Summer beers to quench your thirst

Rickard's Shandy. (Handout)

Rickard's Shandy. (Handout)

Jordan St. John, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

This year, we seem to have more or less bypassed spring and gone directly to summer weather. In Canada, the main significance of this is that the road crews get to start putting out their pylons early in preparation to turn a major thoroughfare into a street sized pit. You’d be well advised to pick up a quantity of the beverage of your choice and avoid going anywhere that requires a car.

There are important things to remember about drinking beer in summer. The first thing is that, while beer is a great choice, it does tend to leave you somewhat dehydrated if it’s 30 degrees out. For that reason, you should probably have a glass of water handy in addition to whatever you choose to drink. Additionally, beer and company seem to warp time somewhat, so even if you think you’re only going to be out in the sun for an hour, it is likely to turn into three. Wear sunscreen.

That said, here are some recommendations for quenching your thirst:

Rickard’s Shandy is the newest seasonal offering from the Molson owned Rickard’s brand. I’ve given their last few releases a hard time. Cardigan and Oakhouse, while evocative names, don’t really tell you anything about the product. Here, they’ve rectified that problem by going simple and traditional.

Shandy is a mixture of beer and lemonade or ginger ale. Rickard’s has opted for lemonade, and the end result is quite pleasant. It’s not complex, but it’s refreshing and does exactly what it says it will do. At 4.5% alcohol, it would be a good choice for after you’ve finished mowing the lawn.

Woodchuck Amber Hard Cider will be making its first Canadian appearance within the month, which is good news for people who are looking for more variety in that category. Based out of Middlebury, Vermont, Woodchuck has been in the cider game since 1991. Rather than producing sulphur or rising dough, the yeast character here is fairly negligible, meaning that the flavour is simply that of apple. The closest thing I can compare it to is canned apple juice I remember from childhood. It’s not complex, but it would be a great choice if you were grilling, especially something in a pork chop or sausage.

Crazy 8 Hard Raspberry Cider from the Applewood Farm Winery in Stouffville, Ontario is not a widely available product, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for. It manages to be both tart and dry, while retaining a significant raspberry character. I can think of any number of culinary applications, but it’s ideally suited to a porch swing and a cool breeze.

Jordan St.John writes about beer at saintjohnswort.ca. He recommends courage and small sips.

 


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