Judges hard at work at ALES Open 2014

2014 ALES Open a Huge Success!

Congratulations to the hundreds of brewers across the country that sent your entries in to the 21st installment of the ALES Open. You help make this one of the most competitive and successful home brew competitions around. We also had more than 30 judges and a dozen stewards put in over 600 volunteer hours to make this competition a success. It’s impossible to think how we could have pulled it off had it not been for their dedication and selflessness.

Thank you.

Winner Best Named Beer: Randy Baciu
Congratulations to ALES Club member Randy Baciu for winning the Ontario Beer Keg’s sponsored Best Named Beer category for his “My wife’s bitter again ESB.”

Finally, our sponsors deserve the credit for believing in our success from the start and throwing their support behind such a great event. We couldn’t have made this such a great event without them. Thank you. Please support all of our sponsors, they deserve it.

Thanks again to everyone.

ALES Executive

Thirsty Traveller – Kingston Cask Conditioned Ale Event

In the spring I had the opportunity to attend a cask conditioned ale event held at the Red House in downtown Kingston Ontario.  The sold out event started at 2 pm on a Sunday.  Several breweries, mostly micro up to Regional size, sent samples of their beers which had been finished in the cask.

There were 11 such casks.  Tickets to the event cost $20 and included admission, a 5 oz sample glass, and tickets for 5 free samples.  Additional tickets were available for purchase for a small price.

What follows are the ALES Club Thirsty Traveller’s sample notes.

Steam Whistle Pilsner ‘unfiltered‘

A cask served example of the Steam Whistle product.

Steam Whistle is increasingly popular in Canada and can readily be found in Regina. The cask served unfiltered version (only available for special events) was a hazy cloudy deeper gold version with a slightly yeasty character in the aroma. Frothy full-bodied mouthfeel, more so than the filtered version and slightly more bitter with a crisp finish. I liked it but I also wish they had given it the time in the cask at cold temperature to finish and drop clear.

Church Key Red Ale

Cloudy amber red.

Malty aroma with sweet malty taste with some yeast in taste.  Sweet malty balance carries through to finish in after-taste.

After several tastings I came back to Red.

Flying Monkey Hibiscus Lager

Sweet start with a nicely balanced finish with Hibiscus evident.

Not totally clear; straw colour; good head retention.

Dispensed with a proper beer engine.

Mill St. Brewery Distillery Ale

6% abv.  32 IBUs.

Malt and hop character in aroma.

Amber with slight cloudiness; moderate head retention.

Some malt at start but finishes hoppy. Reasonably complex.

Mill St. Brewery Bedrock Brown Ale

5.5 % abv 25 IBUs

Amber red with slight brown red, against light brown against white background.

Excellent head retention

Roast in aroma

Understated hints of roast and dark malt in flavour.  Nice balance towards malty but also balanced by a bit of roast.


Muskoka Twice as Mad Tom Double IPA

8.4% abv 72 IBUs

Unfiltered; done with Millennium, Chinook, Cascade and Aurora hops

Good head retention dark gold colour hazy

Hop aroma. Huge west coast hop flavour.

Great Lakes Brewery Johny Simcoe

5% abv

Moderate head retention; pale gold slight haze

Moderate malt hop aroma

Nice malt/hop balance with a slightly hoppy finish

West coasty American hop beer

Nickel Brook Headstock India Pale Ale

7% abv

No preservatives

Gold colour; slight haze; moderate head retention

Big hop aroma

Nice flavour but definitely balanced toward the hop and a hoppy finish.


Immodest Imperial IPA

9.5 % abv. Theoretical IBU 120

Moderate head retention; gold colour; hazy

Huge hop nose

Flavour: hops hops & hops and I like it.

Hogsback Brewing Company

Kilty Bastard Red ale 5.2% abv

Moderate Head retention; cloudy

Amber/red/brown colour

Malty and (roast) character

Almost no hop character but with a nice malty balance

Broadhead Underdog

5.2% abv

Hoppy aroma

Moderate head retention cloudy gold colour

Nice hop/malt balance balanced slightly more to the hop and very drinkable

Ale & Lager Enthusiasts of Saskatchewan