REVIEW: China Wall – Johnny Bower by Lake of Bays Brewing Co.

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CHINA WALL JOHNNY BOWER VIENNA DARK LAGER BY LAKE OF BAYS BREWING CO.

  • STYLE: Dark Vienna Lager
  • ABV: 7%
  • IBU: N/A
  • COUNTRY: Canada
  • REGION: Baysville, ON
  • BREWERY: Lake of Bays Brewing Co.

From Lake of Bays Brewing Co.,

During 12 seasons with Toronto, Johnny Bower’s fearlessness in goal earned him 200 stitches, a toothless grin and the nickname China Wall. With his patented poke-check, top goalie trophies and four cups, this hall of famer is considered one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. During the twilight of his career Bower donned a mask, for a total of 17 games.

Vienna Dark Lager is an influential beer style first brewed in 1830s Austria. China Wall pours reddish-brown and imparts the warming character of toasted malt with a slight hint of caramel. Clocking in at 7% alc./vol., only 12,000 bottles of China Wall are being produced.

A limited number of each Signature Series release will be available at select LCBOs, but the bottles will not be hand-numbered and they will not be guaranteed to be in stock.

For more information on China Wall, please click here.

Appearance | Clear Cherrywood colour with a brisk off-white head.

Smell | Malts, caramel, grains, toasted bread, and nuts.

Taste | Caramel, grains, toasted bread, nuttiness, dark fruit, and grass.

Aftertaste | Bitterness, malts, nuttiness, and grass.

Overall | The China Wall- Johnny Bower Vienna Dark Lager is the first in the NHL Alumni Signature Series from Lake of Bays Brewing Co. It’s a decent medium-bodied malty lager that has noteworthy undertones of caramel and nuts, which are slightly overwhelming. This brew defies the lager-style’s stereotype of being boring; it is surprisingly good.  The bitterness is evident but not overwhelming.  While drinkers are more familiar with the Pale Lager, the Vienna lager differs in that it is fermented in cooler temperatures, which helps give it the dark colour. The 7% is pretty massive for a Lake of Bays product but is masked pretty well.

The design on the bottle itself, displaying a Johnny Bower mask, makes this a great Christmas present (if you can find it!)  for any hockey fan.  Lake of Bays is only producing 12,000 bottles of China Wall, so stock up if you like it!

The downside is the hefty price of this brew- it’s $11.95 per bottle. At this price, many craft beer fans may pass it up. A good option if the price is a deterrent, is to share this beer among friends before buying more than one.

Just like Top Shelf Classic Lager, a portion of China Wall – Johnny Bower Dark Vienna Lager sales will go to the NHL Alumni Association, a not-for-profit organization whose many charitable causes include assisting former NHL players in their transition from professional hockey. The benefit of drinking this beer is two-fold: this is a great way to support retired hockey players and your local Ontario breweries.

Food Pairing | Popcorn or Hot Dog (Steamed & in foil!)

LCBO Inventory | $11.95 | 750ml

Note: Lake of Bays Brewing Co. supplied China Wall – Johnny Bower Vienna Dark Lager for The Brew Head to review.  Thanks for bringing it over, Jeff!  

 3 Pints / 5 Pints

three-pints

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