Cowbell Brewing Co. — Doc Purdue’s Bobcat (West Coast Red Ale)

I’m currently on vacation on the shores of beautiful Lake Huron, so I have little more important to do than kick back, drink beer, and write a few words about the experience. The good thing about drinking beer on summer vacation is that it’s delicious and refreshing. The bad thing about it is that if you drink too many of them in the sun, you get sick. So, I’m limiting myself to two at a time. Cheers to responsible adult behaviour!

Let’s get on with round one of the draught. (Heh. Beer puns): the Bobcat Red Ale from Cowbell Brewery in Blyth, Ontario.

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The Can: Speaking of puns, the Cowbell slogan is “Craft Beer that Rings True.” Good stuff, Gandalf! Bobcat comes in a plain black can with red accents, and a silly claw swipe design over the name. The first thing I noticed was that the Cowbell logo has a hop as the bell clapper, which I thought was very clever and amusing. The most interesting part of the can is the picture around the side, featuring what looks like a scowling old timey barbershop singer perched in masculine fashion on a barstool and holding an angry bobcat on a leash. The accompanying legend explains that Doc. Perdue (the scowling gentleman) was a veterinarian who once threatened to release a bobcat in the bar after being cut off by the bartender. That story sounds like bullshit, but it also sounds like something Ron Swanson would do. So, I’m on board.

The Colour: Bobcat has a nice burnt amber colouring and a thick, foamy head like a root beer float. I once attempted to make “Butterbeer” from the Harry Potter novels, and it looked similar. This tasted better.

The Flavour: The Bobcat nicely balances full, rounded flavour and smoothness, with a respectable 5.5% abv content. It’s strong in hops but not in a way that is overpowering, as can easily occur. I taste notes of pine and citrus. Compared to something like your average Rickard’s Red, the Bobcat blows it out of the water.

The Verdict: I’m drinking this right down the road from Blyth, Ontario, and am tempted to stop into the Cowbell Brewery on the way home to sample what else they have to offer. I quite enjoyed this well-bodied red ale. The bitter aftertaste lasts just long enough to want to keep sipping. It’s full-flavoured enough that I can’t see myself drinking more than a couple of these at a time before switching to something a little less hoppy, but it’s a good way to cap off or kick off a summer day.

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