Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Magic at Midnight

In a time where beers are becoming more and more complex, with flavours most unnatural for a traditional ale—peanut butter, maple syrup, bacon, banana, crème brulée—it's good to go back to the basics.

As many of you know, I prefer a stout to any other style of beer. And, as many of the above ingredients are added to stouts and porters, I really prefer a simple, dry stout. If you're going to add anything to a stout, oatmeal, in my humble opinion, is the way to go.

At this year's WinterBrewed festival, I had the privilege of trying a wide variety of ales, and my favourite of the event was an oatmeal stout by a relatively new craft brewery that has created a little magic.
Midnight Oatmeal Stout (4.5% ABV)
Whitewater Brewing Company
Foresters Falls, ON
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Appearance: walnut brown with a creamy, dark taupe head that settles that remains for a good portion of your glass as you drain it. For my review, the growler had been opened for a while and the head dissipated to a fine lace.

Nose: smoked oysters, dark-roasted coffee, and cocoa.

Palate: smoked sausage, reminiscent of one of my favourite smoke beers.

Overall impression: for a simple oatmeal stout, Midnight Oatmeal is incredibly complex, lots of smoke, ample body with a great balance of malt and hops, Whitewater has made my favourite style of beer simply magical.

This microbrewery, located in the heart of whitewater rafting country, along the Ottawa River, is the dream of three adventurous buddies: James Innes, Chris Thompson, and Chris Thompson (no, that's not a typo—there are two Chris Thompsons, and I had the honour of meeting both of them at WinterBrewed). While on a rafting trip, the three pals decided to start a brewery, and Whitewater is already off with a rush.

Their beer can be purchased directly from the brewery, but if you don't want to drive that far up the Ottawa Valley, they can be found at various pubs in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Check their Web site.

I also tried and enjoyed their IPA, and I look forward to trying their other offerings. I suggest you seek them out and treat yourself to some magic in a bottle (or pint glass).


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