Here are two of my favorite bigger pale ales: Dead Guy Ale from Rogue of Oregon, USA and Extra Special Bitter from the Propeller Brewing Company of Halifax. They are both at your local LCBO in Ontario right now. There are probably no other stores in the world where you find both - though I would be very pleased to be corrected. It would be a heck of a store.
- Rogue Dead Guy Ale: One of the older micro-brews still widely available, I try to grab a few of these whenever I see it. At $4.95 CND for a 650 ml bottle, this 6.6% ale is a reasonable handful. Not a hop bomb in any respect, it is a big malty pale that has a bit of a note of mustiness that might make it a stock ale or even a young old...you get that, right? The brewery says:
Gratefully dedicated to the Rogue in each of us. In the early 1990s Dead Guy Ale was created as a private tap sticker to celebrate the Mayan Day of the Dead (November 1st, All Souls Day) for Casa U Betcha in Portland, Oregon. The Dead Guy design proved popular and was incorporated into a bottled product a few years later with Maierbock as the elixir. Strangely, the association with the Grateful Dead is pure coincidence.Isn't it sad how Rogue holds back the information. A maiback! Who knew? The beer pours a loose bubble head which resolved quickly to a white rim over still, dark amber beer. The nose is malty fruit, the mouth autumn apple and orange marmalade. The center of the malt is cherry with a good edge of twiggy herb. BAers vote strongly in favour.
Dead Guy is a German-style Maibock made with Rogue's proprietary "PacMan" ale yeast. It is deep honey in color with a malty aroma, rich hearty flavor and a well balanced finish. Dead Guy is created from Northwest Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich and Carastan malts, along with Perle and Saaz Hops.
- Propeller Extra Special Bitter: This is one of my favorite beers and I have had stashes of it bought in two Maritime provinces, once before in Ontario and carted wherever I happened to be going. At 5%, it is the benchmark ESB for me - enough body to separate it from the pale ales but less hops than anything that seriously thinks it is an IPA. The brewery says:
Rich, full-bodied English-style bitter made from a blend of two-row malts, including pale malt, crystal malt (for body and residual sweetness) and chocolate malt (for its rich flavour and colour). A last small addition of malted wheat helps deliver its pleasing head.That bit of wheat is key, making it in the nature of a Yorkshire bitter. The beer pours a reddish tan lacey foam head over ruby brown ale. The malty nose has some herby hop. The malt fruit profile is plum and prune, hops twiggy making for an interesting heart with almost a note of cigar. A lighter grainy finish makes it moreish. Sort of a lighter Wells Bombardier with a little less caramel raisin. All BAers share the love.