Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Tuesday Tasting: Three Canadian Brews
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we crack open three beers that we brought back from Kingston, Ontario.
The Beer Store is Ontario's solution to a beer drinker's basic needs. There are tons of offerings from both Molson and Labatt, with a few other brands tossed in for good measure. It is a highly efficient operation, if just a little spartan and a tad bit expensive thanks to the taxes on alcohol in Canada. You enter through a door on the right, bottles are displayed on a wall with pricing for six packs, 12 packs and cases. You place your order and pay a clerk at a counter, who announces your selections through a microphone and your beer magically rolls down a conveyor belt. You collect your prizes and exit out a second door. I think the bureaucrats who set up this operation must have studied retail marketing in Bulgaria during a time when the Iron Curtain was still firmly in place.
The trip netted three Canadian brews that have found their way back to North Carolina for sampling:
Molson Stock Ale: I remember drinking this beer during beer runs to Canada while on summer break from Syracuse University in 1979 and 1980. At the time, it was one of my favorite Canadian beers. My memory is that it delivered a bit more of a hop punch than Molson Golden or Molson Export. While I find the current Molson Stock Ale to be very drinkable and perfect for a hot summer day near the water, I think Molson may have cut back on the hops a bit and smoothed the edges off this brew -- or maybe my edges are just a little rougher. It feels much closer to the rest of the basic Molson range, which is too bad.
Waterloo Dark Beer: This dark larger is soft and refreshing. It is similar to a German schwarzbier in its light and faintly sweet flavor. The color of the beer might suggest a more robust brew, but this has some nice subtle malty notes that are worth experiencing.
McAuslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout: This beer pours rich and thick, with a tan head that lasts long into the drink. Good coffee and cocoa notes, with a touch of roasted grains in the beer. This beer is perfect to go with a hearty meal or to sip during an evening conversation. It ranks among the best that I have had from Canada.