Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seasonal Beers: Berries, Ginger and Wheat

One of my favourite things about summer is seasonal beers. Most breweries and brewpubs offer seasonal selections throughout the year, but I find the range of summer beers produced in BC to be the most intriguing and challenging.

This week, I stopped in for a few drinks at my near-local bar, The Sunset Grill, and sampled two fruit-infused beers that both taunted and titillated my tastebuds. The first was Red Truck Purple Haze Blueberry Blonde Ale, which is not bottled and is only available at a select few restaurants and bars in Vancouver. At 6% abv and brewed in a Northern European style, this deceptively light brew is by no means codswallop. Unlike some fruit beers, such as the increasingly popular Fruli, Red Truck's Purple Haze is made by adding the fruit during the fermentation process. When fruit - or any unnecessary flavourings for that matter - is added during fermentation, it results in a subtle, tart concoction that greatly differs from a brew that has been infiltrated by fruit juice after fermentation and filtration. Red Truck's blueberry beer was summery and crisp, with a very dry finish. 

The second beer that I tried was Surrey's Red Racer Raspberry Wheat Ale, which pours amber but smells like you are walking through a dense raspberry bramble...on Saltspring Island...during a balmy mid-summer's afternoon. The Red Racer Razz is made in a similar fashion to the Purple Haze, so the character of this light, mildly-carbonated wheat beer is not overpowered by the fruit. I did find the raspberry flavour a bit cloying near the end, and would recommend the Purple Haze if you are planning on downing a pitcher or multiple pints.

The other seasonal beer that I have been obsessed with over the past three weeks is Granville Island's Ginger Beer. I am not a huge fan of Granville Island's beer due to the lingering Pilsner hops that they use across the board, but the ginger used in this seasonal creation dulls and compliments the hops that normally torment my temperamental palate. I had been aware of GIB's ginger beer in the past, but I had a few pints this year that were cold and crisp and complemented Vancouver's calescent July so well that I will forever associate the Summer of 2010 with this delightful draught. The brewery has now stopped production of this beer, but I purchased two cases to savour into the autumn months.

Keywords: Vancouver Craft Beer, "Vancouver Seasonal Beers"

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