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Wednesday, September 6, 2023



Originally I was going to call this review "Beer Nuts", but then I thought that was too coy and punny. I was given four beers from Innis & Gunn (repped by PMA) to write up as the company makes some changes in Ontario at the LCBO. Innis & Gunn was founded in 2003 in Scotland; this is now its 20th anniversary. The company specializes in Scottish ale, also called Scottish red beer, a sort-of milder stout with lower carbonation. My wife likes them for their character and lower carbonation. I usually drink just draught beer but it is pretty hard to tell the difference between draught Innis & Gunn and bottled Innis & Gun – principally because of the carbonation.

1.The Innis & Gunn Lager Beer (473mL cans, +33528, $2.95) now at the LCBO, is made in Ontario, brewed with barley and oats and aromatic hops. It replaces the 500mL can that was imported from Scotland, and the price has been reduced from $3.50 since it is now made locally. The taste remains the same with citrus tones and nuances of the basics of lager beer. 4.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.The Innis & Gunn Caribbean Rum Cask Beer (473mL cans, +33526, $3.75 normally, but $3.25 on sale through September 10 as an LTO, saving 50 cents) replaces the bottles and is brewed under license in Toronto. It's a standardized can size, and still 6.8% ABV. Using only barley and low bittering, it's matured in hand-selected rum casks, and this gives it a toffeed dried fruit and off-dry character with some vanilla tones. Matured 51 days in cask. My wife's fave. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.The Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask (500mL cans, +13618, $3.35) usually appears in Ontario in January and February, just ahead of St. Patrick's day. It's a Scottish oatmeal stout, with barley and oats, and it matures for 51 days in Irish whiskey casks coming in at 6.1% ABV. It's actually a "Product of Scotland" made in used Irish whiskey casks, exhibiting vanilla tones with nuances of coffee and chocolate (mocha elements) as do stouts. So it is a Limited Edition, and if you wanted more, then you had better buy more when it first comes for it next winter!! Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.The Innis & Gunn Islay Whisky Cask Beer Limited Edition (2 x 330mL bottles in a box, +25082, $12.95) is also a Laphroaig Edition in a double cardboard box. It's another in the Scottish red beer category. It's been double matured in Laphroaig first fill malt cask (10-year old single-malt Laphroaig) AND then in port casks. It's a malty amber ale, coming in at 7.4% ABV, full of peat smoke toffee and tobacco. Well-worth your consideration. Quantities are limited. Quality/Price rating is 94+ points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada

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