One of the wonderful things about my hometown of Ottawa is how close you can be to water. The Rideau Canal is probably the best-known body of water in our region.

But there’s also the Rideau River, the Gatineau River, and the mighty Ottawa. In this Canada 150 year, it might be worth a moment to realize that it wasn’t always the Ottawa – the Algonquin people called this massive river Kitchissippi, the “Great River.”

And even now, with dams and power plants, it’s still a pretty great river.

And since this is a beer blog, water is kind of important. Which brings me to Kichesippi.

Yes, it’s not spelled like the civic ward or the local newspaper. But spelling in oral languages is not an exact science.

Kichesippi was founded in 2009 and has been doing well since then – having, in its early years, bought up the assets of locals Heritage Brewing (I still miss them) and Scotch-Irish Brewing.

Kichesippi’s regular output is one of three beers: Natural Blonde, Heller High Water, and 1855, which is named to commemorate Ottawa’s incorporation as the city that would become Canada’s capital 12 years later.

And 1855 is what fell into my hand the other day, which is not surprising, as I like this beer a lot.

I’m a fan of amber ales, and this one, which won a gold medal at the 2012 World Beer Championships, is a great example of the style.

Visually, it’s definitely amber, and almost opaquely so. It’s not the same as a stout, but it certainly is on the dark side of amber, with some red in the beer as well.

On the palate, it’s a refreshing change from the hopfest that craft beer sometimes becomes.

Rather than hoppy bitterness, 1855 has malty caramel flavours forward on the tongue, which brings smoothness rather than astringence to the drinker.

The brewery focuses on making food-friendly beers, and I’ve had it with a number of dishes (most recently grilled salmon, which wasn’t the best pairing). I think it might be best with something more on the pork / rib side of things.

If you’re looking for a pucker-inducing brew, this is not it. If you’re looking for something that gives you some of the flavours of darker beers without feeling ponderous or heavy… you’re not up the creek with Kichesippi’s 1855.

1855 is currently widely available at retail and pub outlets in Ottawa and in many Loblaws stores in the GTA.


  • Style: Amber Ale
  • ABV: 5.1%
  • IBUs: 31
  • Colour: Dark amber
  • Taste: Caramel, smooth
  • Locale: Eastern Ontario
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Untappd ratings
Bob LeDrew

Bob LeDrew

Bob LeDrew has gone from bootlegged bottles of Alexander Keith’s as a teenager to living in an Ottawa neighbourhood within a short bike ride of six microbreweries. Bob enjoys beer, whisky, and writing about himself in the third person, when he’s not writing about someone else in the third person or playing a ukulele.
Bob LeDrew
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