This is the second year that Innis & Gunn has graced us with a special beer designed just for Canadians in order to celebrate Canada Day. The Canadian Cask is brewed with malted rye and is aged in Canadian Club Rye Whiskey Barrels, as opposed to the Original Innis & Gunn which is aged in Bourbon barrels.
Rye beers are an interesting creature. They are not terribly different from a regular beer brewed with malted barley, and most rye beers are brewed still with a portion of malted barley. But rye produces 2 new characteristics in beer – it creates a smoother and more creamy body and mouthfeel, and it adds a distinct sweetness that can only be found in rye beers. It is different from the wide variety of flavors you get from malted barley – it tends to be more of the toffee candy side of things, and can also show a deep mellow sweetness that it blatantly obvious, but somehow subtle and relaxing on your palate.
This 2010 edition of the Canadian Cask is awesomely delicious. Really it makes me so happy to be Canadian. This beer shows a great combinations of smooth rich caramels and toffee with matured oak and a silky body. Upfront it is sweet with nuts and mellow maltiness, but warms into smooth candy flavors, soft warm fruits and a gentle hint of rye whiskey soaked wood. There is a spice hidden in here which I think will show itself more with time, but right now this beer is simply desert.
It does have a touch of hops to help add a bitter balance, but without a question, this beer is sweet like melted toffee poured over a warm oak tree. It is a limited edition release, so I highly recommend finding some at the LCBO while you can.