Founded early in the explosion of craft breweries in Ontario, Beyond The Pale has come into their own in the last several years, and Yummy is a great example of their work. The aromas in this hazy IPA are prominent white grapefruit and lime, reminiscent of a Paloma cocktail garnished with a wedge of pineapple. Dry without astringency and bitter enough to remind you it is an IPA after all.
Founded by ex-Stone City staff, Matron has launched with only two offerings, but that fits into their ethos of making a finite amount of product. Yeasayer is nearly perfectly balanced between the pepper, white flowers and light citrus of the hop character and the sweetness of grain on the palate. A traditional take on the Helles for this standout start-up in Bloomfield, Ontario.
Beer dates like fashion. Knucklebone IPA is no exception: it comes across as an American IPA of the first decade of this century. Although it is bracingly bitter, the malt and hops are in comparative balance here with a small amount of stone fruit coming out on top of the traditional pine and grapefruit. The malt runs through light caramel to toffee and sultana. Sometimes instead of reinventing the wheel, you only need to reintroduce it.
The enormous aromas of mango, pine and pineapple here are a reminder that the current trend for massively hazy IPA with little bitterness has not superseded all previous examples. The fruitiness emerges on the palate as passion fruit with a touch of caramelization, and the finish is short enough to make another sip appealing. An exemplary IPA and a real accomplishment for Royal City.
Vim & Vigor is the reigning champion of Ontario pilsners and worth a revisit here. While the individual hallmarks of a pilsner (floral hop top notes, healthy nearly powdery barley character, and peppery bitterness on the back end) are all present, its popularity is down to the progression of flavours and textures. It is sweet to bitter to dry in rapid-fire succession and leaves the drinker wanting more.
Discretion refers here to the lower alcohol for the style. At 3.5%, it is a light quencher that features raspberry and hibiscus above a small body of arrowroot biscuit. The Belgian yeast character supports bright carbonation and a small amount of phenolic character on the back end. Deceptively complex for a low alcohol beer.
From East York in Toronto, the Hefeweizen took gold at the recent Ontario Brewing Awards, and no wonder. Soft in texture, with a lightly creamy wheat body, neither the banana nor clove derived from fermentation overwhelm this beer, and the transition on the palate from sweetness to a small wheaty acid tang on the finish lends refreshment.