Happy 2015 to all you beer aficionados out there. It promises to be another great year in the ever-expanding world of craft beer, cider and spirits and I am looking forward to seeing (and tasting) things to come.
As I begin 2015 there are many beer-related happenings I anticipate such as, continuing to discover new-to-me beers and breweries in Ontario and Quebec, following along with my hubby in his quest for the best gluten-free options for a former hardcore stout lover, heading stateside to explore what the Eastern US has to offer (hello other Portland you have a lot to live up too!), blogging the highs and lows of the years beer trends (let’s get some sour beer and cider happening here), getting to know a whole new community of beer geeks in the Ottawa area and continuing to write, drink, photograph, drink and drink some amazing beer.
To kick off my New Year’s I delved into my best of box from the now very local Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company. I sampled the Burnt Rock Vanilla Porter and the St. Luke’s Verse Lavender Gruit two very disparate but two very good beers from a veritable Ontario institution.
Burnt Rock is a light-bodied British style porter, think cold-coffee with just a hint of vanilla bean. The beer pours deep black brown with lots of mocha coloured head. A straight-forward porter; easy to drink at the low 5.6% ABV with no sickeningly sweet vanilla taste that some (no names) winter beers abundantly include. Thin and dry with roasted malt at the forefront giving way to subtle sweetness and a bittered finish. I liked this porter, while personally I prefer Baltic style porters, I can see why this is a fan favourite for the brewery.
St. Luke’s Verse is an entirely different animal. This beer is a Gruit, which is a herbal beer. Beau’s chose lavender giving it a challenging but ultimately pleasant flavour. Light gold in colour with airy white head a BIG floral nose and a slight effervescence. Nice served quite cold in a flute. Fairly light in body and, well, herbal tasting. That is too say there is a sweet, grassy kind of flavour. Finishes very clean. This beer really impressed me. I’ll admit at first I was skeptical about the inclusion of lavender but I am a convert.
Two more ‘best of’ beers to sample so stay tuned…