Wednesday, 24 July 2013


An Ottawa brewery:  Beyond the Pale is a small brewery near the Parkdale market and is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to the public. I had first heard of the Beyond the Pale at the Morris Street block party in the Glebe in June. There, I tried "The Darkness" - an oatmeal stout with a hint of burnt sugar, dark chocolate and espresso flavours.  So I asked some friends who prefer beer over wine to join me for a visit to the brewery.  We were able to try a number of the brews (all with interesting names) and purchase others to try at home.

Pink Fuzz:  If you like a pithy citrus flavour this wheat beer is for you. Beyond the Pale uses hops and grapefruit to make this distinctive citrus brew. Grapefruit zest is added during the boil and then pulp is mixed in after fermentation. I bought a bottle to take home to enjoy on a hot day. And indeed there appeared to be pink fuzz at the bottom of the bottle!

Rye Guy IPA:  This IPA uses rye malt and American hops from the West Coast of the U.S. The server told me 11 pounds of hops are used. American hops account for the citrus and pine notes and the slightly bitter aftertaste. Interestingly the IBU (International Bitterness Units) of Rye Guy is 52 while Pink Fuzz has only 20 IBUs.

HOYF:   Hop on Your Face! With 33 pounds of hops used, you have to love hops to drink this beer! Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe hops provide the bitter citrus flavours.

Half in the Barrel: This is a Belgian style beer made with Belgian yeast, German malt and New Zealand hops. The batch was then divided and half aged for 6 weeks in an oak barrel previously used for aging Merlot and the other half in a Cabernet Franc barrel. I purchased a bottle of each and while both were delicious I preferred the Merlot infused brew.  The beer has a rich red-brown hue.  There was a slight acidity to the beer but it was not bitter. I detected interesting flavours of dark cherry and a subtle smoky or tobacco taste on the palate. On my return visit I purchased the last two bottles of the Half in the Barrel Merlot and was disappointed to learn that this brew was a one time production.

Imperial Super Guy:  On my second visit to Beyond the Pale I purchased this powerful brew. While it was not available for tasting at the counter it was worth taking a chance.  I shared it with my friends who joined me on my first visit and we all agreed it had toasty and woodsy aromas (due to the malt and hops used) and flavours and was not as bitter as Pink Fuzz or HOYF (despite the fact it has 90 IBUs).  It was well-balanced and enjoyable. All of this in a beer that is high in alcohol at 9.1% sharing is important!

Where you can enjoy Beyond the Pale beer: The brewery is open to the public on Friday and Saturday from noon until early evening and on Sunday in the afternoon.  On my two visits I was cheerfully served by two of the three owners and offered additional helpful information on the brewing process by another employee.  Beer lovers can now enjoy Beyond the Pale on tap at various pubs and restaurants in Ottawa, including some of my favourites: the Manx, Wellington Gastropub, Juniper, Absinthe, Town, and Black Tomato, among others.


  1. What a great find -- thanks for taking us to Beyond the Pale! I was surprised by the constant stream of customers while we were there. It looked like locals were bring back their empties and buying more.
    I am sorry to hear that Half in the Barrel was a one-time-thing, and hope something along the same lines takes its place.
    Looking forward to your next post!

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