These two beers were released during Dark Horizons, a wintry five-day event where on each day the brewery released a dark beer with a food pairing,* curated by head brewer and ex-sommelier – and flavour seer – Ian Watson.
While it does show its six litres of cold drip and five litres of maple syrup, Dawn Coffee & Pancake Stout is a more nuanced beer than it sounds. The brewery refers to it as a pastry beer but they haven’t gone overboard with adjuncts, instead letting the coffee and maple join with the dark malts to create the flavour profile. It does what’s on the label: it drinks like a full-bodied cold drip coffee, sweetened with just enough maple syrup and somehow given a deep brown head of foam. For the event, it was paired with a maple bacon chicken burger.
The savoury flavours and mild spice of pulled beef tacos made up the pairing for Dawn Single Malt Red, but honestly this beer stands wonderfully on its own. The SM40 dark Munich-style malt from Voyager serves as the workhorse in this beer, and my oh my it does the job. A creamy dense head the colour of ivory sits atop the glinting red beer, giving off wafting notes of bread, toast, earthiness and Irish cream. Eclipse hops add a touch of their distinct mandarin character, but they’re not the star: this beauty is all about the malt. The dry finish leaves you licking your lips and crying out for more.
Crying. Literally: crying. It’s embarrassing for everyone.
*If you’re disappointed that you’re not reading about the other three, rest assured I’m also disappointed I didn’t get to taste them.