There is nothing more quintessentially Canadian in springtime than maple syrup. After the long cold winter, the maple sap running foretells the coming spring and maple syrup production is the first sign that the warm weather is finally on the horizon. This beer is a celebration of spring from a beautiful part of Ontario where the winters are hard and the maple trees live a hardscrabble existence on rolling hills between deep lakes and big rivers. The Madawaska Valley is a part of Ontario that I fell in love with years ago and where I go every chance I get. The family producers of this maple syrup are traditionalists and the evaporators they run are fired by the same hardwood forests that produce the sap. It is this independent mindset that governs production of a traditional forest product in a sustainable and resourceful way in a truly beautiful setting. They don’t talk about sustainability and tradition, they just do things the way they always have and always will. They don’t do it to talk about it and I like that a lot.
The Madawaska River feeds into the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and the greater Ottawa Valley was the centre of one of the largest Irish immigrant settlements in the province during the 19th Century. Our Madawaska Maple Ale is an Irish red ale made with maple syrup from Combermere, Ontario in the heart of the Madawaska Valley. The syrup comes from a small family producer of maple syrup using wood-fired evaporators and traditional techniques. Their production is very limited but their syrup has an intensity that comes from maple forests that endure hard winters and enjoy warm spring sunshine in this beautifully rolling and rocky terrain. Mill Street’s Madawaska Maple Ale has a wonderfully malty and nutty sweetness from the use of caramel and amber malts and has just a kiss of sweetness from this maple syrup. It is well balanced with three types of American hops and traditional ale yeast.
Tasting Notes: Malty aroma and palate with medium, lingering finish. Maple tones and fruit esters from yeast combine for very mild character.
Aroma: Light malt and maple with a kiss of fruit esters and herbal hop notes.
Serving Suggestions: Washed rind cow’s milk cheese, medium cheddar, emmenthal, gruyere, mountain cheese, Oka. Roasted red meat and stews.
Hops Variety: German Hersbrucker
Malt Variety: Pale 2-row, biscuit malt, light caramel malt and chocolate malt
Yeast: German Lager
Glassware: Shaker pint glass
Style: Irish red ale with maple syrup.
Serving Temp: 4 deg C