Today's edition of The Session is all about winter beer and where better to find a winter ale than in Canada...you would hope.
This one is new to me, sent from my colleague in crime (or at least potential administrative penalty relating to inter-provincial trade) Darcey who is the blogmeister over at Dust My Broom, a political blog where my views don't often fall into the majority but whose openness to debate is a welcome relief to the usual echo chamber effect. More to the beery point, Darcey also hosts an excellent weekly podcast called "Friday Night Blues and Beer" in support of which - as you can see in tonight's edition - I ship Ontario beers in exchange for him shipping me western Canadian beers. We have difficulty with trade restrictions and sheer distance in this country dubbed "The Great White North" so this plan works out very well for the curious beer fan. After all, Nelson is 4,162 km from here - that is about 100 km (or so) more than the flying distance from Halifax¹ to London, England!
Enough! What of the beer. Faceplant Winter Ale from the all organic and can embracing Nelson Brewing Company of Nelson, British Columbia is one of the brews I have received under this National Beer Program. By the way, if you wonder what Nelson looks like, rent a copy of that 80's movie Roxanne which was filmed there. At 6%, Faceplant breaks all the rules related to the Canadian obsession with beer that is exactly 5% although it fits neatly in our quirky national standard beer bottle of 341 ml. This beer pours a nice deep smoked amber with a fine off-white head that resolves to a rim and foam. The aroma is quite catching with a very finely balanced richness that could well include cocoa, dark chocolate, date, fig and even beef broth. In the mouth the scent is not quite mirrored with plenty of milk chocolate instead plus pale malt graininess and date with a good level of hopping that keeps it far from cloying. A lighter bodied beer for a winter ale, it is nonetheless quite worthy with a reasonably soft watered moreishness and a remarkably long lasting cocoa finish.
Some dissension from the BAers who characterize it as an English Brown, a tag that is equally taggly, but 93% support is still good. And the label with the wood shingled house at night, the Canadian flag flying and the snowdrifts up to the second flow is equally well designed for a deep mid-winter's moment.
¹For those amongst you so challenged.