The Story Behind Nectarous


Photo by Alison Page

I asked Brent Mills, the brewmaster and co-founder of Four Winds Brewing, how their award-winning dry-hopped sour came about. The story is an interesting one:

Well this beer had some test batches behind it we were ultimately unconfident in the procedure to actually schedule a production scale batch. We tasted a few similar beers from our friends from the south and were quite impressed with the idea of neutralized Lacto. So one day we were brewing our regular saison and just as we had the kettle full, our boiler went down. It was a Friday and the repair man wasn’t able to come til Monday. So we decided rather than dumping the batch, we try and make that kettle sour beer we were to afraid to brew!

The process worked and the beer was tasty! 

We wanted to use the Troi yeast as we have had experience with it in the past and were big fans of the tropical notes that it produced and thought they would pair well with galaxy hops!

I believe the style became popular that year as the progression of sour beer demand came. Brewers were trying to make sour beers faster and this technique ultimately came up.

Awesome. A happy accident indeed. Thanks Brent!

The Dry-Hopped Sour Effect


Photo from New Belgium’s Evolution of Le Terroir

Toronto is 10-15 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to food and drink trends. This is a statement I often hear from people in the industry. A recent NOW magazine cover story declared that Toronto is a city of copycats when it comes to culinary trends. We’re too obsessed with what we’re missing out on to be truly innovative. This too is true when it comes to our beer. We’ve recently started making dry-hopped sours, though they’ve been available in the US for 14 years. Granted, this is due to the prolific nature of New Belgium’s experimentation, as the rest of the world caught on years later. Continue reading

A Cuvée René Public Service Announcement

The LCBO released Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René for the second year in a row. Everyone rejoice. It’s a bit more expensive at $7 a bottle instead of $5-something, but this time I made sure to buy two cases instead of one. And I’m going to try to not touch most of it until one year from now.

This is because this gueuze absolutely transforms after one year of aging. It becomes densely funky, fragrant, cheesy amazingness. Please please, save some. Continue reading

An Ode to Weird Beers


Photo by biercellar on Twitter

Last weekend, I went to Volo to try Nectarous, Canada’s best dry-hopped sour, on tap. Yes, it is smooth, intricately tropical and impossibly juicy. I want more. While there, I also tried a few other farmhouse ales. Among them were: the fabulous sour barrelly Surette by Colorado’s Crooked Stave, a tart saison that tasted like herbal BO, and a beer that reminded me of … Yardley Lavender lotion. At first whiff, I dubbed this “the perfume beer” and it offended me greatly. But then I took another sip. And another sip later, I was all: “Yardley Lavender lotion.” Continue reading

Why I Love Craft Beer

I joined Toastmasters last month, because I want to get good at public speaking for my next job. Even if I don’t end up speaking on stage in front of large groups of people, I want to be decent at it. Toastmasters is a club that allows you to do just that: get good at public speaking through weekly challenges. Your first speech, also known as the Icebreaker, is a simple introduction to who you are and what you’re into. What better opportunity to talk about one of my greatest passions: craft beer. Here’s the speech I gave this last week. Continue reading

Cask Days Happened Again


This past weekend, I attended my third Cask Days, the all-cask (*ahem*, mostly-cask) beer festival the Morana family started 11 years ago. It was awesome. Not only did I get to try some word-class brews like Four Winds Nectarous, the dry-hopped sour which won Beer of the Year at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards, but I got to cheers a bunch of my friends with said beer. Because we went for the first session on Friday. And had first pick of everythang. Also, Halo, that brewery I work for who won Best Newcomer at this year’s Golden Tap Awards, had two of their delicious offerings on cask: Event Horizon and Elder God. Continue reading