Big Rock North Hibernation Ale

Reviewed by on June 21, 2017 in Summer Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Big Rock Brewery

  • Origin: Calgary, AB, CA

  • Rated On: June 21, 2017

  • Best Before: November 25, 2017

  • ABV: 6.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Amber Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Big Rock has entered the Canada 150th anniversary brewing game, with their (aptly named) Canada 150 Variety Pack, which contains beers made with ingredients from six diverse areas of the country.  Hibernation Ale represents the ‘territories’, and is made with elder berries, juniper, and wild strawberries.

This 330ml bottle pours a clear, medium bronzed amber colour, with two winter-mitted fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fizzy ecru head, which leaves some randomly arched coral reef lace around the glass as it slowly but steadily recedes.

It smells of semi-sweet, pastry-adjacent caramel malt, a bit of applesauce and pear compote, sour and musty wild berries, and some tame leafy, musky, and floral green hop bitters.  The taste is more sweet, somewhat bready caramel malt, fruity overripe wild strawberries, mushy red apple, a mild green twig woodiness, and more understated earthy, weedy, and gently spicy cold verdant hoppiness.  The bubbles are low-key, and mostly just agreeable in their meek frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and smooth, in a fruit smoothie sort of way, with a touch of yes, fruit pie creaminess.  It finishes well off-dry, the caramel malt, and attendant ‘wild’ fruitiness doing well to keep the noise down.

Overall, this comes across as a pleasant, slightly above average amber ale, with or without the purported (?) spices.  There’s more going on here than meets the eye, either via marketing blurb, or tastebuds, and that’s a good thing.  Like the vast majority of this brewery’s output, it’s better to just enjoy the ride without thinking too hard about it.

Brady White



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