Luckily, there were two microbreweries within a 15-minute distance of my hotel. One, I had heard of and have sampled and reviewed in the past. I will review more beer from that brewery later this week.
The other brewery was new to me; in fact, I had never even heard of it before, and so I became excited when I learned that it would be open during a break in my kids' dance numbers and when I wasn't needed to help move props.
The microbrewery is the Old Credit Brewing Company.
This 19-year-old, family-operated craft brewery is tucked away, just south of a ritzy neighbourhood, in a small building that houses its copper kettle in the front. Because of its size, it offers only three types of beer: a lager, an amber ale, and a honey ale.
At the brewery, two of their brews were available to sample: the lager and the amber ale. After trying the two, I made my decision about what to bring home. I'll start with the first one.
Amber Ale (5% ABV)Appearance: deep amber to copper with a white head that pours to only a pinky-finger thickness and dissipates to a thin lace.
Old Credit Brewing Company
Port Credit, ON
Beer O'Clock rating: 2.5
Nose: caramel and citrus.
Palate: a slightly soapy, burnt caramel with a grassy finish that lingered to what I describe as a flat, dry root beer.
Overall impression: this is an easy-drinking and flavourful ale, but I'm not sure that I would want to add it to my repertoire of regular beers. It is a beer that may have a wide appeal to anyone looking to start into the world of craft beer, but to those who come to expect lots of character, it falls a little short.
That said, it is definitely worth a try.
The second beer that I brought home was not one that I was able to try at the brewery (they had plenty in stock; why not crack one open?). But because it was advertised as being made with Billy Bee honey (who doesn't like Billy Bee?), I really wanted to try it.
Holiday Honey (5% ABV)Appearance: amber-orange with a thick, foamy-white head that dissipated quickly and disappeared completely before my glass was empty.
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Nose: orange citrus.
Palate: citrus, hops, and a touch of honey in the light, medium finish.
Overall impression: like the Amber Ale, the Holiday Honey (what holiday are they celebrating?) is easy drinking and will most likely appeal to the masses who may be looking for more than the Molson and Labatt products. But for a craft beer from a 19-year-old brewery, I felt that this ale lacked any true character.
I did like this honey-flavoured ale and would drink it again, but I don't think I would seek it out.
Not that I've ever seen it in any Ottawa LCBO.