When you have to make a long road trip it always helps if you can break it up with interesting places to stop. Traveling from Ottawa to Windsor is certainly a long road trip, and with the proliferation of breweries in Ontario there are often good choices for stops. When we heard of a new brewery opening in Whitby we made sure to schedule a stop.
5 Paddles is a nano brewery, producing 350 litre batches and seem to be quite popular as the choices to bring home were limited. They had two beers in bottles, which was a pleasant surprise. I don't mind growlers, but traveling with one seemed a little more than I would have preferred. After securing two bottles each of their Midnight Paddler black ipa and the Hot Pants ipa, since there were less than a dozen of each left, we talked a bit with Spencer, one of the brewers/jack of all trades at 5 Paddles.
They have much in common with Broadhead, which is unsurprising after Spencer told us that Broadhead was the inspiration and helpful party in setting up 5 Paddles production facilities. The DIY spirt is obvious here, and felt quite familiar having recently toured Broadhead. When I asked Spencer if he was the brewer he said all of the original Paddlers are the brewers and general jack of all trades. Again, similar to the Broadhead philosophy.
After chatting a little, we decided to grab a flight of the other beers they had on tap but had sold out of bottles. There were 4 on tap, one being Hot Pants and since we had bottles of that we went with the other 3. First up was the summer.
Dog Days of Summer is sweeter than any summer ale I've had in the past. It was certainly refreshing and had a pleasant creamy mouthfeel. Definitely a good combination for a hot summer patio. However, the 6 percent a.b.v. might hit a little harder than a typical summer.
We Opened A Brewery ESB brought a chuckle from me on the name, and continued the fun naming conventions that 5 Paddles has. The beer was nothing to chuckle about though. An excellent example of an ESB, this is a beer I wish I could get on a regular basis. A delicious, nutty flavour was followed by a wonderful bitterness. Drinking many of these would be quite easy.
The last sample was the Bad Ass pale. An American Pale ale that focused on the malt profile. A lot of caramel up front, the malts were a mouth filling taste. The floral hops were a little subdued, and I later found out they were brewing a Bad Ass 2.0 with an enhanced hop. It was still a very nice beer and I think the 2.0 version will be very good.
At the end of the trip we opened the bottles that we bought, excited to continue the experience.
Hot Pants ipa has a great grapefruit nose and flavour. A sweet caramel note of the malts balances the bitterness of the hops. A very nice ipa that is refreshing, yet big in flavour.
Finally, the Midnight Paddler. The label says black ipa, but they call it a stout/ipa fusion. One smell of this beer and the coffee roast reminds you very much of a stout. The creamy, beige head, also looks like a stout. The flavours of the coffee roast comes through first, then the warm, sweetness of the malts come through. At 9.9 abv the alcohol is surprisingly subtle and leads perfectly into the hoppy bitterness. This would be a nice after dinner drink or night cap for a cooler night.
This is another example of the great explosion of wonderful beers Ontario is experiencing right now. Spencer was a friendly and welcome host and my only complaint was that this brewery is a little far from Ottawa so I will not be able to routinely have their beer available to me. Cheers 5 Paddles and good luck!