And by “last weekend” I really mean a month ago, but have been waiting for the Flying Monkeys Supercollider to hit the shelves. It still hasn’t (rumours abound that it is because of a difference in actual alcohol by volume compared to what they labelled the bottle) and I’m tired of waiting, so here are my thoughts on the other beers in the release:
Grand River Pugnacious Pale Ale: The Grand River plan is simple – make very nice, traditional English style beers that utilize the heavy water of Cambridge. For the beer lovers that fall on to the hophead end of the spectrum, these are decent but lack potency (ie. not American enough). The Pugnacious Pale Ale is no different and the enjoyment of said beer really all depends on whether or not you like proper British ales and don’t expect all of your pale ales to be hoppy. The caramel and biscuit flavours from the malts were nicely in balance with earthy hops up front and a slight bitterness in the finish. It struck me as the sibling of MacLean’s Pale Ale, which means it was enjoyable if not spectacular. My main issue was that the body was a little thin and made for an unpleasant end to an otherwise tasty beer.
Great Lakes Miami Weiss: For those of us living in Toronto, the Miami Weiss has become a fairly common beer at events that feature Great Lakes. It has been been found on tap and cask from the earliest iterations to the present bottles on the LCBO shelves. The Miami Weiss is modeled after (and therefore often compared to) the Three Floyds Gumballhead, taking a wheat beer and transforming it in the grand American fashion by adding lots of hops. This creates a lot of lemon and citrus elements, as well as a fiercely bitter finish that lasts long after the beer has left your mouth. This bottled version was actually fairly tamer than the draught/cask samples and the oomph of hops in the finish was toned down. Hopefully the LCBO will allow this beer to be released throughout next summer so that we can enjoy this refreshing ale in the hottest days of the years.
Beau’s Dunkel Buck: Between the Miami Weiss and Dunkel Buck, it also seems like there was a purposeful ’80s throwback theme to this release. The dunkel style is a vastly underrated one in my opinion, especially for the September and October months. The Dunkel Buck has big, bold flavours but non-traditional ones if you are used to drinking American craft beer. Loads of banana and cloves, with a deliciously caramel backbone that tempers the 6.8% ABV. Beneath that there is a layer of toasted malt, chocolate, bread and coffee. Quite a delicious beer!
This was by far my favourite of the release and I wish that more of it was available. Hopefully Dunkel Buck becomes a Beau’s regular because it was fairly limited in distribution and I’d love to have a stash of this in my fridge throughout autumn.
Overall, some very good beers and another chance for Ontario breweries to shine. With the limited brewing power of most breweries in the province, it is unlikely that few breweries have the production capacity to have a solo feature. Ideally this will become a regular feature at different times of the year to allow for different seasonal products to make it to store shelves.