A great day yesterday...perhaps. Under the judicious but incomprehensible plan for the parcelling out of microbrews of Ontario by the LCBO, Kingston got a 2-4 of Hockley Dark Ale. One whole case. Importantly for understanding the dark world of Ontario micro distribution, Sgt. Major IPA was nowhere to be seen. Anyway, I bought a whole four cans to share at lunch with family and I must say the privilege was worth it - not that I have tried it yet...I am just grateful to the suits who know my needs. It is nice to have a system where I get to try a new beer ever 11 weeks like clockwork.
Hockley appears to be somewhat of a small operation focusing somewhere other than web design, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Like the delightful Old Chub recently found, this is a canned micro. Unlike Old Chub, it is not in a can so thin that picking one up can buckle the side and create a opening through which air can leak in and spoil the beer unbeknownst to the future drinker who created the buckle when carefully putting them away.
The ale pours a deep mahogany with mocha foam and rim. The can says "mild, light body, full flavour" and I suppose it is but at 5% it is a little strong for the style and the alcohol stands out a tad. What is nice is that it a somewhat of a softer water beer, really necessary for a dark, though not as soft as possible. There is good nuttiness to the malt, coffee and dry cocoa as well as some raisiny notes. If I were a quibbling man I would wonder about the hops which are sort of minerally twiggy. But style and quibble be damned. This is a pretty good dark and certainly comparable to another Ontario dark ale, Neustadt 10W30.