Muskoka Harvest Ale

Reviewed by on September 15, 2014 in Autumn Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Muskoka Brewery

  • Origin: Bracebridge, ON, CA

  • Rated On: September 15, 2014

  • Best Before: January 17, 2015

  • ABV: 7.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: American Pale Ale

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Beyond the Oktoberfests and pumpkin ales, the transition into fall also brings about numerous harvest ales, so-called because of their inclusion of ingredients freshly reaped from local farmer’s fields.  While not specific with what exactly makes this harvest-adjacent, the Muskoka Brewery promotes this as a slice of all things craft beer in On-tar-i-ari-o.  Old-school (very) farm machinery dominates the label.

This 750ml caged and corked bottle pours a clear, dark reddish copper amber hue, with two fat fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves a sagging ring of dried suds lace around the glass as it lazily settles.

It smells of semi-sweet caramel malt, biscuity toffee, a bit of oily citrus, a muddled tropical fruitiness, and perky grassy, leafy, and piney hops. The taste is more biscuity, bready caramel malt, thin toffee pudding, a mild orange and grapefruit citrus tartness, and still prominent herbal, piney, and grassy hops. No real sign of the 14-proof alcohol as of yet.  The carbonation is average in its frothy bearing, and yet quite agreeably so, the body a staunch middleweight, and generally smooth, with a suggestion of nascent creaminess as things warm up a tad. It finishes somewhat crisp and certainly bready, a slight undertow of a hallowed booze tug perceptible amongst the lingering, and pleasantly bitter noble and new-world hops alike.

A harvest ale that comes off as a mishmash of ESB and well-bred APA qualities – leave it to the colonies to play around with that (or get it right – your mileage may vary). Anyways, the welcome and gratuitous additional hopping creates aspirations that push this beyond the normal pale ale (oh yeah, they went there), and gives a fitting example of a continually evolving Upper Canada beer scene.

Brady White

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