Radical Road “Canny Man” Scotch Whisky Barrel Aged Wee Heavy, Toronto, Ontario LCBO $10.95 (750ml)

Every so often I come across a beer or wine that so offends me I feel it my duty as a Canadian Scot to point it out to our readership.

With an overall design aesthetic that brings to mind a misguided attempt to market eXXXtreme sports to crusty Steampunk Goths, Toronto’s Radical Road Brewing’s Canny Man certainly stands out on the shelves but for all the wrong, wrong, wrong reasons. Now I’m all for interesting design when it comes to beer and wine labelling, but the true crime begins as soon as one opens the 750ml bottle.

Imagine, if you will, picking up the wrong bottle of beer at a wild house party, taking a swig, and discovering that particular bottle of beer had previously been used by Lemmy of Motorhead imfamy first as a portable ashtray and then as a urine receptacle. Let it be said that when it comes to beer flavour profiles, stale cigarette butts and acrid jakey pish do not good bedfellows make, a fact obviously lost upon Radical Road’s Brewmasters.

Whilst I am extremely familiar with the Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy style, and have an intimate understanding of the peatier side of malt whisky, this beer is so over-the-top and monochromatic with regards to the iodine, peatsmoke components, I find it absolutely undrinkable. I put this down to the beer’s 71 days maturation in Speyside whisky barrels. It’s overworked and missing any of the nuanced subtleties of dried fruits and toffee that I associate with the better examples in this category.

I’m all for encouraging the Ontario Craft Brewing scene, but I’m of the opinion that these fellows have a few things to learn when it comes to the making of drinkable suds. Here’s hoping that their next batch or bottling isn’t quite as utterly vile as this one has proven itself to be. In fact it sullies the name of the Morningside drinking establishment with which it shares a name.

Don’t try this at home… or anywhere else for that matter.


Zero Apples (out of five)

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution
… And he’s by no means an effete wine-drinking snob and does actually enjoy good beer.