Monday, December 2, 2013

Best of Both Worlds

My first official foray into the world of craft beer happened when my friend, Perry Mason, introduced me to the first beer he made for his brewery, The Scotch-Irish Brewing Company. It was simply called Session Ale and was modeled after the British ales that where light in alcohol but still maintained a full flavour and good balance between malt and hops.

In Perry's words, his Session Ale was "the best beer the British never made."

I loved that ale and drank it every chance I got, which meant that I spent a lot of time at the Arrow & Loon pub.

I miss that beer.

As I became more and more familiar with various styles of beer, my preference leaned towards stouts and porters, one of my favourites again being Perry's porter (pee-pee, for short), Black Irish Porter.

While I've never wondered what a beer would taste like if a session ale and a stout were combined, I now never have to wonder, because I've now tried one.
Grognard Session Stout (3.8% ABV)
Bellwoods Brewery
Toronto ON
Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5
Appearance: dark brown—almost black, with a lush, creamy taupe head that creates peaks as it settles.

Nose: coffee, tobacco, and is slightly herbal.

Palate: rich coffee and cedar; definite hops that come to a clean finish.

Overall impression: I'm surprised at the body, given the low alcohol level. It's a good, well-balanced session ale mixed with a light stout.

This is the first beer that I've had from Bellwoods. Sadly, it's not available in the LCBO. It's availability seems limited to the Toronto area: specifically, the brewery. Luckily, my wife was in TO last weekend and brought me back five different offerings from the brewery.

My first "session" was a success and I can't wait to try the others. And, if this brewery gets its ales in the LCBO, I will surely be a regular customer.

I also give points on it bringing my memories back to my early days of enjoying craft beer.


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