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Canadian special

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Two Scottish brewers say thank you to Canada

Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Canadian Cask
Innis & Gunn, Edinburgh, Scotland
$5.99 for 330 ml bottle

Ten years ago Dougal Gunn Sharp and his brother Neil Innis Sharp didn’t
think about Canada much at all. The driving forces behind the unusual and
original Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn were too busy in the Scottish
brewing scene to even consider what Canada might mean for them. What a
difference a few years can make. They now love Canada and our beer
drinkers.

The two brothers, as most of you have figured out, are the faces behind one
of the most audacious attempts at beer marketing in the last few years. In
2001 they accidentally stumbled across the discovery that if you age beer in
oak casks for a couple of months, the flavour transforms completely. Their
original ale has been sold in Canada only since 2005 but has already become
the biggest selling British import brand in the country.

Which is the main reason why the Sharp boys love Canada so much. Canadian
beer drinkers have taken to Innis & Gunn at a level unmatched by any
other nation. So to honour that reception Innis & Gunn has released a
one-time beer exclusively for the Canadian market. They only made 150 barrels
(about 24 000 litres) of the stuff, which isn’t much in the beer world,
and released it in time for Canada Day 2009.

Innis & Gunn beer is normally aged in American Bourbon oak casks. This,
of course, would not suffice for a beer honouring Canadians. So they selected
Canadian Rye Whiskey casks for this limited edition version.

The beer tumbles into the glass a deep copper, almost red, colour. It is
notably darker and richer than their original beer. The aroma is a blend of
rich malt sweetness and some woody notes. It also has that distinct Innis
& Gunn buttery, butterscotch nose, which also follows through to the
mouthfeel. I have always been mixed about that particular characteristic in
their beer, not being sure if it is intentional or a flaw.

The flavour is sweet and fruity. I detect banana, apple, caramel and some
vanilla. The oaky wood notes hang out only in the background but are present.
Across the roof of my mouth I pick up butter and a bit of whiskey. The beer
finishes sweet with an oak linger.

I think this is my favourite Innis & Gunn beer. To be honest I have been
a bit underwhelmed by their Limited Edition beers to date. But this one
offers a fmouthful of flavour and characteristics that deviate from their
regular beer. They have upped their game for Canada—for which we should
be thankful.

The only thing I should say about this beer is pick it up soon. It won’t be
around long. To find it check out alberta-liquor-guide.com.
V 

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