Here are two ales from the Elora Old Mill brand produced by Trafalgar Brewing Company at Oakville, Ontario. According to the ever useful Brewed in Canada by Allen Winn Sneath, in 1997:
Trafalgar Brewery of Oakville opens the Old Mill Brewery in Elora on the site of the defunct Taylor & Bate Breery. They closed down after two years.Despite that unhappy adventure, the Elora brands have been continued.
The beer to the left is Elora ESB or Extra Special Bitter. This beer pours a ruddy amber with a white rim that fades quickly, unsustained by the low carbonation. ESB is a notch above best bitter which, in turn, is above ordinary bitter. This take of the style is a little light, not in the range of Propeller ESB from Halifax, for example. And does this beer lack daring? I am reminded that I thought that Brooklyn East India Pale Ale was not to style but then it grew on me and I saw the intended sublty. I don't think this is the case here. But the level of risk taking is sort of par for the Canadian course if my inquiries into the national six-pack taught me anything. I wrote about this in relation to the other Trafalgar product I have reviewed, their Celtic Pure Irish Ale, but it is not an issue I only have with this craft brewer by any stretch. There also is a bit of what I do not like in Sleeman and Creeemore beers, too: maybe hard water or sourish notes or even a vegetative green pepperish angle. Or maybe it is a slight oakiness, drying rather tha enriching. These beers are from the same general region - maybe it's in the watertable. And the use of the Fuggles is good but, unlike Shipyard's use of that hop in their IPA, it is not pronounced or a signature note. In any event, that old Halifax tavern trick of a shake of salt into the beer did it a world of good. BAers not pleased.
The other beer is Elora Irish Ale. It poured a blackened amber with a tan head. Immediately I noticed more zip, a citrusiness to the hops but, then, past that tang it was again not as grainy as I expect a micro should be. Light - even vinious - and not at all unpleasant but it could be more. Nice bit of black pepper at the end from the roast barley. BAers a little more positive.
Both ales could do with a nudge of crytal malt and grainier profile. A bit clearer of an expression of the ingredients. If little wee Church-Key can, why doesn't every craft brewer?