Beavertown X Bellwoods “Moose Fang” Imperial India Brown Ale
It all started back in October 2013. Toronto was hosting ‘Cask Days Festival’ as set up and run by the brilliant Bar Volo, the best Craft beer bar in town. They started the festival as a small celebration for local brewers held at their downtown bar but this year had pushed boundaries further a field and developed one of Canada’s top beer festivals in the majestic surroundings of the Evergreen Brickworks just out of town.
As crazy as it sounds we sent one cask of Black Betty our Black IPA all the way to Toronto to be served next to around 230 Canadian and 30 British casks. Of course, I followed our baby all the way to ensure she made the safe journey and tasted bang on coming tapping. I travelled out there with a few brewing friends from these shores. The guys from Moor, Arbor, Harbour and Alchemy all came to tend their babies too. All our beers made the journey safely and tasted bang on. Being in a huge city full of great bars and being brewers we hunted down the best Toronto had to offer. Everywhere we went people would say “Have you guys been out to Bellwood’s? They rock! They’re the best new brewery in town.” So come the last day of our stay, I made the trip out to the up and coming area of Ossington to check the guys out and take them a few beers. Bellwoods is a brewpub rocking delicious food and knocking out some awesome beers!! I liked this place! I met with Luke one of the co-founders and we exchanged beers and T shirts and had a drink. I invited Luke over to Beavertown if ever he was over in the UK, come visit us and let’s have some fun…
So … fast forward to January 9th, 2015! Guess what, Luke and other co-founder and brew master Mike were both in town!! So we got down for some fun at Beaver Towers. The boys brought over a fine assortment of bottles from Toronto and serious sampling and brewing ensued. At both breweries we love the complexity of the dark beers. When discussing ideas we drew inspiration from Christmas cakes and all the spices and infusions involved that may complement this brew. We chose to brew an Imperial India Brown Ale, a style we hadn’t delved into yet at Beavertown. Loads of brown, amber and melanoidin malts were mashed in with the idea of making the end experience like drinking dark chocolate. We added a huge hit of Chinook hops throughout the boil to underline and help punctuate the smoothness of the malts. We piled in a load of molasses, dark brown sugar and dextrose to bump the flavour spectrum and ABV. The idea was to end up with two batches of beer from the same single brew. So we spilt the run off into two CCV’s. We dry hopped one batch and will release it fresh as a daisy and then age the other half in freshly racked Armagnac barrels infused with spices and vanilla pods.
The beer has fermented beautifully and is tasting amazing! The dry hopped version is due for public release very soon and the barrels will be cracked and packaged when ready. Hopefully in time for when Santa comes back to town!?
VERSION 1: FRESHLY DRY HOPPED
VERSION 2: SPICED IN ARMAGNAC BARRELS