Innis & Gunn is easily one of the most popular line of beers from Scotland in Canada — so much so that they have branched out into numerous versions of their barrel-aged products, such as a rum-finished ale and a Canadian whisky cask ale.
Each one of these beers has a distinct flavour, a hint of the spirit that was aged in the barrel before the beer was brewed.
Not everyone is a fan of Innis & Gunn as some prefer a lighter, crisper lager over the sweet, oaky thick ale Innis & Gunn is known for.
Now the company has introduced a new beer for those who want an Innis & Gunn but prefer lagers — a lager craft-brewed with naked golden oats to give it a nice sweetness that is extracted during the brewing process. At 4.6 per cent ABV, it’s lighter than most Innis & Gunn ales, but it seems that this will be a patio favourite this summer ... if that season ever arrives.
Innis & Gunn Lager currently only comes in a 500mL can, which makes it convenient to take to bonfires or camping, plus there’s no worrying about accidental breakage like you would with glass bottles.
Also, one thing I find about canned beer over bottled beer is that lagers tend to stay fresh longer in a can — there’s no light seeping through the can to make it go bad over time.
The Innis & Gunn is a pale straw yellow lager, similar to a Farmery Lager or most craft lagers out there, a bit darker than a Canadian or Blue. There’s a decent amount of carbonation, a slight amount of fizzing as it’s being poured.
For the aroma, I was expecting a hint of the standard Innis & Gunn oak barrel sweetness but unfortunately, it’s nowhere to be found. As this is aimed towards the summer lager crowd over the current I&G fans, it’s understandable.
There’s a sweet-oat graininess in there, plus a hint of lemon and a bit of a grassy hop aroma complementing the oatiness, though I prefer a bit more bitterness or oakiness personally.
As for the taste, it’s a decent amount sweeter than most lagers out there as the malted oats give it a distinct sweetness. There’s a bit of a nuttiness and quite a bit of an oaty flavour because, well, it uses oats! There’s a long-lingering aftertaste from the grassy hops and oats, giving it a sticky, sweet feeling on the tongue.
Overall, it’s a decent summertime lager that’s sweeter than most. Those who like less sweetness and more of the standard barley flavour in their lagers may not like this one, as it’s quite a bit maltier than the standard Canadian lager.
I was hoping it would be aged in Scotch barrels, but maybe one day!
It’s available in 500mL cans at the Killarney and 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart for $2.99. I won’t be surprised if this will eventually make its way to most rural Liquor Marts seeing that Innis & Gunn is generally very easy to find throughout Manitoba.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 24, 2014