First Draught: Cameron’s Rye Pale Ale
By David Ort
A beer that warms from within (Image: David Ort)
Until four or five years ago, the only grain used to brew beer was barley. Alright, obviously that’s not true. Beer has been made with wheat for centuries (especially in places like Germany and Belgium) but it wasn’t until recently that wheat beers found a place in the North American spotlight. Now it’s rye’s turn to make a place for itself on the list of cereals that are used to make beer.
The Rye Pale Ale from Cameron’s Brewing Co. is an outstanding, local example of what can be done with rye as a grain. Given that rye grows so well in cooler climates, it’s appropriate that beers made with it drink so well during this time of the year, when the temperature sneaks into single digits.
In the context of pale ales, Cameron’s shifts the profile from that bitter, pink-grapefruit crispness to a complex, sweet-bitter match that warms from within, but doesn’t tire the palate out.
The RPA pours a dark-orange amber with a strong dose of haze and a frothy, white top that leaves lots of lace on the glass as it fades down. The aroma has strong fruity-floral notes from the hops, and the flavour brings subtle hints of spicy caraway and clove. The beer’s greatest strength is having just enough malty sweetness to harmonize with the lingering bitterness.
Rich, salty and sour foods (think barbecue in a vinegar-based sauce) would pair nicely with this RPA.
Cameron’s Rye Pale Ale, $16.50 for six 341 mL. Available at the brewery.
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.