In an atmosphere of constant creativity and ever-changing beer styles, there’s something to be said for the classics. The styles that started it all. The jumping off points for the myriad of beer varieties currently available on the market today. In the spirit of appreciating the classics, here are some of our favourite takes on some lesser appreciated old-school styles.
The Tripel - Freehold Brewing Bramble Garden $18.75
Big, boozy, and warm, the tripel is a traditional Belgian beer originally created by monks of the Trappist order at the Westmalle Monastery. The term “tripel” comes from part of the brewing process, where brewers use up to three times the amount of malt found in a standard Trappist table beer. Freehold’s take on the style is crisp and wonderfully balanced for a style that usually shifts toward the grainy-sweet end of the flavour spectrum and their addition of fresh rhubarb helps to add a woodsy, fresh note; like something straight from Grandma’s garden.
The Dunkel - Zero Issue Brewing Cloak Dark Lager $17.50
Dunkel is the German term for a dark lager - not to be confused with a schwarzbier, which literally means “black beer”. Dark lagers are light in body, crisp and easy drinking, but with the addition of darkly roasted malts that provide those familiar toasty flavours. Zero Issue’s dark lager is a great example of the style - not overly hop-forward, but balanced and refreshing, with just the right amount of colour and roast. Think of it as the perfect option for your Sunday night pot roast pairing.
The Extra Special Bitter - Driftwood Brewing Naughty Hildegard $17.25
The extra special bitter, or ESB, is a style that has been making a comeback in recent years, likely due to the ever-rising popularity of it’s descendant: the India Pale Ale. British bitters are said to be the grandfather of the IPA, and the Extra Special Bitters the finest examples of them. Driftwood presents an inherently crushable version of the style, while simultaneously paying homage to Mother Hildegard, the German Benedictine abbess credited for her work with hops plants.
The Fruit Beer - De Ranke Kriek $20
The addition of fruit in beer goes way, way back in brewing’s long history; back to when gruit - beer made using the addition of fruits, spices and herbs for flavour - was the name of the game. And we all know how well fruit and grain go together - just think of any breakfast loaf or non-chocolate based dessert. So it’s no surprise that fruited beers have lasted the test of time. De Ranke’s Kriekenbier, a sour ale brewed with Kriek cherries, is bright and tart, but intensely fruity. Which is likely due to the 25 kilos of cherries used for every hectolitre of beer brewed.