Summer is almost here, and that means it's time to dive into beers that fall under the umbrella of light, fruity, and fun. Remember how this past May Two-Four weekend was (mostly) hotter than Palm Springs in July? (Alright, not totally true, but not that far off.)
Let’s hope that’s what this summer brings the West Coast, if only because few things are better than a cold beer when the sun is blazing. The following offerings are, as noted, all fruit-forward, which is to say light and perfect for days when someone has to mow the lawn, wash the car tires, or, best of all, oversee the barbecue.
Main St. Brewing Hula Hula Tropical Sour
At the risk of overselling things, deliciously juicy is a bit of an understatement here, as Hula Hula Tropical Sour comes out blazing with terrifically tart passion fruit, heady guava, and sun-blasted orange. It’s like a couple of steps this side of a Jolly Rancher if Jolly Ranchers had a Lotsa Fizz centre. Not only does Hula Hula taste like the world’s most wonderful beach bar in a glass, it also looks incredible—the colour somewhere between pink lemonade and a red-hued pink flamingo. Look for it not only in cans, but on tap at Vancouver Canadians baseball games this summer at Nat Bailey.
Brassneck Brewery/Maenam Restaurant Khanoon O’Clock
One of the great things about travelling is the way that certain sensory experiences (the smell of bun cha being charred on a streetside charcoal grill in Hanoi, the taste of fresh-pressed sugar-cane juice in Old Havana) end up permanently burned into your brain. Sometimes that’s not always for the better. On that front, right before the pandemic I was lucky enough to find myself in the insanely cool Chinese water town of Wuzhen, where thanks to a language barrier, breakfast one morning consisted of a freshly cut jackfruit. It was weirdly rubbery, mildly bitter, and smelled faintly like a combination of diesel and wet straw. Your affection for jackfruit—which plenty of people love, or no one would sell it—will determine your appreciation for the Brassneck Brewery/Maenam Restaurant collabo Khanoon O’Clock IPA. In addition to citra and sabro hops, a whole lotta canned jackfruit (480 cans to be precise) was used during the brewing process. The result is an undeniably exotic IPA that’s mildly bitter and, well, somehow reminiscent of diesel and wet straw. Different? For sure. But if you’ve got fond memories of your last breakfast in Wuzhen, Brassneck and Maenam will thrill you, swinging for fences here with something truly different.
Granville Island False Creek Blood Orange Sour
Because it’s part of a Summer Sours Mixology Pack, you don’t have to limit yourself to Granville Island’s Blood Orange Sour. The Passion Fruit Sour arguably trumps a certain Adanac Bike route favourite, and the fantastically fragrant Peach Sour reminds you why you love the fruit orchids of the Okanagan. Picking favourites isn’t right unless you’re talking about one’s kids, so let’s just offer that False Creek Blood Orange Sour has no shortage of great things going in its favour. Pop the top and pour, and the first thing that hits is the scent of freshly espressed orange peel. Tastewise there’s plenty of ripe blood orange with a zip reminiscent, wonderfully, of Tang. That’s right—the space-age breakfast drink that tastes great mixed—ask John Glenn—and just as amazing when you pour the crystals right into your mouth. That flavour-bomb analogy will also do as a description here.
Long before there was [insert favourite Vancouver craft brewery here], Moosehead Breweries was swimming outside of the mainstream in scenic Saint John, New Brunswick. Nearly 150 years after being founded, it’s still run by the Oland family, which clearly isn’t above a little experimenting. Moosehead Chelada takes its cues from Mexico’s much-revered Chelada, which combines beer, lime, chili sauce, chili peppers, and enough salt on the glass rim to make your doctor think it’s time for the Benazepril. There’s no Cholula, Valentina, or El Yucateco Habanero hot sauce in the mix here, but holy guacamole Hombre Murcielago, does Moosehead ever get the citrus ratio right here. A fiesta-friendly beer lime-bomb for those burned out on lemon and grapefruit radlers, this is an insanely drinkable summer treat for those whose favourite things include Mexico City, Cheladas, and drinking Cheladas in Mexico City. Topping things off is a subtle salt kiss, which probably isn’t good for your blood pressure, but neither is living in a city with 8.8 million people, half of whom seem to be sitting idling in traffic no matter what time of day. Gracias Moosehead.