Let’s get this straight first: This is not a new beer. But it is a new-to-Ontario beer, so the folks at Creemore, who are helping their fellow Molson-owned brewery with p.r. in this province, shipped over a six-pack for me to taste. I was happy to do so.
In case you missed it, I need to retreat to a line in that opening paragraph, specifically the phrase “fellow Molson-owned brewery.” Because after having passed through several hands since its launch as Canada’s original microbrewery, Granville Island, like Creemore Springs, is now fully owned by Molson Coors through their recently formed Six Pints Specialty Beer Company. That may not be a bad thing, mind you, since I believe Creemore’s brands have largely improved since Molson bought the brewery, and veteran Granville brewer Vern Lambourne is still in charge of things in Vancouver.
Deep amber in colour with a rich, nutty aroma holding hints of red apples and floral notes, along with some dry caramel, it is obvious from the get-go that this is not an American style pale ale. The start has only a light sweetness with hints of candied orange and lemon leading to a caramel-toffee malt body with lots of nuttiness and some of the same sort of red apple notes found in the aroma, plus very light hints of pepper and anise.
The finish is dry and lightly tannic, with toasted cereal notes and, once again, nuttiness. Overall, this reminds me of what Bass used to be, or a rather stripped down version of Fuller’s London Pride, or in other words, a most English-inspired take on best bitter/pale ale. Certainly a highly quaffable ale, I suspect this could be better still were it to have a little less strength and a less obvious maltiness.