Shaking Off the Winter Brews

by Shawn

I don’t normally play beer favourites based on season, but of course, it’s just natural to reach for those light, possibly fruity, possibly tart, crushable beers. Now is about the time when brewers will start introducing some of their more summery beers, and this tasting is purely to showcase these! These somewhat loosely themed tastings are where I can let loose and try to turn people’s heads, change minds, defy expectations and really just show off. Don’t like pales and IPA? Well here’s a couple that you’re going to love. Can’t handle fruit and flavoured beers? This horchata inspired beer is everyone’s cup of tea. Hate sours? Well, some things I can’t help, but I can at least mourne in that case!

So what goes better with beer than cheese and meats? Nothing I can think of… so that’s what we got, from our lovely neighbours Peasant Cheese. I picked out 6 of my most summery beers, along with one darker style that I feel went along well enough. Now sit back and come with me on a quick little journey through the tasting, and just you try to stop your mouth from watering.

The Bruery Orchard Wit: This is what a Wit should be! Brewed in the style of Belgian Wit, but taken to another level with the addition of Bavarian wit and French Saison yeast on top of the typical Belgian Wit. On top of all that, a light souring with house cultures and foedra ageing. Crisp, fruity and wild! ($9.69 for a 375mL bottle)

Burdock Brett Apricot: This saison is aged in neutral oak barrels on top of apricots and apricot puree for 1 year. Super delicate like a pretty white wine, a light vinous character with robust stone fruit flavours and lively carbonation. A subtle but fantastic beer. ($14.79 for a 375mL bottle)

Banded Peak Pink Boots NEPA: Crisp, with a creamy, grainy body. Oodles of mango, papaya and exotic citrus fruits thanks to the plentiful hopping. Low in alcohol and IBUs make this just the most crushable. (Available for a limited time on our growler bar)

Breakside Kids These Haze: Bigger body than our previous beer. Still plenty of tropical fruits and heavy citrus. Mellow alcohol is still present and beneath a wonderfully assembled malty base. ($11.39 for a 650mL bottle)

Evil Twin Kolata: Milkshake IPA with pineapple and coconut. Thes best kind of pina kolata. Starts sweet and ends dry, with good coconut tones, light fruitiness and a good base malt. ($6.79 for a 473mL tall can)

The Bruery Or Xata: A blonde ale made like a horchata! The addition of rice, cinnamon, and vanilla turn this beer magically into a creamy, summery drink with light spice and silky body. Drink cold! ($18.49 for a 750mL bottle)

Outcast the Forgetful Brewer: At the last minute, Outcast brewer Patrick decided to make a  stout inspired by a hazelnut spread, with big additions of hazelnuts cacao, and vanilla. This light-bodied stout, funny enough, has hints of coconut and light spice before the hazelnut kicks in with the slightly rich chocolate. ($19.19 for a 4-pack of tall cans)

Not too shabby, right? Unfortunately, there was a slight chill in the air this evening, and we don’t have a patio… but honestly my guests were as impressed with this lineup as I assume you are, and we all had a little trouble picking our favourites (though for some, that Or Xata was hands down the bee’s knees). But the real winner of the evening was the Orchard Wit, followed by Or Xata, and finally the Pink Boots NEPA. I was partial to the brett apricot myself, but I totally understand that it’s mellow, subtle quality is easily lost among all those super robust beers. I honestly don’t think there was a single loser in the lineup, so getting to taste through them made us the real winners.

So that’s about it for this tasting, the next you’ll hear from me is the first half of June’s new beers. So until then, cheers!

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Twitter: @ShawnsBrewsCGY

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