Elora is about 20 minutes or so north of the centre of Guelph and lies along the Grand River. There's a majestic gorge that cuts through a beautiful conservation area. Over the years, Elora has evolved into an artisan town, with its bakeries, craft shops, restaurants, and ice-cream parlors. It is picturesque and friendly, and worth a stop any time you're in the area.
The brewing company, located in the heart of Elora, also houses a gastropub, which serves up-scale pub-grub made by a world-trained chef. Even the ketchup is homemade.
When I visited the pub, I tried a sampler of the brewery's four signature brews. You can see a brief review of them, along with some other beer finds, in a previous post. And while I loved their flavourful IPA, I wasn't prepared to bring a growler all the way back to Ottawa (so I drank it with my friends, in Guelph, that evening). I did, however, manage to snag a couple of their ales that are offered in 500ml bottles, and this week, I finally got a chance to sit down properly with them.
The first selection is a wheat ale, or weisse.
Straw Hat Matt (4.3% ABV)Appearance: a pale apricot, unfiltered murkiness, almost like grapefruit juice, but slightly darker. An effervescent, white head starts thick but quickly settles to a half-cap.
Elora Brewing Company
Nose: fresh citrus fruit, yeast, mild hops, and a creamy malt. Enticing, to say the least. I spent a long time just breathing in the aromas.
Palate: light and creamy, with some fruit that I wished came out more. The finish brought out a tone of banana, and was clean.
Overall impression: this is an easy-drinking weisse that goes down well and leaves you longing for that next sip. It's well-balanced with a light body, something that would quench your thirst after working a good day in the fields.
Or in whatever field in which you work.
Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5
The second ale that I brought back to Ottawa was perfect for this time of year. And no, I'm not talking about another pumpkin ale. Though, there is definitely a pie element.
A La Mode (3.9% ABV)Appearance: a hazy (slightly unfiltered), deep-gold to amber-orange glow, with an off-white, foamy head that settles to a thin cap, and then to a fine lace.
Nose: cinnamon and baked apple, complete with a fresh-baked crust.
Palate: all-spice, more cinnamon, and apple. This ale has a big mouth feel, as though you've taken a bite of dessert. There's an essence of sweetness without actually being sweet: it's more of a tart apple pie, but not too tart.
Overall impression: this ale tastes exactly like a home-baked apple pie. It's a liquid pie. At a time where pumpkin seems to rule, this is a welcome change.
Though this is a regular offering at Elora Brewing, I think that it would be made more special and be more sought if it was offered only as a fall seasonal. During my family Thanksgiving dinners, we always end the feast with a selection of both pumpkin and apple pie.
And I usually have a little of both.
Beer O'Clock rating: 4
Congratulations to Elora Brewing: you seem to be off to a great start. I hope you make your way to Ottawa LCBO stores. Mind you, I now have one more reason to visit my friends in Guelph.