Grizzly Paw Big Head Nut Brown

Reviewed by on November 26, 2013 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company

  • Origin: Canmore, AB

  • Rated On: July 25, 2013

  • Best Before: bottled March 2013

  • ABV: 6.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Nut Brown Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Grizzly Paw is a brewpub that opened on Canmore’s main street in 1996, in the heart of the Bow Valley, which is a sort of lead-in to the towering Rocky Mountains from the Alberta side.  They have since become a micro-brewery that produces beer for distribution outside of the pub, and recently built a stylish (in my opinion, anyway) mountain chalet-reminiscent production brewery just off the main highway that runs alongside the town.  Big Head is one of their seasonal offerings, an old-world style brown ale.  Its name and label pay homage to Canmore’s Scottish origins – it is a transliteration of the Gaelic nickname for Malcolm III, ‘Big Chief’, in English, who reigned as king almost a thousand years ago.

This beer appears a clear, rather dark bronzed amber hue, with two seemingly morose fingers of puffy, loosely foamy and somewhat creamy beige head, which renders a solid low-lying ring of lace around the glass as it duly subsides.

It smells of nutty, pastry-friendly caramel malt, a bit of semisweet chocolate, mild generic fruit, and floral, leafy hops. The taste is sweet toffee/caramel malt, sugary bakery-borne dessert notes, a mildly oily, roasted nuttiness, an echo of cold cocoa, and more subtle leafy, earthy hops.  The carbonation is quite on the low side of things, with just a tiny frothy kick-up here and there, the body a decent medium-light weight, and pretty much smooth. It finishes mostly sweet, the caramel and nuttiness still doing their inherent thing, offset only by a floral, generically fruity hoppiness.

A fairly agreeable, and enjoyable tipple, with a pleasant enough sweet pastry upside. Nice to see that apres-ski has an enjoyable brown ale option, even if the hefty sweetness may put too much pressure on the overall sessionable quality of this particular offering.

Brady White

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