Monday, May 11, 2009

Quaff Review #2: Innis & Gunn Original

Even in this modern world, where the last blank spots on the map have been filled in for some time now, there's still value in exploration. It's no longer the "where no man has gone before" type, if it ever was - people did go to the Americas before the Vikings, after all - but personal exploration, where this man in particular has not gone before, is still worthwhile in terms of the rewards it brings. Must be why I do it every weekend.

I interrupted a stroll up Yonge Street to wander through an LCBO outlet in Davisville. Back in the beer section, I came across a bottle I'd never seen before: Innis & Gunn Original Oak Aged Beer, marked as a new arrival and cold to the touch. Priced at $3.20 before tax, and with a fair shake of walking still ahead in the day, I bought just the one and saved it for the evening, once it had had a chance to get cold again. After all, in the immortal words of Strong Bad, "a One that is not Cold is hardly a One at all."

Foam started bubbling up from the bottle the instant its cap was pried loose. I don't know if it's supposed to do that, or if the reaction was just a result of having been bounced around in a backpack for four hours, but it made me pour fast. The head of foam remained consistent well after I poured it, about a fingerwidth worth in my made-in-Mother Russia IKEA stein.

It had an oaky smell, and a smooth, woody taste, like I was drinking from a flagon fresh from the carpenter's, still flaking off sawdust. The bottle advertises "hints of toffee, vanilla, and oak," and all three were present in just the right amount to set the beer off well. Other beers have made me accustomed to bitter aftertastes if I don't drink them in less time than it takes for them to warm up; Innis & Gunn lacked that entirely. Every drink of it was smooth, cool, and rich.

I'd heartily recommend this particular brew. Your only problem, given that it's imported from Scotland and "brewed in small batches," may be finding some of it.

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