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Friday, May 23, 2008

Nickel Brook Special Edition Cuvee 07': Strong Spiced Ale

A couple of weeks ago while celebrating Volo's 20th anniversary I had the opportunity to sample Nickel Brook's Special Edition Cuvee 07' on the recommendation by Volo owner Ralph Morana. As I sat on the patio supping my pint and watching some people in the corner share a dress(?), I pondered over the Cuvee 07' and came away with a positive review.

It just so happened that I ran into Nickel Brook's brewmaster Tim Blakeley at the Ontario Brewing Awards gala, held at the Bier Markt, where it won 'People's Choice' Winner for Specialty Beer. We got to talking about his latest creation and I was lucky enough to grab a six pack off him before handing home for the night.

Well, last night I finally got around to sitting down and enjoying another glass of it in the comforts of my apartment. My fiance had a friend over to watch the Grey's Anatomy finale providing me with the opportunity to hide in the corner with my pint glass and notebook.

The beer pours a hazy unfiltered orangey amber colour with a small white fluffy head. It is a very beautiful beer in my nice clean glass, looking very appetizing. The strong sweet aroma sits atop the glass and consists of hints of the Caribbean demerara (a speciality raw cane sugar used to sweeten beverages), notes of honey, small traces of something similar to nutmeg, warming alcohol and vanilla from the oak aging the Cuvee 07' goes through over 6 months. It truly is a winning combination of aroma producing ingredients. One member of Bar Towel stated that it smelled like jujubes and I can agree with that.

There is a lot going on in the taste of this beer too. A sharp sweetness attacks the middle of the tongue from the demerara and the fruity esters of the yeast. With the 6 month oak aging the Cuvee 07' endures, while not used previously for bourbon, there are hints of a brandy quality similar to that of a milder Innis and Gunn. It is a very sweet beer that can best be enjoyed after dinner with a fruity or syrupy dessert or over with the conversation of some close friends.

Nickel Brook and Blakeley have been quietly, but consistently been producing some terrific seasonal beers over the last year and they haven't gone un-noticed. This may very well be their best seasonal to date - in my opinion.

Details for beer geeks(fans/enthusiasts/nerds): Info taken from Blakeley's post on Beer Advocate.
7.75% A.B.V.
17 I.B.U. 15 Lvb.

A rich auburn reserve ale, brewed with five European malts, Caribbean demerara and a special blend of herbs and spices.

Cellared in oak for six months, naturally carbonated, and packaged unfiltered for a complex flavor profile and stability over time. Clarity is achieved through a careful brewing process and extensive aging.

Enjoy it today, or lay it down and savor the changes in character as it continues to mature.

Supplies are limited and are NOT available at L.C.B.O or Brewer's Retail. Mention this ad with your purchase and receive a free 12 oz. Nicklebrook glass.

864 Drury Lane
Burlington, Ontario
(905) 681-2739

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