O, Canada: Cottage Country Provides a Post

beer-dark-ale-lgThere’s little I enjoy more than a trip to my uncle’s cottage in Red Bay, Ontario. Getting stuck into the woods and water for a while, beyond the reach of Wi-fi, is a golden time for me.

It’s also a chance to taste some beers that aren’t widely available South of the St. Lawrence River (amongst other bodies of water). It’s little surprise Canada knows its beer and I picked up three brews on my way up to the cottage, two new to me and one longtime pal. Here are some quick thoughts.

Grand River Russian Gun Imperial Stout (Cambridge, Ontatio) — This 8.5% ABV stout pours thick as oil and nearly as dark. It doesn’t quite bury you in booze but there’s no fighting the alcohol: it’s going to get you. The aspect I most noted was its long bitter finish. The Russian Gun keeps zapping you between sips. There’s a barbeque’s smokiness and plenty of malt action. Give it a go, for sure, but make sure you have the time to take it all in. This is a complex drink.

Muskoka Dark Ale (Bracebridge, Ontario)  – A revelation. It’s billed as a British style brown ale but it tastes deeper, darker and more delicious than anything in that vein. The chocolate is undeniable and the German malt character is bleak (if I wanted to be even fancier, I’d say Dickensian). I would session this 5 percenter and invite anyone looking to enter a darker fray to start here. Strong product.

Sleeman Honey Brown Lager (Guelph, Ontario) — An old stand-by for anyone whose made a journey into Ontario. This is a super easy drinking beer that needs little more in the neighborhood of description than it’s name. It’s sweet, brown and simple. Don’t get me wrong: this is a macro beer and how… but there are far worse dates for a long day at a warm beach or long evening next to a talkative bonfire.

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