Lake of Bays Brewing Company ("LOB") is a recent entrant into the craft beer market and is located in Baysville, Ontario. It was founded by Darren Smith, with the brewery undergoing a major upgrade in 2010. LOB now produces a Pale Ale, Rousse Red Ale, and a seasonal Mocha Porter. Given the time of year, I decided to give their Mocha Porter a try.
According to the brewery, its Mocha Porter project was initiated by Jed Corbeil and Curt Dunlop of the The Griffin Pub in Bracebridge, who came up with the idea of a collaboration to make a beer using locally produced ingredients. LOB joined Griffin, Diesel House Coffee Roasters and a local food producer's association, Savour Muskoka, to create a beer with a local character. We sampled Mocha Porter in a 750 ml bottle purchased from the LCBO with a best before date of March 5, 2012. Mocha Porter is 5.2% alcohol by volume.
The first thing you'll notice about Mocha Porter is the bottle itself, shaped more like a wine bottle, with some attractive screened graphics. It certainly has the look of class about it...but what about the beer itself? Mocha Porter pours a deep black colour, with some barely noticeable ruby highlights when held up to the light. The 2 centimetres of tan coloured head reminds me of the colour of foam on top of an espresso, and I can actually hear the beer fizzing for a while after pouring, which is unusual. The head lasted just over 5 minutes, becoming a film and foamy ring which left significant lacing and spotting down the glass. Its aroma is of coffee, those European chocolate bars that are 80% cocoa, and roasted malts. The taste very much follows the aroma, with the coffee and roasted malts up front, followed by cocoa, and finishing with a slight coffee bitterness. The flavours are well balanced, and while the coffee bitterness stays with you a while, I actually liked it...and it doesn't linger too long regardless.
Overall, a great tasting beer with good visuals to boot. This would make an ideal after dinner beer, splitting the 750 ml bottle between two people. As much as I enjoyed this beer though, half a bottle was enough. The only thing stopping me from adding Mocha Porter to my list of regular buys is its price. At a rather hefty $7.75 per 750 ml bottle, I'm going to have to limit this to the occasional special treat.
Bucky had been wanting to try another of Lake of Bays brews for quite some time, and finally found some single cans of their Crosswind Pale Ale in his local liquor store. Crosswind came in a 473 ml can with the 'Best Before' date blurred beyond distinction. The beer was 5.0% alcohol by volume.
Crosswind poured an attractive clear deep gold, which became deeper still when backlit. Plenty of fast rising bubbles were visible. Pouring produced about 1/2" of frothy white head, which faded to a thin collar of foam and patchy film within two minutes. For a beer that didn't retain much foam, Crosswind left a surprising amount of lacing and some spotting down the glass.
Crosswind's aroma was a combination of sweet, light malts, with notes of grapefruit and pine. Its taste followed the aroma exactly, beginning with a caramel sweetness which gave way to light notes of grapefruit and pine, and finishing with a mild bitterness which lingered briefly as an aftertaste. Very refreshing...just a touch of the grapefruit and pine without too much bitterness. There is a nice balance to the flavours here. Crosswind had a medium level of carbonation, was relatively light bodied, with a crisp, clean mouthfeel.
Overall, I was happy I stumbled across these single cans and gave Crosswind a try. A solid, easy drinking pale ale that does indeed deliver "surprising depth for its lightness". Crosswind Pale Ale sells for $2.65 per 473 ml can...not cheap, but a 'not unreasonable' price.
From Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario comes 10 Point India Pale Ale. Purchased from an LCBO in Orillia in a 473 ml can, 6% alcohol, production date of 27/08/15. Selling for $2.95 at the date of writing.
Pours a clear, attractive bronze/dark amber colour with plenty of visible bubbles. Topped by ½” of creamy, off-white head which soon fades to a thin collar and film, leaving a remarkable amount of sticky lacing as it retreats down the glass. This a really good looking beer! Its aroma is primarily grapefruit with some sweet caramel malts in the background. The taste is of pronounced sweet caramel malts up front, followed by bitter grapefruit, orange and lemon citrus, and a piney finish. A bitter grapefruit aftertaste lingers, but the strong malty backbone provides the beer with a good counterbalance to the dominant hops. Light-to-medium bodied with a crisp carbonation and mouthfeel, 10 Point IPA has ended a long streak of poor to mediocre new craft beers sampled by Bucky. I would certainly buy this one again.