Barking Squirrel Lager | Hop City Brewing Co.

132 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

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Reviews: 132 | Ratings: 573
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.

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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.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 43ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a healthy head that stays. Dark amber color

S- Very good. Nice malt.

T- Very good. Malt and yeast with caramel hints

M- Dry and crisp

O- Very good. Nice refreshing break.

Food Pairing

This wonderful little beer went well with... roast potatoes with bacon


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Photo of BeerWatcher
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

On draft at Milestones. Pours a caramel colour with moderate white head leaving substantial lacing as drunk. Semi-opaque with visible carbonation. Aromas are of caramel malts, toffee and biscuits. Tastes are sweet caramel malts and some cereal. Hints of toffee. A decent beer from this Moosehead subsidiary.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can poured into a tall pils glass.

A- I like the cartoonish can art. A normal pour created a 2-finger, khaki head. The body is a clean, copper with moderate-heavy carbonation. The head settles in at 1/4-finger and the lacing is abundant.

S- Very "beery." Doughy malts and lighter, spicy hops. Hints of caramel, especially after it warms a bit.

T- Caramel-like malts dominate at first. Hops are lightly spicy through the middle and the finish is doughy/bready. Maybe a little nutty and buttery with warmth.

M- Medium body with moderate carbonation. Lightest hop bite. Pretty good for the style and strength of this brew.

O- A nicely balanced amber lager. No frills, but nothing off-putting either. My wife returned to the cottage with this one from the LCBO. It was a nice surprise and didn't seem too expensive compared to the "domestics." I'd buy it again the next time through CAN.

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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.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Hop City Brewing Co's Barking Squirrel Lager last week for $1.69 at Boyne Country Provisions. I've never heard of this brewery before, but I thought I would give them a try and i figured I would start off with their Lager, so lets see how it goes. No visible Bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice, it goes well with the name, but the hop on the label makes me think this beer might be a little hoppy, it's eye catching. It poured a fairly clear amber color that took on more of a copper color when held to the light and it had a finger and a half worth of bubbly slightly off white head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left just a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This was a nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with the a slightly lower amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts being the first to show and they impart a grainy, toasted, caramel malt and very light sweet malt aromas with the toasted and caramel malts seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes some clean lager yeast aroma with a very slight nutty aroma with no hop presence. This beer had a nice aroma, but I was hoping there would be a little bit of hops.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of medium sweetness and it's followed by the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma with no single aspect seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes some of that clean lager yeast followed by a very slight nutty flavor. On the finish there's no hop presence with no bitterness and it had a clean malty aftertaste. This was a nice tasting Lager, but I think a little hops would have provided some nice balance to this beer.

M- Smooth, clean, fairly crisp, on the very light side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. This beer had a pretty nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a nice example of a Amber Lager, it had pretty much everything that I look for in the still, but I still wish it had just a little bit of hops to provide some balance to this beer. This beer had nice drinkability, it was smooth, clean, fairly crisp, not filling at all and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, but I think I would start to get bored with it after a couple, but if I wasn't concerned with taste I'm sure I could drink more than a few of them. What I like the most about this beer was how true to style it was and the mouthfeel, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I like the least about this beer was that there wasn't any hop flavors and aromas, I think a little hops would help this beer out a little and provide a little bit of balance to it. I might by this beer when looking for a nice Amber Lager, but it isn't something I just have to keep stocked in my fridge, but I do recommend it if you enjoy the style. All in all I thought this beer was nice, but there's a little room for improvement and I think with just a little work this could be a pretty tasty and memorable Amber Lager. This made for a decent first impression for Hop City and I'm interested in trying more of their beers. I think it's one of the better Amber Lagers I've had. Nice job guys, keep up the solid work.

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Photo of Phocion
2.79/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Notes from phone, May 18, 2014.

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint. Amber body with a finger of off-white head leaving moderate lacing.

Aroma is toffee and caramel malts. Buttered biscuit and slightly roasted. Subtle grassy/floral noble hoppiness.

Lightly roasted caramel and grassy flavor. A bit of sourdough bread with a very dry finish.

Slick, oily, and thin mouthfeel, with fairly high carbonation.

Overall, this is a malt bomb with a slight hint of diacetyl. Bland. Sub-par mouthfeel. Very unimpressed.

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Photo of EvanHarper
3.29/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bright, medium amber, offwhite head w/decent retention, lots of carbonation visible

Leafy noble hop aroma (Saaz?) with noticeable caramel / toffee sweetness

Surprisingly dry, hop-forward with the caramel malt coming through more as a very subtle bitter, blackstrap molasses taste rather than the sweetness expected from the aroma. Not a lot of complexity. Halfway into the can a very slight sweetness is in there if you look for it.

Very prickly mouthfeel owing to high carbonation, though slightly thicker and more dextrinous than a typical lager.

Not bad, but a little disappointing. The can promises "subtle hop aroma and flavour ... perfectly balanced by roasty toasty caramel malts" but the impression is more of a dry, pilsner-like lager with very subtle nutty/roasted notes. Comparable in style and overall balance to Creemore lager but not as good to my tastes. Worth trying if you're fan of noble-hoppy lagers, but nothing special.

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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.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Copper filtered colour with a 4 finger slight brown colour foamy head. Good carbonation.

S: Malt, childrens’ aspirin, vitamin c orange flavoured tablet, some citrus hop.

T: Malt, dark Munich dunkel type malt, some slightly sour asprin or vitamin c tablet taste, then a yeasty pleasant aftertaste. Nicely balanced, a little weird but good.

M: Bready, slightly thick body, low to medium low carbonation.

O: Good, nice, dunno what els to say. Had better ambers (Gaelic ale) had worse ambers (Fat Tire). I will give this 7.9 out of 10. Would go well with all you’d have a regular lager with, but its got some darker stronger qualities that could stand up to some whole wheat multigrain breads.

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Photo of MarkoNm
3.74/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice amber, towards golden, color, topped with a decent slightly off-white head with decent retention.
There is a very nice malty aroma complemented by some nice caramel and biscuity smell.
The taste is pleasantly sweet at first, slightly roasted in the body, together with some caramel feel. Finishes with a nice bitterness.
Easily drinkable, smooth and very enjoyable.

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Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
3.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hop City Brewing Co. is located in Brampton, Ontario and launched its first beer, Barking Squirrel Lager in October 2009. Since then, the brewery has followed on with its Lawn Chair Classic Weiss, Happy Hour Premium Ale, and Mr. Huff Persuasion Pilsner. Apparently, Hop City Brewing is owned by St. John based Moosehead Breweries Limited.

On this occasion we decided to try their flagship Barking Squirrel Lager ("BSL") in a 473 ml can purchased from the LCBO, with a December 2011 production date. BSL was 5.0% alcohol by volume.

BSL poured a deep amber colour with about 1.5" of pale orange coloured attractive looking beer. The head dissipated within a few minutes, resolving itself into a collar and thin film that left some modest spotting and lacing down the glass. Some small, slow rising bubbles were visible in the beer. Its aroma was fairly straightforward, hops and caramel malts. Given the brewer's name I was expecting something with a hop heavy taste, but was pleasantly surprised by the balance between the hop flavour and sweet caramel malts. A faint lemon taste was also detectable. BSL had a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingered for a few seconds after each mouthful, but nothing overpowering nor too long lasting. The carbonation was perhaps a bit on the conservative side contributing to a smooth mouth feel, and I would describe BSL as light to medium bodied. Overall, a solid, straightforward brew that is good enough that I'd like to sample Hop City's Lawn Chair Classic Weiss. At $2.65 per can, BSL represents decent value for money.

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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.

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Photo of papat444
3.34/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had this on tap at Jack Astor's.

Nice looking reddish amber body but no head, not sure if that's due to the pour or the beer itself. Caramel sweetness mixed with a strong malty nuttiness. Flavor isn't actually bad and a decent choice among BMC lagers.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had this one at the Regina Festiv-Ale on Friday night. 4 oz sample.

Nice amber colour with a decent light beige/off white head.

Aroma is lightly malty with hints of floral/herbal hops.

Flavour is pretty straight forward. Well balanced between the malt and hops. Caramel and nutty malt with leafy, herbal hops.

Not a bad beer. Worth a try.

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Photo of MadCat
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice clear amber color, small white head, some lacing

Smell: Light hops with some nice malt character, and that cleanness offered by a lager yeast

Taste: Biscuity, malty, a little sweet, some hop bitterness. Hops were earthy and citrusy. Again, very clean taste of lager yeast is clear here.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, good carbonation

Overall: Not bad, but not exciting. I don't feel it lives up to the "Hop City" name of the brewery. That kind of makes you expect a little bit more hop character than this has. Otherwise, it is a good, but unexciting amber lager. Paired well with wings.

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Photo of DrJay
3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Clear copper with a short, lasting beige cap of fine bubbles. Good head retention. Notes of toasted malt and caramel in the aroma, slight fruitiness, light hop aroma, sort of leafy with hints of earthiness and lemon. Clean flavour with mild bitterness up front that grew and lingered in the finish. Toasted malt and lemon/spicy hops, plus a bit of malt sweetness. Medium/light bodied, slight slickness to the texture, moderate carbonation, medium dry. Decent mouthfeel. Overall, a pretty solid beer that's balanced nicely.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. My first beer from Hop City Brewing Co., I got this oddity as part of a mixed six pack from the local beer store.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours just over a finger of soapy khaki froth for a head, on top of a semi-clear caramel amber colored body. Some thin strands of lace. Looks pretty nice.

S - Smell is of bready malt, smooth creamy caramel malt, and some dirty herbal earthiness from the hops. The crackery Munich malt is definitely apparent. Slightly vinous.

T - Taste follows the nose: dry bread, crackery Munich malt, caramel / amber malt, and earthy / herbal hops. Again, slightly vinous.

M - Feel is crisp, bready, and dry. Light bitterness and sticky green apple skin flavors lingering. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall, I'd say this was a nicely balanced surprise, and surely well enough for what it is. The ingredients used blend together harmoniously, and the quality of the ingredients used is definitely reflected in the taste. Looking forward to trying more from these guys.

Hop City Brewing Barking Squirrel Lager ---3.5/5

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Photo of TAMU99
4.27/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Wow! This is a great beer. Pours a rich amber-orange to a thick creamy foam. Scent is spice, autumn and hops. Taste is complex- citrus, spices, oranges, syrup or molasses...and more. Mouthfeel is just right and it leaves just the right amount of hoppy aftertaste. Overall a great beer worth more attention.

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Photo of Subliminal64
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great colour. A little darker then "normal" beers.

Lots of carbonation. Some want it, others don't.

Fairly strong taste, very hoppy. Although the smell is not as strong.

Has won multiple awards and it shows.

Well worth a look. Don't let the basic can art discourage you.



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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hop City Brewing Co. - Barking Squirrel Lager, poured into a stein glass.

Look - Pours a clear deep amber with a massive soapy head. Tons of lacing.

Smell - Sweet and caramel malts in the face, hmm.. Not the kind of amber qualities I look for, to say the least, but it's not unbearably bad. Lager yeasts provide that familiar bite in the aroma here.

Taste - OK, at least there is a definite lager body here, not overly sweet but there is some cloying in the finish, most likely from the malts used.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, dry, and drinkable. No booziness. Light bodied. Low carbonation. Good job here.

Overall - Interesting style fusion, not sure how I feel bout it but it's nice to see more attempts at quality lagers striving for some differentiation in an ale-crowded market. I kinda sorta call BS on the hops.

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Photo of Finn
3.91/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer has a slight redish/amber tint to it, as expected, with strong carbonation and nicehead retention. Aroma is mostly of caramel malts, with a hint of sugar and a slight metallic note.
It's pretty smooth and tasty, with a fair amount of the crystal malts, and a slight bite of hops balancing it all out. Pretty drinkable. Not bad, and it's not what I usually expect out of a lager. I'd probably drink it again.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - A rich dark amber pour into the glass yields 1.5 fingers of head which quickly recedes.

Smell- Raisins and caramel are predominant, almost a fresh butter tart scent to it.

Taste- Pretty much like the smell except I also notice a heavy influence of walnuts or pecans. Definite nuttiness to it.

Mouthfeel- Quite a crisp mouthfeel to it, perhaps thinner feel that the scent and taste profile would otherwise indicate although that helps it avoid being a syrupy mess.

Overall - A very nice brew that I would repeat purchasing with some unique characteristics (especially in flavor) observed in very few other beers.

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Photo of da_beers
3.56/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice amber/copper thats crystal clear. A finger of white, bubbly head, great lacing and minimal carbonation coming up. Appearance its best quality IMO.

S - Kind of small on the nose. Sweetness from the malts and a crispness that is equated nicely with being a lager.

T - Sweet malts and no hops. Quite crisp as per being a lager. Something of almost a honey sweetness at the end.

M - Very smooth and drinkable, light bodied. Low carbonation across the palate.

O - Decent lager. Drinkable and refreshing. A little sweet for a lager, but ok.

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Barking Squirrel Lager from Hop City Brewing Co.
3.47 out of 5 based on 573 ratings.
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