Thursday, June 23, 2016

Oak-Aged Cream Ale

Happy Anniversary, Muskoka Brewery!

It's hard to imagine any craft brewery in Ontario that is 20 years old and is still around or hasn't been swallowed up by one of the big, nasty, multinational corporations. Is there any Ontario craft brewer that's older than you, which has remained small like you?

Never change, my friends!

For this Bracebridge, Ontario, craft brewer's 20th anniversary, the folks have brewed a limited-edition, oak-aged version of their flagship cream ale. And for this year's Father's Day, without any prompting, my 13-year-old daughter asked her mother to take her to the LCBO to pick out some beer for me, and this is one of the three bottles that she chose.

She knows me so well and has great taste in beer.

Let's take a look at this one:
20th Anniversary Oak-Aged Cream Ale (5% ABV)
Muskoka Brewery
Bracebridge, ON
Appearance: I love the colour of this ale—deep amber with red highlights and a creamy-beige head that keeps a thick, silky cap.

Nose: malty oak and toasted caramel.

Palate: oaked malt with a slightly astringent, yet toasty finish. There's a slight bitterness on the sides and back of the tongue and a good, solid body.

Overall impression: the oak adds a nice complexity to what is otherwise a common cream ale. That is to say, I've always liked their cream ale but I tend to not reach for it when I'm shopping for this style of beer. The oak-aged version, on the other hand, reminds be of another ale—one that I do reach for every once and a while: the classic, Innis & Gunn Original.

Muskoka's anniversary cream ale is rich, creamy, and is easily drinkable. I would definitely reach for it when I'm in the LCBO. And because it's a limited edition, I suggest you reach for it soon.

Beer O'Clock rating: 4

Congratulations to Muskoka Brewery for 20 successful years. I'm raising my glass and wishing you at least another 20 more.


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