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Brewer's Oar Cream Ale - Banff Ave. Brewing Co.

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Brewer's Oar Cream Ale
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Reviews: 5
Hads: 10
Avg: 3.36
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Banff Ave. Brewing Co. visit their website
Alberta, Canada

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: biegaman on 08-16-2010

Named after one of the brewmasters most important utensils - the brewers paddle – which is essential for mixing both the wort and the mash. Any brewer will tell you the importance of a good old oar. This ale is nitrogen infused as a twist to the classic English style Extra Speical Bitter or ESB. Don't let the name fool you - this beer is anything but bitter. Enjoy its inviting creamy malt accents.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 5 | Hads: 10
Photo of headlessparrot
3.52/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Reminded me a lot of Boddington's (nitro-poured ale on the "lighter" side of the spectrum), except with more body and some actual hop/flavour presence. Could just be because it's fresher, obviously, but even still it's a worthy--if rather mild--brew.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pint at the brewpub in Banff.

This beer appears a cascading, Guinness-like (sorry) lovely morass of foaming ale, before turning out a nice clear brassy amber colour, with one solid finger of fine creamy off-white head, which leaves some drooping concentric rings of lace down the glass as it lazily settles.

It smells of bready, biscuity malt, a bit spicy, with strong (I know) earthy, floral hops. The taste is floral, somewhat spicy hops, and nicely balancing bready malt.

The bubbles are damned near soma-fied, the body medium weight, and pleasantly smooth. It finishes nice and tempered, both in sweetness and bitterness.

A pretty solid effort, for a sorely under-represented style in these parts. Good stuff.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
2.34/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a nice slightly darker yellow color, with a nice large livley head. The smell was rather weak, but was a bit on the sweeter side. The taste was weak, but had a nice malty tone, and was creamy. Again weak flavor. Overall not a bad beer, dont see how it is a ESB however, too weak of a flavor.

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Photo of BigBry
3.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap at Banff Avenue Brewing Co, on recent trip to Banff.
Clear, orangy bronze color with a large, bright white and creamy smooth head. You can definately see the nitro coming through. After reading the beer menu description - "Don't let the name fool you - this beer is anything but bitter." Is is a Cream Ale, a Bitter, an ESB? I wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly suprised. Not alot of aroma (hops or otherwise) assume its the nitrogen muting the smell. The taste is nicely bittered. Lots of earthy hops, with enough malt to balance. Creamy smooth, the nitrogen helps in this department. A nice, easy to drink bitter.

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Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap at Banff Avenue Brewing Co, in Banff.

One look is all it takes to figure out why the brewer calls his ESB a "cream ale" - this thing has a head as creamy as the Rocky Mountains are tall. (Of course that's because they infuse it with nitrogen but nevertheless the head is in impressively fine form.) As for the colour, that's easy on the eyes too; its clear but deep tawny tone is quite dashing.

The beer, as you'll discover soon enough, actually has a pretty hefty weight and rather assertive bitterness. But you wouldn't know that from the smell of things. Whether it's the nitrogen's fault or not - certainly it doesn't help - the beer smells light as a feather (despite the faint hoppiness that suggests it'll likely be stiff as a board).

The bitterness - as in 'extra strong bitter' - comes from the use of hops and this one uses enough to rightfully earn that moniker. The taste is full of floral, earthy hops that seem to snarl as you tilt the glass back and nip at your tongue once you finally take a sip. These gnarly little guys are quickly chased away, however, by a soothing malty sweetness.

Like the brewer warns: don't let the name fool you - this beer is anything but bitter. Well, actually, he's exaggerating more than a little, it does have a good deal of bitterness. But, if I may put on my interpreter's hat, what I think he means to suggest is that its bitterness takes none away from its drinkability. And that is certainly true.

And neither does the nitrogen. I'm not the world's biggest fan of nitro-taps and find that, generally speaking, they tend to mute beers' flavour and unfavorably override their natural textures and mouthfeel. But I'll admit that it seems to work in this case. The beer is creamy smooth but still retains a good deal of its malt and hop character.

When I ordered it I thought it was a cream ale - the most colourful, flavourful, full-bodied cream ale I ever tried! Discovering later that it's actually an ESB made much more sense but didn't take away from the splendid impression it made on me; this is arguably as good a bitter I've tried and time permitting I would have cheerfully had another.

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Brewer's Oar Cream Ale from Banff Ave. Brewing Co.
- out of 100 based on 5 ratings.