Monday, October 18, 2010

Almonte Cross and Trafalgar Ales and Meads

Where to start? Talk about biking, or beer. Going by the expression "save the best for last", I'm gonna start with the biking, and finish with the beer.
This past weekend was the much anticipated Almonte cross race. I was looking forward to this one for 2 reasons:
1) the last time I rode an Almonte cross course was 2 years ago, and it was a fun course. Everyone talks about the Almonte courses being among their faves, and I'm sure this year would be no exception
2) I got a new bike!!!!

Looking pretty spiffy. An Opus Spark.

So yes, an Opus Spark. Aluminum frame with a carbon fork, decked out in full 105 components (except for the FSA Omega crank) and Mavic Aksium wheels. (Thanks to Dave at OGC for the hookup).

The Almonte course was, of course, fun, twisty, technical with lots of ups and downs. To start the race, I tried not to pedal my ass off too hard and blow up. Since we started doing laps around a gravel running track, it was easy to keep others in sight and take advantage of the draft. But as soon as the race hit the grass, my legs decided not to show up, and my pedaling generally lumbered for the rest of the race. On the second last and last laps, I managed to pcik up "a bit" of steam, and found myself out of the saddle trying to mash on the gears for small spurts at a time, but it was too little too late. So how did the bike ride? I found it a little twitchy at first, probably because the fit is a little on the small side of things. The shifting and braking were dependable, but I wonder how many muddy races it will take before the shifting starts to deteriorate. Did the bike make me any faster? No. I need to work on that one!

"A little" dirtier in the space of an hour.

So now on to the beer. Trafalgar Ales and Meads is an Ontario craft brewery out of Oakville. I recently tried two of their beers (they have an extensive selection); the Elora Grand Lager and Elora Irish Ale.

 Trafalger Elora Grand Lager

The Trafalgar website describes their Grand Lager as "a light colored but full flavored lager, brewed in the Plisner style, at full strength". This beer definitely has a nice initial flavour, but then it has a bitter aftertaste that sort of creeps up on you. Because of this, I wasn't a big fan of this beer.
Trafalgar Elora Irish Ale.

On the other hand, the Elora Irish Ale was a winner. What's an Irish Ale? I'm not exactly sure, but a bit of googling reveals that it's usually a red ale due to roasted barley. The Trafalgar site simply describes it as a "brown ale reminiscent of the old style of ale brewing. Brewed as an “anytime ale” this beer is smooth and refreshing". Smooth and refreshing...damn straight!!!! Overall, in terms of the aroma, flavour and finish, this beer had a nice balance between sweet and bitter, leaning towards the sweet side of things. This was full bodied as you would expect from a dark beer, but didn't leave me feeling full...instead I wanted more. One down side was very little carbonation...not sure if this was an intentional part of the brewing process or not. The other bonus with this beer...a 650ml bottle!

Nice and dark.


  1. Nice looking bike Stu! Now I will really have to work to stay in front of you :)

    I'm not a huge fan of Trafalgar. For some reason I've always been disappointed with their beers. I'll have to give the Irish Ale a shot if I can get some!

  2. I'll have to try some more of their beers...they're not all that easy to come by.

    Better watch out on your home turf next week!

  3. Funny, the Elora Grand is one of my fav Ontario craft beers at the moment. But I like my beer bitter!