Cheers to Beer: Reviews & Muskoka Tasting Notes

Say hello to Bo, our new beer aficionado. Bo loves beer so much he’s “sacrificing” his svelte body for our benefit, tasting craft beer throughout Summer 2021 to offer us his thoughts, impressions, and ratings. Bo’s tasting notes will appear weekly in MuskokaStyle. Scroll down for Bo’s entries.

Bellwoods Brewery & Sam James Coffee Bar: A Stout With Coffee

A Stout With Coffee by Bellwoods

What to do when you want a beer and a coffee? Sure, you could have one of each, but where’s the fun in that? Thankfully, Bellwoods feels the same way. Bellwoods Brewery’s “A Stout With Coffee” series enlisted local coffee roasters to observe the results of adding different beans to Bellwoods’ beer brews. The ABV is kept relatively low with a coffee-like body and flavour at the forefront. There have been many blends, but three of the most recent editions were made using Sam James’s Colombia Huila, Colombia Asmucafé, and Ethiopia Tega & Tula.

Bo’s Impressions

Many coffee stouts are overly sugary or bitter or heavy, but where others have failed, Bellwoods has succeeded.

This series is not heavy at all and the light bitterness is masked by the sugar addition. These stouts really taste like beer-infused black coffee with a little sugar added. It will make you question whether you’re drinking a coffee beer or a beer coffee!

Bo’s Tasting Notes

💪 5.5%

🖍 Very dark brown with a dark mocha-coloured medium head.

👄 Light-to-medium body with an almost oily mouthfeel as well as subtle, soft and fine carbonation.

👅 Lightly malty, earthy and roasty coffee flavour with balanced bitterness and lightly sugary.

🏁 Lightly sugary aftertaste that sticks to the throat.

Where to Buy & Try

Find this stout at one of the Bellwoods breweries in Toronto or on their site for $5.31/can. You can also find it at associated breweries and sellers, like Dominion City and Bar Lupulus.

Pair with biscuits, cookies and desserts that you would normally pair with coffee.

Photo Credits

Beer image taken by Bo himself!

Dominion City: Wilderness Gothic (Riesling Saison)

What do you get when you combine white wine with a light beer? The least you’ll get is a bright and refreshing saison. The best you’ll get is a Wilderness Gothic.

Dominion City added 1000 L of fresh Riesling juice from Hinterland Winery in Prince Edward County to a blend of one-year-old barrel-fermented saison to produce this ale. The result is a delicious yet easy-drinking wine-beer fusion.

Bo’s Impressions

A saison is a pale ale that is highly carbonated, fruity, spicy, and often bottle-conditioned. I used to think of saisons as lighter beers — and that generally used to be the case — but some of the newer versions (like this one) are bolder and stronger.

The higher ABV (alcohol content) works very well with the lightly sour white-wine taste, making for a rich and flavourful yet light and refreshing beer.

It’s ideal for summer weather paired with gossip sessions with the girls! 💁🏻‍♀️💁🏻‍♂️

Bo’s Tasting Notes

💪 7.0%

🖍 Slightly cloudly bright gold colour with a medium-sized, lightly frothy head that evaporates quickly.

👄 Dry and crisp, light-to-medium body with bright minerality

👅 Tart, earthy & fruity flavour with balanced green apple acidity and oakiness alongside ripe fruit aromatics.

🏁 Clean finish with residual soft white wine and apple flavour that sticks to your throat.

Where to Buy & Try

Find this saison at the Dominion City brewery in Ottawa or on their site for $16.81/bottle. You can also find it at associated breweries.

Pair with fish, cheeses and spicy dishes.

Beer image created by Nina V.

From Bellwoods Brewery: The Jelly King Sour Ale

Bellwood Brewery Jelly King

In the domain of prokaryotic microorganisms, Jelly King reigns supreme. So too does this dry-hopped ale in the domain of sours. This review will be a little different because it covers multiple beers, which has to be done to highlight Jelly King’s various fruity flavours.

Rather than choosing between sour and hoppy, Bellwoods brewed a combination of the best of both. Not only that, but they now offer a wide range of fruity options so you don’t have to settle for a flavour that isn’t your favourite. You can have apricot; pineapple, tangerine and grapefruit; raspberry and blackberry; strawberry and rhubarb; and more!

Bo’s Impressions

If you, like me, find many sour beers overly acidic or strong tasting, then you will appreciate this softer and hoppier take on the style. It’s a hoppy and citrusy beer with light acidity that is so refreshing. It’s like a beer-infused punch.

Bo’s Tasting Notes

💪 5.6%

🖍 Cloudy and pale with a medium-to-thick head that quickly evaporates, leaving a small lace.

👄 Juicy yet tart light body with a soft mouthfeel and active carbonation.

👅 Balanced medium hoppiness and soft-to-medium acidity with various fruity notes and a citrus character similar to Five Alive.

🏁 Dry, tangy and subtely bitter finish that leaves a sticky mouthfeel.

Where to Buy & Try

Find this sour ale at one of the two Bellwoods Breweries in Toronto or on their site for $5.75/bottle. You can also find certain flavours at LCBO.

Pair Bellwoods’s Jelly King with stinky cheeses, mussels or salty meats like cured pork.

Beer image created by Bo.

Muskoka Brewery’s Chance of Flowers (Kölsch)

Muskoka Brewery Chance of Flowers
Image created by Chris Horne

Springtime calls for sunshine with a Chance of Flowers! Muskoka’s 2021 Moonlight Kettle Series is responsible for this Kölsch. It is tailor-made to enjoy as the weather warms up.

This German-style beer is made with wheat, honey and silo 2-row malts in combination with magnum and mistral hops. These add to the floral notes of hibiscus and honey, and the biscuit sweetness in the aroma. These are accompanied by flavours of candied fruit and a touch of crisp bitterness to taste.

Bo’s Impressions

This dry-hopped Kölsch with hibiscus really brings you springtime in a glass. The unique hibiscus and candied fruit flavour is light and refreshing with mild sweetness and fruitiness that is so refreshing on a warm sunny day!

Bo’s Tasting Notes

💪 5.0%

🖍 Slightly cloudy copper colour with a medium frothy head that evaporates quickly.

👄 Medium body with light carbonation and an a slick mouthfeel.

👅 Very malty with a mildly sweet, soft and floral candied fruit flavour and a faint hint of crisp bitterness.

🏁 Clean effervescent finish.

Where to Buy & Try

Find this limited edition lager at the Muskoka brewery or on their site for $3.95/can, $21.95/6-pack, $41.95/12-pack and $82.95/24-pack. You can also find it at LCBO and certain grocery stores.

Pair Muskoka’s Chance of Flowers with grilled tuna, raspberry sorbet, or quiche!

*Beer image created by Chris Horne

Big Rig Brewery’s Reunion Dortmunder Lager

Tim Riopelle
Image created by Tim Riopelle

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this special announcement from Big Rig! Introducing their new project: The Limited Edition One-Off Bottle Series. This beer is the second offering in a program that promises experimental and delicious brews from the brewery known for flavourful selections.

The first edition of Big Rig’s “One-Off” series is Reunion Dortmunder. It is a darker and smoother version of their staple dark IPA, Release The Hounds. This offering, however, is something entirely new. Reunion Dortmunder is the brainchild of Big Rig’s brewmaster and his long-time friend “Dr. Malt” (a really good super-hero name). Reunion Dortmunder was created as a celebration of friendship, craft beer, and laughter, so enjoy it while sharing good times with good friends.

Bo’s Impressions

This golden lager starts with an excellent clean malt followed by a relaxed hop finish, giving you a beer that’s hoppier than a Helles and less bitter than a Pilsner. You can taste the influence of each style, which makes this beer richer, sweeter and more complex than the average lager.

Bo’s Tasting Notes

🖍 Clear gold colour with a thin foamy head that evaporates quickly and leaves no lace.

💪 5.5%

👄 Light-to-medium body with light carbonation and an almost oily mouthfeel.

👅 Malty and hoppy mild corn and honey flavour with warm sweetness and faint bitterness.

🏁 Malty & faintly bitter finish with warm sweetness sticking to your throat.

Where to Buy & Try

Find this limited edition lager at a Big Rig brewery or on their site for $5.50/650mL.

Pair Big Rig’s Reunion Dortmunder with game and red meats or BBQ!

*Beer images created by Tim Riopelle. Find more of Bo’s beer reviews below & here.

Muskoka Brewery’s Hazed & Confused IPA

Image Created by Loopeh

If you’re looking for a juicy, citrusy, hoppy beer for the summer months, Muskoka’s India Pale Ale will leave you the opposite of Dazed and Confused; it will leave you wanting more.

Hazed & Confused won gold medals at the 2018 Ontario Brewing Awards and the 2019 World Beer Awards!It’s brewed with Cara-red and 2-Row Pale malts, wheat and oats, along with Mandarina, Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic hops, which altogether give it a great smoothness and depth of flavour.

Bo’s Impressions

This rich and delicious IPA has a sweet, malty profile that brings a soft and silky mouthfeel while the hops give it a juicy citrus kick. No matter what you are looking for in an India Pale Ale, Hazed & Confused has it. It’s juicy, hoppy, malty, lightly bitter and sweet, as well as citrusy and flavourful!

Bo’s Tasting Notes

💪 6.5%

🖍 Hazy orange colour with a thick foamy head that leaves a lasting lace.

👄 Full-bodied with subtle carbonation and a soft and creamy mouthfeel.

👅 Malty base with a mild sweetness, juicy hoppiness and soft tangerine flavour.

🏁 Soft citrusy finish.

Where to Buy & Try

Find Muskoka’s Hazed & Confused IPA at Muskoka Brewery, The Beer Store, LCBO and select grocery stores.
Buy it for $3.55/cans, $18.95/6 cans, $36.95/12 cans or $70.95/24 cans.
Pair Muskoka’s Hazed & Confused IPA with a spinach salad topped with mandarins and goat cheese.

*Beer images created by Loopeh. Find more of Bo’s beer reviews below & here.

Muskoka Brewery’s Craft Lager

Image Created by Hoot Design Studio

Muskoka Brewery carefully aged and hand-crafted their uniquely flavourful yet remarkably easy-drinking lager using a pure, natural and unfiltered brewing process with no preservatives. It’s clear that they intended to make it as fresh and refreshing as possible, and succeeded!

Bo’s Impressions:

Muskoka Craft checks all the boxes of a great lager:

  • flavourful yet light
  • malty yet crisp
  • no unpleasant aftertaste
  • an extra or interesting flavour note (malt sweetness)

It really is a deliciously balanced, light and refreshing lager!

Bo’s Tasting Notes:

💪 4.8%

🖍 Slightly hazy gold colour with a small frothy head that evaporates slowly.

👄 Crisp, effervescent and finely carbonated medium body with a slightly silky mouthfeel.

👅 Flavours of cereal, wildflower, honey and a light hop bitterness with a light grain character and malt sweetness.

🏁 Slightly drying clean finish with no lingering aftertaste.

Where to Buy & Try

Find Muskoka’s Craft Lager at The Beer Store, LCBO, Loblaws, Metro, No Frills, Freshco, Food Basics, Sobeys and Walmart.

Buy it for $3.30/can or $34.95/12 cans.

Pair Muskoka’s Craft Lager with summer salads, grilled chicken, or chicken fajitas!

*Craft Lager image created by Jen at Hoot Design Studio.

About the Reviewer: Being Croatian means loving beer, so each day Bo makes sure to honour his heritage. MuskokaStyle enjoys the results of his research. Find more of Bo’s beer reviews here.

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