A trip to London, Ontario, no matter how quick, would not be complete without a visit to Chancey Smith’s. It is the beer bar in London, with an impressive list of taps and bottles from Canada and the world (and at very reasonable prices when you’re used to Bar Volo and beerbistro). My night started off with a pint of Denison’s Spezial Dunkelweizen. It had a thin head, possibly due to the fact that it was not served in weizen glass. Full of clove, banana and caramel flavours, it was a good showing for the style. It could have been a little more carbonated, but that also could have been a result of the pint glass. A little extra was needed for the flavours to really explode in your mouth, but is was definitely a beer to try again.
If you like sour ales, look no further than the Grand River Vlaams Rood. An intensely red Flemish ale, it has a strong nose of cherry syrup with a little hint of the bitterness that is to come. The taste of sweet red fruits is very short, followed by some lactic sourness and then a big bang of piney bitterness at the end. There is also a funky yeast taste throughout, making this one quirky beer. It got mixed reactions from the table, so expect to love it or hate it. Seemed too bitter to be a true sour ale, but a tasty one regardless of name.
Up next was the Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisiaque. This is another impressive stout from DDC and is brewed with actual cocoa and vanilla beans. Those two ingredients are obviously present in the aroma and taste, as well as espresso. The beer is silky smooth, leaving the flavours coating your mouth. There is a bitterness throughout, rather than just in the finish. Another fantastic beer that pummels anything Ontario can offer. (And if you’re wondering why the name is crossed out, that is because the LCBO does not want you thinking the beer is an actual aphrodisiac or is marketed as such and therefore strikes out the name with permanent marker. Yet the beer is listed in the menu as Aphrodisiaque. Don’t ask me how that makes sense.)
And to finish off the night, a Great Lakes Devil’s Pale Ale (because there is no topping the Aphrodisiaque, so don’t try). I’ve always thought of this as a nice, serviceable American pale ale; a way of introducing hops to people who’ve been drinking watered down, corn-based beverages. A lot of caramel with citrus fruit undertones and a finish of pine. It would be a nice sessionable beer if not for the 6.6% ABV.
Today: 1.74L. Year-to-date: 78.38L.