Thursday, April 27, 2017

Packing Up With a Brown Van

When I started my Beer O'Clock blog, I wanted to review at least one beer each week, to try a brew that I hadn't had before and share my views with you.

If you follow my blog—and I thank you for that—you'll have noticed that beer reviews are far and few between.

Beer O'Clock began on my main blog, The Brown Knowser, as a periodic review of beers that I came across at the LCBO, at beer events, and abroad. For a while, it was a weekly segment to the usual shenanigans of that blog.

Starting in May, that's where my beer reviews will return.

Thank you to all of you who have read this blog: I hope you continue to enjoy my reviews from where they originated.

To wrap up this blog, I'm going to look at a relatively new Ottawa brewery, one that made its debut through taps at scattered Ottawa pubs and has since made its way to the LCBO and has earned international recognition.

I was first introduced to a Kölsch-style beer a few years ago at another Ottawa brewery and I have to say that I didn't like it very much. It came off as high in steely minerals and off-balanced. I was reluctant to have it again.

And then, a couple of summers ago, while on vacation, I ventured to try another Kölsch from a small brewery outside Owen Sound, and it gave me an appreciation for the Cologne (Köln) brew. A variation of Kölsch by Cowbell Brewing made me a convert.

But I wasn't sure if I had tried a true German-styled Kölsch, so when I heard that an Ottawa brewery had won an award for their ale, that it was designed on a Cologne style, I had to first look up what characteristics to expect from this beer.

And then I opened a can.
Kolsch (4.8% ABV)
Brown Van Brewing
Ottawa, ON
Brown Van operates out of Kichesippi Beer's Campbell Avenue home. Kichesippi, itself, celebrates its seventh anniversary, this week, to which I tip my had. Brown Van, for now, only makes its Kölsch: it seems to work for Steam Whistle, so why not for this fledgling brewery?

Appearance: a clear, straw-yellow tint with a foamy-white head that clung to the inside of the glass as it settled to a razor-thin cap.

Nose: a light mix of wheat, grass, and pear, with subtle malts.

Palate: flint, black pepper, and malt, with a nice carbonation in the mouth. The finish is clean, with a slight bitterness that cleanses the palate.

Overall impression: as a Cologne-styled Kölsch, it's spot on with what my research showed. I expected to detect more fruit in the nose—perhaps some cherry—but I was able to get some pear notes as the glass opened up. The flintiness is consistent with the steel flavour that I was expecting, and I found this Kölsch to be extremely satisfying.

Recently, Brown Van earned the 2017 top rank for a Kölsch and was awarded a gold medal at the Chicago World Beer Championship, and I can see why. It's something that I can see myself enjoying on a patio, this summer.

Truth be told, I have had this ale a few times over the past six months or so. I first had it at CRAFT Beer Market, at Lansdowne, and I have also bought a few cans at the LCBO. Earlier this week, I chatted with one of the brewery's reps at a beer event, and he did hint that the brewery will have more offerings in the future.

I look forward to seeing what comes for this brew company. But first, I think they need to find a home of their own. When that happens, I'll be happy to share another review on The Brown Knowser.

Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5


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