Four shipping containers converted into bars served 48 beers from across the country, several of which I had never had and was interested in. While none of them blew my mind, a lot of them were satisfyingly solid and enjoyable.
My favourite was the Killer Cucumber Ale from Vancouver’s Steamworks Brewing Co. It’s dry-hopped with cucumbers in the conditioning vessel, resulting in a lovely aroma and flavour accented by the long green vegetable. It pours medium gold with little head and seems more like a lager than an ale. The 4.7-per cent alcohol beer is light, refreshing and finishes easy.
New England Style Pale Ale from Lacombe, Alta.’s Blindman Brewing lives up to its name. It only rates a 35 IBU on the bitterness scale, but has a mildly hoppy aroma and very rich flavour with a nice finish that makes this cloudy gold, 5.5-per cent beer a nice summer ale.
The other beers I sampled from the Canada 150 Pavilion, in the order of how much I enjoyed them, were:
- Garrison Brewing Co.’s Juicy IPA, a well-crafted ale from Halifax;
- Brasserie Dunham’s Le Quence Du Soif, a collaborative brett IPA made in conjunction with Port Moody, B.C.’s Twin Sails Brewing;
- Brasserie Dunham’s Saison Rustique, a Belgian farmhouse saison from the Dunham, Que. brewery;
- Boxing Rock Brewing Co.’s Vicars Cross, an eight-per cent ale from Shelburne, N.S.;
- Les Trois Mousquetaires Saison Brett, a farmhouse saison from Brossard, Que.;
- and Blood Brothers Brewing’s Paradise Lost White Lies, a golden sour ale brewed with sauvignon blanc grape juice by the Toronto brewery.
My second favourite was Sawdust City Brewing Co.’s Death & Taxes Raspberry Radler, a 4.3-per cent beer that’s somewhat reminiscent of KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale. The raspberry comes through in a big way to your nose and on your tongue.
The third beer that I quite liked was Flying Monkeys’ 12 Minutes to Destiny Hibiscus Pale Lager. It’s a rich red colour with a strong hibiscus aroma and offers a nice combination of tart and sweet. And with an alcohol content of just 4.1 per cent, it’s a nice, light summer refresher.
Other beers I tried, again ranked in order of preference, were:
- Hop City Brewing Co.’s Payday Saison, an easy-drinking 6.2-per cent, 40 IBU saison from the Brampton, Ont. brewery;
- Beau’s Full Time IPA, a 6.7-per cent, 60 IBU west coast-style ale;
- Sawdust City’s B.A. Johnston’s Finest Malt Liquor, a straight-up, eight-per cent beer that was better than I expected from the Gravenhurst, Ont. brewery;
- Brock St. Brewing Co.’s West Coast IPA, a 5.1-per cent beer that has more hop in its aroma than in its flavour, but could be a decent introduction for those just getting into west coast IPAs who aren’t yet ready to get too adventurous;
- and Great Lakes Brewery’s Watermelon Ale, a 4.5-per cent beer from the Etobicoke, Ont. brewery that didn’t offer as much of the fruit as I was hoping for.