First Draught — Malty, easy-to-drink Crafty Radler a refreshing option

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Judging by the weather lately, summer must be here, which means it’s Radler season! Over the past few years, Radlers have only gotten more popular with beer drinkers and even people who despise the taste of beer.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/06/2018 (1527 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Judging by the weather lately, summer must be here, which means it’s Radler season! Over the past few years, Radlers have only gotten more popular with beer drinkers and even people who despise the taste of beer.

A Radler is generally a 50/50 mixture of beer and grapefruit juice, but these days Radlers have expanded to lemonade and other types of juices. Radlers are generally only 2.5 to 3.5 per cent ABV, so they’re definitely thirst quenching on a hot summer day.

I found that Waterloo Brewing’s Grapefruit Radler was considered to be the top Canadian Radler for many years, but now all the big breweries are making Radlers so that people will keep buying their products. Many people are willing to buy a Radler if it has Bud Light branding on it as they’re already familiar with the brand, rather than try a Radler from a small craft brewery in any pocket of the country.

Crafty Radler

While Waterloo seemed to be the most popular brand for Radlers for years, I found that Crafty Radler by New Brunswick-based Pump House Brewing had the top-selling craft Radler last year. Crafty Radler was so popular last summer that I saw people’s faces lighting up when they found out that the beer was back in stock after being sold out for a couple weeks.

Liquor Marts had a hard time keeping the Radler in stock last year — it’s good business for the brewery as it could get people trying their other products, such as their Blueberry Ale. But at the same time, if the Radler is constantly sold out, people who aren’t loyal to the brand may pick up some Bud Light Radler or Rickards Radler instead.

I was meaning to review Crafty Radler sometime last year, but the lack of availability made me choose something else. The ingredient list for Crafty Radler is a bit longer than most — Pump House’s craft beer, water, sugar, grapefruit juice concentrate, citric acid, natural flavours, gum Arabic colour and ester gum. So judging by the ingredient list, I don’t know if I would consider it a true Radler. Rather, it’s a malt-based grapefruit cooler, especially with it topping out at 4.7 per cent ABV, making it much stronger than almost any other Radler on the market.

Crafty Radler pours a light peach body with a good amount of haziness, a light amount of carbonation and a light amount of white-beige head on top. Some Radlers can be quite fizzy, but this one is pretty much like your typical beer so far.

The aroma is a sweet yet bitter grapefruit smell with a good amount of sugar added, which gives it a bit of a malt cooler vibe. There are light grassy hop notes, a hint of pepper, and a hint of tangerine. Going back to the sugar — I’m getting a bit of a Hubba Bubba bubble gum aroma popping up ever so slightly.

As I’m tasting the Crafty Radler, I’m still feeling like this is more of a malt-based grapefruit soda than a Radler. I get a hefty amount of grapefruit, but it’s almost masked by the sugar, so it’s giving off that bubble gum flavour that I found in the aroma. There are notes of lemon, lime, pepper, and a hint of tangerine. The aftertaste is a bit of a bitter yet metallic hop presence that lingers on the middle of my tongue for a good amount of time after each sip.

I can see why Crafty Radler was a hot seller in Manitoba last year — the grapefruit juice and sugar completely masks the taste of beer, which is a huge selling point for people who don’t like the taste of beer. Many Radlers I’ve had in the past tasted like they were a beer/grapefruit juice fusion, while this one seems more like a malt-based soda.

Do I like Crafty Radler? I really do — it’s easy to drink, it’s refreshing and something a bit different. Would I say it’s better than Waterloo’s Radler? Probably not, but I feel that it will be much more satisfying than Bud Light’s Radler of the week. This is definitely something I would recommend to people who don’t like the taste of beer or for those who want a slight change from other Radlers or fruit coolers.

Pump House’s Crafty Radler is available for $3.59 per 473-ml can at Liquor Marts in Brandon (Corral Centre is currently sold out), Minnedosa, Killarney and Virden.

Pint rating: 3.5/5 pints

•••

The second flight of beers for Coast to Coaster came out this week and some of the beers include a Milkshake IPA by Flying Monkeys (Ontario), a Milkshake IPA by Muskoka Brewing (Ontario), a Belgian-style Saison by Category 12 (British Columbia), a Kettle Sour by Garrison Brewing (Nova Scotia) and a return of Magnetic North Hefeweizen by Torque Brewing (Winnipeg). As you can tell, this flight is a bit more experimental and milkshakey. These styles are new to Manitoba, but are becoming the trend in the North American craft beer scene.

» Cody Lobreau is a Canadian beer blogger who reviews every beer he can get his hands on as he believes that he should try every beer twice to get an understanding if it’s truly good or bad. BeerCrank.ca

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