As much as I love stouts and IPAs, sometimes I find them a little much on a really hot day. And while I tend to shy away from lighter-bodied beer, I couldn't help but be drawn to a few.
Surprisingly, my favourite beer of this summer was a Belgian-style witbier from a British Columbia brewery.
Central City Brewing Company, from Surrey, launched a summer six-pack sampler of three of the beers from its Red Racer series. Packaged in cans that feature a sultry, long-legged redhead who is riding a bicycle, it was hard not to be drawn to the beer.
Who doesn't like a redhead on a bicycle? But it's always what's inside that counts, and I was determined to discover the liquid in the can.
Red Racer White Ale (5% ABV)Appearance: a murky, lemon-yellow with a frothy-white head that settles down to a foamy cap.
Central City Brewing Co.
Beer O'Clock rating: 5
Nose: candied citruslemon and blood orange.
Palate: fresh lemon and caramel with a creamy finish.
Overall opinion: this is the very definition of a summer beer. I drank many cans of this witbier over the summer, especially outdoors (on my front steps, at cottages). When I considered packing beer for my canoe vacation, this was the ale that I wanted to take.
It's a great cottage-party ale that will be missed when the summer is gone.
The Red Racer White Ale is not the only offering in Central City's summer pack. The other two samples are also worth examining.
Red Racer Pilsner (5% ABV)Appearance: deep gold and crystal-clear, with a white foam head that settles to a thin cap.
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Nose: malt and honey.
Palate: grassy hops that come to a light, clean finish.
Overall impression: somewhere along the road, I lost my taste for pilsners, but I found Red Racer's offering to be easy-drinking and well-balanced. Although it was always the last can that I pulled from the six-pack, I never pulled the can out with reluctance and I would easily drink it again. If you're a pilsner lover, you will love this beer.
Red Racer Pale Ale (5% ABV)Appearance: deep apricot with a thick, creamy, off-white head.
Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5
Nose: honey dew and oranges.
Palate: orange and grapefruit; assertive, but not overbearing hops, and a nice malt finish.
Overall impression: this is a very pleasant pale ale that has a classic taste; that is, it's not crazy-bitter.
For someone who may want to ease into bold, bitter IPAs or APAs, without being scared off, this is the one pale ale that I would recommend for dipping your tongue into.
It's been a couple of weeks since I picked up a Red Racer Summer Sampler, and I'm hoping that the LCBO still has some. If it does, I recommend that you stock up: summer's almost over and it may be a while until we see that red-headed biker again.