Tag Archives: Indie Beer

Rorschach Brewery – Toronto, Ontario Canada

Rorschach was about a 15 minute walk from Godspeed and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had seen that they made many pastry stouts and IPAs and was quite pleased by the quality of their hazy IPAs and especially the one with tons of passionfruit. I only had a few sips of my husband’s imperial stout tasters but they were quite good as well.

I started with a beer fittingly called The Hedonist, a gratuitous flavor explosion of a milkshake IPA, and my favorite from the visit. It was creamy and exploded with tropical fruit and passionfruit flavor with the lactose just adding to the body rather than being noticeable in the flavor. This reminded me of a similar beer at Green Cheek in California that also blew me away. I followed up with a double IPA called Icarus Complex that claimed to be brewed with a similarly epic amount of kiwi. The beer didn’t have remotely similar fruit flavor and was more of a standard balanced classic resinous double IPA. It shouldn’t be surprising though that kiwi isn’t as strong in beer as passionfruit.

The Turtle Imperial stout made with pecans and cacao nibs was quite lovely with prominent cherry vanilla notes. The beer had a creamy thick body with tons of caramel, mild nuts, and roasted malts. I also had a hazy IPA called truth serum that was super tropical with a creamy body and restrained hop acidity. I may return to Rorschach later in the trip. We visited the brewery quite late (around 10PM) so it wasn’t very crowded at that time and we enjoyed some conversation with a new beer friend who was also drinking at the bar. @JasonOfOrillia on Twitter. We ended up meeting with Jason again the next day thankfully for additional adventures though sadly did not return to Rorschach.

Top 2:
Hedonist milkshake IPA
Turtle Imperial Stout

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Collective Arts Brewing – Hamilton Ontario Canada

Collective Arts is about an hour outside of Toronto so it is best visited on your way back from Niagara if you are going out there. It is a fairly small tasting room and you can tell that a lot of the people are just stopping by to grab a few cans and take them to go. If you are visiting Toronto you can easily find their beers around town on tap or in the LCBO so only the most devoted should take the trip out to the brewery. Even a few beers you can’f find in cans are generally available on tap somewhere.

I started with a taster flight before having a full pour. I got the gose and three IPAs to start. The gose was nice and complex with mild lemon notes, light tart finish and subtle funk. Of the three IPAs on my initial flight, life in the clouds was by far my favorite. State of Mind was a solid IPA with notes of melon and bubblegum with a bitter dry finish.

Ransack the Universe was herbal and dry with a prominent lingering bitterness that was a bit too much for my tastes. Life in the Clouds was creamy with prominent tropical fruit, guava, and grapefruit notes and a mild bitter finish. This is a solid hazy IPA.

 

I finished with a full pour of their Brut IPA. It was super carbonated and dry like you would expect but also prominently featured herbal hop flavor. Though I would have preferred different hops it was well made for the style.

Collective Arts had some solid IPAs but nothing was so much better than the other breweries in Toronto that I would visit the brewery directly again. The quality was in line with most of the other Toronto breweries. The tasting room had air conditioning and wasn’t too loud when I visited fairly early in the day.

Known For:
Collective Arts is mostly known for their IPAs, both West Coast style and modern hazy so look for their IPAs in the LCBO.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Yorkshire Square Brewing Company – Torrance CA

Yorkshire Square Brewing Company is in Torrance right near Monkish brewing and serves a different clientele so hopefully they can both do well despite being so close together. They have a focus on English style beers primarily served on cask. They offer flights using the 10oz glass so that you can try four without ordering a full pour of any of them. The tasting room is a good size and has plenty of seating and regularly visited by a food-truck.

The traditional bitter was lightly toasty with a lingering bitterness, notes of herbal hops and acorn. It was a solid beer though not really my style. The dark mild was delicious with notes of roasted malt, light coffee, and a hint of molasses. It is a lighter take on a porter or a stout yet easy to drink a pint because of its low alcohol. The dark mild had a good medium body and a dark amber color.

The ESB was tasty with notes of plum, mild floral hops, and hints of candied apricot. It was good and balanced without being too bitter. The Imperial Bitter was a bit stronger than I thought I was ordering when I saw it. I figured it might be 5% but it was closer to 8%. To me it seemed like a slightly weaker version of a barleywine. It was caramel forward with prominent herbal hops, notes of raisins, and a sticky sweet finish.

The golden ale was nicely balanced with notes of floral hops and a good dry finish without being too bitter. The oatmeal stout was nice and chewy with notes of chocolate and raisins. A solid balanced stout. If you happen to be in the Torrance area and aren’t feeling like drinking classic West Coast style beers, Yorkshire is a great spot to stop in for an English style beer or two. They said they were also quite packed during a few of the world-cup games.

Top 2:
ESB
Dark Mild

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Hogshead Brewery – Denver Colorado

Hogshead is primarily an English style brewery and so you can’t order a 5oz taster of anything. Beers are either in 10oz, 16oz, or 20oz pours for most standard beers with a few higher alcohol beers that are only served in a tulip. I had two proper pints and three 10oz pours while I was there and found the beers to be overall solid. It would have been nice if some of the lower alcohol offerings were a bit less expensive. I could see myself drinking a lot more pints of the standard bitter if they were $5 instead of $7 for a proper pint.

The English Mild had a nice copper color and was smooth drinking with mild roast on cask. Like the standard bitter, this is made for drinking not sipping so I didn’t focus as much on the small details. The Cook Lane pale ale on cask had a base of caramel and cracker malt notes with light earthy hops and a mild bitterness on the finish. It was perfectly balanced and creamy body on cask. The standard bitter had notes of light cherry with mild bitterness. I enjoyed the more subtle flavors of the standard bitter after the pale.

The ESB cask kicked just as I was about to order it so I had it on draft instead. The ESB on draft had a nice roasty base with notes of caramel and mild earthy hops. It was one of the better versions of the style I’ve had. The IPA was to me surprisingly low on the malts because typically I think of an English IPA as being more malt forward. It is similar in style to a West Coast pale ale without the bitter finish that is common. The beer had tons of hop aroma nicely balanced between herbal and citrus flavors. I would drink this on the regular if it was available in cans.

Overall, I was quite impressed by all the beers at Hogshead. The lighter alcohol beers were more flavorful than I usually encounter and served in proper glassware. They join The Civil Life out of St. Louis MO as one of the handful of English ale focused breweries that has blown me away.

Known for:
Come for delicious English style ales served on cask and draft. They also had a few lagers.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Weldwerks Brewing Company – Greeley CO

Weldwerks is quite the long drive, about an hour outside of Denver, and located in the middle of nowhere. You can find some of their beers around Denver in bottle shops and on tap but a lot of the beers don’t leave the brewery. The tap list was so insane that I could only go to that one brewery for the day because I wanted to try so many different beers. Though they are known for their hazy IPAs, and they are good I was most impressed by the milkshake IPA and the Berliner weisse beers with fruit. Their barrel aged imperial stouts were also quite excellent.

I started with DDH juicy bits, their flagship hazy IPA. It was creamy and mildly bitter with notes of tangerine and tropical fruit. It is a solid hazy and hits the right flavor notes for the style. Coalescence hazy IPA was similarly creamy but more explosive with hop aroma this time mostly tropical fruit including tons of papaya. I would have bought cans of this if they had been available. Evil Haze Factory was also super creamy with notes of vanilla, strawberry, guava, and pineapple. While it had some lingering sweetness, it was still my favorite of the hazy IPAs from the visit.

My initial flight of tasters including IPAs and fruited sours. 

Double blackberry milkshake IPA was delicious with tons of berry flavor and related acidity. It was juicy and lightly sweet though I was surprised it was not hazy. Perhaps the hazy had been part of it originally and had settled out. In comparison, I much preferred the fruit explosion of the tropical milkshake IPA. It had a bright pink/purple color with a creamy body and explosive tropical fruit and berry notes. The stone fruit Berliner was juicy and tart with prominent stone fruit and a nice thick body similar to a smoothie almost. It reminded me nicely of the stone fruit gose from Aslin brewing. The strawberry rhubarb beer was like liquid pie. It was sweet with notes of baking spices and just the right amount of fruit.

The brownie batter stout was a big hit for my husband and other friends though a bit too sweet for me. It had nice prominent dark chocolate and dough but I don’t care so much for the heavy lactose flavor. There are plenty of delicious milk stout options for you here if you love a sweet stout. I prefer more of the barrel aged stuff so after this I had three versions of their meidanoche stout, a crazy powerful 15% barrel aged stout aged in rum barrels. Each was served as a 6 ounce pour.

Part 1 of the massive tap-list displayed on their large TV screens. 

Part 2 of the massive tap-list displayed on their large TV screens. 

The cool thing about the medianoche beers is they have a special glass just for the beer and so even if you get a six ounce pour, it is proper glass for the beer. I had three versions, a version made for their invitational beer festival with coffee and chocolate, a malibu version with coconut and vanilla, and a version aged 18 months in a single barrel without any adjuncts. They were all fantastic, not crazy boozy despite the high alcohol, and wonderfully balanced. They were some of the best barrel aged stouts I have had anywhere.

Two varieties of Medianoche in their signature glass. I had to try them side-by-side.

The invitational version was thick and fudgy with light barrel character and fairly hidden alcohol. I got some mild nutty coffee out of it as it warmed up. The malibu was slightly sweeter with notes of strawberry. The 18 month version was the most boozy of the bunch with strong rum character. As it warmed up the beer had some nice notes of toffee and tobacco.

The view of the inside. Plenty of seating. 

Despite the crazy drive to get out to Greeley, I was glad I visited the brewery and would consider doing it again depending on the tap list that they have, which thankfully they update regularly on Untappd. If you go to their Untappd page you will see a list of beers available to drink on site and beers available to-go.

Pint of Juicy Bits that I ordered before leaving. 

Top Beers:
Stone Fruit Berliner
Tropical Milkshake IPA
Invitational Single Barrel Medianoche

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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