Barley Sandwich: Reviews From a Beer Snob. vol 7

It’s been a while since I reviewed beers on Braised Blue or written much of anything. Things have been pretty hectic of late as I have started production of BraisedBlue2You soups, which are selling like hotcakes.* I have also been catering which has take up a ton of time but as May wraps up and June begins things are opening up a little bit more and I hope to be getting back into the swing of things. Today I have three Ontario craft beers, of varying degrees of merit. One is a straight laced down the middle Red Ale, one is a Spring Bock and the last is a smoked oatmeal stout that intrigued me greatly even though it comes from the people who brought us the Cognac Porter than tasted nothing like Cognac or Porter.

Lake of Bays Sparkhouse Red Ale:

I love a good red ale, something that I can sit in the sun and drink with grilled meat. Lake of Bays has always been a little shrug worthy to me as a brewery but the Sparkhouse Red is really delicious. Pouring copperish red with a great creamy head this beer has a nice malty nose to start. The nose then changes a little giving nice caramel, toffee and dark bread as a little oxidation comes into play. Flavour wise this beer has some malty sweetness and a great creamy mouthfeel that finishes dry. The finish is a little bit abrupt and there wasn’t much complexity to the beer but it’s totally a down the middle patio drinker if I’ve ever tasted one. For the price I recommend this beer for the summer if you like something with flavour but also a nice sessionable nature that can keep you drinking it all day.

Grand River Brewing Company  Dogstocker Bock:

I am a big fan of Spring or Mai Bocks. They are beers that drink super clean but also pack a ton of flavour and much of the time lots of alcohol. This offering from Grand River is one of the best I’ve had from the Cambridge craft brewery. I drank this beer before a game of Card Against Humanity and I am not sure if it helped or hurt my game, but I found myself drinking it a little bit too fast. The beer pours a beautiful amber colour with great clarity. It is crisp and slightly sweet with notes of creme brûlée and a fresh bread and it finishes very clean. This could be the beer of my summer, but watch the LCBO delist it like the cold blooded bastards they can be. I highly recommend this!


Trafalgar Brewery Smoked Oatmeal Stout:

Now the last time I reviewed a beer from Trafalgar Ales and Meads I was kind. I really hated that I payed about $9 for a “Cognac Porter” that was light on Cognac flavour and Porter flavours in equal amounts. So I was cautiously optimistic when I saw this Smoked Oatmeal Stout. When pouring this beer it seems to lack the richness that I expect from a stout. The head is thin and disappeared quickly, and the nose was kind of one note with a Starbucks** kind of nose. Things were not looking good. The beer isn’t good. The complex dark notes you’d expect from an oatmeal stout are not there; no Liquorish, no bakers chocolate, no dried fruit. All you can taste is burnt coffee with an undertone of smoke which could just be more burnt coffee, and not an interesting play of burnt coffee just shitty diner coffee from a machine that hasn’t been cleaned since the Meech Lake Accord. The other issue is that the beer is only 5% alcohol, I feel like if the alcohol could be ratcheted up there may be more complexity in this brew but instead we get this disappointment.

*Seriously you should email me or comment and inquire about trying some. Five bucks for 500ML is a small price to pay for something homemade and delicious.

**Way over roasted coffee.