I drank them all! And, well, as I said before – it’s just not what one would expect from breweries with the all the capabilities these 13 have. If you don’t know what I’m talking about take a second and read this post about the Across the Nation Collaboration before charging forward! Yes, I understand the marketing, in fact, if you were to read my other post (linked above) I say I’m a huge fan of the initiative. They really “brewed” up a winning idea, it just seems more effort should have been spent in the execution of the brewing. I can’t in good conscience tell you that the execution of this particular Canada 150 project is amazing.
Love it or hate it, here’s my little synopsis of the group. Write a comment below about your experience with all these brews and let’s have it out (over a beer)!
Beer from Coast to Coast to Coast!
British Columbia – Four Winds Brewing Company: Left of the Divide IPA – 6% ABV
I get where this is recipe is going. There is a definite piney hop profile that gets in your face right off the bat and like a lost love, it’s hard to get over. Due to my love of everything Four Winds, I tried really hard to love this beer. I just couldn’t get there, in the journey to be an obviously West Coast IPA, the balance was lost.
Alberta – Last Best Brewing & Distilling: Berry Smooth Berliner Weisse – 3.5% ABV
Smells strongly of berries, and tastes strongly them too. The finish has a weird laco-yoghurty finish mixed in with a bit of malt. I’m all for fruity beer (I know, I’ve come a long way) but this is just fruit, fruit, fruit. The beer is obviously somewhere in there, but I just can’t taste it. I don’t really like to have to search for the beer in my beer.
Saskatchewan – Black Bridge Brewery: Wide Open Spaces Kellerbier – 5.5% ABV
This beer is about as exciting as driving through Saskatchewan – strangely there’s something comforting about that though. There’s a distinct German influence in the recipe, but it’s nothing that’s too wow. I’d be happy if this was a pub’s house beer, but not something I’d seek out on purpose.
Manitoba – Half Pints Brewing Company: Land of Rice & Honey Saison – 5.8% ABV
If nothing, this beer is interesting. I can’t say I absolutely love this beer, but the wildflower honey in the recipe adds a really cool aspect. There’s a slight sweetness with a really present, but not overpowering, wildflower flavour. The burps that follow afterward are quite enjoyable too.
Ontario – Beau’s Brewing Company: Upper Reaches Pale Ale – 6% ABV
It’s time for another “okay” beer in this pack. While it is in your mouth, it’s good, great maybe… But once you swallow it, weird things happen. The aftertaste gets all crazy and starts talking about you behind your back. At least it would if it could talk. What I’m saying is that it just gets weird once you swallow. I would classify this as a picnic beer, pairs well with crustless finger sandwiches.
Quebec – Le Trou Du Diable: Bouclier Canadien Pilsner – 5% ABV
This little guy is a decent Pilsner overall. It’s hoppier than the purists might like, but we’re not that concerned about them anyway. The hops give it an almost tropical flavour and it all comes together with a sweet breadyness. I could drink this again, but there are other Pilsners out there that will do just fine as well.
New Brunswick – Picaroons Traditional Ales: Restored Hop(e) ESB – 5.6% ABV
Like Quebec’s brew, this ESB is good enough for drinking. The hops show up first to the party and their malt friends close out the evening. You definitely can’t complain about this beer, but you also can’t rave about it. Something just seems missing. As a fan of the ESB, I could be over critical here, but hey, it’s my blog. HAHA
Nova Scotia – Garrison Brewing Company: “New” Scottish Ale – 5.5% ABV
This “New” Scottish Ale makes me think of an old school men’s club sitting room. There’s a leathery/Earthyness to is that comes off a little peaty overall. While downing this beer you can’t help but think of an old library lined with rich mahogany and filled with many leather-bound books.
Prince Edward Island – PEI Brewing Company: Bière d’ici Honey Ale (Beer of Here) – 6% ABV
This is definitely one of the better beer in the pack. But dammit! It still leaves you wanting more. There’s an enjoyable honey sweetness that provides a really refreshing flavour and it all comes to an end with your friendly neighbourhood malts. Good, but definitely no wow factor.
Newfoundland – Quidi Vidi Brewing Company: Hop To The East Hefeweizen – 5.5% ABV
When I first smelled this guy, I thought “Oh hey Saison!”. Then I read the label… Ooops – Hefeweizen, oh well, similar looking beer I guess. It definitely has that Summery – Hefeweizen feel to it with a little tropical twist. The overall flavour is juicy and effervescent. I just didn’t get enough of that Hefe-wheatyness that we’re used to in Hefs. Solid middle of the road beer, but I don’t think anyone’s goal is really middle of the road.
Yukon – Yukon Brewing Company: Swift Currant Dark Ale – 5.1% ABV
This is definitely the best beer in the whole pack. It’s different and intriguing. The first sip really pulls you in with some dark sour notes. After a second the currents show up with their unique flavour followed by a dry tannic finish. Could be me, but I picked up a little coffee in there too. Not in the best beer I have ever had in my life but damn it is interesting to drink.
Northwest Territories – NWT Brewing Company: Miner’s Refresh Grissette – 4% ABV
Ah, the Grissette, or as I like to call them – Saison light. I get that they are meant to be low alcohol and low flavour, but I was seriously stretching to find something significant here. This brew is refreshing the way water is, but if I wanted water I’d drink water. As refreshing as it may be, there’s just not enough interest for me to really to enjoy it.
My frustration is that everyone can do better, I’ve tasted better beer from every Brewery on this list! Although every brewery here may not have put their best foot forward, it will not stop me from enthusiastically trying their next release! That’s the fun of Craft Beer!