First Draught: Red Racer IPA
By David Ort
Red Racer IPA (Image: Christopher Paulin)
New breweries seem to be opening every couple of months in Ontario, and things are looking up for craft beer drinkers. That is unless they want to buy beer to drink at home.
The complex web of laws and government monopolies that were implemented in the ’20s, at the end of Prohibition, seem designed to put consumer choice last. An amendment to those laws was passed about a month ago that made it easier to bring wine across provincial borders, but beer drinkers are still waiting for a similar liberalization.
With so many great Ontario choices, are we really missing out? I would say yes. At the 2012 Canadian Brewing Awards, the Beer of the Year prize went to Co-Hop V from Quebec, and sitting at the top of the heap of medals that went to B.C. breweries (which won 40 per cent of the total) was another Brewery of the Year award for Surrey's Central City Brewing Company. Its Red Racer IPA is the only option the LCBO stocks.
Held to the light, this IPA shows the bright colour of amber honey. The limited cap and fine lacing also tend slightly to amber. As well as citrus zest, this beer’s aroma reminds my nose is of the summer smells of dry hay. The malts stand up to the good bitter structure from the obvious hops and remind me of the toasty sweetness of oatmeal cookies.
The container design is distinctive enough that it would take some effort to miss. I could tell you to look for a retro green can, but what you'll really notice is the red-headed woman, in a state of wardrobe malfunction, riding the eponymous bicycle. The delicious beer inside makes the search — and the 3,000 km journey — worthwhile.
Red Racer IPA, $2.55. LCBO #256594
When David isn't busy drinking beer for his articles here, he writes about food and drink for Toronto's online publications including his own site, Food With Legs. For more of his thoughts on beer and life in general follow him on Twitter.