Harvest Ale 4
Cassel Brewery has released their limited edition Harvest Ale today.
Mario Bourgeois, Co-owner and Brewmaster spoke about the beer in a post we did earlier this month on Harvest Ales:
"We obtained hops from what was harvested back in 1920 in Fournier ON! That hop is said to be a bohemian likely Saaz. Up to 1958 they employed well over 2000 people to help during the harvesting season. A retired belgian farmer kept some plants and multiplied them over the years. We were lucky to get 10lbs of dried hops and we are likely the first one to brew again with this hop which once was very popular. Our supplier got an interview with an 87 year old man who was the third generation to harvest this hop, he was employing over 600 people on his farm only… yep all in Fournier ON!"
The flavours of this beer range from spicy to floral to earthy, bitterness is well balanced with an intriguing aroma.
The Harvest ale is available at Cassel Brewery however only 200 were bottled so you'll want to drop in and get some soon!
Katy and Sasha are the contributors for Ottawa Beer Events! They have distinctly different palates and in this segment they go head-to-head tasting Ottawa beer. This week they sample Dominion City Brewing Company's Land is Strong.
You know you drink a lot of bitter IPAs when you sip on something that's labelled 92 IBU and you marvel at the Belgian yeast characteristics over the bitterness.
Land is Strong pours a cloudy copper with a rich, creamy off-white head that vanishes leaving little trace. The aroma is full of phenols – spicy clove, pepper, even a little banana, with some hop earthiness coming in as an afterthought. There's more of that banana, pepper, clove craziness in the flavour, but with added caramel malt notes and a bitter hop-filled finish with a nice alcohol warmth (expected at 8% ABV).
A good beer, but I feel the yeast characteristics are taking centre stage when it was supposed to be the fresh Cascade hops turn to shine.
Land is Strong wet-hopped Belgian IPA is the first of Dominion City's Terroir series, which will feature a different regionally-sourced ingredient in each brew.
For this beer they chose fresh-picked Cascade hops from Lot 17 Hop Yard in Campbellford, ON which is apparent both in the aroma and taste.
The pour was light orange-brown in color with a thick off-white head that dissipated pretty quickly.
I felt as though the earthy bitterness from the hops overpowered all of the other characteristics when the beer was first poured, but once you gave it time to breathe, the sweet caramel malt started to shine through along with herbal & pepper notes.
At 8% the beer packs a 1-2 punch and you can detect a hint of booziness on the finish so you may want to stick with grumblers if you aren't wiling to share, which is possible as overall its a very nice balanced choice.
Muskoka Harvest Ale pours a dark amber colour with a fluffy off-white head that seems to cling to the glass. After the cork has been popped (or pried off in my case) aromas of floral hops become very noticeable; in the glass that floral hop note intensifies and brings with it aromas of grapefruit, fresh cut grass and malty caramel.
Those taste follows the aroma with a solid caramel background with layers of hop flavours (floral, fresh cut grass, citrus) adding bitterness, contrasting the sweet. It finishes with a slight dryness and earthy spice bitterness.
At 7% ABV and a big 750ml bottle Muskoka Harvest Ale is for sharing – celebrating the changing seasons and the bounty of the harvest.
Muskoka Harvest Ale poured a very nice golden brown with a thick light brown head. The aroma from the hops hits you right away with just a hint of toastiness from the malt.
The hops are definitely the star in this beer, offering the bitterness on first taste, with a marriage of grassy and citrus flavors. For me, who doesn't usually enjoy the bitterness in a beer, the honey-like sweetness on the end is a welcome taste.
The bitterness from the hops does stick around, however overall a very enjoyable beer, to enjoy a crisp fall day.
It's that time of year when fresh hops are being harvested. Most of these hops are dried or pellitized to keep them fragrant and preserved for year-round brewing, but if a brewer uses them right away, it can create a beer with more hop fragrance, flavour and character. These brews are typically called Harvest Ales. In the Ottawa-area we've received confirmation that Beyond the Pale Brewing Company, Cassel Brewery and Big Rig Brewery are currently brewing Harvest Ales.
To learn more about hop farming we interviewed Daniel Sabourin, owner of NationHops in St-Bernardin, Ontario.
Ottawa Beer Events: Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to open NationHops?
Daniel Sabourin (Nation Hops): I decided to open NationHops in 2010; I had been working in the dairy industry since 1994. They told me they were going to sell and if I wanted to stay in agriculture that they would help me out. They supplied me with machinery and cedar posts to set up my yard, and I am really grateful for the help and advice I have received from the Gauthier's during my time with them!
Which varieties do you grow and how are they sold?
I sell Cascade, Hallertauer, Mount Hood, Nugget, Willamette, Perle, Zeus, Kent-Golding, Centennial and Chinook in dried leaf mostly, but in October pelletized will also be available.
What's the most surprising thing you've learned as a farmer?
Never assume everything will be fine and check and re-check. Nothing goes according to plan, we are at mother natures bidding!
What are some tips for growing hops at home?
If you plan on growing at home try to get plants that are as resistant to pest and mildew as possible. For better yields use good soil not close to a building and they don't like to be submerged.
What is your personal favorite hop variety and why?
Cascade is probably my favorite. It established very fast for me with a good yield and I love the citrus aroma.
You can learn more about NationHops and their products from their website or follow them on Facebook (NationHops).
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