New season produces new beer flavours 

Craft brewers celebrate spring with chai, maple, citrus, coffee and hemp

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOHN FRENCH - SPRING FLING Longer days, more sunshine and warmer temperatures are here and that means craft brewers are breaking out their spring lines.
  • Photo by John French
  • SPRING FLING Longer days, more sunshine and warmer temperatures are here and that means craft brewers are breaking out their spring lines.

Ingredients that beer drinkers haven't seen for months are back. The change of seasons means warmer temperatures, longer days and grapefruit in beer.

Whistler Brewing is combining chai and maple again to produce Cheakamus Chai-Maple Ale. This is the second season the brewery has produced this limited-edition seasonal ale and put it into 650ml bottles. Colin Pyne of Whistler Brewing says the chai-maple brew, now available, is a product of the brewery's efforts to create different tastes.

"When it's warmer I find you get a little more sweetness out of it and less dryness from the chai tea," he says."The tea is pretty present and it's got a bittering component just like the hops have a bittering component.

"It kind of fits with the beer mentality where you have to have something that's bittering to hold up the balance of the alcohol and the sweetness."

According to Pyne, Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale will soon follow.

The Brew House has a similar adventurous spring brew on the way. Brewer Derrick Franche is working on a recipe featuring coffee as the star ingredient.

Franche says he took a trip down to Beervana, also known as Portland, Oregon, back in November. He checked out the Cascade Barrel House and sampled the brewery's Black And White Coffee Stout.

"It is a pale golden beer, really light coloured. You would think that it's a glass of lager or something like that, but what they've done is they've cold pressed coffee into it," says Franche.

When he got home he called Lance McClure at Galileo Coffee and partnered with him to get some Ethiopian beans to start work on his own coffee stout.

"If you didn't look at the beer and you put it up to your nose and sniffed it you would swear it's a black stout or a porter," says Franche. "It plays with your mind because it tastes like a dark beer, and it smells like a dark beer, but it's a really light-coloured beer."

Franche says his coffee brew will be ready in time for Howe Sound Brewing's second annual Tap Takeover. The event will see 20 guest-craft brewers each take over one tap at the brewpub in Squamish.

Meanwhile, the brewery operation in Squamish is serving four new seasonal brews. Cloudburst Lemongrass White IPA, Mettleman Copper Ale, High Tide Hemp Ale and Super Jupiter Grapefruit IPA are all being brewed.

Howe Sound Brewing will host both Whistler craft brewers at Tap Takeover along with Red Truck Brewing, Parallel 49, Salt Spring Brewing, Steamworks, Central City Brewing and more.

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