Railway City Brewing Company ("Railway") is located at 168 Curtis Street in St.Thomas, Ontario, and was founded by Al Goulding and Paul Corriveau in 2006. During 2007 they purchased all of the equipment, and one year later all of the necessary renovations were completed. In January 2008, the first test batch was undertaken with the doors opening in April 2008. Railway's Dead Elephant India Pale Ale ("Dead Elephant") is its best selling beer and was created as a tribute to Jumbo the Elephant, who was killed in a tragic railroad accident in St. Thomas in the late 1800's. Apparently, DEA was supposed to be a one off seasonal beer.
Bucky purchased a 473 ml can of Dead Elephant IPA from his local LCBO, which was 6.5% alcohol by volume. There was no visible production or "best before" date on the can. Dead Elephant poured a slightly hazy golden orange colour which became much deeper when backlit. An aggressive pour produced 1" of orange tinted off-white foam which lasted for about 3 minutes before receding to a thin collar and film that left some modest lacing down the glass. Its aroma was quite mild, with caramel malt and grapefruit noticeable...the grapefruit aroma being much stronger in its can than in my glass. The beer's flavour was quite sweet up front, due primarily to the caramel malt, but there seems to be another sweet, fruity flavour in the beginning that I can't quite pin down. The sweetness gives way to a bitter grapefruit flavour, which lingers for a while as an aftertaste.
Overall, a good use and balance of sweet malts and bitter hops...unlike some of the craft IPAs that I've tried lately that seem to be engaged in a competition to see which can take the most enamel off my teeth. I would describe Dead Elephant as a medium full bodied IPA, but slightly undercarbonated for my personal taste. At $2.60 per 473 ml can, Dead Elephant is reasonably priced.
Bucky's second beer from the Railway City Brewing Company was their Honey Bee'Lixir ("HBL"), purchased from his local LCBO in a swing top 750 ml bottle. The bottle displays some pretty fancy printing designed to produce the feeling of an 1800's travelling medicine show. Apparently the LCBO objected to the beer's original name which contained the word "elixir"...hence the beer's new name. HBL was 5.0% alcohol by volume with a "best before" date of January 30, 2013 affixed to the bottom of the bottle. Be sure to read the reverse for a quick history of honey and some Bee'Lixir facts.
HBL poured a dark brown/amber colour with ruby highlights when backlit. Pouring produced about 1.5" of orange tinged, off white head which lasted for about 4 minutes before fading to a collar of foam and patchy film, leaving just traces of spotting and lacing down the glass. Its aroma was dominated by honey (I love it when beers with honey in the name actually have a detectable honey presence), with caramel undertones. HBL's flavour began with a honey and caramel sweetness, which was nicely balanced by a moderate dark malt bitterness at the end, which lingers for just a few seconds as an aftertaste. A very pleasant experience so far. The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I would have preferred from a honey based beer, with the carbonation perhaps a bit underdone. Overall an enjoyable beer meant to be shared in a 750 ml bottle, but at $8.95 per bottle I would have to call this one overpriced and knock the rating down a notch accordingly. I imagine a fair bit of the price is due to the fancy packaging, since the brewery is offering a refund of $1.00 per bottle if returned to the brewery.
473 ml can from Bucky's local liquor store, best before July 9, 2015, and 6.0% alcohol by volume. Love the slogan; “for all the naughty boys and girls” on the back of the can!
Pours an opaque very dark brown verging on black, with 1” of dense, foamy brown head that gradually fades over a few minutes to a collar and thin film. No lacing, and only some minor spotting down the glass as the beer level drops. The aroma is promising with lots of roasted malt, dark chocolate, burnt coffee and a touch of herbal hops. The taste starts off with a toffee sweetness and then goes into hibernation for 2-3 seconds, at which point some rich dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee flavours come to the fore, with a mild hop bitterness in the finish. A mildly bitter dark-roast coffee flavour lingers on the palate as an aftertaste. Not a complex beer, but the tastes are a pleasant combination. My only complaint is that Black Coal Stout seems too light bodied, an odd contrast to a creamy mouthfeel. Mild carbonation reinforces the creamy, smooth mouthfeel.
Overall, a solid brew from the folks at Railway City, but perhaps better suited as an introduction to the world of stouts than as a beer for the veteran stout lover. $3.15 per 473 ml can at time of writing.
473 ml can purchased from Bucky's local LCBO, The Witty Traveller (“TWT”) from Railway City was 4.2% alcohol by volume. ‘Best before' date of September 3, 2015 is printed on the bottom of the can.
TWT poured a foggy straw yellow colour with about ½” of fizzy white head that fizzed itself into oblivion inside of one minute. Consequently, no lacing or spotting down the glass. Nice aromas though…yeast, white pepper, coriander and sweet light fruits. Its taste was sweet up front with notes of orange and lemon citrus, followed by yeast, and a delayed action spicy white pepper and coriander finish that lingers on the palate. This is the first time that I have encountered a spicy aftertaste in a wheat beer, and it works. Relatively light bodied with a carbonation sufficient to give the beer a crisp mouth feel, without crossing the line into prickly. The beer monopoly is selling TWT for $2.85 per 473 ml can at the time of writing. A refreshing and enjoyable brew, but being a bit of a purist Bucky prefers wheat beers that have those characteristic citrus and spice notes without physically adding these things to the beer. It took the Germans 800 years to master that art though, so maybe Canadian brewers need a bit more time to reach that same level of brewing finesse.