Hop City Brewing Co. is located in Brampton, Ontario and launched its first beer, Barking Squirrel Lager in October 2009. Since then, the brewery has followed on with its Lawn Chair Classic Weiss, Happy Hour Premium Ale, and Mr. Huff Persuasion Pilsner. Apparently, Hop City Brewing is owned by St. John based Moosehead Breweries Limited.
On this occasion we decided to try their flagship Barking Squirrel Lager ("BSL") in a 473 ml can purchased from the LCBO, with a December 2011 production date. BSL was 5.0% alcohol by volume.
BSL poured a deep amber colour with about 1.5" of pale orange coloured head...an attractive looking beer. The head dissipated within a few minutes, resolving itself into a collar and thin film that left some modest spotting and lacing down the glass. Some small, slow rising bubbles were visible in the beer. Its aroma was fairly straightforward, hops and caramel malts. Given the brewer's name I was expecting something with a hop heavy taste, but was pleasantly surprised by the balance between the hop flavour and sweet caramel malts. A faint lemon taste was also detectable. BSL had a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingered for a few seconds after each mouthful, but nothing overpowering nor too long lasting. The carbonation was perhaps a bit on the conservative side contributing to a smooth mouth feel, and I would describe BSL as light to medium bodied. Overall, a solid, straightforward brew that is good enough that I'd like to sample Hop City's Lawn Chair Classic Weiss. At $2.65 per can, BSL represents decent value for money.
Big Mouth Tap Room Pale Ale ("Big Mouth"), from Hop City Brewing Company, would be a good introduction to those looking to try a 'hop centric' beer for the first time.
Bucky sampled Big Mouth in a 473 ml can bought from his local liquor store, with a production date of what looks like May 2013 printed on the can. The beer was 5.0% alcohol by volume.
Big Mouth poured an attractive clear golden colour with a steady stream of carbonation bubbles visible. The gold colour became even more intense when backlit. Pouring produced about 1" of orange-tinged off-white head, which quickly faded to a collar of foam and thin film, leaving some minimal spotting down the glass. Its aroma was pretty straightforward...grapefruit all the way. Grapefruit dominated its taste as well, with a faint light malt sweetness in the background that mitigated the bitterness somewhat. A bitter grapefruit aftertaste lingers...but not so nastily bitter as to ruin the experience. Basically, this both smells and tastes like a toned down India Pale Ale ("IPA"), with the characteristic bitterness of the IPA mellowed a bit to appeal to a wider North American audience. Big Mouth was light bodied with a moderate level of carbonation and a slightly dry mouth feel.
Overall, a respectable entry level "American Pale Ale", selling at $2.80 per 473 ml can.
Always fond of a good wheat beer, Bucky selected a 473 ml can of Hop City's Lawn Chair Classic Weisse (“LCCW”), with an alcohol content of 5.0%.
The beer poured a hazy yellow/orange colour tending much more toward the yellow hue when backlit, topped with about ½” of puffy white head. Alas, the head had little staying power and quickly faded to a thin collar and film with only some modest spotting testifying to its former existence. Its aroma was rather subdued, with wheat, yeast and faint hints of citrus detectable. Luckily its flavour was more pronounced, with distinct notes of yeast, wheat, sweet orange and lemon citrus with an assertive spicy finish. Light tasting and refreshing enough, but lacking some of the more subtle flavours associated with the best weisse beers. Light to medium bodied with a carbonation level a bit softer than the norm for this style and a slightly slick mouth feel, LCCW strikes me as an ‘entry-level' weisse beer…enjoyable and a good introduction to those new to the style, but not flavourful enough to threaten the Germans, who are the masters of this style. Selling for $2.85 per 473 ml can at the time of writing.