First Draught: two seasonal beers from Muskoka Brewery to bridge the gap between spring and summer
By David Ort
No one drinks rosé between October and April, but wine is otherwise less weather-dependent than beer. Already, two of my five First Draught posts have profiled seasonals — beers that breweries only make and sell at a certain time of year.
A problem for seasonal beer drinkers arises in that space between two seasons. It’s hot and sunny enough now to be the middle of summer, but the calendar claims that we have another three weeks of spring left. The solution, clearly, is that this week we’ll focus on both a spring beer and a summer beer.
The Legendary Muskoka Spring Oddity from Muskoka Brewery is inspired by a mysterious creature that, according to myth, was encountered by lumberjacks and fur traders in Northern Ontario. Heather tips and juniper berries fit the beer’s foraged-from-the-Canadian-shield ethos, and their citrus vibrancy is preserved and supported by actual orange peel shavings.
The very slightly sweet, woodsy flavour of the beer comes as a surprise after a scent that smells more like a light-footed wheat beer. The Spring Oddity gets a touch of nobility from Belgian candi sugar and boasts an enhanced, eight per cent alcohol kick.
What’s bracing for a cool spring evening, though, can be a bit much for a hot day on the dock in early June. Muskoka’s solution was to release its summer seasonal, the Summer Weiss, on May 1, only a month after the Spring Oddity started its run.
The Summer Weiss is more complex than many wheat beers — it’s cut with some barley malt — and its citrus flavours are more subtle and backed by hints of cloves and other warm spices.
A word about the price so that the informative line at the bottom doesn’t come as a shock: these beers aren’t cheap, but think of them as you would a bottle of wine. Servings of this size are meant to be shared, and that flip top (purists, prepare to gasp) makes a second day pour a possibility. Actually, I found that on day two, the Spring Oddity’s orange had more punch.
Deciding whether it’s really spring or summer is a problem wherein no one loses, and Muskoka has two excellent beers to fuel the discussion.
Legendary Muskoka Spring Oddity, $9.95 for 750 ml. Available at the LCBO (#290973) and The Beer Store
Summer Weiss, $6.45 for 750 ml. Available at the LCBO (#238212) and The Beer Store
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.