I have a few friends who call me a beer snob, stating that I only drink the best of the best. Actually, I’m willing to try almost any beer as long as it doesn’t contain animal remains, clamato or anything weird like that.
One of my friends who constantly calls me a "beer snob" is from Toronto — his favourite beer is Coors Light, especially in tall cans. At one point he called craft beer "hipster beer," but one day he texted me stating that I really needed to try "this beer" because it was perfect for the patio — tasty, easy to drink and summer in a glass.
In reality, that’s one of the 10,000 "hipster brews" being made in Canada right now by hard-working craft brewers, using ingredients sourced close to home and providing employment at every turn. The beer my Toronto friend was raving about was Toronto’s Side Launch Brewing’s Wheat Ale.
My Coors Light-drinking buddy texted me a year back that he really enjoyed drinking Side Launch’s Wheat Ale, which kind of surprised me, but there was a time in the late ’00s where he appreciated a Unibroue Blanche de Chambly once in a while. So obviously this guy knows good beer if he tasted one, even if he thinks Coors Light is heaven (to each their own).
Every once in a while he’d offer to send me a can of Side Launch Wheat Ale, but legally, that’s pretty much against the law for now.
Late last year, I was super excited when I saw that Side Launch Brewing randomly showed up at local LCs with the one beer I wanted to try — the wheat ale! I’m not a fan of MLCC at times, but we do get a decent selection of up-and-coming Canadian brews that the rest of Canada would eat up in a second. I was happy to see Side Launch’s Wheat Ale available here in Manitoba, especially with me being a Belgian wheat ale fanatic since working at Convergys back in ’05 (Blanche de Chambly).
Side Launch’s Wheat Ale pours a heavy, cloudy straw yellow with a bit of an orange hue to it, there’s not much of a head to it, but it does have a hint of bubbles around the rim of the glass.
The aroma of the beer is very straw forward, which gives off a sweet straw and grainy aroma to the beer. There’s notes of caramel, a light biscuit dough, a hint of coriander and a decent amount of lemon. This is supposed to be a German-style hefeweizen (wheat ale) but the aroma of straw gives off more of a lager vibe to it than wheat ale. But it certainly is sweet.
The flavour of the beer is definitely more reminiscent of what I expect in a Belgian-style wheat ale, there’s a moderate amount of coriander popping out right at the beginning. I also get a hint of black tea, a good deal of straw, lemon, bubble gum and banana. The beer is slightly fruity and a hint of yeastiness but very easy to drink. This really has some great tastes that remind me of what makes German beer as amazing as it is, it’s not boring and it’s showing some serious German character to it.
I certainly didn’t enjoy this beer as much as my friends in Toronto, but Side Launch’s Wheat Ale is an easy-to-drink wheat ale with notes of coriander, hay/straw, bubble gum and banana. Actually, this is the crispest witbier I’ve had in a long time so I could see this wheat ale being a hit for the Budweiser crowd.
If you’re drinking Shock Top this summer, then you’re just wasting your money. I would suggest this over Shock Top any day of the week because Shock Top tastes like regret and creepy talking orange peels.
You can find Side Launch Wheat Ale at the Liquor Marts at 10th Street and Victoria Avenue and the Corral Centre for $2.99 per 473 ml can. 5.3 per cent ABV.
Pint raing: Three pints out of five.