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Conductor's Craft Ale - Junction Craft Brewing

Not Rated.
Conductor's Craft AleConductor's Craft Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

59 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 59
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Junction Craft Brewing visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Conductor’s Craft Ale fits broadly into the pale ale category, though we think of it more as a hybrid of traditional British, German, and American brewing techniques used to arrive at a hop complexity that constantly changes in the glass as it warms up and a drinker drinks more. With Conductor’s we wanted to tip our hats to ‘pioneer’ craft beers like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Anchor Liberty Ale, but at the same time the beer had to be balanced and drinkable to allow a drinker to enjoy more than one.

We used 5 different malts from Germany, France, Britain and Canada to give Conductor’s a biscuity, toasted, caramel base, and a combination of 5 different hops from Germany, the Czech Republic and the Pacific Northwest of the USA. To finish the beer we designed and built in-house a ‘hopback’ mechanism that infuses the hop aromas into the beer in line from the kettle as the beer goes into the fermenter. We use whole leaf hops of Cascade and spicy German Tetnanger in the hopback to provide a unique and intense hop aroma that is familiar but uniquely presented.

Sometimes a lot of thought goes into making something simple and enjoyable. The way we look at it, we do the thinking so you can relax and enjoy the drinking.

(Beer added by: Sammy on 09-25-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 59 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Vyronian
4.25/5  rDev +21.8%

Vyronian, Oct 09, 2013
Photo of jaz58
4.03/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First beer enjoyed by this craft brewer. Served in a clear pint glass.

Wonderful malty nose with hints of salty butterscotch and a touch of caramel.

Once sipped, I expected a sweet tone based on the nose yet the ale is nice and dry, not overly hopped.A good balance of hops with a gentle bitters finish.

Golden orange and clear in the glass.

Blonde foamy head.

I see this as an excellent summer quaifer and it would be perfect with a burger or sausage on a bun.

Good effort.

jaz58, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of crooksb2
4/5  rDev +14.6%

crooksb2, Jan 04, 2014
Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +14.6%

Molson2000, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of ppoitras
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

473ml can purchased as a single from the LCBO booth at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" tan head over the slightly cloudy coppery amber brew. Head deflates slowly, with sporadic lace. Aroma is lightly of biscuits and citrus.

Taste begins with light to moderate sweetness, a peek of citrus in the middle, and moderately botter through the close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. Comes together well.

ppoitras, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of thehyperduck
3.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Tallboy can from the LCBO; no freshness info given. It's great to see more and more of these upstart breweries canning their stuff and getting it on to store shelves, especially shelves as far away as Sarnia. I'm all for more selection, but I have a feeling the relative abundance of these APAs is going to result in a few of them getting squeezed off the shelves within a year or so. Served well-chilled, and poured into a pint glass.

Pours an attractive amber-orange colour, slightly foggy and topped with just over one finger's worth of dense, creamy head with an off-white 'smoker's living room' tinge to it. It sticks around for more than a few minutes, leaving behind a respectable swath of lacing on the sides of the glass, and a thin, foamy film at the surface. The aroma is enticing, with hints of buttered biscuits alongside leafy, earthy hop notes and a faint wisp of bergamot orange. Maybe a little more English than American, but good stuff either way.

And it appears that I have not been misled - this is just a well-crafted ale any way you slice it. The malt backbone offers more of the bready, biscuity, somewhat buttery notes that I could pick up on the nose, with a solid dose of toffee sweetness. This is countered adeptly by the hop bill, which is just as varied as the long description from the website implies - some nice herbal, spicy dryness from the European hops, as well as some citrusy, earthy bitterness that seems to derive from the Pacific NW strains. Finishes with a mixture of earthy bitterness and toffee sweetness, neither of which linger on the palate for long. On the light side of medium-bodied, with gentle carbonation that provides a modest bite. Very easy to throw back quickly, but it tastes well enough that I'm not inclined to speed through the glass like that.

Final Grade: 3.93, an impressive B+. Junction's Conductor's Craft Ale comes in an unassuming package, but I still feel it's one of the better pale ales available in Ontario right now. It's a deftly-balanced brew, with the malty sweetness and earthy hop dryness countering each other in a nearly flawless manner, resulting in a highly sessionable, enjoyable pint of ale. More English than American-style in my opinion, but that's all semantics. For a style that rarely leaves me wide-eyed and amazed, this one has at least managed to raise an eyebrow, and there's little doubt in my mind that I'll return to it in the future.

[Updated Jan. 3 2014]

I picked up another can, this time comparing it side-by-side with Crazy Canuck, Naughty Neighbour and St. Ambroise Pale Ale in a Canadian APA showdown with four of my favourites (can dated 'best before' Apr. 2014). I see no need to change this one's score - this is still one of my favourite Ontario-made pale ales, with a bolder malt backbone than most OCB competitors to counter the wide variety of agreeable hop flavours. Give this one a shot if you're looking for a potentially sessionable, reasonably-priced pale ale - it may not blow you away, but it still makes for a great glass.

thehyperduck, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.91/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can: Poured an amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light citrus hoppy notes with some light caramelized malt notes. Taste is also dominated by citrus hoppy notes with some well-balanced dry Noble hops backed with a solid caramelized malt profile with limited residual sugar. Body is about average for style with good carbonation. I must admit I didn’t have high expectation but was pleasantly surprised by this mix of West Coast and Noble hops.

Phyl21ca, Oct 17, 2013
Photo of beerhunter13
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

beerhunter13, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of Boozecamel
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

Boozecamel, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of bluetrevian
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

bluetrevian, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of bryehn
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

bryehn, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of andrenaline
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

andrenaline, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of CRObighit2
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

CRObighit2, May 06, 2014
Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

KrisDLSmith, Oct 02, 2013
Photo of Bf_89
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

Bf_89, May 03, 2014
Photo of BigGruntyThirst
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

BigGruntyThirst, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of kelvarnsen
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

kelvarnsen, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of mick303
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

mick303, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of timiskin
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep amber with a firm, if small, head. Reasonable retention.

S: Grassy hops with faint hints of citrus.

T: Hop forward but not overpowering. Complex flavour. Fades to a mellow, refreshing finish.

Very enjoyable, very sessionable ale. My second beer from Junction and both very enjoyable. Looking forward to trying more from this brewery.

timiskin, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of DenisKolkin
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

473ml tallboy can picked from LCBO for $2.85 CDN. Served cold into a pint glass. Grabbed a can of this as it was one of the few craft brew cans I hadn't yet tried and was looking for something clean and crisp and hoped I picked something good out.

Appearance - Clear copper / red color with a nice 2 finger creamy off-white head. The frothy cap lasts a long while essentially until the bottom of the glass. Some effervescent bubbles are present and a sparkling line of lacing is left behind.

Smell - Fairly big but yet restrained hop presence with some solid malts too. Has a citrusy, grapefruit and lemon undertone and subdued caramel aromas. While not earth shattering it is fragrant, full of pleasant aromas and not overdone.

Taste - Big bitter flavor up front transitions to a piney / spruce flavor with earthy undertone and throughout this process some sweet caramel will come and cut through the astringency of of the hops. Bitter aftertaste as well, but again done well in moderation.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and creamy, medium carbonation and quite refreshing.

Overall - Really impressed one of the best one's I've had from this area and a definite repurchase.

DenisKolkin, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of Digimaika2
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

(3.75) A: Deep copper with two fingers worth of creamy eggshell white head. Good retention and faint lacing.

(3.5) S: Barley, floral qualities, light citrus, toffee, and slight honey. Barley is the most dominant aroma with a nice compliment of floral and citrus.

(3.75) T: Identical to aroma with barley and floral qualities upfront and a subdued caramel-toffee undertone. Also detecting some subtle spices, in fact subtle is a great way to describe all the flavours here. Moderate bitterness with more of placid malt sweetness. Well balanced, easy drinking, with a clean and fresh taste.

(3.75) M: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Slight gritty texture with a pleasant oily sheen.

(3.75) D: This is a very good and easy-drinking ale. Certainly not a hop-bomb, but for what it is (more of a British styled ale) it's quite good.

Digimaika2, Sep 15, 2013
Photo of Coronaeus
3.7/5  rDev +6%

Coronaeus, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.69/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Junction Craft Brewing has designed, built and installed a custom brewing system at 90 Cawthra Avenue in Toronto, Ontario. Its signature brew is Conductor’s Craft Ale (“CCA”), a hybrid ale utilizing British, German and American brewing techniques, and this beer is the latest subject of a Bucky review.

CCA is made with 5 different malts from Germany, France, Britain and Canada and a combination of 5 different hops from Germany, the Czech Republic and the Pacific Northwest of the USA. To finish the beer Junction Craft designed and built in-house a ‘hopback’ mechanism that infuses the hop aromas into the beer in line from the kettle as the beer goes into the fermenter. Bucky sampled CCA in a 473 ml can with a ‘best before’ date that was illegible because it was printed black on dark blue. The beer was 5.3% alcohol by volume.

CCA poured a clear dark orange colour with about 1” of orange tinged off-white head and very little visible carbonation. The head lasted for several minutes before fading to a thin ring and patchy film of foam, which left a surprising amount of attractive lacing down the top half of the glass. Its aroma was of light caramel malts, grapefruit and maybe a touch of pine. The beer’s taste was sweet caramel malts up front, almost immediately overwhelmed by a grapefruit and lemon hop bitterness which lingered long as an aftertaste. There is also a flash of fruitiness to the beer’s flavour that I can’t pin down. CCA was a medium bodied beer, with an appropriate level of carbonation and a creamy mouthful for as long as the head endures. Overall, a brew superior to any mass produced North American beer, my only real complaint being that its bitterness lingers well after the beer is gone. Selling for $2.85 per 473 ml can in Ontario.

BuckyBeerBeaver, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Turns out that using 10 ingredients from more than 6 countries will make a beer more elaborate in taste and smell, but not so much in appearance. Clear, flat, and golden toffee in colour, Conductor's Craft Ale looks familiar and rather customary for that very broad range of beers that fall anywhere between pilsner and stout.

Rather disorientingly, the taste plays out like a series of flash cards, each with a different image, displayed for only a split second, one rapidly popping up after the next. Not only does the flavour switch from malty to hoppy on the turn of a dime, but those elements vary themselves...

The hoppiness shuffles between resinous pine, spring flowers, grassy leaves, grapefruit gum, and bitter herbal spice. As for the malts, they are simultaneously bready, toasty, caramel or toffee-laced, and a bit nutty. All these flavours and textures replay in a continuous but jumbled manner like a CD that repeats on the random setting. It's a good track list!

For all the intricacy I've just attributed to it, however, Conductor's Craft Ale is actually a very simple beer. In fact, ironically enough, some craft drinkers may find it too plain for their tastes. This is partly because of the shared and understated nature of the flavours, and also because the beer is just so thoughtlessly, carelessly easy to drink.

Its brewers aren't just whistling dixie: Conductor's Craft Ale really does offer a bit of everything. The beer's profile goes back and forth between malty and hoppy flavours like the valve gears of a steam locomotive. Like those rods and linkages, this "motion" is alternate but equal, a reciprocating and rhythmic dance. Next Junction offering that comes in, I'm hopping on!

biegaman, Aug 02, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

TheSevenDuffs, Jul 02, 2013
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Conductor's Craft Ale from Junction Craft Brewing
80 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.