Now I know for many the changing seasons are marked by the arrival of pumpkin beer, which are now as ubiquitous as pumpkin spice lattes but for me it is not the beer with pie spices that signals ‘winter is coming’ rather it is beer that unabashedly showcases malt front-and-centre or to put it another way liquid bread.
There are those who live for hops year-round and in the warmer months I do love me a West Coast style IPA as much as the next beer geek but once I see my first snowflake I am a full on convert to the malt head camp.
And really what’s not to like about liquid bread? It is cold and crisp outside, the sun sets before the work day ends and rises after it begins, so what if we console ourselves with a meal in glass?
My recent relocation to Ottawa aka the coldest city in Canada (well not technically but for a BC girl it pretty much feels like a truth) has only deepened my love for rich, caramel, roasty brews and as luck would have it I have recently tried a couple of great examples.
Cameron’s Oak Aged Dopplebock (Ontario) pours a deep dark brown with dense mocha coloured head that clings to the sides of your glass. The nose is sweet and oh so very malty. Not really roasted malt on the nose but caramel rich malt that reminds me of toffee. First few sips are much like the nose belies sweet at the front, bready and even a bit earthy in the middle and just a little roasted bitterness on the finish. This beer is deceptively light bodied but strong and warming at 8.6%. You really kind of ease into this beer as it improves with some warming and exposure in the glass. Overall a very impressive Dopplebock from Cameron’s.
Brasseurs Illimités Simple Malt Wee Heavy (Quebec) pours dark reddish brown with just a light skin of beige head. BIG sweet scotch nose that has a nice alcoholiness. First few sips are thin but rich and caramel flavoured giving way to a nice roasted grain character. As you drink this is a warming beer that really benefits from both warming up and breathing in the glass. It remains a slightly sweet beer but it does not veer into cloying. The big alcohol content kind of keeps everything in check. The finish has a slight harshness that I enjoy, makes you feel like you are having a grown-up beer. I am eager to try some more from the Simple Malt line-up after this Wee Heavy.