CRAFT BREWERS CONFERENCE
I will be the first person to put up my hand and say that I have one of the best jobs in the world. I’ve probably said this before but having just been at the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia it’s worth saying again. Mostly so my wife believes that it’s actually a real job — which it is.
The Craft Brewers Conference (or the CBC as it’s known to most of the folks in the industry) is an annual rallying point for all things beer in North America. Even though it has a distinctly US craft brewers focus you will find quite a few Canadian breweries in attendance. Some are looking to sit in on one of the many seminars, or perhaps buy some new equipment at the BrewExpo, maybe cross their fingers and see how their beers did at the World Beer Cup (which included a Bronze medal for Collective Arts — Stranger Than Fiction Porter this year) but let’s be honest
— we are all there to drink beer.
Everywhere you turn there is a small stand offering you up beer or a hospitality suite serving up cold suds. And this is what I love most about the CBC — discovering new beer. This year I went down hunting for the latest up-and-coming style; sour beers, and I found some shining US examples (hopefully some will make it up to Canada soon).
SUPPLICATION — RUSSIAN RIVER
BREWING I first had this sour brown ale at the CBC two years ago in Denver and it was a highlight then and it’s still a highlight. This beer needs to be on your bucket list of beers, not only because it’s great, but also because it’s a style that I think you are going to see a lot of breweries working with this year and in the future. Sour ales are an unpredictable and difficult beast to manage because they enlist the help of wild yeast and bacteria to help make them shine. Essentially they are “bad” beers done beautifully. This isn’t going to be for everyone but a great sour is amazing and a mediocre one is terrible.
OLD PRO — UNION CRAFT BREWING
I don’t know Union Craft Brewing so I wasn’t sure what to expect when this can was put in my hand by the bartender. Old Pro is a gose (goh-zuh) German-style wheat beer that has been soured using lactobacillus bacteria, but then the flavour is balanced by using salt and some coriander seed creating a remarkably refreshing beer.
BLOOD ORANGE GOSE — ANDERSON
VALLEY BREWING One of my favourite gose beers. It’s very similar in style and profile to Old Pro above but they have added blood oranges during fermentation to create another level of flavour. This beautiful balance of sweet, tart and salty makes this one of the most crushable beers that I have ever had the pleasure to drink. Well worth the search to find it.