Barley Sandwich: Reviews From a Beer Snob…Vol 3.

So for volume three I have three beers that run the gamete of hoppy, to malty to just incredibly strong.

Hop Head Black India Pale Ale: I’ve featured a few of Tree Breweries offerings in the last Barley Sandwich and this weekend I tried one more that maybe have topped the other two. The Black IPA drinks like a Cascadian Dark Ale blending the big citrusy hops of a west coast IPA with the chocolate and coffee notes you find in a dark ale or stout. What you get from Tree’s special edition black IPA is a wonderfully balances and surprisingly easy drinking beer that clocks in around 8.5% alcohol. This is a dangerous one for the long weekend, way to easy to drink to be good for you. Enjoy this one carefully.

Neustadt 10W30: Since I started this segment on the blog I have done a lot of hoppy beers, Neustadt 10W30 is totally at the other end of the spectrum, this one is a malt bomb. 10W30 is perfectly named it is dark, heavy, it is viscous, and it has some big dark flavour notes.The nose has big notes of spice and molasses. The palate with notes of dark fruit, nuts, carmel and toffee there is a lot of sweet going on in the beer but it doesn’t come off as too sweet probably because it comes in at 5.5% alcohol and compared to all the huge 8% beers. Neustadt is a perfect beer for someone who wants a big rich flavourful beer but isn’t such a fan of hops. Plus it’s brewed in Ontario and I am all about supporting independent brewing in this province.

Grand River Brewery Russian Gun Imperial Stout: Grand River Brewery out of Cambridge, Ontario isn’t my favourite brewery but I can’t turn down an imperial stout.  I was surprised, I really enjoyed this monster of a beer. With nice hop balance and rich roasted malt flavours I have to say this is the best thing that has come out of the Grand River Brewery. This beer is super dark, like Dick Cheney’s heart dark, like light gets eaten by the black hole that resides in the bottle dark. And it is bitter in a really great raw cocoa way. There are also really nice mellow undertones of caramel and vanilla that are really nice to adding some creamy mouthfeel to the beer. What is also nice is that with all the dark flavours the beer is surprisingly light. The nose of the beer might be my favourite part, great mellow vanilla, toasted bread, and roasted malt does all kind of things as the beer oxidizes. So try this one, if you like a imperial stout it will not disappoint.