• Scribbled by ..Tiffany

5 Beer Scene Trends in Ontario

To some of you this may seem obvious but i'd like to share with others my thoughts on current trends in beer in my home province of Ontario :) Some trends are here to stay and here are a few I believe are proving they will stick around...

1. The Haze Craze

IPAs (India Pale Ales) have become a year-round fixture in many a beer fridge, there’s always something new to try and the spectrum of IPA's reaches coast to coast ... literally. If you've had or seen a beer recently that looks like juice, thick and opaque, odds are it's a part of the Haze Craze. A new meaning to Hazy Days of summer.

This year’s hits are New England-style IPAs (NEIPAs), which are also known as juicy, Vermont style or hazy IPAs. While I’ve seen them on the rise over the past couple of years in the USA and other parts of Canada this hazy, fruit forward and almost chewy at times IPA style has exploded in 2018 here in Ontario.

Both the selection and distribution have grown beyond the scarcity of tasting-room-only in the trendiest of breweries and though Hazy is not yet a recognized style in Canada as per the guidelines (correct me if i'm wrong) it is in USA as of recent along with double or imperial IPA under the the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines. So as trends go haze lovers can expect to see that promotion here soon too. If that's not enough, Julia Herz states, 2018 will be 1st time since 2002 American IPA is no longer the top entered beer style into GABF it's juicy or hazy! How’s that for a juicy year-one showing?

Love it or hate it, the haze craze is here to stay. I'm not seeking them out like most but good grief Charlie Brown there are a few choice ones I couldn't live without.

Some great examples to try: Juicin' by Sawdust City Brewing, Life In The Clouds by Collective Arts (they have a few), Greenwood by Left Field Brewery and Laurentian Consensus IPA by Dominion City out of Ottawa.

2. So Much Sour

While sour beers aren’t new they’ve become increasingly popular, perhaps sour is the new bitter? Accept this style seems to appeal to both beer lovers, wine lovers and those not so fond of "beer taste". The increasing popularity may suggest that brewers are on to something new but in fact there is a long standing history to both the techniques and the "bugs" being welcomed in to these beers. Sour Beer may sound off putting to some but it's the variants of sour that are intriguing many drinkers to explore the sweet-sours, dry-hopped, fruit mixed, varying tartness and barrel aged variety of these beers.

I am a huge fan of lambic's myself, Belgium’s most ancient beer style but the process is what I find fascinating as there are several to choose from, including Koolships, each method adds to the bustling personality that these styles offer. “Wild” yeasts or bacteria—like Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus—are added during fermentation and as traditional sours are usually created through a second fermentation and long aging in various styles of barrels, there has been a recent rise in kettle souring, where wild organisms are pitched directly into the kettle before a traditional fermentation, has allowed more brewers to jump on the style’s and produce them at a faster rate and gives the brewer full control over the process.

Some great examples to try: Grain & Grit's Cherry Picker Sour Ale, Becky a lemonade beer by Fairweather Brewing Co, ANY of the Paradise Lost by Blood Brothers, Rodenbach Grand Cru available at LCBO