But there is a bit of Nirvana to this brew.
Last summer, when my family vacationed on the Bruce Peninsula, we stumbled upon an altbier by a brewery in Owen Sound. It paired nicely with my homemade burger at a restaurant just outside of Tobermory, and it prompted me to also try their lighter, Kölsch, which I also liked.
I told myself that I would have to visit this brewery when I passed through this small Ontario town, on my way to Guelph.
Kilannan Brewing Company is a small operation, set in a non-descript warehouse at the intersection of Highway 6 and County Road 18, and when I pulled up to the side of the building, I was beginning to think that they had no sales area, that they were merely a production and distribution centre. I was going to turn around and continue on my journey, but something told me that I had to at least stick my head in the door and look around.
I'm glad I did.
While the brewery isn't build with looks in mind, they do have a tasting bar and a large refrigerator that is stocked with their mainstay offerings and seasonals. I had also tried their stout, in Tobermory, but unfortunately it was also a seasonal and was no longer available.
As luck would have it, they did have a few bottles of another seasonal stout on hand, and I picked up a few to have at a future date.
The future is now, and we find ourselves in Xanadu.
Xanadu Imperial Stout (9.5% ABV)Appearance: deep brown, with a creamy-taupe head that remains a solid cap. I literally stepped out of the house after a couple of sips and returned an hour later, and there was still a head.
Kilannan Brewing Co.
Owen Sound, ON
Nose: prunes, licorice, and dark-roasted coffee.
Palate: black licorice and cocoa. The Imperial stout holds a nice body with a slightly astringent finish that brings out bourbon and oak. After a few mouthfuls, you can start to feel the alcohol on the tongue, but it is never overpowering.
Overall impression: this is a strong but gentle Imperial stout, one that doesn't bowl you over but can still flex its muscle and leave a solid impression. But remember: it is a strong beer in a large, 650ml (about 22 oz) bottle. I sipped the beer over an hour, and by the time I was done, I knew that there was no way that I was driving anywhere.
This is an ale that I would highly recommend that you search out. Hopefully, it's not as elusive as its name suggests. (And there are no Australian actresses associated with it, either.)
Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5