The beer, Session Ale, was Perry Mason's first offering and flagship ale for the Scotch-Irish Brewing Company. I still remember the first time I had it: it was in the summer, and my wife and I were sitting on the patio at Wilfred's, in the Chateau Laurier.
I remember the bold flavours and the crisp, clean finish that filled my mouth with lush, wonderful hops. At the time, it was the hoppiest beer I had ever tried. And it was wonderful.
I was also amazed that such a full-tasting beer could be so low in alcohol: I believe it was either 4.2 or 4.3 percent ABV.
It was the perfect summer, patio-season brew.
More than a decade later, on a hot afternoon, I tried another session ale from an Ontario craft brewery, and the memories of that first experience came back.
Detour (4.3% ABV)Appearance: slightly cloudy (it's unfiltered); deep gold to pale apricot, with a white head that settles to a thin but complete cap.
Beer O'Clock rating: 5
Nose: grapefruit, honey, canteloupe.
Palate: citrus hops, orange-pekoe tea, and honeydew; full body in the mouth but settles to a light, flavourful finish.
I shared my first six-pack of this session ale with a couple of my fellow dance dads, when we were moving props for our kids' dance recital. On our first sip, we were all blown away by the incredible citrus flavours and solid body. Having worked up a sweat with moving props on and off the stage, this ale hit the spot perfectly.
Later, in the comfort of my front steps, sitting in my Muskoka chair (appropriate), I thought, this can easily be my go-to summer ale. And it is.
This is my early pick for summer beer. It has all the refreshing flavours and is low in alcohol, so it is perfect for enjoying on a hot summer day. It makes me think of happy times, drinking great beer, and reminds me of that first, great session ale by my friend.
Stock up on this brew, which is available at the LCBO. I have a feeling it's going to move fast when it gets on the shelves.