Beer Column: Brewer milks trend that will bear fruit

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Berry, berry nice.

That’s the obvious thing to say about a clever new beer available for the next few weeks at Forked River Brewing Company in London.

Forked River has gone shopping at Heeman’s, a berry farm 10 minutes away, coming back with raspberries. A lot of raspberries — more than over 135 kilograms.

Those local berries are the star ingredient in the new For Forked Shake, a milkshake IPA.

“The milkshake IPA is a new take on the New England IPA style that is becoming increasingly popular, certainly on the east coast,” said brewery partner Andrew Peters.

“The debate was over the fruit to use. It was short-lived, though. Having used Heeman’s raspberries to add tartness to our Raspberry Mojo special release, we knew that the blend of tart, sweet, fruity, hoppy and bitter would be a great combination.”

Other craft brewers in the U.S. and British Columbia have made this style with fruits such as strawberries, mangoes or peaches.

The “milkshake” comes with the addition of lactose, an ingredient used in milk stouts.

While memories of an ice cream parlour milkshake abound, For Forked Shake is too hoppy to pass as a dessert beer, nor do any food pairing ideas come to mind.

Let’s agree its uniqueness of flavour is best savoured slowly on its own.

The batch is expected to sell out quickly at the Forked River store. For Forked Shake is also on tap at a handful of craft-friendly pubs, including the Grad Club at Western University, ​Poacher’s Arms and Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium.

“We haven’t made a beer like this before, and with the Heeman’s collaboration and the popularity of milkshake IPAs right now, it is likely a hot ticket,” Andrew said.

. . .

Two Forked River mainstays are now available in 473 ml cans, joining Mojo Rhubarb Wit and delighting campers and boaters.

Capital Blonde Ale, Forked River’s centrepiece, and Riptide Pale Ale joined the beer-in-cans lineup now favoured by craft beer drinkers last week.

Mojo, with its cold-pressed Ontario rhubarb adding an unusual taste, is a light choice for a hot day. The can features an Austin Power-esque lava lamp as its artwork — groovy.

Capital Blonde Ale gets a bearded, shades-wearing hipster and Riptide Rye Pale Ale, a surfer dude’s woody station wagon.

All three come with a welcome hops chart rating to indicate bitterness: One for Mojo, two for Capital Blonde and three for Riptide.

. . .

Strathroy Brewing Company found itself with an unwelcome front row seat to a freight train derailment on July 19, with boxcars narrowly missing the brewery, which is located in a former feed mill.

The retail drive-through was closed during the clean-up, but a new patio opened as planned.

“We actually opened it early … so that first responders could enjoy a break from the heat every once in a while,” Strathroy Brewing posted on Facebook, “and we ask that you afford them every courtesy and even give up your seat should the need arise.”

That’s a kind gesture we can toast with an 1812 Independence Pale Ale.

. . .

Haven’t tried this yet, but Half Hours on Earth in Seaforth has released a blooming interesting beer called Nothing But Flowers. It’s made with rosehips, hibiscus, elderflower and chamomile. Doesn’t that intrigue you?

Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London. 

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