A trip to the LCBO located this week's contender for national six-pack supremacy, Big Rock Traditional Ale out of Alberta. To review, this is the nation of Canada we are discussing and the pursuit of the best pale ale produced therein. So far we have had the great, the good and the ugly. The last one put me off for a few weeks but we have hope that Traditional Ale from Big Rock will lift the average. First impression? Good...better than Wellington SPA even. More malt at the beginning than at the end but it is malt - no brewers sugar that I can detect.
The guys at the Beer Advocate give it an average of only 3.51 out of 5, not a great score. One unhappy person writes:
Pours a dull dark copper color with a crackly head that fades fast. Soft malts and some floral hops make up the aroma. The flavor is of sweet malts and some funny yeast taste. The hops are not very noticeable. This beer was a dissapointment to me. Its seriously lacking in the hop department and has a very bland run of the mill flavor. The finish is clean but way too watery. This beer is like an amateur extract hombrew.I think that is a bit harsh...but I have had a Labatt 50 this calendar year as part of this enterprise and that is enough to change one's perspective. One happier camper writes:
This is the second best beer that they brew (after their McNally's Irish Ale) and is well worth having. I find the flavor to be on the sour side, but that's not a bad thing! The hops are more for bitterness than aroma, but everything is well balanced. Almost every bar/ restaurant serves this too cold! The flavors really assert themselves as it warms up.That is important. I do not throw a brew like this in the fridge anymore. A cold ale is a dead ale. Leave it warm and you get to taste what is there. As I tried this ale at different temperatures, I noticed that as it got cooler, the malt backed off and the sourish yeast flavour came forward. I would definitely keep this one away from the frosty glass to get the full range and balance of flavours. Lagers are for the fridge and like most things in cold storage, suffer when brought into the land of the living.