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pick of the week

Radical Road Brewing Canny Man Extra Strong Beer, Ontario Add to ...

  • Rating 88
  • Price $10.95/750 ml

Something tells me many people would score this unusual brew much higher than I have. It is, shall we say, a beer that invites debate. And “beer” is putting it mildly. It could almost pass for whisky, and not because of the strong alcohol, which measures 9.1 per cent. It actually tastes strongly of whisky, specifically heavily peated, smoky Scotch. That essence comes by design. It was aged for 71 days in barrels that once held single malt, absorbing the spirit-soaked wood’s flavours in a conspicuous way. Why 71 days and not, say, an even 70 or 60 I’m not sure. But one can’t argue that the creators of this heady elixir don’t know what they’re doing. Simon da Costa and Jonathan Hodd, brewers at Toronto’s fine Black Oak Brewing, launched Radical Road as a sideline. Da Costa is a seasoned veteran, an honours graduate in brewing and distilling from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University. If bold is what they were after, they’ve succeeded. The hot alcohol certainly makes its presence felt, though, which mainly accounts for my reservation. Love it or hate it, I suppose. I’m somewhere in between.

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