For the second edition of Barley Sandwich I will be looking at a couple of my favourite smaller Canadian breweries. Tree Brewing out of Kelowna, British Columbia and Muskoka Brewery out of Bracebridge, Ontario. Both of these breweries have grown up a bit in the past few years and now Tree is available in Ontario. So my ontario readers go find yourself some of this wonderful beer at the LCBO.
Tree Brewing: Double Hop Head IPA
Hop Head IPA is a Western Canadian favourite, but this special double fermented bottling of hop head pours super hazy and dark amber. It comes in at 8% alcohol but drinks with a very clean mouthfeel. The nose has big blasts of citrus and pine which screams west coast IPA. The flavour of the beer belies the nose and drinks with lots of sweet toffee and a back bone of citrusy orange peel and black pepper. This one could be dangerous with how easy it drinks and how high the alcohol content is. It also works well with grilled meats and salmon in a big big way. This may be my beer of the summer.
Tree Brewing: Captivator Dopplebock
Captivator Dopplebock is another special edition brew from Tree Brewing. Dopplebock’s are german style beers which are double fermented. They are usually made in the late fall and then aged of the winter because of their long fermentation time and their ability to handle aging they can be drank year round. The Captivator is a great example of a west coast take on the dopplebock. Coming in at 8% alcohol and solid 37 IBU* the Captivator pour very dark brown with reddish hues. The nose is super complex with notes of nutty dried fruit, and banana and a palate of carmel, toffee, molasses and a bite of hoppy citrus in the back palate. This isn’t a beer you want to drink three of but it’s a great after dinner or bedtime beer.
Muskoka Brewery: Dark Ale
Muskoka Dark Ale isn’t really honest with it’s name. It drinks more like a stout or weak porter, it pours dark brown and smells of chocolate and carmel. On the palate this one tastes like a Starbucks coffee, a little bit burnt, a little bit unbalanced and just satisfying enough to have again if it must happen. Muskoka Brewery isn’t a bad shop, and this beer isn’t bad but I don’t like rating systems and I am not going say you shouldn’t drink this but there are better dark beers that I have, and in the future, will review. If you are at a Brewers’ Retail** in ontario it’s about as good as it gets, so keep that in mind.
*International Bitterness Units, which are a way for beer geeks to gauge the bitterness in beer imparted by the addition of hops.
**For thos from other of province : Brewers Retail is a den of storied beer inequity that we as Ontarians must suffer through. A chain of retail outlets that only sell beer from those who are deemed profitable enough for the large multinational owned brewers (who own the chain) to carry. It sucks, bottom line and if anyone would like to defend The Beer Store to me please do so I can vanquish you are your dumb opinion on this glorified recycling centre.
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