|Small display upon welcome|
Well, it turned out that I was going to be in Ottawa on the same day that the Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. was throwing a launch party for their latest beer in their Wild Oat series - Winterbrewed. Naturally, I had to pay a visit, breaking the vow I had made to myself... and my wife, that it would be a beer free weekend.
Beau's teamed up with Bridgehead coffee, an independent chain of cafes in Ottawa who focus on fair trade and organic coffee from small-scale farmers, to create Winterbrewed, an amber ale infused with Nicaraguan speciality coffee. The launch party was being held at one of Bridgehead's many locations (Sparks St), which was a nice change from the brewery/pub atmosphere; beer, coffee, and tea all being served simultaneously. And, in order to serve beer at the cafe, Bridgehead and Beau's had to apply for a special permit and offered the proceeds of the ticket sales to Beau's charity, Operation Go Home.
We arrived just shortly after 5pm for the media tasting. Steve Beauchesne, co-owner/founder, and a number of other members of the Beau's team were there chatting with some of the local Ottawa press, hanging out by a small display they made for the event. I met up with Jeff O'Reily, the general manager of nearby D'Arcy McGee's pub, who has started writing about beer for the Ottawa Metro newspaper, and he's committed to telling the story of craft beer in this province!
|Beau's Winterbrewed meets Bridgehead Coffee|
It's always great catching up with the guys/girls from Beau's as I don't get to do it that often. (And I can't wait to see Beau's advertisement in the Summer issue of TAPS... it includes me and some fingers... don't ask) We chatted for about an hour as we sampled the Winterbrewed and watched as the crowd grew in size. By 7pm you could hardly move in the cafe - the Beau's crew knows how to attract a crowd.
So, my thoughts on the beer? I liked it. It's nothing like what I was expecting. Very interesting and complex, yet easily drinkable and would be enjoyed by both beer and coffee drinkers.
Rustic cooper in colour with a strong head, the aroma was a mixture of earthy herbal notes, a dose of weakened coffee and it had some sweet fruity characteristics that co-mingled nicely with the coffee. The 5% medium bodied beer featured sharp coffee notes on the palate with each sip, before opening up with some subtle touches of chocolate, raisin and some mild fruit notes (peaches?). A touch sticky, the carbonation in the Winterbrewed cleanses the palate after each drink and finishes dry with some nice bitterness. And after a couple of generous samples, I was feeling the coffee buzz!
*And sorry folks, Beau's has sold all 1000 bottles of the Winterbrewed, so it's no longer available...until next year?*
|Steve Beauchesne pouring a sample|