A trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake offered me a chance to fill my Niagara Oast House Brewers 64-oz. growler with their tasty Barn Raiser Country Ale, check out my review if you’re interested, and it also provided a chance to fill up my second growler with another brew. After some deliberation and taste-testing, I chose to make my second growler home to Hef’s Big Wood, one of the Oast House’s semi-rotational brews.
Named for the fact that this is a barrel-fermented and aged hefeweizen, not in honour of Hugh Hefner, this brew is only available at the brewery, although some of Niagara Oast House’s beers are available at the LCBO.
Niagara Oast House Brewers: Hef’s Big Wood – First Sip
I should start by saying that my experience drinking this beer three days after it was poured into a 64-oz growler will differ from that of someone drinking it at the brewery. But, the label on the jug says to drink it within five days of pouring, so I’m solidly within the brewery’s prescribed margin of enjoyment.
Hef’s Big Wood pours a cloudy straw-yellow. A layer of foam gathers at the top of my glass and quickly dissipates to a film. I smell vanilla as I enjoy this brew’s toasty flavour. With a clove-y flavour at first, Hef’s Big Wood develops a semi-sweet aftertaste. And, because of its considerably low carbonation level — especially because it’s three days old — this beer has a very smooth mouthfeel.
Niagara Oast House Brewers: Hef’s Big Wood – Last Sip
Even though it’s three days old, this is a tasty beer with a lot to offer. I’ve always been in favour of things oak-aged, and this brew is no exception to that rule. Although some may find this beer too strong — it does weigh in at a respectable 6% ABV — I say that the clove-y flavour, almost like a pumpkin pie at times, proves a great companion to salty snacks and/or moldy cheeses.