Thursday, August 6, 2015

Speak Easy, Drink Well

Ottawa's latest brewery is set to open its doors tomorrow, August 7, and it is taking on a theme that harkens to prohibition.

But it has no reason to hide.

Located in the dark depths under the Lunenburg Pub, where once veteran pub, Alfie's, crammed the booze faithful into its tight space, brewer Marc-André Chainey is seeing his two-year (plus) dream come true.

The suspenders-donning civil engineer, who has turned his love for beer, is opening Waller Street Brewing, starting at noon. There will be tasty treats, a live jazz band, and even an early Model A Ford.

And, of course, beer.

Marc-André has four brews on offer, for sampling or by the glass, but remember: this is a brewery and not a pub. If you want to drink it up, this is not the place. Pick up your half-growler and enjoy it at home.

The four mainstays of the brewery are as follows:

Bootleg Blonde (5% ABV)—an American blonde ale with good pepper notes and plenty of hops, this is one of the best blondes I've ever had, and I'm not into blondes (even though I married one). Easy-drinking, it reminded me of a session ale. (Beer O'Clock rating: 3)

Hideaway Hefe (5% ABV)—a German-style hefeweizen, this is my favourite of the Waller Street offerings. Big notes of banana on the nose and puréed pairs on the palate, this cloudy ale got me so excited that I drank the half-growler that I bought as soon as I got home. This hefe will be a hit for wheat-beer lovers. (Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5)

Speakeasy Red (4.4% ABV)—a complex, Belgian-American-red-rye-session-IPA. This is a mouthful, and your mouth will enjoy the many flavours that comprise this ale. "Everything is about balance and subtlety," said Marc-André, about his personal favourite of his creation. (Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5)

Moonlight Porter (6.3% ABV)—solid notes of coffee and chocolate nibs on the nose, with licorice and molasses on the palate, this substantial dark ale is full of hops and reminds me of an Imperial stout. I found this selection a bit lacking in carbonation, which may have made it a little silkier, like moonlight. Perhaps it was the condition of the growler from which we drank, but I'll be able to confirm that when I open my mini growler. (Beer O'Clock rating: 3)

At the brewery's grand opening, a special, unnamed, cask-condition ale will be opened.

I'm excited for Waller Street Brewing. They are off to a fine start with their beer offerings and their theme makes it a good attraction, given its location, outside the bustle of the Byward Market. Time will tell.


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