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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Beer Baron Presents: Ontario Craft Beer Week - Road Trip Wellington Brewery

Post by Matt, the Beer Baron, introducing you to fantastic craft beer from Canada and around the world.

While every week is craft beer week in our house, this week (June 13-21) makes it official thanks to Ontario Craft Beer Week. Leading up to this week, I’d been patiently waiting obsessively checking the LCBO app to see if Wellington Brewery’s Chocolate Milk Stout had made it to my local store – but to no avail.

As it turned out, the perfect storm of Ontario Craft Beer Week, stunning weekend weather, my longing for Chocolate Milk Stout and Wellington’s announcement that they would also have two special IPAs available at their brewery store meant one thing:

Weekend road trip to Wellington Brewery!
Wellington has a nice little tasting room but since I was road tripping, I just loaded up at their retail store and headed for home to enjoy my bounty.

My love of stout is well documented but I had yard work and barbequing to do, so it made sense to start off my Ontario Craft Beer Week with an IPA. In this case, it was an IPA I’d discovered last summer and really enjoyed: Wellington Shangri-La IPA.

According to Wellington, the recipe changed slightly from last year’s batch to the new release, resulting in a little bit less tropical fruitiness and a little bit more of the hop-forward bitterness associated with big, bold American-style IPAs. I got a nice dose of citrus and a light flowery note on the nose followed by a nice mix of grapefruit and pine with a lingering hoppy bitterness. My Ontario Craft Beer Week was certainly off to a good start!

While Shangri-La was a good example of a style of beer that has become fairly ubiquitous over the last few years, the Bewitched Belgian IPA is a more unique take on an IPA thanks to the use of Belgian farmhouse-style yeast. The very first sniff was spicy and inviting, reminding me more of Trappist ales than an IPA, which was a nice change of pace after the Shangri-La. Bewitched strikes a nice balance between the citrus-hop of an IPA and the warm spices and peppery tones of Belgian ales – and at 7%, it was a nice way to wrap up a Sunday evening.

Last but certainly not least is the Chocolate Milk Stout, which is exactly what you’d imagine, both in scent, taste and texture, as well as ingredients. Like most stouts, Wellington’s Chocolate Milk Stout gets its dark complexity from roasted malts but then adds fair trade cocoa powder and lactose – a fine milk sugar – to the party to create an even fuller body and luxuriously smooth mouth feel. It’s certainly no lightweight at 7.2% but it is also surprisingly quaffable thanks to its creaminess and carbonation and the fact that it is not quite as syrupy or high alcohol as many of the best Russian Imperial Stouts. If you like dark chocolate, you owe it to yourself to track one down and celebrate Ontario Craft Beer Week.

GOOD NEWS! Wellington released a small batch of Chocolate Milk Stout and it is finally starting to hit the shelves at LCBO stores around Ontario. You can look for inventory in your city on the LCBO app or through their website. Good luck and happy Ontario Craft Beer Week! (I’m not affiliated with either Wellington or the LCBO nor will I profit from this post... I’m just a beer geek who wants to spread the love of good beer around.)


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