“Calculated Spontaneity; Preparation of a Dinner with Beer” Part 9, McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale and Brew Dog’s Paradox Springbank

Part 8

So now it’s about midnight, we are parked on the couch watching Ace Ventura, and slowly sliding into a deep food coma. We are so full and so satisfied, beer is seemingly the last thing on our minds. However, if you know me, you know that that’s the opposite of what is going through my mind. Right now I am contemplating a light and refreshing beer, something with some spice and excitement to lift us and entertain our palates. It’s going to have to be light and crisp to combat the combination of 8 and 9% beers we have consumed. Luckily the beer I had in mind was in the fridge, and one I have been waiting for since it came out in October.

The St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale is a fall season that weighs in at 5%. Yes, only 5%, and I know it will offer us an energizing spike of flavor. St-Ambroise is probably Canada’s most well traveled Craft Brewery, beyond maybe Unibroue. It was established in Montreal in 1989 and has achieved recognition around the globe as an award winning brewery. I dare you to find a more quenching beer than their Apricot Wheat Beer. Honestly, you will find that test near impossible!

Pumpkin beers are always among of my favorite seasonal brews, and this Pumpkin Ale I think is the best among them! This St-Ambroise pours crisp and deliberate forming an off white medium head – the beer itself is dark orange, very golden, and transparent. It almost has a mahogany hue to it. The nose is delicate and scrumptious; it’s filed with pumpkin pie, clove, nutmeg, warm spice, sweet pumpkin flesh, light hop, and sweet malt. It’s so enticing, I can’t wait to enjoy this beer! As expected, the flavor erupts with spice right away in a crisp and quenching rush of nutmeg, clove, ginger and light pepper. As the beer flows across your palate sweet pumpkin make its presence known, but it’s light and soft, rather than robust. The finish is crisp and quenching with more spice, hops and pumpkin-like citrus. This creates a refreshing beer that could challenge any other on a hot day. Once again, I dare you to find something for refreshing!

Now it seems like the evening is coming to a close. We are ultimately satisfied and stuffed full of delicious food. We have teased and excited our palates and stimulated all of our senses. We’re still simply lounged out on the living room couch watching Ace Ventura in an utterly relaxed state of indulgence. Logic would argue that we continue to relax, do some cleaning, and maybe grab a glass of water. However! I felt like a scotch. But sticking with the theme of the night I couldn’t really go for a bottle of Glenlivet; I had to find the right beer for the moment.  And surprise surprise, I had exactly the right brew.

Icons of Whisky magazine named the Springbank Distillery the 2010 Distiller of the year. Founded in 1848, Springbank is the only distillery in Scotland to carry out the full production process on site producing more handmade whisky than any other distiller in Scotland.  On the flip side, Brew Dog is a brewery in Scotland that is not even two years old, and they have already been producing some of the world’s most innovative and exciting beers. And low and behold, these two iconic Scottish companies have joined together to create something truly special.

The Brew Dog Paradox Springbank is a 10% Imperial Stout which has been matured in used Springbank whisky barrels – is anyone else’s mouth watering yet? Brew Dog actually brews this stout and ages it in a few different barrels from other distilleries like The Macallan and Smokehead. I’ve had the Paradox Macallan before, and it was severely impressive, so I’m very excited for the Springbank.

All the Paradox beers come in a 341ml black bottle with gold writing on it; when you pour the beer you will notice it’s about the same. It pours oily and pitch-black growing a very small film of dark head. The blackness of the beer almost glows and shimmers in the glass – it is black gold. The nose is very nice with chocolate fudge, coconut, creamy lactose, and dried fruit. There’s also a hint of woody peat teasing me, almost like the beer is laughing at me. We’ll see who has the last laugh though… The mouthfeel is so creamy and smooth, almost masking the high alcohol – which is definitely apparent. But the alcohol seems to be appropriate for a beer aged in Scotch whisky barrels. It strikes with dark bitter chocolate, light nutty sweetness, ripe fruit, rich roasted malt, and that flash of peat smoke. That’s what I was waiting for. Mmm. The peat comes out beautifully closer to the back of your mouth to rewardingly surprise you. There is also a touch of espresso here. Seems like I got the last laugh! The finish is long and smooth with a grassy slightly citrus hop to it balancing out a whole lot of flavor.

Part 10


One Response to “Calculated Spontaneity; Preparation of a Dinner with Beer” Part 9, McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale and Brew Dog’s Paradox Springbank

  1. […] “Calculated Spontaneity; Preparation of a Dinner with Beer” Part 10, Breakfast … Part 9 […]

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