I was looking for something that I could at least tangentially connect back, and I was fortunate to find at the top of the cooler a tall, thick bottle of Howe Sound Brewing's Rail Ale Nut Brown. The one-liter, potstopper-equipped resealable bottle cost me $9.30 at the local bottle-o with taxes included; you'd probably find it for cheapear at the BCL, but for that much beer it's still a fine enough price. The strange thing about it is that even though Howe Sound is based up in Squamish, barely one hundred kilometers from New Westminster, the liter bottle I picked up was produced for the American export market - as evidenced by the Surgeon General's warning and the complete absence of French on the label.
Enough of that, though - what's it like?
In a word: thick. Of everything I've drank before, Rail Ale Nut Brown feels closest to Guinness; true to its name it's dark and opaque enough that it could probably stand in on camera for motor oil, it's got the viscosity, and it's got a similarly tangy taste, and while the taste of black licorice does become progressively stronger as the beer cools down, I couldn't really detect any hints of the chocolate which the label assures me is also present. It had a nutty, woody aroma, bringing to mind images of nineteenth-century steam trains cutting through the western wilderness, chugging past ancient forests and craggy mountains. It's got a 5% alcohol content, so as long as you don't down the entire bottle in one go, it's a good weekend or after-work relaxant; would be good with dinner as well, I think.
As for the taste as a whole, it's slightly bitter and did not become much more bitter as it warmed up, which was a definite plus to me. It was rather sharp and heavy, too - for me, at least, this wasn't the sort of beer I could chug even if I was interested in that sort of time. It feels like it needs a bit to filter down one's esophagus.
Just remember that, according to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your capacity to operate machinery - so as long as you're not driving the train on Sheppard Avenue East, go for broke! Raise a drink to the Toronto light rail system - or to the defeat of Ford's ephemeral subway dream, if you'd rather - and let the rails take you along.
ANDREW'S RATING: 3.5/5
Previous Quaff Reviews
- #20: Olympia
- #19: Eel River Açaí Berry Wheat Ale
- #18: Bah Humbug
- #17: KLB Raspberry Wheat Beer
- #16: Mana Energy Potion
- #15: HE'BREW Messiah Bold
- #14: Mackinac Pale Ale
- #13: Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
- #12: Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale
- #11: La Loubécoise
- #10: Summer Honey Seasonal Ale
- #9: Earthquake High Gravity Lager
- #8: Route des épices
- #7: Sparks Plus
- #6: Hurricane High Gravity Lager
- #5: L'Indépendante
- #4: Antigravity Light Ale
- #3: Nektar
- #2: Innis & Gunn Original
- #1: Abbey Belgian Spiced Ale