The Friday Four is a weekly feature where I mention some beers I either drank this week, am currently drinking, or am looking forward to drinking.
Somehow, during all the hullabaloo about the opening of the Disneyworld of Beer, aka Cowbell in Blyth, I missed the news that they created a lager and launched it on their opening weekend, dedicating it to “the hard working men and women who built the Blyth brewing facility.” Shindig Huron County Lager has apparently been available on tap at the brewery ever since and, a press release I received Wednesday tells me, has been so popular, the company has decided to make it their fourth canned beer.
Shindig is described as a “remarkably crisp, clean and refreshing beer” and will be available in 355ml cans at The Cowbell General Store and The Beer Store. Maybe it’s all the dark and boozy winter-appropriate offerings I’ve been into as of late, but a new lager in small cans (from a company that has thus far produced some solid offerings) sounds right up my alley this week. And just think of the extra sales they’ll see by confused consumers who think it’s a new Bellwoods beer.
I became aware this was available here in Ontario because I follow Keep 6 Imports on instagram and did an LCBO online order (apparently these aren’t that hard to find if you live in TO, but, as people tend to forget, some folks actually don’t live in Toronto).
As it’s an Oude Geuze, this is a blend of one, two, and three year-old lambics, and is an effervescent, slightly fruity, subtly funky, tart lil’ beauty. There’s a touch of wood and some earthiness that grows as it warms. Is there such a thing as a “go-to” lambic? If so, this would be a candidate. I bought ten of these. I wish I bought more. I’m drinking one right now.
Normally, if you said to me “an older Ontario pale ale that marries English and American styles” I’d immediately taste Crystal malt in my mouth, start weeping, and take a hard pass. And yet, having had occasion to revisit this one thanks to some beer mail promoting Black Oak’s recent rebrand, I was not, as I expected I might, immediately lamenting the dreaded Ontario Pale Ale. Now, it’s been a while since I had this one, so I’m not sure if Black Oak has tweaked the recipe recently, but this is one of the few beers I’ve had as of late that aims to meld those two approaches to pale ales and doesn’t somehow muddle the best parts of each. Instead, Black Oak Pale Ale, from a time when your beer name could just be the fucking style of the beer, achieves the mellower, slightly caramel-ly, malty aspects of an English pale ale and is complemented with some subtle but noticeable American pale ale-style citrus and grapefruit aromatics. I grabbed one while playing cards with my brother-in-law recently because it was close by and cold, but got a few sips in and was like, “Well hey there, fella!” Black Oak Pale Ale, taste it again for the first time, or some shit like that.
Nickel Brook issued a press release this week to announce that Kentucky Bastard will be back in 2017, and it god damned well better be. Blended from beer aged for a year in Kentucky bourbon barrels, it is rich, chocolaty, roasted coffee goodness and about as luxurious as any product with the word “bastard” on it has ever been. This year, the bottle is smaller (dropping to 500mL from the previous 650mL size), but maybe that’s a good thing for a 12% imperial stout, you degenerate. Calm down.
Nickel Brook will be hosting a release party on December 9th and will also be selling a limited number of cellar-aged 2016 Kentucky Bastard and their Cuvee (also pretty badass), then the 2017 Bastard goes on sale at LCBOs December 11th. Buy two, attempt to cellar one.
What are you drinking this weekend?