Three Canadian crafty radlers

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In my June 19, 2015 edition of First Draught, I stated that Radlers were “slowly gaining popularity in Canada.” Well, it’s at the point now where I’m dubbing 2017 “The Year of the Radler”. Radlers are becoming such a hot commodity that Liquor Marts and beer vendors are having a hard time keeping them in stock. As far as I can count so far, Labatt has three radlers available in Manitoba right now, including Bud Light Radler, with possibly more to come through their Mill Street, Stanley Park or Goose Island operations.

Radlers have been available in Manitoba for as long as I can remember but I recall bypassing them completely because they were simply 50% beer/50% grapefruit juice, and I’m not someone who generally cares about grapefruit juice. Radlers will always be the beer of choice for cyclists, but it’s also the beer of choice for those who want something refreshing, light yet fruity at same time.

This week I’ve chosen three Non-Labatt Canadian craft brewed Radlers that are worth cycling to. (Please drink responsibly)

Pump House Crafty Radler - I’ve been a fan of Moncton's Pump House since back in the day when the pub-based predecessor of Farmery Brewery (Luxalune Gastropub) used to have an interesting selection of craft beers that were only available at their pub and nowhere else in Manitoba, their Blueberry Ale was always a hit in the summer time, while their Scotch Ale was a hit in the winter. Pump House recently brought out a new Radler called Crafty Radler. Crafty Radler is brewed with lager and a mixture of grapefruit and tangerine juices. Crafty Radler pours a cloudy straw beer with a hint of pulp-like sediment throughout the beer. The aroma starts out being reminiscent of 7-UP with a bit of lime and lemon then the notes of grapefruit and tangerine pop up quickly after. The taste starts off with a heavy dose of grapefruit mixed with lime and lemon but the tangerine really helps deal with the tartness of the sour fruits by adding a hint of orangey sweetness, though I wish there was a bit tangerine in there. Incredibly tasty and likely the strongest Radler of the night as it tops out at 4.7% ABV. Available at Liquor Marts in Brandon. Brandon, Minnedosa and virden for $3.49 per 473mL can. 4.5/5 Pints

Waterloo Grapefruit Radler - In my 2015 column, I reviewed Waterloo’s Lemonade Radler as I love lemonade and I wanted to see what the fuss about Radlers was at the time. In my opinion, Waterloo Brewing makes the top selling (non Labatt/Molson/Stiegl) radler in Canada, I see more people buying this beer than Bud Light Radler, but Bud Light just released their Radler days ago so things will change. Waterloo’s Grapefruit Radler pours pale, watery lemon yellow with a bit of sediment. There’s a great deal of carbonation taking place making it a bit fizzy like a soda. The aroma is full of grapefruit as it is tart yet sweet, a good deal of pepper and a hint of lemon. The taste starts out fairly sweet then the tartness of the grapefruit hits. The weird tartness of grapefruits is the main reason why I never liked grapefruits. There’s a hint of peppery spice in there as well but it’s mostly muted compared to the aroma. It’s fairly easy to drink and definitely the most tarty of what I’ve had so far, but I’m not done yet! If you’re a grapefruit fan, this Radler is obviously meant for you! Compared to some grapefruit coolers on the market, this one has a natural taste to it instead of a weird syrupy and sugary taste to it. 3.1% ABV. Available at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Dauphin, Swan River and Virden for $3.25 per 473mL can. It may also be available at the Keystone Motor Inn Beer Vendor. 4/5 Pints

Central City Red Racer Radler - Most of you who are familiar with the name “Red Racer” will immediately think of their popular India Pale Ale in the green cans. The Red Racer line from Surrey BC’s Central City Brewing is actually a wide selection of products from pilsners to pumpkin ales and.. yes, a Radler. Red Racer Radler just popped back at the MLCC two weeks back after an eight month hiatus. The Radler pours a thick and cloudy orange beer but doesn’t have any sort of sediment like the two previous beers. The aroma has notes of grapefruit, lime, lemon, a hint of pepper, and a light grassiness from the hops. The taste starts off with a bit of a Five Alive flavour to it as I’m getting lime and grapefruit popping up at the same time. It’s fairly tart and even has a light taste of crackers to it, which I haven’t seen in any other of the beers. This one is probably the smoothest of the bunch but after drinking three Radlers by myself, I wish I was sharing this with someone or if my portions were only in 4-8oz sampler sizes instead - that’s just too much grapefruit juice for one person! The grapefruit is complimented by lime in this one but it still has the tartiness and peppery bite that I experienced in the rest of the Radlers. 3.5% ABV. You can find this at Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin for $2.73 per 473mL can. 4/5 Pints

Lastly, two new beer releases: With today being Cinco de Mayo, Vankleek Hill, Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing has launched their Buenos Dias Gruit Ale. If you were at the Brandon Beer Festival last month you got to try it before the rest of the province! Buenos Dias is available at Liquor Marts in Brandon and Dauphin for $5.30 per 600mL bottle.