Friday, August 5, 2016


I love discovering new Ontario breweries. Take last night, for example: it was International IPA Day, and I found myself in Carleton Place, a small but beautiful town a half-hour or so west of Ottawa. After a photo shoot in a hot, abandoned factory, I needed to find a cool pub and have a cooler brew to celebrate this special day.

I found such a place at St. James Gate. And, not only did they have an IPA to help me with the celebration, but this IPA was from the very town I was in.

I'll have to review that ale, but not today.

No, today, I take a look at another discovery from a Kitchener brewer, whose cans of American Pale Ale found their way to my local LCBO shelves.

And this APA was not what I expected.
Harbinger American Pale Ale (5.5% ABV)
Descendants Beer & Beverage Company
Kitchener, ON
Appearance: a deep amber to copper, more in line with an amber ale; a creamy, beige head left a solid cap.

Nose: slight malts, but otherwise, closed. I expected some fresh hops, but found none reaching my nostrils.

Palate: hop-forward with solid malt balancing from the first mouthful, but as the ale went down past the tongue, the hops prevailed as the dominant flavour. There's also a burnt toffee-ness that coats the tongue. It drinks somewhere between an amber lager and a red ale.

Overall impression: this is not what I expected when I opened the can. A few hours before I tucked into this APA, I had a Kichessippi 1855 with lunch. The two were very much in the same class, where I would have initially thought that they would be very different.

I did enjoy this ale for the body and flavours that it offered. Expecting a pale ale, though, I would have been disappointed if that was all I really wanted. This ale is so much more that it seems to depart from its category.

If you're looking for a full-bodied amber or a lighter red, this will go just nicely. If you want an APA, beware.

Beer O'Clock rating: 2.5


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