We have finally hit those hazy summer days and there are many more hot days and sticky nights on their way. With seasons changing so does our wardrobe, appetite and beer choices, and beer choices there are plenty. There is a long list of great beers to have this year but I decided to pick out 10 to get you started and add to your shopping list.
With my recent trips to 48 breweries across Ontario to write for The Beermanac I stocked up on a lot of beer and made some tasty new discoveries.
In random and equally delicious order here are 10 Craft beers that I recommend you refresh yourself with on the patio, back deck, beach or in your underwear next to the a/c.
1. Big Rig Brewery - Hoppin’ Maibock 5.8%
A new favourite I have added to my beer fridge.With a hoppy twist to a traditional spring beer this amber lager features delicate layers of malts and is then dry-hopped with New Zealand hops to introduce big, punchy tropical notes that are light enough to enjoy a few.
2. NickelBrook Brewing – Ceres Cucumber Lime Gose 4.0%
Smells of cucumbers & limes and trust me that this combo works well together. Tart on the sip with the flavour of lime, coriander and cucumber and fades to that nice sea salt, which comes from being a Gose, that keeps you going back for more. So refreshing! This was a pilot project that has delightfully turned into a seasonal this year and available at LCBO.
3. Muskoka Brewery – Cool as Cuke Pale Ale 4.7%
As I am digging these cucumber beers here is another refreshing one. Made with approximately 350L of fresh cucumber juice per batch and lemongrass you’re getting an awesome hit of cucumber in every sip.
4. Great Lakes Brewery – Octopus wants to fight 6.2%
Alright I admittedly put this in here knowing you may think it doesn't belong. Well it does because it's awesome and I love to drink it year-round. Bursting with tropical fruit aromas and following up with a walk in the woods as pine notes are picked up. The sip presents the reverse where some dankness combined with pine needles moves onto a juicy, tropical fruit salad. I will always say YES to this beer.
5. Walkerville Brewery - Purity Pilsner 5.2%
This German style Pilsner cuts crisp on a hot day. With a subtle grainy flavour the late addition Hallertau hops provide light floral aroma balanced by a crisp bitterness to the finish. Also pairs well with endless amounts of summer foods.
6. Lake of Bays - Piña Grande Wheat Ale 4.2%
Leave it to cottage country to create a great summer sipper and Piña Grande is made with pineapple juice from Black River Juice Company! A golden ale that offers a freshly squeezed lemon aroma and the use of Belma and Ontario Perle hops are generous to add some fruit and a bite to that mild pineapple taste and with the dry finish it accompanies your dive into the lake perfectly.
7. Refined Fool - Illiterate Librarians Grapefruit IPA 5.7%
Besides the great name, Illiterate Librarians is not a beer I’d pass on. Fruity but with some serious pithiness coming through to complement the hops it was like a glass of ruby red with a better buzz.
8. Mash Paddle - Citranetti Bengal Session IPA
Available only at the brewery this is my favourite yet that Mash Paddle has produced. With Citra hops stealing the show this citrus delight upfront is followed with a slight bitter finish that lingers perfectly for this beer. Bring a growler as you will want to fill up with this!
9. County Road Beer Co - Farmhouse Saison 6.6%
These guys are producing some great beer out of Prince Edward County including this 650 ml perfect for the dinner table. Saison is a beer style traditionally brewed in Belgium and stored for the summer months when it is served to the farm workers (They also create a version with Juniper I have yet to try.) This Farmhouse Saison displays aromas of spice, clove, fruit and is dry and refreshing. Bottle conditioned — improves with age if you can show some restraint. Available at LCBO but I really encourage a visit their way.
10- Oast House - Sweet'n Sow'r Biere de Mars 5.5% This one is a must try especially if you like sours. This bottle-conditioned beauty contains a orange hue and brings to the table intense puckering caused by the sour mash. Don't be fooled it has a sweet fruitiness upfront before a long tart finish. It is fab!