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especially the Canadian kind...

Brewery List

Black Creek Brewery

Beer Name Rating
Rifleman's Ration 8.20
Pumpkin Ale 6.60


While wandering through the beer isles of his local LCBO, Bucky couldn't resist the patriotic appeal of Black Creek Brewery's Rifleman's Ration Ale ("RRA"). RRA is the first in a series of twelve ‘Historic Beers of Canada' to be released by the brewery. Each of the twelve distinct beers is designed to capture the feel and flavour of a specific era in Canadian history. Rifleman's Ration commemorates the years 1810 to 1819, to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The beer that is available commercially is brewed in partnership with Trafalgar Breweries through Pioneer Brewing Ltd.

RRA was purchased in a brown 500 ml bottle with a  'best before' date of January 2013 punched into the side of the label.  The label displays the image of a 19th century British colonial soldier of the line, who, as part of his service, would have been issued with an extra paycheck exclusively for buying beer. British commanders approved of beer consumption (within reason) because it helped stimulate the regional economy through the sale of grains and hops by local farmers. RRA is 5.0% alcohol by volume.

Rather than drinking at room temperature as suggested on the label, I served it at cellar temperature which was a few degrees cooler. RRA poured a translucent dark brown/red, with ruby highlights when backlit. A very aggressive pour produced about 1/2" of fizzy tan coloured head, which quickly faded to a thin collar and film, leaving some very modest spotting and lacing down the glass. The beer's aroma, as you would expect for a brown ale, was dominated by chocolate and coffee malts. The flavour began with sweet, dark malts including chocolate, and finished with a mild coffee bitterness which lingered for just a few seconds. The carbonation was quite low and completely appropriate for the recreation of a naturally carbonated, 200 year old recipe, though possibly a bit undercarbonated for modern tastes. The mouthfeel was soft due to the low carbonation, and I would describe RRA as medium bodied. Overall, weighing the beer's patriotic appeal and enjoyable taste and aroma against a rather expensive $3.95 price tag, I'd add Rifleman's Ration to my 'occasional treat' list.

Check out the labels below for interesting historic facts...

Rating 8.20/10

After sampling Black Creek's very solid "Rifleman's Ration", Bucky thought he would take a flier on their Pumpkin Ale. Pumpkin Ale came in a brown 500 ml bottle with a best before date of March 2014 punched into the rear label. The beer was 5.0% alcohol by volume.

Pumpkin Ale poured a hazy dark orange-amber colour with an aggressive pour producing a very thin off-white head which burned itself out in a matter of seconds. Almost no visible carbonation bubbles. Its aroma was dominated by ginger, with undertones of cinnamon and pumpkin...but the spices rather than the pumpkin are front and centre here. Oddly enough, this pumpkin beer doesn't taste much like pumpkin. If you were to blindfold me and ask me what I was drinking, I'd say it was ginger beer with some additional spices. The flavour is a dominant ginger up front, followed by a brief sweetness with lesser notes of cinnamon and a mildly bitter finish. The taste isn't bad...but much more like ginger beer than a pumpkin ale. Pumpkin Ale had a soft carbonation and I would have to describe it as light bodied with a relatively thin mouthfeel. In summary, I really can't recommend this beer. At $3.95 per 500 ml bottle, steer clear and save your money for one of their better brews.

Rating 6.60/10





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