It’s spring, but I’m finding that it’s just not quite patio weather yet. I’ve been craving beers on the patio for months now but the weather simply doesn’t want to co-operate. Just when you think it will be 20 C in a few days — wham, snow. This week, I’m bringing the patio to you by featuring three pineappley-themed ales that deserve a spot on the patio.
Granville Island Lions Summer Ale — This beer is new to Manitoba and we’ve seen many wheat or citrusy ales from Molson’s craft subsidiary Granville Island before with Hey Day Hefeweizen, False Creek Raspberry Ale and more saisons than I can possibly count. Lions Summer Ale is a golden ale, brewed with pineapple and passionfruit juice. I was thinking that this was going to be a wheat ale but it’s all barley. The beer pours a lightly cloudy, golden-straw body with a moderate amount of frothy white head and a good amount of fizzy carbonation as I’m pouring the beer in the glass. The aroma is reminiscent of patios of the past. It has a heavy, yet summer-inspiring barley presence that has notes of lemon, grass, orange peel, pineapple and passionfruit. The taste is reminiscent of Great Western’s Original 16 Pale Ale as it’s crisp, light, incredibly grass- and grain-forward but there’s a lot of fruity zestiness that pops out in Lions Summer Ale. There is also a good deal of caramel from the barley malt, a hint of lemon and a good deal of pineapple and passionfruit. Unfortunately, the taste of pineapple and passionfruit give off a bit of an extract syrupiness to it, so I’m not too happy about that. The beer is easy to drink and screams patio in every sip. Don’t be surprised to see this on tap or in cans at a few places around Manitoba. You can find this exclusively at the 10th Street and Victoria Avenue Liquor Mart for $2.99 per 473 ml can. Pint rating: 3 1/2 pints out of 5.
Maui Pineapple Mana Wheat Ale — This beer has pineapple right in the name, so it has to be pineappley. Mana pours a moderately cloudy, golden-straw ale with only a minimal amount of foam on top. The aroma is kind of like a pineapple-banana smoothie as it gives off a rich aroma of pineapple and banana at the same time. Mana is your typical summery wheat ale. It has a bready, wheat bite to it followed by moderately sweet and fruity notes of pineapple, caramel and a bit of lemon at the end. This one is reminiscent to a witbier/hefeweizen but if the style used pineapple instead of oranges or bananas. Surprisingly, the banana notes don’t appear in the taste of the product. You can find Maui Brewing’s Pineapple Mana Wheat Ale at the Corral Centre and 10th and Victoria Liquor Marts for $2.80 per 355 ml can. Pint rating: 3 1/2 pints out of 5.
Collective Arts Ransack the Universe Hemisphere IPA — Ransack the Universe has been one of my go-to IPAs in the last six months or so. Ransack the Universe, to me, is considered a "juicy IPA." Juicy IPAs are becoming the trend lately where the bitter, abrasive, hop-forward IPAs are slowly losing popularity by beer drinkers and breweries in favour of IPAs with tropical, sweet fruit-forward notes in every sniff and sip. I tend to call Collective Arts’ Ransack "the artsy beer" because whenever you buy a can or three of the beer, the label is almost always different because the brewery likes to promote artwork of artists from all around the world, including Manitoba. Ransack the Universe pours a light cloudy, golden ale. Aromas of pineapple, peach, grapefruit with a light crisp pine aroma at the end. The taste is pretty much reminiscent of the aroma as it gives off a sweet tropical citrus bite of pineapple, orange peel and a hint of grapefruit. The taste is quite a bit more bitter than the aroma would lead you to believe, but this is nowhere near as bitter as a Red Racer IPA. I absolutely love this IPA on warmer, sunnier days, so this will be one of my go-to IPAs when the weather gets warmer. You can find this at Liquor Marts in Brandon (south end, 10th and Victoria) and Dauphin for $3.53 per 473 ml can. Pint rating: 4 1/2 pints out of 5.
Lastly, at the recent Brandon Beer Festival, Fort Garry brewmaster Dan Geddes told me that they are bringing out a cider that they’re proud of called Lucky Cherry Cider, brewed with B.C. black cherries and blended with pear juice. The cider is now on tap at the growler bar at 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart and as well possibly at the Keystone Motor Inn. I’ve had a few samples of the product and it’s a sweet, yet tart-cherry cider that’s absolutely delicious! Lucky Cherry Cider will also be making its way into 473 ml cans soon so if you don’t end up buying a big 1.9-litre growler of it, at least it will be available in a manageable single-serve portion!