‘I love beer. When someone approaches you and asks “would you like to collaborate on your very own signature beer flavor?” You say “yes”‘
So says Dallas Green aka City and Colour, the former Alexisonfire frontman and St. Catherine’s, Ontario musician whose fourth and most recent offering, The Hurry and the Harm, hit shelves early last month and promptly went to #1 on the Canadian charts.
With such obvious talent it comes as no surprise that Barrie-based Flying Monkeys Brewery reached out to Dallas to create a collaboration beer.
The beer is part 2 of the brewery’s Treble Cleff Series, which makes collaboration brews with Canadian musical talent. The first in the series, the BNL Imperial Chocolate Stout made with the Barenaked Ladies, was met with much success and frankly, tasted amazing.
This beer, however, is much different (though no less big). City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat beer. At 11.5% ABV, it’s made with Ontario Maple Syrup and Fair-Trade Organic Bourbon Vanilla Pods. The decision to go with something distinctly Canadian was an easy one and what better ingredient than Maple Syrup? From there, Peter Chiodo and Head Brewer Paul Buttery set to work developing the beer, with Dallas himself appearing for a brew day “The highlight of my time there was seeing how enthusiastic Peter and the rest of the flying monkeys gang were about beer.” Dallas recalls. “It reminded me of how I feel about music”. The bottle/box art as well, put together by Andrea Chiodo and and Bruce Chalmers, was directly inspired by the many tattoos of Dallas Green and captured the simple yet complex style that City & Colour invokes.
The beer made a public showcase at last week’s Session Toronto and will be seeing an LCBO launch tomorrow (July 4th) at the Summerhill location from 4pm to 7pm, with Dallas himself attending to sign bottles. It will also see a Western Canada release thanks to distribution by the 49th Parallel Group.
Now on to the review. I got to try this beer on Canada Day, which was pretty fitting with the Maple Syrup notes.
Before I go in to it, I have to say this: SHARE THIS BEER. I’m sure if you were determined enough you could have the bottle to yourself, but this really is a beer worth sharing with friends, family and loved ones. Music makes a good pairing as well. Dallas suggests playing the whole of The Hurry and The Harm and slowly sipping it.
COLOUR: Ruby Red.
AROMA: MAPLE MAPLE MAPLE. This has a very dominating maple scent that, similar to the chocolate notes in the BNL beer, just take over the space. The Vanilla is in there though.
TASTE: Of course the very real Maple Syrup notes hit first, and they hit really hard. Vanilla closely follows with a slight alcohol burn in the middle (the bourbon?). The whole thing wraps up nicely at the end with with a touch of sweetness and the elegant final twist of Maple. When had cold, it reminds me of moments in Pioneer Village tasting maple sap that had been chilling in the ice. When the beer warms in the glass, it gets notciebly stickier in mouthfeel and the alcohol burn becomes a bit more present.
VERDICT: You know, this past spring I had pretty much written off Maple Beers as something that just wouldn’t appeal to me. This…seems different to me somehow. I’m hesitant to say this is an excellent dessert beer, and it is, but it seems more suited to a good Canadian breakfast of bacon, eggs, pancakes and coffee. Especially pancakes. Have to say, I developed a craving for it while drinking the beer.
I can’t drink much of this like I could with the BNL beer (One snifter glass full suited me just fine), but it’s a beer that sticks in your mind after a while and is an absolute joy to drink. I wrote in my notes that it’s “Canadian as %*$#” and you know? It may be the patriotism talking, but I think that’s a pretty good descriptor for it, as it invokes a lot of memories for me (see above in the taste section for one of them). I think I’m going to save a bottle for winter though, to see how well it pairs with the season that Canadians are known for.
Here’s the title track for City and Colour’s Hurry and the Harm.