Top 5 Craft Beers for Summer in Vancouver

Photo credit: QuinnDombrowski | Flickr

Photo credit: QuinnDombrowski | Flickr

Put away those porters and hoppy, heavy IPAs.  Summer is nearly here and that means crisp, fresh beers that can be sipped all afternoon-long on a sunny patio.

Vancouver’s craft beer renaissance means there’s no shortage of local brews that fit the bill.  Here are five picks that should be part of your 2013 patio season.

Howe Sound Brewing King Heffy ImperialHefeweizens (German-style wheat beers) are the king of summer brews.  And Howe Sound’s King Heffy is . . . well . . . the king of Hefeweizens.  It’s a bit more substantial than most hefes but offers up all the signature banana and clove notes.  Just be careful: as an “imperial,” this brew packs a punch with a 7.7-percent alcohol content.  

Red Racer Raspberry Wheat AleFruit can do terrible things to a good beer.  Luckily, Surrey-based Red Racer gets this brew exactly right.  Start with a crisp, clean wheat ale, then add a hint of raspberries sourced from the Fraser Valley.  Toasted malts balance the tartness of the berries, so you don’t get the soda-pop sweetness of so many fruit-infused beers.

Vancouver Island Brewing Flying Tanker White IPAImagine the love child of a full-bodied, hoppy IPA and a smooth, crisp wheat beer and you’ll get Flying Tanker.  Though it takes a bit of getting used to, this fusion brew is a drinkable, flavourful powerhouse.  Hops are subtle but there and there’s plenty of the citrus and clove notes that make wheat beers so quaffable.

Granville Island Ginja NinjaI can hear the beer nerds out there groaning already.  Yes, Granville Island is now technically a big industrial brewer owned by corporate behemoths.  But brewmaster Verne Lambourne still gets to show off his skills with Granville Island’s specialty Seasonal Releases, like Ginja Ninja.  Imagine a light, refreshing lager spiced up with 100-percent real ginger.  Much less in-your-face than other ginger beers, this one should be an instant summer classic (Thanks to the Vancouver Sun’s Randy Shore for spotting this gem).

Driftwood White Bark WitbierLooking for a classic, Belgian-style wheat ale suitable for all summer occasions? This is the one.  Victoria-based Driftwood hits all of its beers out of the park and this oldie-but-goodie is no exception.  Classic witbier floral notes are complemented by ground coriander and Curacao orange peel.

There are many more great summer craft brews out there.  If you’ve got a favourite, share below.  

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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