Beyond the Pale is an Ottawa-local brewer, sitting in the quickly-gentrifying Hintonburg neighborhood and selling their wares out of their store front (LCBO/Beer Store being a royal pain for small brands to get into, see my previous Peat Monster post for some of the difficulties in dealing with a government-run retail business). The guys seem very friendly and willing to talk about what they’re doing. Stop by at 5 Hamilton Ave North, Fri, Sat & Sun.
So, in case there’s further rumbling about another off-topic post, I swear this is one is well within iscotch.ca‘s purview. Beyond the Pale has a number of different beers, the two in question here are “Imperial Super Guy” and “The Darkerness”. They ALSO make, from those same beers, “Super Maker” and “Make’r Dark”. You’ve noticed that both of these names have ‘Maker’ in them, and the reason for this is pretty cool. These high alcohol Ottawa-local beers have spent some time being aged in Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey casks. The casks arrive at the brewery with a swish of cask-strength bourbon still inside (you can’t ship casks empty because they’ll dry out and you’ll lose most of the point in cask-aging your beer). I’m currently looking into who I will have to befriend/bribe/blackmail to get a small sample of cask-strength Maker’s, to truly complete this set of reviews. I’ll be posting a review of the readily available retail-strength Maker’s Mark in a couple days, as an informing transition between the two sets of beers.
The notes for these reviews will be different than our regular method for two reasons: 1) you only drink beer neat and 2) I didn’t take clear notes on who said what, so it’s more of a list of sensory experiences. Here’s what we thought:
very thick, reminiscent of Winterbeard by Muskoka, molasses, very stouty, chocolate, burnt. Toffee, fig, very smooth.
Imperial Super Guy
fishy, lychee, very hoppy, caramel, maple syrup. while lower % than The Darkerness, alcohol taste very strong.
The Darkerness Oatmeal Stout – 10.2% – $10.00 – Canada
Try it? Yes! Buy it? Yes!
Imperial Super Guy Imperial Rye India Pale Ale – 9.1% – $10.00 – Canada
Try it? No(*) Buy it? No(*)
* This is my personal opinion. The Imperial Super Guy is intensely hoppy, which is not a flavour range I enjoy. I’ve found that a lot of nano- and micro-brewers seem to be in an arms race to come up with the most hoppy beers they can, which is great if you like that taste dynamic. I really don’t. It’s become like the hot sauce business to my tongue, everyone’s trying to make the MOST HOPPY experience in your mouth and it leaves people like me who prefer darker or fresher tastes out in the cold. I’m sure there are people who feel this way about the peat or burn in Scotch, and, truly, there are bottles like Smokehead that seem to elevate that smokey taste beyond balance or proportion. Just my $0.02.