26 May 2016

Summer & Sours & Saisons, Oh My!

There is something happening here and what it is ain't exactly clear...
(Buffalo Springfield)

While that's a great lyric, the coming wave of sours,wheats and saisons/farmhouse ales is perfectly clear to people who love craft beer. These styles have become a staple rather than a novelty in my fridge and those of my friends and I say "Hooray for our side!"  Citrusy, tart and a whole host of other amazing flavours have made this a brave new world for a former drinker of cheap, watery beer.
 Many people have been predicting sours in particular to be the new IPA for a while now, but to the regular macro beer drinker, it had been off the radar or an afterthought. No longer is this the case and it is time we get our pucker on! Here's some of my recent favourites for you to get an idea about what is capturing my heart.

Many of my friends have recently tried and fell in love with the Raspberry Uber from Nickel Brook Brewing. From its brilliant red colour, pinkish head and tart raspberry flavour that reminds you of eating them fresh from the garden, this beer has quickly become a staple in our summer beer fridges.  Soon available at the LCBO, this one is a serious contender as the beer of summer. 
Raspberries all up in your face!
If your near western Ontario, the Half Hours on Earth folks have captured our hearts with their takes on this refreshing style and I have horded a few of my pick ups from the other week because they are so good. I lament being so far from this brewery and will plead with my family who have a cottage nearby for a pickup anytime I can.
Small and nimble, this brewery will take your breath away

As for local options, I am just beginning to scratch the surface. Collective Arts has its Gose (Gose-Ah) available now and it is a smaller sour with a salt kicker in the back. Super crisp and clean, this was my choice for a growler fill the other day and when two of my friends stopped by the that night, it was quickly consumed and loudly applauded. Look for it in bottles/cans.
This is going to be a big hit!
I must say that the Farmhouse Ales and Saisons are now my go to beers when I want to take a break from all the yardwork. With their big citrusy notes, they provide a great flavour burst from the ordinary. They can range from not sour to mouth puckering so be cautious. You'll find everything from banana, orange peel and lemon zest to earthy yeast and pepper notes that can really punch the flavour up. Bellwoods, Muskoka, Black Oak, Block Three and Folly Brewpub are just the tip of what is a very big iceberg of amazing beers I've had recently and are either available in the LCBO, Beer Store or are worth the drive to get some really good stuff.
Beautiful Wheat beer.

Lots of orange and banana!

Saisons for days!

My 1000th distinct beer and it was a tart lemon beauty!

Folly has it going on!

I looked back on my summer beer pictures from last year and it was a lot of MGD, Old Milwaukee and Pabst. I had just really started to find my legs as a craft beer drinker and had not yet let go of my over consuming macro ways. I am imagining the summer of 2016 is going to be a much different photo album.
The amount of people who are getting into these fruitier tasting beers astounds me and it has been the people who hate IPAs and stouts that seem to have gravitated to the sours or saisons the most. I think a lot of it has to do with being tired of the same old "beer" taste and wanting to be part of this growing community of drinkers who are rising up and demanding better and more diverse things. I for one will be happy to be part of that charge and the more people we can bring into the fold the better. It will be an interesting time as demand grows and our craft brewers respond with their creativity being the only limit. I'm liking where this is headed.
So it's time to crank up the summer tunes, head on out to the deck and crack open a few beers to celebrate the beginning of my favourite time of the year. Bring on the heat and I'll see you by the pool!
Raise your glass and your standards, one beer at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment