Of late, Folly has helped pioneer Kveik (individual strains of Norwegian farmhouse ale yeast) in the Canadian market. Fresh Money uses the Arset blend, creating fruity esters in the aroma somewhere between windfall pear and jackfruit. The body is crisp and clean, with a gentle grain character that takes a backseat to the fruitiness. A rounded and practical application of an esoteric Norwegian treatment.
Named for a Russian signal station, this radio sweetheart is an Imperial Stout by way of the freezer aisle: Strictly neapolitan. The nose is madagascar vanilla, dehydrated strawberry, and hershey syrup, but the body is milkshake thick, leaning into bitter dark chocolate and a bourbon barrel sweetness that lingers slightly longer than it would take that ice cream to melt. As novelty Russian Imperials go, this one is a winner.
As a style featuring hybrid fermentation, Cream Ale tends to feature oddball esters. Grove’s is no exception. The nose is somewhere between peach and green strawberry, and the robust, slightly husky grain character provides a slightly rustic finish with a retro-nasal hint of cucumber. Reminiscent of Genesee, the exemplar of the style.
There is infrequently anything subtle about Blood Brothers, from the voodoo inspired taproom down to the individual flavour profiles of their beers. White Lies is no exception, leaning hard into sourness. The acidity here is bolstered by a lemon-lime hop character and slightly undercuts the sweetness of the Riesling grapes. On the whole, though, this is a fine afternoon refresher or aperitif.
Trend is king and Stone City Ales have been branching out into lager styles over the last few years. This take on a Helles lager features Mandarina Bavaria and Sladek, newer European hops varieties. The aroma features lime leaf, green pepper flesh and chrysanthemum with candied orange emerging on the palate as bitterness and a peachy, floral retro-nasal interest. Exuberant for the style.
At a period when there are a dearth of traditional English IPAs being produced, the fuggle and golding hop character is reassuringly like a late summer hedgerow, with herbal and citric flourishes in the aroma and on the palate. In combination with fruity, nutty malts, it is a fine reminder of the inspiration for the modern craft boom.
It has been a whirlwind of a year for Marcelo Paniza, who won the Henderson Beer Cup for his homebrew and a gold medal at the Canadian Brewing Awards for his Bock. This traditional German Pilsner with Northern Brewer and Saaz hops is his first commercial venture. At 5%, the balance falls just slightly to peppery bitterness. A promising sophomore effort.