Ontario Beer trends: Bitter, with a chance of sour or fruity
Ontario Beer trends: Bitter, with a chance of sour or fruity -- Now that summer’s finally, officially upon us, people across Ontario are reaching for a bottle of beer. But what, exactly, are they reaching for?
Continue to the full article by Josh Rubin Staff Reporter at TheStar.com
Now that summer’s finally, officially upon us, people across Ontario are reaching for a bottle of beer. But what, exactly, are they reaching for?
They’re reaching for hoppy brews, fruity-infused shandies, sour beers and even some collaborative beers made by brewers from different companies working together.
Here’s a look at some of the sudsy trends hitting the shelves in Ontario this summer and beyond.
It gets bitter: Ontario drinkers are falling in love with hops. Or at least that’s what you can assume by what’s showing up on the shelves at the LCBO.
Even five years ago, you could count on one hand the number of hoppy India Pale Ales available for sale in Ontario. Now, there are dozens, with more coming in every few weeks. Whether it’s locally-brewed IPAs or double IPAs like Black Oak’s 10 Bitter Years and Muskoka’s Twice as Mad Tom, or American imports such as Southern Tier (from just south of Buffalo) and Founders Centennial IPA (from Michigan), we’re practically swimming in fragrant, bitter, hoppy beer.
Last year, Barrie-based Flying Monkeys produced a rich, strong imperial stout flavoured with cocoa; it was co-designed by the Barenaked Ladies. Members of the band visited the brewery on the day it was made, and helped design the label. It was the first in a series for Flying Monkeys. The second, an “imperial maple wheat” brewed by singer-songwriter Dallas Green, better known as City and Colour. That beer, too, will be on LCBO shelves soon.
Sourpuss: Of all the flavours found in beer, one of the toughest for novices to appreciate is tartness. Once you acquire the taste, however, it’s hard to get enough of. Fortunately for sourpusses (myself included), there are more and more available in Ontario, some of them even brewed locally. Judging by how well they’ve been selling, we’re bound to see more. At the LCBO, the elegant, balanced Cuvée des Jacobins from Belgium is filled with notes of tart berries and a bit of funk. On the funkier more sour side is Panil Bariquee, a Flemish-style sour beer from the distinctly non-Flemish city of Parma, Italy. Both Cuvée des Jacobins and Panil Bariquée are great with charcuterie.
Another tart treat — Armand and Tommy Oude Geuze from Belgium’s 3 Fonteinen — was briefly available at the LCBO, but sold out in the blink of an eye despite a $22 price tag. Local brewers, including Bellwoods Brewing and Indie Alehouse, are also serving up some sour suds. Bellwoods and Indie Alehouse both frequently serve different kinds of Berliner Weisse, a tart wheat beer style originating in the German capital. At less than 4 per cent alcohol, a well-made Berliner Weisse is great in summer time.