Nothing like a six of stubbies if you're over 40 and a Canuck. I wrote about this beer in March 2005 and again in March 2006 when it compared very nicely in a side-by-side with Victory's HopDevil. Careful sifters of clues will note however, that the address on the six-pack box above shows a different address from that mentioned in the previous two reviews. That is because for the last year or more Scotch Irish Brewing has been a branch or division or whatever of Heritage Brewing of Carleton Place, Ontario makers of interesting or at least daring seasonals especially that Maple Bush Lager. But the word was it was not so whatever-it-had-been now so I thought it was about to to try it again to see how things were going.
Starting with some non-fluid related observations, first thing I notice is that I like that they package has a lot number on it, in this case F077, which I understand means it is their 77th lot of the year and it was made in June. Someone will correct me I am sure but I am operating under the illusion that this beer is fresh. Next, I like the stubby. For those of you who are not aware, for people of a certain age, the stubby which ruled Canadian brewing for around 20 years from the mid-60s to the mid-80s is a bit of an icon for we of the Great White North. But one things that concerns me is the panicked look in the face of Mr. Sgt. Major. Look at him. While the last lad had a dull if determined air about him, this lad looks quite nervous, as if someone knew something about him and that that something was bad. We'll have to find out if it relates to his job for the brewery and the beer or something in his private life like, say, a Zulu attack.
As for the beer, it left a lot of lace after the fine creamy head subsided and had a nice orange-amber hue all of which which is comparable to the 2006 picture and both sets of notes. As well, there is the soft water and pale malt graininess that I remember from before. The malt also is very much their with bread crust, sugar cookie and sultana raisin. What is different is perhaps a notch less hopping. While it is still a sharp shock of sour white grapefruit rind goodness, it does not seem to have quite the stomach ache producing acidity that I recall, less of the green hop fire in the finish.
But is that such a bad thing, if I am recalling correctly? For me, compared to many of the hard water beers of south western Ontario, that softness is something I would compare much more to the moreishness of many central New York micros. If you are a hard water fan, this might make it seem flabby but for me it is all good, giving a richness you might not find elsewhere in Ontario pale ales of any degree. So all in all a good experiment again. I will have to check-in in another year or so to see how this beer is doing.