Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cream of the Craft: Some in-between beers for the in-between days of spring and summer

June 14, 2017 by Patrick Newman, contributing writer

Probably my favourite time of the year is when we swing from spring toward summer. The weather seems to be in a constant state of flux between really nice and really crappy. On the nice days, I’ll sit under a shady tree, read a book, and listen to some chill tunes. On those grey, muggy days when I just don’t feel like getting outside, I find a movie to watch, build some Lego, or play video games. For either day, I need a beer that’s out of the ordinary—an in-between beer for those in-between days.

Tofino Brewing Company
Spruce Tree Ale
6.5% ABV
650 ml bottle
4/5

Every spring you’ll find a few beers containing spruce tips on the shelves. It may sound weird, but it’s actually a very old style of beer based on a First Nations concoction used as a cure for scurvy. (This should not be confused with the artificially flavoured spruce-beer soft drink found in Quebec.) Sitka spruce tips are added for flavour during brewing of this ale. Spruce Tree Ale is a golden brew that pours with a nice creamy head; it smells very fresh and floral, as if you just stepped into the forest after a spring rain shower. It’s light on the palate, with citrus and pine notes. Tofino Brewing Company has been brewing this for years, and it shows; when I think of the island-made spruce ales, this is the best by far. I wouldn’t drink a ton of them, but when you need to slake your thirst while kicking ass in Overwatch, or to keep yourself anchored in reality while you giddily read Ready Player One, this is a top option.

Driftwood Brewery
Cry Me a River Gose
5% ABV
650 ml bottle
3.5/5

A gose—pronounced goes-uh—is a German-style mixed wheat beer brewed with salt and coriander. This gives the beer a sour or tart flavour that may initially be off-putting to some. However, revisiting these beers will not only improve your palate and broaden your enjoyment of craft brews, but also give you something tasty for the warmer months. Lactobacillus help tart up this brew while the salt makes it a bit crisp—not unlike a dry cider, but much smoother, with hints of lemon, flowers, and coriander. It pours hazy yellow and smells a bit like bread and cereal. This beer is worth your dollar if you’re feeling adventurous, as it’s a more complex creation. I would recommend this for either sunny or overcast days when sitting on the patio, grilling chicken with friends.

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