Imported by: Sleeman U.S.A.
The Sleeman Brewery was established in 1834 by English immigrant John Sleeman, whose great-great-grandson now heads the company. The cream ale has been brewed since 1834.
Alcohol (wt.): 4.0
Alcohol (vol.): 5.0
There’s beautiful gold color and a splendid thick slow-clicking head, presenting an open invitation on a hot over-the-top day. This simple, chilled, well-balanced example of good old-fashioned, finely brewed Canadian “cream ale” reminds me of my misspent youth when cream ale was the creme de la crème, the best we could find. A nice place to revisit, but it is well to remember that a clear glass bottle is not a good home for any beer, least of all a gold-hued brew. A good cheese selection might be an American (or Canadian) soft chevre.
As a brewer, clear bottles give me the willies—they leave the naked beer prey to light. The beer pours deep yellow with a collapsing white head. The aroma is fine—the light hasn’t gotten to it yet. A suggestion of grain, a whiff of hop. The bitterness is low, allowing an almost sugary sweetness to emerge on the palate. The flavors are remarkably neutral. It just sort of dissipates into the finish. Cream ales are rarely exciting. I admire the cleanliness, but I would enjoy some flavor.
This curious North American style of a hundred years ago was a compromise between ale and lager. Being all things to all drinkers rarely works. The style survived as almost the last American speciality, but does it have a place in the post micro scene? This example was faithful enough, for what that is worth: full gold colour; fresh, “dusty” sherbet lemons bouquet. Lemon-zest bitterness and sugary sweetness in a surprisingly heavy middle palate, quickly dispatched in a carbonic finish.