Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Barking Squirrel Lager | Hop City Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
131 Reviews
Barking Squirrel LagerBarking Squirrel Lager

Brewed by:
Hop City Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Amber / Red Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Barking Squirrel is a 5% ABV amber lager with a distinct rich burnt orange colour and subtle noble hop aroma. Its medium body, pleasant hop bitterness and caramel malt sweetness makes it smooth and drinkable with a slight hop aftertaste.

24 IBU

Added by Viggo on 11-16-2009

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 566
Photo of Sammy
3.26/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Shauey's, near the airport. Served way too cold, but fresh, the brewers are former homebrewers with a sugardaddy grant from Moosewood, who will of course help to distribute them. The smell is mildly cheesy. Pours dark yellow, with an eighth inch of white foam and lace lines own my glass. Average mouthfeel(though above average carbonation), this is in the style of a helles lager, though not the best interprestation. Good drinkability.

 455 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.34/5  rDev -3.7%

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, toast, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, toast, and metallic flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable but nothing too memorable in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

 567 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a nice looking clear amber color with a white head on top. Th lacing was impressive looking as well as the thin retention it had. The smell of the beer is grainy and sweet smelling with a bit of earth in there too. The taste of the beer is malty, with some musty flavors in the finish. The mouthfeel of the beer is medium bodied and had a soft carbonation. Overall it's a pretty good brew, not one I would seek out often but still a sessionable brew that could be enjoyed frequently.

 502 characters

Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle at Artisan's Brewery & Italian Grill, Toms River, NJ

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of sweet malts are present in the nose—caramel malt extracts seem to stand out in particular.
T: Like the smell, the taste is mostly dominated by flavors of caramel malt extracts. No hops are perceptible, although there are enough hops to subdue most of the sweetness.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied and clean on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink but doesn’t have much in the way of dominant flavors. It would pair well with food.

 753 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.12/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can, a new arrival in Alberta, and thanks to Sherbrooke (and the rep, mea culpa) for the sample. A suspicious-looking cartoon squirrel amusingly espies a rather large hop cone on the label, leading me to idly wonder at its fate is this particular offering.

This beer pours a clear, copper-amber colour, with three tumultuously foamy fingers of tight eggshell white head, which leaves a decent layered watermark of lace rings around the glass as it lazily recedes.

It smells of crisp biscuity, grainy malt, a tad toasted, with a bit of nutty caramel, and zesty lemony, leafy, grassy hops. The taste is lightly roasted caramel and sourdough malt, more semi-sweet lemon, some oily nuttiness, a slight mineral/metallic undertone, and a sturdy grassy, hay-like hop bitterness.

The bubbles are even, supportive, and just plain nice (sorry, I'm in an increasingly good mood now), the body a decent medium weight, and smooth in the same vein. It finishes off-dry, the biscuity malt and lingering hops holding up their respective ends of the bargain.

Wow - one endearingly tasty amber lager - big toasty malts, and well balanced sassy pilsener-esque hops. This was a universal hit with the Sherbrooke staff earlier today, and it's clear why - this is a heady competitor to Creemore in the 'good craft lager not from Alberta' customer sweepstakes. Really, a damned fine tipple, in a style so under serviced by Canadian brewers lo these many years.

 1,447 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.53/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Can: Poured a clear golden lager with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and light lacing. Aroma of light adjunct notes and overly sweet malt is not the most interesting. Taste is also more adjunct base then I had anticipated with not much other characteristics showing off and not much hops presence. Definitely not one I will drink again though I seems to be off compared to previous ratings.

 402 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for this beer Jay!
Can is printed "F01212" whatever that means... hopefully not from January. Served in a large tapered mug.

Nicely bright amber color, huge head of foam that dwindles down to an ample skim, 5mm in width (metric, get it?). Lots of lacing all around the glass, great retention. For this style it looks great overall.

Earthy, nutty sweet malt character, touches of maple and ground nuts.

Clean taste, mild bittering hops and a distinctively nutty/bready specialty malt in there somewhere. Dry and crisp feel, nice light bitterness. Simple yet effective. Pretty much a flawless lager here, guess haters just gonna hate.

 646 characters

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, no bottle dating. Pours crystal clear amber/copper color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, toffee, toast, biscuit, brown bread, light nuttiness, plum, apple, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with well balanced dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and fruity yeast notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown bread, light nuttiness, plum, apple, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Light amount of earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown bread, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a nice crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a nice Vienna lager. All around good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,479 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.92/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap 5/24/2016 at Kelsey’s Roadhouse in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains lager yeast, caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out bready with flavors of lager yeast and a hearty malt character. Then some sweet flavors of caramel and fruit come in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while.

 814 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I bought this as part of a mix-a-six from Giant in Linglestown PA, enjoyed chilled in a mug.

The color is deep copper bordering on bronze with good clarity and two fingers of thick tan head with avg sized bead and decent lacing. The aroma is very malty with bready munich type malt aromas with slight yeast ester and mild nutty element in the nose with light hop scents. The feel is great with semi-full body with moderate bitterness and medium carbonation with a mild diacetyl presence with somewhat dry finish with low sweetness and mild grainy texture.

This is a lager with pleasant malt flavors right off and nice blend of nuttiness with a toasted grain taste from the munich malt as described on the label. The malt tastes fresh, yet not overly sweet which is a good foundation for the subtle hop flavor which add to the mild yeast taste. The maltiness goes well with the hops which have a hint of herbal profile as the lager finishes semi-dry. Overall I really enjoyed this a very good lager with a nice balance of flavor which makes it more drinkable thany many of this style. I would not hesitate to buy this again even though I was on the fence about the first purchase.

 1,185 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
2.96/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Squirrels can get downright mean at times, man... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear copper-amber topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises rye bread, mild greens (tending toward some decent dankness), and caramel. The taste holds notes of bread, very light candied orange peel, watered-down caramel, and a touch of walnut. There's a kind of kvass character kicking around here (the usual supermarket kind, not the overtly traditional kind, mind you). The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, while not bad, this beer really didn't do anything for me. The nuttiness seemed out of place, and the rest of the flavors never fully coalesce into any cohesive expression of anything.

 781 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.93/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The squirrels are definitely barking at The CANQuest (TM) today. My neighbor had this as a single the other day and I am in a lager mood. CAN you dig it?

From the CAN: "Craft with attitude."; Welcome to HOP CITY, where we brew beer with equal parts flavor, complexity & sessionability. BARKING SQUIRREL LAGER is a 5% ABV, 24 IBU amber lager brewed with a blend of Hallertau Mittelfrueh & Saaz hops, perfectly balanced by [CAN]adian Pale 2 Row, Crystal & Munich malts. Mmmm.

The Crack & Glug was a pleasure, resulting in two-plus fingers of dense, foamy tawny head with excellent retention. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-plus quality clarity, enabling me to see through walls and into the neighbor's kitchen where the cat was asleep on the counter. Nose was heavy with a biscuit malt scent. Mouthfeel was full, especially for a lager and the biscuit taste continued on the tongue. Finish was semi-dry with a lingering taste of bread or biscuit well after the swallow. More lagers like this are needed!

 1,011 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at The Snooty Fox.
Pours a deep reddish amber color with a huge off white head that persists for a while. Aromas of bready pilsner malt with hints of caramel or burnt sugar. Rich bready maltiness with a fair bit of melanoid and spicy hop. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Nice malty rich lager, I enjoyed this.

 334 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A real big fluffy white head with lots of staying power, big in size at about three fingers and not going anywhere. Collapses very slowly with pock marked peaks and valleys. Body is a very clear and bronze amber color, with little noticeable rising carbonation. What does show goes up really small and very slowly. Real nice looking.

Nose is clean, light malt caramel, a sense of slight sticky yeast. Quite nice and simple and pleasurable. Some light grass sharp hops just hide in the back.

Very light bodied caramel on the palate. Hits with a good malt backbone with a very light feel but not too wet. Hints of light brown sugar, and almost Marzen like appeal. A good brown bread toasty finish too, with just a little bit of mild hop bitterness that isn't very distinguishable.

It's not very complex, but it's stupid easy drinking, in fact VERY easy drinking. Quite enjoyable a good amber lager worth exploring again.

 970 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Light amber colored lager body, clear and clean. Poured a nice head, sticky and tall.

S - A fresh and crisp lagered bouquet. Sweet aromas, subtle grains, honey. Wafts of fresh hops and sweet malty notes. Balanced and intriguing.

T - Definitely clean and crisp as I had hoped. Fresh, green, sweet hops. A bit of malt sweetness and dry bread hints. The hop profile is what shines through, with a good clean presentation. This is on the lighter side of flavor, but it is a drinking lager.

M - Light-medium bodied, properly carbonated, smooth. Definitely a session beer.

O - Really not bad at all, a drinkable lager. Pretty balanced, with the hops taking the stage. However, this is not a very hoppy beer, with 24 IBUs.

 723 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.08/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can to pint glass.

A - Translucent medium orange/amber colour with a huge amount of fluffy off-white head.

S - Bready malts with a crisp hop biterness and s light floral/earthy aroma.

T - Bready malts with a s light caramel sweetness up front. A slight crisp hop bitterness is present along with a slight earthy/herbal flavour.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation.

 375 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've heard of a barking spider, but not a barking squirrel. Perhaps it's a Canadian thing, but if that were the case, why isn't the beaver being used instead? It comes from a 16 ounce can, and was used to wash down dinner. On to the beer:

Orange amber colored and topped with a thick two finger head that's rocky in texture. Its retention is good, and it whips some lacing around the glass. The aroma has toasted grain, a dash of caramel, a kiss of toffee, and a little mustiness.

A malt forward beer, this amber lager is like a lighter Oktoberfesbier. That Munich malt creates a sweet base and allows snaps of grass and zests of hops to stick to its base. It's a medium bodied beer with a modest spring of carbonation.

Solid as a rock. Considering that it is an import, I was surprised the pint was just $1.99.

 815 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.23/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a pint glass. Canned on date of H2411 - August 24, 2011.

Pours a clear copper with a finger or so of white head, modest density to it. Light lace and retention. Aroma of grassy hops, and lightly sweet malts, some bready and grainy notes. A touch of caramel. Taste follows the same route, lightly grassy hops initially with some sweet, caramelly and toasty breadiness. Malts are the main feature here. Some grainy notes, maybe a bit of adjunct flavour. A bit of alcohol in the finish which isn't entirely pleasant. Slightly lighter than medium mouthfeel, with a medium high carbonation. A moderate amber lager, and nothing too impressive. Could pass as a pizza beer, but I'll take a Great Lakes Red Leaf over this any time.

 753 characters

Photo of stevoj
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

This might be a hit with drinkers of macro lagers, but overall I find it bland and lightweight. Nice looking beer, rich amber color and fluffy/rocky head. Aroma is almost too faint to register and taste is very light malt. Might be a good summer time brew.

 256 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 16oz CAN into a pint glass.

Barking Squirrel Lager looks the part with a mild shade of bronze with some light gold balanced within. The hed is off white and tight looking leaving minor cling. Smell is a typical lager, the malt is front and center, some grassy appeal, caramel and I don't get ANY hops, either way I classify this more as a lager than a red ale. 24IBU's is low IMO, so don't go looking for a hop fix although the CAN may fool you with the graphic on it. The taste is pure lager, with grain balancing out with caramel and crystal malt. I guess there is some hops used, but they aint reaching my tounge. Feel is in between light and medium, for 5%, I expected a lighter body. Not bitter at all while the carb is felt. This will be in the runnings if I need a quick lager fix from the CAN if Im hiking.

 817 characters

Photo of tone77
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a light amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts and grains. Taste is also a bit on the mild side, some malts, lightly hopped, easy drinking. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a refreshing but somewhat bland beer.

 268 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Hop City : Barking Squirrel Lager

Aroma of lager yeast, clean malt and hops. In the taste, light and refreshing. Bready with faint citrus. A bit more beef than a macro lager. Has some light hop bitterness and flavor, just enough to keep it interesting. A decent light beer option without being too light, bland or boring.

 323 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at 99 Sudbury, in Toronto.

Barking Squirrel is coloured more like a fox; it is a relatively deep toned beer steeped in a heavy red-amber dye. Clarity and shine are both appreciated, despite the darker shade. Its foamy head looks like a toasted (if not torched) marshmallow.

Aroma and taste mirror one another, both driven by an abundant maltiness, the latter being kicked up by a strong carbonation. Toasted biscuits and lucid caramelization greet the palate upon entering the mouth, but they are both abruptly shown the door by a reserved bitterness. (Still, the toffee sweetness makes a reappearance in the finish.)

If you look at the ratings for amber lagers, you'll notice a direct correlation between how hoppy the beer is and how highly it's rated. Without meaning to endorse that trend, Barking Squirrel does fall squarely in the middle of both hoppiness and overall impression packs. While nil in the aroma or taste, bittering hops can at least be sensed...

And that's a welcomed feature for me. And it's also one of the things that set's this beer apart from, say, Rickard's Red or Sleeman Honey Brown, two beers which it resembles. The other distinguishing element is the total lack of adjunct and the pure, clean, unadulterated maltiness that registers as tasty and palpably (but judiciously) sweet.

I wouldn't go out of my way to find Barking Squirrel - or really any lager comparable to it - but I have to concede that if more commercial establishments (i.e., chain pubs or sports bars) offered this on-tap I'd likely order a lot more beer on my nights out. And I also bet that with a little more exposure, Barking Squirrel would teach and persuade mainstream drinkers to also be a little more discerning with their beer choices.

 1,757 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.46/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bengal tiger orange, moderate clarity with a quickly paced show of micro-effervesce. A 1+ finger oatmeal colored head had a bready texture and a good rate of retention. Sliding down leaves a thin coat of film lacing.

S: Faint fresh grains, soft, and nobel flowery hops. At 24ibus and a dark orange coloring from the speciality grains i expected a bit more hop aroma and grain detection.

T: Sweet upfront, toasty grains with a zesty soft citrus touch, but with some nobel flowery attributes. There is a soothing munich dry toastiness, the hops are more apparent, a touch of spiciness from the Saaz is very evident. The nobel hops and saaz are nicely paired, smoothly balanced, harmonious in transition while the munich and crystal add malt sweetness.

M: Fairly crisp, bubbly, creamy body, ideal smoothness and stis well with a nice pronounced graininess.

O: Overall, fairly toasty, sweet, easy to consume with a bonus of hops. Not your citrus bomb american amber, more reddog with a kick of hops red lager.

 1,015 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Appearance – Clear copper colour with an average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation visible and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel/toffee, and some light hops. As well I can pick up on a bit of citrus flavour. It ends with a malty slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall – I've had this from a can and it seemed to be a little better on tap. Perhaps it was a little fresher than the can. It's a slightly above average beer that is a decent alternative to macros. It also might work well as a gateway to get other into craft.

 738 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Barking Squirrel Lager from Hop City Brewing Co.
3.47 out of 5 based on 566 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!