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Not so hot for this amber ale

Not so hot for this amber ale

I know Hockley for their location, not their beer.  Growing up in Creemore, and now living in Guelph, Hockley Valley sits pretty much right in the middle.

So on a recent cold Saturday night, upon opening the fridge, I found a can of Hockley Amber. (Writing for a beer blog, our beer selection is never the same; you can be guaranteed to always find beer surprises in the fridge.) Kicking back, I had high hopes for this brew.

I expected it to be what I know Hockley Valley to be: imposing and bold, a beer to be reckoned with. However, it looks more robust than it tastes. It’s more of an easy-drinking beer, and lacks a certain kick. If I closed my eyes, I could just be drinking some traditional on-tap pub beer.

It poured flat, and that was a strong indication of what was to come. Its foretaste is lively but then it quickly dissipates, leaving little to no aftertaste, despite initial strong hints of gingerbread and caramel on the nose.

I searched the Hockley Brewery site to see what they had to say about their beer, you know, just in case I was missing something. What first greeted me was an ad slogan that knocked me back to what I imagine the days of Mad Men were about: the first beer description listed was for their Hockley Dark, described as “a brunette with the body of a blonde”. Nothin’ like maintaining that good ole boys beer-drinking stereotype.

Hockley, you’re surrounded by rolling hills and magnificent vistas. You’ve got more inspiration than most breweries. I know you’ve got it in you to kick it up a notch.  And while you’re at it, go back and ditch the “throw back to the 50’s-style” review.



Über sour

Über sour



I recently discovered Nickel Brook’s Raspberry Über Style Weisse, and while it’s not quite as game-changing as the similarly-named discount taxi service, this Über is unique. I’ve tried some sour beers at tastings in the past, but never had an entire bottle to savour, and I don’t think I was quite prepared for the sour punch.

A funky, red German bear graces the label, and at only 4.2% alcohol, I was expecting a summery, berry-tasting beer. I popped the bottle top, and my first thought was, “Holy crap! It’s pink!”. Not a tint of pink like the Hibiscus Saison Greg recently wrote about, but pink pink.


Then, I learned it is super foamy to pour. As in, I had to wait several minutes for the head to settle before pouring the rest of the bottle to take a photo. It smells like sour raspberries, and the first sip is really different than most beer. With the vast amounts of foam and fruity bitterness, it reminded me a lot of our family’s go-to cold prevention tool “EmergenC – Acai berry”.

It is sour, and really hits the sides of your tongue at the far back of your mouth. When it’s in your mouth, the strong raspberry taste overpowers any suggestion of beer. That is, until you swallow, and you’ll remember what you’re drinking… and you’ll still remember ten minutes after your sip since the sour taste lingers that long.

Nickel Brook’s slogan is “A miracle of science”, and I’d say that holds true for this beer since they managed to make a beer that tastes more like lemonade. Still, it’s refreshing, and I can picture myself enjoying this on a patio in warmer months.

Sadly, there was some chunky sediment in the bottom of the bottle, and I think that may have sealed any hope of me giving this beer three mugs, instead of two. However, I’ll have to try again in July and see how I feel about it then.

Nickel Brook says this about their Über Weisse:

Summer seasonal available at the Brewery and LCBO
Our brewers decided to have some fun and the took one of our most scientific creations and made it even more amazing! Nickel Brook Raspberry Uber Berliner Weisse uses our refreshing sour style of wheat beer which has then been aged on local Ontario raspberries. The result is a massive raspberry flavour explosion that still maintains the incredibly unique qualities of our Uber Berliner Weisse. You’re going to love this! It’s a scientific fact.