As an Ontarian it’s hard not to start every conversation with remarks about the weather, but when we go from violent ice storms patio weather just 4 days it’s hard not to point out the obvious – we are soooo ready for this weather!
Now that the warmer temps have arrived we are all anxious to get outside – for a hike, a bike ride, a picnic, or a pint – and Ontario’s craft beverage producers would never let us down. It seems like every summer more and more delicious seasonal sips are introduced, and I am always up for the challenge of tasting them all!
It’s become a tradition in my family that at each get-together, we all bring a few cans of craft beer and sample each one split between us. It’s a great way to experience a wide breadth of samples while remaining coherent enough to enjoy them all – one sip at a time.
So, as I mentioned, I was a little anxious for patio season and on the first 15C+ day, I was off to the store to collect a few new cans for tasting. This past weekend, we celebrated my dad’s birthday and it was the perfect time to begin our summer sampling! Here are a few seasonal brews that made it onto my good list!
First up, Muskoka Brewery’s Summerweiss! This tropical wheat beer went down so smooth in the sunshine. I admit wheat beer is my go-to in the summer so I went into this can with high expectations and wow, was it ever a win! It had fruity lovely notes of mango and passionfruit and was simply refreshing. You can learn more about this summer brew in our upcoming Love Local Food magazine from Beer X sommelier Maddie Maynard who also shares her ideal food pairing for this Muskoka treat. Stay tuned for that!
Next, we reverted to one of dad’s favourites, Block 3’s flagship brew, the King Street Saison. This St.Jacob’s brewery has a fun little patio that welcomes pets and families and saison’s simply scream patio season to me. Their patio or yours is the perfect place to enjoy this citrusy Belgian-style beer on a warm day. I can see why this is a go-to for dad, and admittedly a summer constant for this gal too.
One that’s been on the must-try list for quite some time is another flagship brew, this time from Collingwood’s Black Bellows Brewing Co. This light Belgian White, or ‘witbier’ is made with elderflower and has a hint of lime giving this bevvy a zesty zip, while still finishing very smooth. It’s a light, refreshing drink and as their website says, it’s “highly crushable” and boy, do I ever agree!
Another brew bringing floral notes to the forefront is Mill Street’s White Space Wheat, brand new to the lineup this spring! Brewed with chamomile flowers, coriander and Mediterranean blood orange, this beer is super light without sacrificing on flavour. In fact, it’d not only be a great start to your patio party but would also be a fantastic Sunday Brunch companion. Smooth, sweet and a dry finish puts this wheat beer on my list of summer go-to’s.
When thinking of summer sips, ciders simply can’t be neglected. Hamilton’s Collective Arts Brewing has expanded their lineup to a total of 6 ciders, with Honey & Lavender being their latest release. Made from a blend of local apples, local Ontario honey and infused with floral botanicals, this cider tastes like running through a field of flowers in the sunshine. While you can distinctly taste both the honey and the lavender, it’s not overly sweet making it very easy to down. Springtime is the perfect time to give this one a try, and could easily make it’s way to the table this Mother’s Day.
Which local brews are getting you excited for summer? Share your photos with us on social media by tagging @LoveLocalFoodCA, or by using the hashtag #LoveLocalFood!
Britt Stager wears many hats including Food Editor for Love Local Food, Director of Social Media Marketing and REES + STAGER, Director of Real Food Creative, and blogger at My Daily Randomness, a personal lifestyle blog. Her true loves in life include her dog Maddy, coffee and dessert.