BY TRAVIS PERSAUD
This article originally appeared in the October 2014 print edition of Ottawa Magazine.
Sweater season is here. This means not only a wardrobe transition but also a shift in what you’ll find on tap. This past summer was dominated by craft breweries releasing session ales, which are lighter beers that are full of flavour but pack less alcohol punch, making them more palatable (not to mention safer to down an armful of bottles under the hot summer sun). By contrast, this fall were are seeing more and more options that are richer and more full-bodied than their summertime siblings. Here, a look at what the locals are brewing this autumn.
Beau’s All Natural Brewing
Dial Z for Zwickel
This season’s mixed pack of four from the Vankleek Hill brewery includes a RauchStack, a new full-bodied smoked ale; The Happy Pilsner, a bohemian pilsner; and Dark Helmüt, an extra-strong German black lager. They all sound tasty. As to the fourth? Enter Dial Z for Zwickel, the one we’re most excited about. This new brew from the Beau’s team is a copper-coloured lager called zwickelbier, which the brewery says is an incredibly fresh-tasting lager with bready and yeasty aromas and fresh grassy notes.
Big Rig Brewery
Life is busy for the Big Rig gang. They opened their new production facility in Kanata and leased space in Gloucester Centre that will be home to their second pub. The former allows them to gain more LCBO coverage across Ottawa and the rest of Ontario; the latter extends their brand to the east end. Expect to see their Black IPA — a gold medal winner at the Ontario Brewing Awards — popping up in your local LCBO soon. Brewmaster Lon Ladell says it uses a generous amount of hops, both for bittering and aroma, creating an IPA that is rich and flavourful.
Victory Nut Brown
Those who love Broadhead’s Victory Nut Brown, rejoice! It’s back, and brewmaster Josh Larocque is adding something new to his seasonal lineup — so new, in fact, that at press time, he was still in the process of determining its taste profile. “I’m planning to do a one-off test of an Apple Wheat ale,” he says. “It will be more beer than cider but should be an interesting blend of the two — it will be a slightly sweet wheat ale with an apple character, topped off with spices.”
Covered Bridge Brewing
This brewery pays tribute to those already rocking a sweet ’stache, as well as those preparing to grow one for next month’s Movember campaign. “I’m brewing a special beer for Movember, called Moustache SMaSH,” says Covered Bridge owner John VanDyk. “It’s a single-malt and single-hop beer [hence SMaSH] that will be hopped like an IPA.” He’s using an Australian/New Zealand hop — since Movember started in the Antipodes — to add citrus notes
and tropical-fruit aroma.
Earnscliffe ESB and Galloping Hessian Pumpkin Brown Ale
The three owners of this new brewery — Josh McJannett, Andrew Kent, and Alex Monk — wanted to create a special place for the curious to taste their creations, but they didn’t have the necessary capital. So they turned to crowdfunding website Kickstarter and raised nearly $20,000 to build their tasting room. This autumn they unleash two seasonals: Earnscliffe ESB and Galloping Hessian Pumpkin Brown Ale. Dominion says the latter, named after the tormentor of fictional hamlet Sleepy Hollow, features nutty flavours with an infusion of baking spices.