Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 17-18: WinterBrewed Results - Beers 18-20

WinterBrewed has come and gone and I have finally recovered from Saturday's beerapalooza. Photos and videos to be posted soon, but I wanted to start with the most important part of the festivities...the beer.

Numerous visitors e-mailed and facebooked with guesses of how many beers I finished off during my Saturday visit, with only one person guessing the exact number! The final number will be revealed with the last review, so here's the first "three-pack" of beers!

Beer #18 (#1 of WinterBrewed) Broadhead Brewing Co. Old Fruitcake Ale

If you're going to kick off a beer festival with a wide variety of beers, go with the one with the best backstory and most unique ingredients to give your palate a chance to shake off the Tim Horton's and get to the good stuff. Broadhead provided a sampling of local homebrew contest winner Emil Niec's Fruitcake Ale, an ideal wintertime treat for beer drinkers hunting for unique holiday offerings.

Yes, it's as good as it sounds. And that's for those that find fruitcake to be a middling, unusual member of holiday foodstuffs. Emil Niec is a skilled brewer, there's no doubt there, as his Fruitcake Ale came off as described. Strong oat taste with some unusual bitter fruits appearing here and there. This is a beer for adventurous drinkers, or those beer tasters that want to stretch their beer-tasting boundaries without getting too wild.

Broadhead Brewing Old Cranberry Ale
Broadhead Brewing Co., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Alcohol Rating: 6.0%
Class: Holiday Ale
Rating: 5 out of 10
Quote: (True Story) "Fruitcake beer, that seems like a terrible idea. you're Emil Niec?"

Beer #19 (#2 of WinterBrewed) Broadhead Dark Horse Stout

The wind was whipping down Sparks Street, stealing about ten degrees extra from us trying to sip beer through our scarves. So, of course, breweries are going to bring out their stouts in full force, appropriate for the winter months.

My first Stout of the day is Broadhead's Dark Horse. Lower alcohol rating than I expected and by all definitions, a one-note beer. The stout tasted as if they reached a good average stout and then said, "Good enough." The taste is lighter than most stouts, and the coffee and chocolate are hinted at but don't overwhelm the beer.

Dark Horse lives up to its name in that it remains in hiding throughout the sampling, but it never really reaches the front of the pack. The advantage is that this is a great gateway beer to other stouts, in case many have always wanted to expand into bitter beers, but don't know where to begin.

Broadhead Brewing Dark Horse Stout
Broadhead Brewing Co., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Alcohol Rating: 5.5%
Class: Stout
Rating: 5 out of 10
Quote: "At least now I'm warmed up....I mean, ready to drink more beers, I'm still freezing out here. I'm buying a WinterBrewed toque."

Beer #20 (#3 of WinterBrewed) Hogtown Hog Wild IPA

Toque pulled down over my ears to avoid the -25 wind chill, I forge ahead to the next booth and officially, my first beer from Toronto. Eager to find a good source of bitter hops to perk up my energy, I settle on Hog Wild's 70 IBU IPA. (Here's your beer fun fact, IBU stands for International Bitterness Unit and ranges generally from 1-100, though you may find some IPA's over 100. Don't be fooled by this though, bitterness can actually be adjusted by the malts in the beer as well, which is why some English "Bitter Ales" are more bitter than some IPA's despite varying IBU ratings.)

Hog Wild hits the spot, the spot being the part of my tongue that tastes hoppy bitterness. Not overwhelmingly bitter, but with enough to give it the defining IPA taste. A bit of citrus hangs before and after, but not for too long. It's a good, average IPA, again, a relatively safe showing from the breweries here at WinterBrewed. It seems that many brought their B+ game in hopes of hooking the average consumer. But overall, Hog Wild is a slightly above average IPA. Definitely worth a try, probably won't buy a second time.

Hogtown Hog Wild IPA
Hogtown Brewers, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Alcohol Rating: 6.2%
Class: India Pale Ale
Rating: 5 out of 10
Quote: "Does alcohol make you warmer? I have reason to believe that, in that my reason is that I'm drinking alcohol and I do not want to be cold." (The man at the keg tap feigned interest and offered a considerate nod at this.)

More WinterBrewed Reviews Tomorrow!

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