Inherent Weisse is our biweekly guide to beer news and reviews you can use.
Happy Long Weekend!
Before we get into things, if you’re one of the many people who are staying in the city for Victoria Day, fear not! There ar plenty of beery things you can do that will make you feel less badly about not accepting your old college friend’s offer to go camping.
Saturday from 12-7pm The Victory Cafe in Mirvish Village is celebrating 25 years in business with BBQ burgers and cask beer from such breweries as Muskoka, Black Oak, Nickel Brook, and many more. There will also be dry-hopped cider from Spirit Tree and a special 25th anniversary beer called My Old Flame Pale Ale. Admission is free.
If you find yourself wondering what to do on Victoria Day, Brewer’s Backyard at the Evergreen Brick Works has never disappointed yet with their annual Queen Victoria’s Secret event running from 12-5pm on Monday. Featuring beer and cider from the likes of Sawdust City, West Avenue, Side Launch, Publican House, Silversmith, and Muddy York along with a food menu that won’t be revealed until the event kicks off at 12pm. Queen Victoria’s Secret is all-ages, family-friendly (so yes, parents, you CAN bring your strollers), with free admission. Additionally, if you want to burn off some calories and work up a thirst beforehand, #RunTOBeer is putting on a 10k run to Evergreen Brick Works starting at Trinity Bellwoods at 11am, with 5k and 3k checkpoints to get in on if 10 is a bit too much. Check the #RunTOBeer facebook event for specific details.
And now we go from running and beer to cycling and beer. Specifically…the style of Radlers.
What is a radler? Well, put simply, it’s a low alcohol drink usually comprised of a mix of beer (usually a pilsner) and grapefruit juice or lemonade. To many it sounds weird, but on a beautiful, sunny, warm day on the patio it can really hit the spot and bust a few people’s misconceptions of what beer “should” taste like.
As for the origin of the style, the story goes that in the ’20s a Bavarian innkeeper named Franz Kugler took advantage of the post-WWI biking craze in Germany by arranging the construction of a bike trail from Munich to his establishment some 12 miles away. He thought himself clever, but unfortunately Herr Kugler made the terrible mistake we’ve all made at some point in our lives and underestimated just how much Germans love a good bike ride. One day thousands of bike riders descended upon his inn and, thirsty from the trip, demanded beer. Obviously there wasn’t enough beer to go around and the thought of angering customers and, most importantly, losing out on money were not options. So experienced innkeeper that he was, Kugler thought fast. He combined what beer he had remaining with a stock of previously unsold lemonade and declared that he had invented a beer specifically for cyclists, intentionally low in alcohol so you wouldn’t fall off your bike after drinking huge quantities of it. With that the radler (the German word for “cyclist”) was created.
Traditionally they’re a beer for the summer, but a few breweries have been releasing them early in to the LCBO (with a few even year-round) and frankly, I’m finding myself craving one now. For food pairings, a lot of foods that seem to be suggested are chicken dishes, lobster, and some salads with a light dressing, but in all honesty I’d probably go with a nice bratwurst sausage, which the radler would cut the grease and spices of nicely. Or if you happen to know where to get a good Bavarian cream doughnut, you’ll find that the sweetness from the radler will blend with the vanilla flavours of the cream to form a wonderful dessert.
Here are a few picks of this particular sunny day sipper.
Stiegl Radler – 2.5% ABV
By far the most popular radler in North America with very good reason. Made with pure grapefruit juice, the Austrian-based Stiegl Radler pours a hazy straw yellow with a nice white head. Grapefruit really comes out with a sharp crisp note followed by a slight dry finish. A perfect patio sipper and palate cleanser in between food courses. Available in 500ml cans at the LCBO for $2.70.
Waterloo Grapefruit Radler – 3.1% ABV
When Stiegl isn’t available, I tend to pick up a few cans of this one from the Kitchener-Waterloo-based Brick Brewery at the LCBO for $2.45 a 473ml can. Though a touch sweeter, the tartness of the grapefruit comes out quite nicely in this so you find yourself not minding so much.
Rickard’s Radler – 3.2% ABV
Say what you will about Rickard’s, but they have been vastly improving over the past few years by releasing more interesting beers, with their Lederhosen Oktoberfest being one of my favourites. While the radler misses some of the dryness that I like with the style and is a touch on the sweet side, there’s no question that it’s big on the grapefruit in both the aroma and the taste, which makes it a lovely patio sipper. At the time of writing this, individual cans are only available at The Beer Store for $2.45 a 473mL can, Though it will be available in LCBOs as part of their summer taster pack for $12.50.
Sweetwater Squeeze Radler – 3.8% ABV
For a unique and truly local option, Toronto’s own Amsterdam Brewery have created a different take on the radler by making one with their housemade soda and freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice. The result is an incredibly hazy beer that combines both the sweet and bitter elements of a blood orange together very well. Definitely a great flavour to shake things up. These are available in 473ml cans for $2.85 at the LCBO.