Thursday, October 15, 2015

City Hops and Other Great Ales

I almost had a panic attack, last night.

I was starting up my computer, ready to sit down and write this post, when the unthinkable happened: I couldn't find my notebook.

It's a simple notebook, with a hard, brown cover. The inside pages are blank, unlined. The only thing in this book are the notes that I have taken with the beers that I have consumed, with the intention of reviewing them. Everything that has been written for the past year in this blog is contained within the opening pages.

And I misplaced the book.

I ran around the house, looking in every place that I would possibly put this book, without success. And I was freaking out: sure, I could write future reviews in any old book, but I had reviews in this book that I haven't yet published.

And today's review was important.

I found the book, eventually, near the computer, tucked behind the monitor. I must have tucked it there earlier, when I was working from home, with my office laptop stacked on my personal one, and I had made room for office notes.

I'm so glad that I found these notes, because recreating them would have meant that I would have to replace the beer that I had consumed and start from scratch. Not that that would have been so bad: I could easily drink this beer again.

But it was just over a year ago that I first reviewed this Ottawa brewery, and now that these brewers have just surpassed their one-year anniversary in Ottawa, I wanted to pay tribute to them again.

With Bicycle Craft Brewery's first anniversary, I have seen Fariborz Behzadi and his wife, Laura, grow this excellent brew house to the success that it is today, with their five mainstay brews and their countless seasonals and one-offs. While I was sorry to miss their anniversary party, I was lucky enough to try five recent seasonals.

All of them were excellent: two of them, Isidore's Harvest Ale and Pumpkin Spice Ale, I enjoyed last year and was keen to have them again. The Pumpkin Spice Ale is the best in the city, and is the only pumpkin ale that I'm going to drink this season (I've reviewed too many over the past couple of years and am pumpkinned out, except for this one).

One nice fruit ale that came out this season was Edgewood Avenue. I enjoyed it the day after my Thanksgiving feast, with a cold turkey sandwich, and it was a marriage made in heaven, with the nice malt and slightly tart fruit, mixed with the poultry and stuffing (yes, I put stuffing in my turkey sandwich!). Yum!

On The Lam was released at the anniversary party, and is a delicious IPA that does not overpower the bitter taste sensors, but provides a great balance of hops and citrus. It's an ale that I could drink all day long—a half-growler was not enough.

But my favourite of their seasonal ales is the one that I will focus on for this review, and now that I've found my notes, let's get to it.
City Hops (4.9% ABV)
Bicycle Craft Brewery
Ottawa ON
Appearance: dried apricot, with good effervescence; a creamy, off-white head that stays to a thick, solid cap.

Nose: mild, citrus hops; slightly herbal.

Palate: slightly tart with grassy notes that grow to fully bitter hops and a full finish.

Overall impression: this ale got better and better with each sip, and it started off great. It's an ale that needs to open up and when it does, it's brilliant.

I didn't need my notes to remember that this harvest ale needs to be snapped up while it's available (please say it's still available, Fariborz and Laura!).

Beer O'Clock rating: 4

Grab the other seasonals while they last, too, and wish the folks at Bicycle Craft a happy first anniversary, with many more ahead.


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