One of the cool things I love about craft beer is experimentation — new beer styles, new ingredients, wacky science — it all makes for more interesting beer. At the very least, it can spark a conversation or two.
I’m loving the trend of combining multiple existing styles and incorporating their elements into new hybrid beers. Who says stouts have to be black? Why can’t you dry hop a lager? Reinheitsgebot be damned!
Some ideas are clearly terrible, and hopefully we will never see a strawberry glitter lactose rauchbier. But for the most part, the hybrid beers that are emerging from the B.C. craft beer scene are interesting, delicious examples of what happens when you break the rules, make your own rules and then break those rules.
Fun & Games, a recent collab between Port Moody’s Yellow Dog Brewing and Vancouver’s BREWHALL, is a great example of this. A “sour red IPA,” this beer combines the tart acidity of a kettle sour with the citrus-forward West Coast-style dry-hopping of an IPA, and then gives it all a little Belgian twist.
Since it is a sour, it should come as no surprise that this beer is quite acidic, perhaps more so than many dry-hopped sours that tend to put the focus on the hops. That bright acidity complements the flavours of grapefruit and cranberry and leaves the beer with a tart dry finish. Meanwhile, the rich malt character helps balance the hop bitterness, with notes of dark plummy fruit and even some tannin. The end result is unique, complex and likely polarizing.
If you’re not a fan of sours, admittedly, this may not be the one for you — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you don’t mind beer with a bit of bite, you might be surprised by what you discover in this one.
Fun & Games Sour Red IPA by Yellow Dog Brewing (collab with BREWHALL)
6.8 per cent ABV • 40 IBU • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Hazy deep amber-red with a sturdy off-white head.
Aroma: Citrus, mandarin orange, acid, grapefruit.
Flavour: Tart, grapefruit, cranberry, citrus, plum, lime, sharp lactic acidity, slightly tannic.
Body/Finish: Medium bodied with a tart lactic finish.
Pairs with: Mussels, old meat and stank-ass cheeses.
• The Spring 2019 issue of The Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer guide at your local brewery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.