23 December 2016

2016 Polkies - Sours, Farmhouse Ales and Saisons

It's that time again and we kick of the 2016 Polkie awards with the Sours, Farmhouse Ales and Saisons that caught my attention this last year. My favourite part of doing this has been reminiscing not only about the great beer, but the fun adventures we have had in 2016. With so many beers, I had a tough time picking a favourite, I do tend to love the beer I'm drinking right now the most. I hope you had the chance to try some of these and look for many of them to return in 2017. The countdown to my most favourite 10 beers of 2016 begins today and I am so happy to share it with you.
I put these beers into the categories they best fit in for my palate and tried to match the style descriptions from the breweries. But all is well because amazing beer is a thing unto itself.
Raise your glass to the Drunk Polkaroo's favourite Saisons, Sours and Farmhouse Ales.

1. Bellwoods Brewery Jelly King and variants 

 Bellwoods Brewery pounds the competition with Jelly King, Their unique take on the sour beer had me running to Toronto every time the original or a variant was released. For me, the Apricot was the winner of a Polkie for sheer deliciousness. With a new location up and running and another on the way, Bellwoods is poised to bring some real big things to bear in 2017.

2. Indie Ale House Dead Spadina Monkey - Indie Ale House has captured the essence of genius in a bottle and despite a hefty price tag, this big sour beer is worth every penny. Little comes out of this Toronto brewery without some praise and I will attest to the food matching the beer for its amazing composition.

3. La Barberie Apricot Sour - Maybe it was being in the middle of Quebec City sitting on a patio surrounded by people and enjoying an afternoon with nothing to do but drink craft beer, but this sour from Quebec institution La Barberie still lingers in my mind. I had it in my flight an immediately ordered a pint. Tart and delicious, I wish I could go back and drink it all over again.

4. Half Hours on Earth totally - They
may be tiny but Seaforth's own Half Hours on Earth took the Ontario Craft Beer world by storm. Their unique take on sours drove many craft beer nerd into a frenzy but that was alleviated by their very accessible and simple to use website for online ordering. Outstanding beers and a definite must see if you are headed to western Ontario.

5. Bellwoods Brewery Grandma's Boy - Tart and funky, this one took me away from the everyday in early June. It was one of the first wild Ales that made me stop and think about what I was drinking.

6. Block 3 Brewing Fickle Mistress (Raspberry/Ginger)
7. Nickel Brook Raspberry Uber
8. Royal City Brewing Berliner Weisse
9. Half Hours on Earth yalla yalla (citra)
10. Lagunitas Brewing Aunt Sally

Farmhouse Ales

1. Folly Brewpub - Invented Tradition

 Bottle #31 of only 200. This barrel aged beer showcases why I loved Folly so much this year. Their funky brett beers made the Beer Illuminati take notice and it wasn't a coincidence that the first Beer Saints (more on that in 2017) meeting took place in their brewpub.

2. Nickel Brook Brett Farmhouse Ale - The transformation of Nickel Brooks Burlington location into Funk Labs is a very significant development that may have been underplayed in 2016. This brett farmhouse ale was amazing. Hope to see it again in next year.

3. Niagara Oast House Brewers Sweet n Sow'r - A biere de mars that stopped me in my tracks. Tart and funky, I am never disappointed by this Niagara brewer. If you can sit on their patio next summer, you will understand true happiness.

4. Rainhard Brewing Mass Hysteria - A collab with Folly Brewpub, this was a funky lemon and orange peel Gem. While Rainhard is better known for their IPAs (trust me you'll see them on another few lists this week), this is a beauty.

5. Beau's All Natural Brewing 5000 - Another hit from one of Ontario's most successful and yet still experimental breweries. Tart and funky with brett, I could have aged it to see what happened, but when you only have 1, you drink it up. Amazing.

6. Block 3 Brewing The Legend
7. Folly Brewpub Rhizome VIII - Palisade & Comet
8. The Commons Brewery Fleur de Blanc
9. Folly Brewpub Saudade
10. Bellwoods Brewery Farmhouse Classic

Long passed over by me as too weird, the Saison now occupies a special place in my heart as one of my favourite styles. Banana, clove and peppery coriander were never in my wheelhouse back in the Macro days. Now I can't get enough.

1. Nickel Brook/Sawdust City Brewing 11.05
A collaboration beer between Burlington's Nickel Brook Brewing and Gravenhust's Sawdust City Brewing, 11.05 is brewed at alternate breweries each year to commemorate the birthdays of the respective brewmasters. First tried at the Polkapacolypse in a growler, this 11 % Imperial Saison kept coming back into my fridge all year. Big and bold but it hides that ABV behind the candied fruit, apricot, lemon zest and orange deliciousness. Lucky enough to find a few cans last month and they were still so amazing.

2. Folly Brewpub Praxis New World Saison - As summer began it's hot and humid descent, I found Praxis. With stone fruit, orange peel and a light peppery backend, this one was smooth and refreshing.

3. Left Field Brewing Anniversary # 3 - One of the first saisons to catch my eye with its popping lemon zest and funky kick. A taste of summer in the late spring. Can't wait to visit these guys again.

4. Block 3 Brewing Stratus Fear - Tart and funky with the brett, this 6.3 % barrel aged saison was a hit near Thanksgiving. Balanced with lemon zest, orange peel and a subtle peppery coriander kick.

5. Folly Brewpub Flemish Cap - A low 4.5 % ABV captured my eye but the flavourful lemon zest, orange and a dry apple note captured my heart. Smooth and refreshing with that peppery kick, it was a crusher that slow sipped a beautiful sunny day away.

6. Amsterdam Brewing Bord du Lac
7. Halo Brewing Tokyo Rose
8. Sawdust City Brewing There's No Way of Knowing
9. Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace
10. Nickel Brook Brewing Le Paysan Saison

I'll be back in this space on Christmas Day with my favourite Lagers and Ales from the past year.

Merry Christmas from the Drunk Polkaroo, Mrs. Polkaroo and Jinx too!

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