In honour of Canada’s 150, Red Racer teamed up with a dozen breweries across the country, one for each province and territory, unfortunately Nunavut got left out. When tackling this case I decide to start here in BC and move my way east. Took my time with this case so my perception isn’t too hampered by the time I hit Nova Scotia.
BC: RR and Four Winds. Left of the Divide IPA. This is a west coast IPA. It smells like putting your face in a bag of hops. Idaho 7, according to the label. It also tastes like eating a big ol’ bowl of hops. There’s a nice touch of malt going underneath, but this beer is a total hop bomb. Not for the weak of heart or those on the fence about IPAs.
Yukon: RR and Yukon Brewing. Swift Current Dark Ale. Dark ale with black currants. Gorgeous dark brown. Nose is all currants, almost cidery. Taste is fine. Nothing to write home about, decent dark ale with very mild currant flavours.
Alberta: RR and Last Best Brewing & Distilling. Berry Smooth Berliner Weisse. Brewed with lactose and raspberries. You can smell the raspberries, bit of tartness and some sweetness from the lactose. Beautiful pink colour, lacy white head. This is a super refreshing beer. Nice light body, cloying sweetness. Super juicy raspberries and a very clean finish. High ABV for the style, but doesn’t taste it. Very pleased with this beer, needs a hot day and a porch.
Saskatchewan. RR and Black Bridge Brewing. Wide Open Spaces kellerbier.
As you’d expect from a kellerbier, clean aroma, but not a lot going on. Little bit of malt. Again, taste wise exactly what you expect from a kellerbier, essentially a hazy lager. Clean and crisp with a faint yeasty flavour. Hits all the style markers, though not the most exciting. Nice to see them brewing a beer you don’t see all that often.
Manitoba. RR and Half Pints Brewing. Land of Rice and Honey Saison. Saison with rice and wildflower honey. Nice clear blonde colour. Lots of fruity esthers on the nose. Taste-wise, you get a nice touch of the honey, more fruit esthers and a bit of spiceyness. This is a quintessential saison. Really well done.
North West Territories: RR and NWT Brewing Co. Miner’s Refresh Grisette. If you’re not familiar with grissete, you can think of then as essentially baby saisons, brewed for miners instead of farmers. Fruity, peppery esthers on the nose. Looks a nice balance between clear and hazy. Very straight forward beer. Same esthers up front, but a very clean, refreshing finish. This is what you would want after a day in the mines.
Ontario. RR and Beau’s. Upper Reaches Pale Ale. Super clean smell, though not a lot going on there. This is brewed with peaches and spruce tips, but is fairly subtle. There’s a nice juicy peach flavour, though the spruce tips could easily be mistakes for hops. Pretty clean and refreshing, but not phenomenal.
Quebec. RR and Le Trou Du Diable. Bouclier Canadien pilsner. Good bready, biscuity malt on the nose. Tastes like what you would expect from a Canadian pilsner. More of that classic malt, but with new world tropical hoppiness to it. Clean, tasty, solid beer.
Nova Scotia: RR and Garrison Brewing. “New” Scottish ale. Pours a nice dark amber with a nice thick white head. Lots of caramel and sweet wort on the nose. They definitely put the Scotch in a Scottish ale on this one. Starts off sweet and caramelly before being smashed with a big smokey peat then finishing nice and clean. Good thick mouthfeel and surprisingly easy drinking. Even though I generally don’t like peat, they did a good job balancing it.
New Brunswick: RR and Picaroons Traditional Ales. Restored Hop(e) ESB. Looks like an ESB. Nice clear amber colour. Smells like caramel, toffee and malty. Another beer where they do a damn good job hitting their style. Nice thick malty beer, with lovely lingering notes from a classic English hop profile. Would drink many pints of this.
PEI: RR and PEI Brewing Co. Biere d’ici Honey Ale. Brewed in a biere de garde style, which is a lagered Belgian Pale Ale high on the ABV scale.. This one is brewed with local honey. Pours strraw coloured, nice thick white foam. On the nose familiar Saison esthers and a cloying sweetness from the honey. Strong mouthfeel, fermented honey tastes reminiscent of a mead and very subtle fruity esthers. Pretty clean and refreshing in a sipping beer. Lingering sweetness
Newfoundland: RR and Quidi Vidi Brewing Company. Hefeweizen. Admittedly, this is a style that I really don’t enjoy. That said, on the nose you get the banana and clove you’d expect. Taste wise, again, nice example of the style. Wheaty, banana, clove. This beers hits the style markers nicely, but palate wise I can’t honestly say I enjoy it. No fault of the beer, though.
Overall I was quite impressed with this case. It was great to drink my way around the country while on my couch. It was certainly a treat to be able to try breweries that just aren’t available in BC. Thanks Red Racer and all the participating breweries!