An article by Noah Forrest
Kahnawake Brewing Co. opened their doors in early 2018. Located in – well – Kahnawake, they have been delivering a wide range of offerings with an emphasis on providing something for everyone – whether it’s a clean and simple blonde, a hazy New England IPA or a luscious stout. At the brewing helm is co-owner Drew Stevens, a veteran home-brewer turned commercial brewer who was president of the MontreAlers brewing association for some time. Kahnawake Brewing Co. was the first brewery ever to be opened on a First Nations reserve in Quebec, where they assisted in establishing the regulations for beer production in the area.
At the moment there is no distribution for what they produce, but if you would like to try what they are offering you can head to the brewery and drink plenty onsite, or grab growlers to go. This Saturday is the second time they are having a bottle release, where they will be selling two brand new barrel-aged beers from their “Building Bridges” series – inspired by the first bridges erected by Mohawk Ironworkers. The details of the event are right here! The beers are being sold to go (onsite only) and I was fortunate to get bottles ahead of time. Because I’m kind of a parental hermit these days, this is actually going to be the first time I’m tasting anything that Drew has made. Let’s dig in!
Gold Star started as a barleywine “…brewed with a substantial quantity of unpasteurized organic apple must from Mont St-Hilaire and aged 12 months in a Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Barrel and then blended with a younger Barleywine.”
Wow, the nose here is tremendously unique. Fresh and bright green apple meets rich caramel malts and some serious vanilla notes from the Jack Daniel’s. The whole thing dances well together in a way that’s hard to describe.
The palate is equally intriguing, delivering an almost blended cider/Barleywine flavour profile. That said, despite the 8%, this isn’t particularly rich, making for a smooth, easy drinking experience, all things considered. Up front, just like on the nose you get that juicy green apple presence, followed by a rich malt base that is quickly cut by some tannic oak layers (that also provide serious vanilla). The carbonation is soft and subtle, helping to compliment the mouthfeel.
Although I dig this, overall I like the idea more than the end result. The apple pommace made sense, but I find the heavy “green apple” flavour overpowers things a touch too much for my tastes. That said, the barrel character was so on point here that I’d love to see a different take on this one some day.
Brooklyn Bridge is “…not a single, double, nor triple IPA but a quadruple IPA! Heavily hopped with Idaho 7, Amarillo, and Chinook, this big boy is loaded with aromas and flavors of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, and notes of pine.”
The nose is rich, delivering candied orange and general marmalade aromas, with grapefruit, pine and slight floral notes. There is a pretty big sweetness here, with some deep caramel and general stewed fruits.
The palate matches, carrying rich and luscious stone fruits and general stewed orange/grapefruit sweetness. The finish is bitter and slightly sharp from the ethanol, cutting through the sugars perfectly, creating a nice balance. The beer is sticky and boozy, but everything blends nicely despite the extremely high abv.
If you’re expecting a more contemporary and juicy NE style triple (or in this case quadruple) IPA, this is far from that. Brooklyn Bridge brings me back to a time when ultra high abv beers were trending, and almost feels like a nod to Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA, or even an American Barleywine (with far less caramel). It’s well executed, and tasty, but not sure the hazeboiz will get it…
As I was saying, this Saturday you can head out to Kahnawake to procure these sexy new bottles. There are limited numbers, so they might go quick. If interested, you can find details about the event right here.
An article by Noah Forrest