Get Thee to the Brewery

I was lucky enough to “help” Rob Monk tap off a cask ale at Yukon Brewing a few weeks ago. Truth be told, there was a bit of spillage as the spigot flew from my hand, but Rob is quick on his feet and he deftly rectified the situation with minimal loss. The cask was a version of the Cascadia ale (Longest Night) that the brewery now has available on tap.

Cascadia ale is a new style of beer developed by our maladjusted big brothers to the south, Americans. It is a mash-up of a stout and an American IPA, developed in north-western United States. Americans are famous for thumbing their noses at other people’s traditions and performing acts of extreme beer adulteration.

In some cases it results in a hopped-up, over-the-top, extreme beer like Imperial India Pale Ales, in other cases it results in strange-bedfellow beer ingredients like bacon and maple. In the case of Cascadia ale, the Americans’ irreverence resulted in a new style.

It’s dark from roasted malts you would expect in a stout or porter, but with a prominent citrus-and-hop character from the use of American cascade hops.

Cascadia ales are not overly accessible. They have bitterness from both the roasted malts and the hops. So if bitter-on-bitter isn’t your thing, the brewery has other offerings.

The Grizzly wheat beer is a light and quenching with a subtle twang from the wheat and a slight unfiltered yeastiness.

Some people think all wheat beers are cut from the same cloth. Not true. The German Hefeweizens you buy at the liquor store are brewed using traditional German yeasts that impart the aroma and flavour of banana and clove to the beer. Most North American wheat beers are brewed with clean-fermenting strains of yeast.

Yukon Brewing’s Jelly Donut is a variation on the Grizzly with a subdued fruit character from the use of raspberries and slight bitterness from the use of orange peel. It is available on tap at the brewery.

I picked up a growler of the Bonanza Brown the other day. It is a mild, chocolaty-brown ale that is highly drinkable and has the odd characteristic of evaporating over the course of several hours on a Friday night.

If you are in the Christmas spirit, you may as well head straight for the Spiced Winter Ale tap, a seasonal beer first created in 2008. It is dark from the use of roasted malts and is lightly spiced with cinnamon sticks, dried orange peel, cardamom, and star anise. The spicing is restrained, so it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking liquid Christmas cake; it just has faint back notes reminiscent of the season. Perfect fare to drive away those winter blues.

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