BEER LAUNCH: Big Rig Gingerbread Porter Collab with Jeff O’Reilly

With the holiday season upon us I’ve been trying my best to embrace Christmas to the best of my ability (For those who actually know me know I’ve never been particularly found of Christmas but I try my best to not be a Grinch) Since I’ve gotten into beer I’ve found it easier to enjoy the holidays, not only because I generally have a nice consistent buzz on (I’m kidding…?) but the fact that most winter beers are generally extremely delicious.

On Friday I found myself at Big Rig Brewery for my first Christmas-y beer event of the season. It was the launch of the collaboration brew Gingerbread Porter by Lon Ladell & Jeff O’Reilly. The launch debuted the Gingerbread Porter (5.6%) on draft as well as a special one-off cask version of the Porter with an added mixture of candy-cane & Kahlua goodness. Big Rig Brewmaster Lon Ladell also released his new limited edition brew, Triple Chocolate Cherry Imperial Milk Stout.

When I talked to Jeff he said he really wanted ‘Christmas’ to come out in the pint. Well Jeff you definitely achieved that. The Gingerbread Porter (draft) was great. The aroma of gingerbread came off strong. The taste was true gingerbread, well balance and not over powering with a lingering of malt in the finish. The pint was served a bit too cold, but as it warmed the characteristics of the beer really came out. The Gingerbread Porter (cask) was literally Christmas in a glass. The concoction of liquor used in this was perfect. It tasted like a after eight with gingerbread… awesome!

The bar was surrounded by familiar faces and everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves, all around it was clear that everyone was really enjoying the new releases. With that said Congrats to Jeff & Lon on some great beers. Definitely look forward to you guys collaborating again in the future!

– The Beer Gypsy


Turtle Island Brewing Co. launches!

Turtle Island Brewing Co. is Ottawa’s newest brewing company which is currently contract brewing out of Broadhead. Owner JP Fournier is no newbie when it comes to the craft beer scene, an avid home brewer, founder of National Captial Craft Beer Week, WinterBrewed, and the Ottawa Tap Society. There is no surprise that JP has taken his next venture onto opening a brewery.

Turtle Island Brewing Co is focusing on quality beer, that is an experience all in itself. Each SMASH Cherry Alebeer is finely complex but balanced with exceptional ingredients. Their brewing philosophy is focused on quality, not quantity. Which definitely is shown with their first two products that were released earlier this week.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try both of their beers. First being SMASH Cherry Ale (Fruit Beer – 6.7%) which personally I’m not a fan of fruit beers but found this to suit my taste buds. Almost tasting like a freshly ripened cherry, not too sweet. The hints of caramel malts and light hops balanced everything perfectly. As it warms the flavours are released to their full potential, I really would recommend letting it warm a bit. The Second beer I was extremely lucky to have seeing as the beer had just been tapped, so we were able to try both in the same night. Talk about right place, at the right time. Dark Honey Brown (Old Ale – 7.4%) This beer is really impressive, we got to talk to JP a bit at Dark Honey Brownthe Arrow & Loon as we enjoyed his delicious new creations. He told us Dark Honey Brown is made with local honey, and you can tell. Aroma and Taste honey is definitely upfront. Drinking this beer you can taste all the complexities, with every taste you want more.

Right now Turtle Island Brewing Co wonderful creations are available at three locations in Ottawa; Arrow & Loon, Petit Bill’s Bistro, & 8 Locks Flat. (With other venues added to the list in the soon future.)

Turtle Island will officially launch tonight at the Watson Mills Craft Beer event.

Congratulations Turtle Island! I expect great things in your future!

– The Beer Gypsy