I convinced Sophie to go out to Bar Volo for the CASK! Ale Crawl – I wanted to get out to more of the Crawl, but work and Mother’s Day took up most of my weekend. No preamble about why a weekend like this is important (chances are you’re already a cask devotee), let’s just get to the beer. My first beer was Beau’s Screaming Beaver, an Imperial IPA from the Vankleek brewery (and served on cask, obviously). To see Ontario brewers trying the more extreme styles is a welcome sign that the beer scene is growing in our fair province. The Screaming Beaver is a decent IIPA, though not as complex as a lot of other takes on the style. If you like a balanced IPA with a lot of malts to counter the hops, this would be your IIPA. A lot of caramel and sugars in the beginning, followed by a strong amount of pine. The bitterness was evident, but not overpowering – same thing with the alcohol. A really nice medium body. Solid overall and a nice sipper on a bitterly windy day.
I have a confession to make – my second beer was not a cask offering. It was a tough choice, but I opted for a Church-Key Black IPA, another style that is gaining the favour of brewers in Ontario. Taking a cue from their Holy Smoke, the Black IPA has a definite smokiness to it, along with roasted malts and chocolate. Hops start out with more citrus, then pine, but the malts overpower both. The body was slightly creamy, which didn’t help the hops stand out. I’m still on the fence about black IPAs as they seem to come across as well-hopped porters (to my tastes, at least), but the Church-Key version is quite nice.
Today: 850mL. Year-to-date: 98.02L.