Muskoka Harvest Ale - Muskoka Brewery
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Ratings: 107 | Reviews: 58 | Display Reviews Only:
3.23/5 rDev -17.8%
The Muskoka Cottage Brewery, located in Bracebridge Ontario (pure cottage country) has a slogan that states "The taste of cottage country". Not only is that their motto, but it is also the idea behind their newest seasonal beer, the Harvest Ale. This could actually be the first of its kind from Ontario; all the malts and hops used in this brew were grown here in Ontario. I love the idea. This is the second year that Muskoka has released the Harvest, and this version comes in a very handsome 750ml swing cap bottle.
It is now floating through LCBO locations and will be available while supplies last at select pubs and restaurants. Muskoka has designed a richly hoppy and bitter pale ale at 6.4%. Right now it is probably the biggest, and most bitter pale ale offering available from Ontario in LCBO locations. It offers up different flavors than that of the typical American Style Pale ale, which I expect Muskoka would like to say is uniquely Canadian. I'm not sure what Ontario's hop farms are like, but I do hope that this inspired more brewers to create seasonal beers sourced locally - everyone benefits.
As mentioned, when you pull the Harvest out of your fridge you will have a 750ml bottle ready to enjoy with friends. This is actually what I would like to see most of all out of the Ontario Brewers - more unique packaging! The 750ml bottles are beautiful, and it really brings your beer up to a new level of aesthetic design and perception. Don't get me wrong, its what inside that counts, but packaging can help those who previously didn't look to craft beer to give it a shot.
I opened the Harvest cool around 8C (45F) and poured it slowly into a snifter. The pour was very smooth, falling out of the bottle with a heavy oily texture. It build up richly in the bottom of the glass showing creamy and silky lines and a gentle rumbling of dense foam. What I created was an glowing amber red beer with huge rays of bronze and sunshine beaming though it. It was transparent with a golden brown shimmer at every glance. The condensation on the outside of the glass fogged my view, but every wipe away revealed rich colors in depth and maturity. A creamy, and long-standing 2 inch head built up on the beer with a off-white, cream color fading to very light khaki. It peaked just above the glass with a dense cap and great retention. Ok, very well done so far Muskoka. This beer was a sight for sore eyes.
Those nose is richly bitter with a pungent mix of bitter and floral hops, light brisk notes of citrus, and a fresh earthy field like aroma. Waves of dark malts bring brown sugar and marmalade in and show reasonable depth, but lack complexity. Overall the nose is dry and bitter, slightly one sided, but seemingly very crisp and refreshing.
My first sip was mostly head, which had a great deal of rich flavors in it mimicking the nose. The next brought a lushly silky wave of beer with it and also a robustly bitter wave of hops. This showed a big and rich bitter sensation, but a relatively narrow flavor. It was potent and full, but only has subtle notes of citrus, soft floral flavors, and a round earthy bite.
Malts come in right down the center and briefly show pale malt sweetness, but quickly made into a more caramelized feeling. Lightly burnt brown sugar and biscuits round off my tongue and full my cheeks in a robust flushing of browned malts. This again was a bit more one sided than I would have liked to see. The balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness was there, but I didn't love the hop flavors, not was I enamored by the malt.
The finish is crisp and very quenching bringing out the power of the hops in a dry, longstanding breath. Overall the beer is clean and slightly warming, with great construction and a unique take on a Canadian Pale Ale. It brings bitterness that we haven't seen before, but it is too one sided for me. I would have enjoyed more hop flavor compared to the hop bitterness, and a bigger range of malt sensation to bring juicy richness to my palate. Nonetheless, a great 2nd edition, and I will be excited to see what happens next year.
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10-01-2010 15:13:35 | More by StephenRich
4.2/5 rDev +6.9%
On cask at C'est What's 2010 Fall Festival of Craft Brewers. Pours a copper brown colour with thin head. Nice blast of fresh citrus hops in the nose. Flavour has a nice bitterness with some caramel sweetness. I would call this more of an American Pale Ale than an English Pale Ale.
Edit: a couple days later I bought a bottle of this and upgrading my rating from B+ to A-. Too expensive to buy a lot of this though.
09-30-2010 14:54:29 | More by kwjd
3.83/5 rDev -2.5%
Volo Cask Days 2009. A good bitterness from cascade hops, this is more of an American pale, with bold taste, a good bitterness, though not very balanced. Reddish with a soapy head. Easy drinking, average mouthfeel. Fresh hop taste to it. Neutral aroma.
Had this on tap a year later at C'est What and it worked fine, nice bitterness.
11-01-2009 14:27:58 | More by Sammy
British Columbia (Canada)
3.75/5 rDev -4.6%
Good things Gro-o-ow in On-tar-io...
A: Copper with an off-white head, very little retention or lacing on cask.
S: Citrus & floral spicing with a little grainy biscuit.
T: The taste echoes the aroma with a nice citrus & floral spicing overlaying a bicuity malt with a touch of grainyness. Not huge on flavour, but the flavours do work in harmony. Slight bitter balance.
M: The mouthfeel is on the low-side of moderate, and I wouldn't have guessed the abv was much over 5%.
D: Really drinkable.
100% Ontario and it's good!
11-01-2009 01:18:40 | More by Derek
3.6/5 rDev -8.4%
I'm a sucker for seasonal ales, so when I saw this one on tap I had to go for it. On tap at the University of Waterloo Grad House.
A - A terrific looking beer. Lingering, thick white head (about an inch) that leaves terrific lacing. Deep amber-red, a fine fall coloured draught. Good start!
S - Nothing to write home about. Hops and spices, perhaps a bit of nutmeg. Hard to detect.
T - For the first few sips the bitterness dominates, but after a third of the pint the sweetness takes over. Both hoppy and fruity, perhaps apple and a bit of current.
D - A decent ale, fairly drinkable as a session. However, as a previous poster mentioned, not particularly special. I'm not convinced there's much here to immediately identify it as a "harvest" ale, rather than simply a pale. Still, a fine offering from one of my favorite Ontario brewers.
10-20-2009 22:25:10 | More by JohnnyBarman
3.48/5 rDev -11.5%
I had a pint of this at Volo, and while it looks like I enjoyed it more than viggo, I'd still say that its nothing special. Actually, I take that back - the flavour is nothing special, but the fact that its 100% local is. Here's their blurb: "To celebrate the harvest, our brewers have created this fine autumn ale from 100% Ontario grown barley and hops. Our first supply of Muskoka Harvest Ale is very limited and will only be available in draught to a select group of licensees."
Pours a light copper with a small white head, which dies to a film and only leaves a few spots of lace on the glass, which don't have good staying power either. I like the aroma, which has a nice floral hop bite to it, mixing in with orange peel and sweet malts. The flavour consists of a sweet malts background with gently bitter floral, citrus, and tea notes laid overtop. Its quite gentle and balanced, and reminds me of the bitters we get back in the UK. Mouthfeel is at a par for the style - medium-light weight with a moderate carbonation.
Overall, an okay beer, but not one I'd return too. Huge kudos to Muskoka for trying a 100% Ontario beer, though! This is a step in the right direction!
10-14-2009 13:24:41 | More by bobsy
3.13/5 rDev -20.4%
Pale ale made with 100% Ontario ingredients, cool!
Pours a clear light amber, some golden highlights, thin white head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, few lace spots stick as it settles to a thin ring.
Smell is alright, very sweet, sugary, some floral hops, light citrus, a bit of maltiness, but mostly overpoweringly sweet.
Taste is similar, very sweet, light citrus and floral, but not a whole lot going on, light malts in the background, not a whole lot of bitterness, lightly grassy.
Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium carbonation. Not very good I don't think, way too sweet, and not much character besides that.
10-14-2009 00:11:57 | More by Viggo
Muskoka Harvest Ale from Muskoka Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.