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Monthly Archives: September 2013

The pursuit of Pumpkin continued

Pumpkin beers have really caught my attention recently. They’re a very interesting seasonal brew, and as I have learned upon trying to introduce the style to friends, they’re also an acquired taste. Either that or I just have a plethora of closed minded friends…

This week I picked up Mill Street’s Autumn Harvest mix pack from the LCBO’s Glebe location, which includes 3 of their Oktoberfest beers, and 3 bottles of Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale. The 6-pack was $13.45; pretty standard for a craft beer sixer.

Now if you haven’t figured it out, I’m currently interested in pumpkin seasonals, therefore today I will be sampling the Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale.


Bottoms up.

Pours dark amber with a pretty thin white head which dissipates quickly. Initial aroma of pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon. There’s a bit of sweetness on the nose as well. More pumpkin sweetness throughout the taste, with a purely spice finish which includes cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, caramel, and maybe some ginger root. I found cinnamon and clove to be the dominant flavours, which compliment the subtle pumpkin taste nicely. Comparing this to the last pumpkin ale I tried from Great Lakes brewery, this was a much sweeter option which reminded me more of pumpkin pie and autumn.

Nightmare on Mill St. was very well balanced between sweetness and spice. This is a quality seasonal that I hope keeps coming back. I would have to rate this above Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale, and I vow to continue my quest to try as many pumpkin flavoured beers and I can find time for. On deck will be the Clocktower Brewery’s (well known Ottawa brewpub) pumpkin seasonal. I’ll be pre-ordering a growler this week, but if you beat me too it I’d love to hear what you think.

Take ‘er easy until next time, you beautiful bastard.




Lake of Bays 10 Point IPA

I’m finishing up the last of my beer from my most recent LCBO run. Today I’ll be cracking open a bottle of Lake of Bays 10 Point IPA. As far as I can remember this is my first Lake of Bays beer ever (not sure of all the details near the end of the Ottawa Craft Beer Festival). That being the case, I’m not exactly sure what to expect.

Side Note: It’s getting damn cold here in Ottawa. I’m ready for stout season.

Anyways, on to the beer at hand.


Pours dark amber with a fairly decent white foam head. The appearance is very promising. So here goes.

This was not what I was expecting in an IPA from Ontario. Nose is malt, sweetness, and a hint of hops. Malt and caramel were evident throughout. I felt like it was trying to be hoppy, but just couldn’t quite get there. I wish the sweetness from the caramel flavor was balanced out a little more. Finish is smooth and light with an odd bitterness about it. Malt definitely trumped the hops throughout this one.

Quite light in mouth feel and not a regular drinker for me. I think the 10-point is an acquired taste; more like a 6-point in my books.

That’s it for me. As always, feel free to drop me a line or a follow on twitter (@Ottbeerguy).


Muskoka on the weekend

If your childhood was anything like mine, you’ve spent a few weekends at a cottage in your lifetime. Now my parents didn’t exactly have the funds to buy one, but one week every summer you could guarantee that we would be at a rental cottage on a lake in one of Muskoka’s many beautiful townships. Gravenhurst, Bala, Bracebridge, and Port Carling are home to some of my favourite memories with my family as I was growing up. These days I’m not always able to make if to the cottage for that week with the family. Growing up brings responsibilities; school, work, extra-curriculars, etc… But truly, the Muskoka region is somewhere I’ll always want to be.

…..Gentle segway into beer…..

The first craft beer I ever tasted was a Muskoka Brewery Mad Tom IPA. The quality difference from the stuff I was used to drinking (Carling, Molson, Labatt 50) was outstanding. I used to think beer was just something that wasn’t supposed to taste good, or something that everyone just pretended to like. But The Muskoka Brewery showed me it didn’t have to be that way. Beer could truly be enjoyable and delicious without all the television commercials about being Rocky Mountain Certified Cold… seriously, what the fuck.

Hey, speaking of Muskoka!

I recently grabbed a 750ml bottle of Muskoka Harvest Ale from my local LCBO. I can’t honestly say I’m a fan of all their products, but I know they do make quality beer and I had heard good things about this year’s Harvest.

So, bottoms up.


Pours dark amber, almost to the point of being red. It has a fairly thick white head that slowly dissipates into outer lacing.

Aroma is citrus hops, with a bit of earthiness and a hint of caramel. Taste is citrusy bitterness with an earthy/grassy malt back bone. Finishes with a tangy bitterness that left me wishing this bottle was about 3 times its actual size.

I really liked this one, and found the 7.0% ABV was hidden nicely under a pile of hops and grass.

I’ll be buying this one again, and if you like seasonal pale ales, this is a must. As with most Muskoka brews, the quality is top notch and the flavor is bold.

If you’ve given this one a shot already, let me know how you found it. I’m all ears.

Cheers for now,


3:30 am review of Great Lakes Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale

Here’s a treat readers.

It’s 3:35am, I’m 4 beers deep, and I’ve decided this is a good time to crack open a bottle of something interesting. Tonight I’ll be having a look at Pumpkin Ale by Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke.

As a native of Etobicoke, I am always happy to try anything these guys are able to come up with. They’ve always got something interesting on the go, and undoubtedly a witty name for their product. Also, Great Lakes beer just reminds me of home – nuff said.


Great Lakes beer: proving Etobicoke can produce better things than the Ford brothers.

I better get drinking before I inevitably pass out mid blog.

Aroma is sweet pumpkin with a bit of seasonal spice which reminds me of Thanksgiving at Grandma’s. I am definitely able to taste the allspice which is mentioned on the label. Other flavour’s include nutmeg and clove. The spicing is quite light overall. The aftertaste is pumpkin and allspice like a hint of pumpkin pie.

Overall I was satisfied with this one. I could definitely taste the pumpkin and the spices complimented it well. I aim to try as many pumpkin ales as I can get my hands on in order to properly assess this style.

For now however, I am exhausted. It is nearing 4am and I have a long list of things to do tomorrow. I’m going to down this beer and call it a night.

As always, feel free to give me your opinion on my drunk, tired review. After all, you’re probably right.


Matt Swain

Cameron’s Rye Pale Ale

Another late night review coming up! I’ve realized this is the only part of my day where I have time for such shenanigans.

This is one I’ve seen on LCBO shelves for a while now, and for some reason I’ve never taken it home with me. However, recently I figured I should give it a shot.


It’s Cameron’s Brewing Company’s Rye Pale Ale (RPA).

I poured this into my brand new Beyond the Pale glass since literally every other glass in my house was dirty(love my roommates). Plus it’s a badass glass that I wanted to put to good use. So here goes…

Very thick, frothy white head on the pour. Aroma’s of pine, citrus, and caramel. Taste was very bold. Bitter hops and dry fruit (raisins, dates) on the palate with a bitter boozy finish. I found the booze came out stronger after a few mouthfuls, similar to Cameron’s Obsidian Imperial Porter, but less of a burn with the RPA. Very interesting and flavourful beer which I enjoyed, however the dried fruit, pine, and alcohol combination makes it a one-and-done beer for me.

As always I’d love to hear what you think of the beer’s I try.

Cheers until next time,