutmeg and cinnamon notes. Bit of booze in the nose too. Some interesting caramel and vanilla notes that compliment the pumpkin very well, the spice notes in the nose end up very subtle in the taste. 4/5
Smokin’ Banana Peels – Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company – 4.9%, 600mL
Yup. Another out of the Beau's pack. The first one was well-received, and we were all curious about the Smokin' Banana Peels, so we decided to end the night with it.
Nick - I can’t get over how smoky it is, it’s wild. Bacon is well-balanced with the wheaty cereal of this beer, that makes it a pleasure to drink. I’m upset by the state of the world… wait, you were asking about the beer… it has a slight sweetness that isn’t overpowering that balances well with the banana and wheat that makes it refreshing. 4/5
Luc - Definitely a brunch beer. I am pleasantly surprised, this is definitely a brunch beer. It’s quenching. Less banana than the label implies. Out of all of the smoked beers I’ve had, it feels like Beau's got it right. 4/5
James - Smells like smoke and sodium, ie bacon. Shut up, I'm not complaining, I'm loving this nose. This carries over into the flavour and I can’t really taste anything but that. There’s banana somewhere in there, but it’s difficult to discern, which ends up disappointing me because that's what I was expecting. That being said, it's still a very interesting beer. 3/5
Pick of the Night!
We thought we'd add something new to these article types: our "Pick of the Night." While you can probably tell from the score who liked what the most, I decided to still put the question out there.
Nick - Rogue's Pumpkin Patch Ale (Sorry Ontario Craft Brewers, I still love you) -very well balanced, pronounced pumpkin flavour, without being cloying, could still taste the malts and the hops.
Luc - Beau's Mr. Hyde. Loved that there was no lingering aftertaste, all in all just a great beer!
James - Do I have to choose? Fine, I’ll go with the Amsterdam. That Hop Harvest was just great. To Nick’s point about the Rogue, it was very well balanced but so much more. That wet-hop aspect is just great. I’ll say it again: Green. So fresh and organic, it was awesome. I'm glad I have another bottle waiting for me in the fridge at home.
There you have it. 6 beers, 5 pictures (I'm still beating myself up about that one!) If you've tried any (or all) of these, let us know what your thoughts are, we'd love to hear from you!