This review is somewhat overdue thanks in part to my over-enthusiasm for following up my pumpkin beer countdown with a Christmas beer countdown, which left very little time to fit in any barking squirrels.
For those who have not yet been introduced to this cutely monikered export from Ontario, let me be the first to put Hop City brewing Co. and their Barking Squirrel Lager on your radar. As a fellow Ontario export I feel a certain obligation to spread the word to the Beer Suspender*, aka the Pacific Northwest, that there are things brewing back east.
Rather than bore you with random brewery specs I confiscated from the brewery’s own website I thought I’d be even lazier and plug in their you tube video discussing Hop City.
So now that you know a little more about the brewery and the brewers let’s get to their signature beer, Barking Squirrel Lager.
BS Lager (poor choice of abbreviation I know) pours a copper orange colour, it is very clear and it has tons of head on the initial pour; the head dies off quite a bit but still leaves a small off-white head and some lacing. There is a very subtle sweetness and a bit of yeastiness on the nose. First sip, this lager is very clean and smooth, light bodied and well-balanced. There is caramel sweetness and spicy hop taste but neither element dominates this beer. As you drink the character of the beer remains pretty consistent with the hops coming a bit more to the front. Like the nose the finish is quite subtle with just the tiniest hint of bitterness and also the nuttiness I have come to associate with lagers in general. Overall a very nice session beer though, personally, I am still not a big fan of beer in cans. It is probably psychosomatic but I always think I can taste something tinny as I drink …probably says more about me than the beer.
Oh and yes, squirrels can in fact bark (like a dog) and strip bark from trees though I not sure which of those factoids was the inspiration behind the beer name…
*Nerdy interjection: If the Bible Belt generally runs in an east and west direction I thought the Beer Suspender could run north and south to showcase the concentration of breweries and beer culture along the coast; if this phrase catches on you heard it here first 🙂