BEER REVIEW: First Pull Amber Ale by BENT STICK BREWING, Edmonton Alberta

ABV: 5% IBU: 30 SRM: 9

Style: Spiced Beer

The brewers of this Edmonton-based Nano brewery selected locally roasted coffee beans to create this Amber Coffee Ale. The coffee aroma mingles with a soft, bready malt aroma with caramel notes and combined it gives a sweet, creamy coffee impression. The flavour imparts a similar character with biscuit and caramel on the malt and a distinct coffee flavour. The coffee character has a light bitterness that contrasts nicely with the malt sweetness and combined with hop bitterness results in a lightly dry finish. The colour is amber and clear, with an off-white head that is low, creamy and persistent. The ale has medium body and carbonation, and a smooth texture with no astringency, yet with a lingering coffee bean dryness. It is common to see coffee combined with stouts and porters, yet the choice of an amber ale gives the coffee character a distinguished presence. Although the coffee character is firm, it is not over done – just enough to keep one lifting the glass for another taste.

AMANDA NEALE

Bent Stick Brewing is an Edmonton Nano brewery that opened up in 2016 with four guys that met each other while working at Alley Kat, Edmonton’s first microbrewery.

The “First Pull” is a collaboration with Ace Roasters, another Edmonton business that opened in 2016. The beer uses the addition of one of Ace’s popular blends, cold steeped, and by deciding to use an amber ale as the base beer allows the coffee to shine! This beer pours a rich medium amber with a foamy off-white head and a whiff of coffee aroma. The flavour is what you would expect from a café au lait but carbonated: a medium roasted coffee with a blend of caramel, just a hint of vanilla and a lingering hint of coffee bitterness. There is a light mouthfeel of graininess and caramel biscuit, just enough to remind you that this is a beer, and not coffee. A perfect beer for those that enjoy a cup of coffee, and not overwhelming for those that are not quite sure about coffee beers.

LUNDY DALE