1/5/18: CAMERON'S Brewing's Early Bird Breakfast Barley Wine

8:51 AM

Good morning! And, I do mean that as good morning. It's currently ten o'clock as I sit here typing this. Me? Don't sweat a thing--I've been up and at it for hours. I went for a run (I am so damn out of shape). I took a shower. I'm getting ready to take a quick break from this post to drive Michelle to the post office and eat breakfast. Then, I'll be back at it with today's beer.


And, what is today's beer, you may ask? A barleywine. A breakfast barleywine. Crazy, right? I found a can (multiple cans, actually) at my local bottleshop priced at $4 a pop. I couldn't say no. So, without further ado (for you, not for me--I've a bit to do before this next bit), let's find out all about CAMERON'S Brewing's Early Bird Breakfast Barley Wine.

CAMERON'S is based out of Oakville, Ontario. The company began crafting their beers in 1997 and, for just over twenty years, has continued to do so using traditional brewing methods and all-natural ingredients. CAMERON'S owners have a combined wealth of experience in the beer world, so it's no surprise that their brewery has won over 200 awards with its products.

Early Bird is one of those award-winning products. This 11.4% ABV behemoth contains Canadian maple syrup and coffee, which, when combined with it's bourbon barrel-aging, impart notes of dark fruit, molasses, white chocolate, caramelized sugar, and toffee. Or, at least, that's what the beer's official writeup says.

A whiff of my can gives me coffee, toffee, and caramel. The dark fruits are also present--no molasses here, but, sure enough, I am finding just a bit of white chocolate. I don't get oakiness from the barrel-aging process, nor do I find any maple notes. I'm hopeful that they'll both turn up in the taste. A quick aside: The brew's 11.4% ABV, but there's no hint of that wallop in the nose. Purrl gave my can three whiffs--she's not much of a coffee cat.


There's coffee and alcohol in Early Bird's taste. The coffee is black and the booze is strong. The dark fruits and toffee come through here, as well, with the slightest bit of maple sweetness mingling with the booze in the finish. I'm not really finding much of the oak and it's qualities from the barrels, but the bourbon is here in force.

The ale's viscous like a barleywine should be, syrupy. It's fitting for a brew with such a high alcohol content.

I've been attempting, and failing, to conjure some a memory to associate with Early Bird. Sometimes a memory will pop up when I drink a beer, other times I need to dredge the depths for a while before something clicks. Neither of those are happening now.

But, I have to say, it is a perfect late-morning to enjoy such a beer. The sun's shining and streaming through my living room window. The world outside my house is cold and crisp but inside it's cozy and warm. I have Uncle Tupelo's March 16-20 1992 playing through my Mac's speakers. It's looking like today'll shape up to be a slow day, which is just the kind of day a barleywine like Early Bird needs.

CAMERON'S makes a good beer. Early Bird is a good barleywine. While I wish the maple would stand out more than it does, such a wish doesn't detract from an ale like this. I'm giving it an 8.5/10. If you can track it down and the price is right like it was for me, you really ought to go ahead and nab a can or two (I grabbed three).

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