For those still recoiling in horror from those flavourless beers offered at events over the past 10 days, here is a post-Stampede round-up of some tasty, locally produced seasonal wheat beers — they’re ideal for outdoor consumption and will help you enjoy Calgary’s all-too-brief summer.
As a result of the way the wheat ferments, these beers have a refreshing light and dry quality and feature sunny, soft flavours evocative of banana and cloves. The three styles discussed here are also all equally influenced by the brewer’s choice of yeast. Furthermore, these brews aren’t filtered, which imparts additional flavour and gives them their characteristic cloudiness.
• Village Wit (4.5 per cent). Some of you will recognize this beer style by the use of Dutch in its name — “Wit” equals “white.” It’s a cloudy drink as a result of both raw and malted wheat in the brew, and also the yeast in suspension. Infused with Curaçao orange peel and coriander, this is an example of one of the few times this beer geek doesn’t mind the spice rack being near the brewpot. The beauty of the Belgian white ale is in its delicate balance of wheat, bitterness, yeast and spices. It has a very slight dry tang and tart edge — perfect for cutting through your summer thirst.
• Wild Rose Hoodoo Hef (5.2 per cent). Inspired by the traditional weisse beers of Bavaria, this hefeweizen (German for yeast wheat ale) is hazy gold and naturally cloudy with notes of fresh baked bread and a whisper of noble hops, giving it a slight tanginess. The one problem with this ale is it seems to disappear almost as soon as the glass is put in front of me.
• Brewsters White IPA (6 per cent). This is a hybrid mixture of two styles of beer that have very little to do with each other: Belgian white beer and North American IPA. To aptly describe this new school beer style, I have to pretend to be a music writer: this easy quaffer combines the warm, sunny feeling of an old-school reggae group jamming with your favourite punk rock band. Its traditional light wheat flavours and hoppiness will alternately dance and stage dive on your taste buds — sure to satisfy wheat beer and IPA fans alike.
As visions of hay bales, Stampede breakfasts and cowboy hats depart, enjoy getting a flavourful beer back into your system while getting a vitamin D fix on a patio. Simultaneously, you’ll be replenishing those levels of vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid that you partied away last week.