Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/1/2016 (2361 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Remember back when everyone was predicting that this would be a warmer than average winter? Yeah, so did I. Well, at least we haven’t had any full-on -40 C days yet. Winters in Manitoba are cold, long and even depressing and gloomy — but hey, we’re Manitoba!
That being said, every winter I crave a nice hot vacation or a strong heavy Belgian ale that tops out at around 12 per cent ABV. Unfortunately I’m too broke for a hot vacation — even though I’m heading to Montreal and Vermont on Monday for poutine, smoked meat sandwiches, beer and iced cider.
I wish there was a tropical paradise that had a rich craft brewing history ... oh wait, Hawaii has several! Not only that, Maui Brewing out of Kihei on Maui Island has two completely opposite beers that you can find locally.
The first is CoConut Porter, a robust porter that has rich notes of toasted coconut, freshly roasted coffee and a hint of dark chocolate. I sampled this beer at Torque Brewing’s brewmaster Matt’s place on New Year’s Day and enjoyed every sip of it — although I wish it had more toasted coconut as it was slim to nil.
Then there’s Mana Wheat, a wheat ale brewed with pineapple juice to give it a sweet, citrusy zest. This is the brew I’m taking on this week because ... well, I wish I was in a tropical destination with the roar of the ocean in my ears.
With the slogan "Where’s my ukelele?" on the can, this is a beer that one is meant to enjoy and savour while relaxing.
Pouring the Mana Wheat, it’s showing as a light, mostly filtered wheat ale with only a hint of cloudiness. There’s a good amount of carbonation taking place with the beer leaving a thin amount of snow white head on the top of the glass.
The aroma is like being at a small oceanside café for breakfast with whiffs a fruit salad comprised of pineapple, apple and I think a hint of pear. I’m also getting some wheat husk graininess in the aroma, as well as a very light grassy hop note, making this a very easy to ... uh ... smell beer.
The taste gives off more of the graininess of the wheat as it’s giving me a light biscuit flavour, as well as a hint of pepper from the yeast.
The tropical flavours are kind of mixed for me — I’m getting a great presence of pineapple juice in the beer, but also a bit of a medicinal bitterness for an aftertaste that makes me cringe. But the bitter aftertaste is only there momentarily.
There are a lot of fruity wheat beers available in Manitoba, ranging from Belgian witbiers (orange), German hefeweizens (banana) and radlers (grapefruit), but this is one of the few fruity wheat ales I’ve had that actually uses pineapple as one of the main ingredients of the beer recipe.
Aside from the hint of medicinal aftertaste, this is a very easy to drink wheat ale that would be best suited on a beach on a hot 30 C afternoon.
You can find Maui’s Mana Wheat at Liquor Marts in Brandon (10th and Victoria), Dauphin and Russell for an affordable $2.75 per 355 ml can. It packs 5.5 per cent ABV.
If you would also like to try Maui’s CoConut porter to help with the wintertime shivers, you can find it at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart for $3.49 per 355 ml can. It’s six per cent ABV.
• Pint Rating: 4 pints out of 5.
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.