Review: Trans Canada Harvest Sky Pale Ale (2021)

The other day I was asked by local malt barley grower and craft beer geek Jeff Elder if I happened to have tried Trans Canada Brewing's Harvest Sky. I sent him a link to my review from 2020 but turns out they re-released the beer as a Pale Ale grown with barley from his farm in Wawanesa and hops from Prairie Gem Hops in Rosser. I know I've sampled beers that contained some of his barley before but this is the first time I've ever reviewed a beer that consisted only of his barley! Jeff dropped off a care package to my parents the other day consisting of this beer so I could actually review it, as well as a few treats that I'm going to share with friends when the time comes. Thanks Jeff!

From the label: Citrus and biscuity. Named for its straw colour, Harvest Sky is a medium bodied Pale Ale with notes of citrus, biscuit and a sweet malt finish that is balanced by the delicate hop bitterness. 

Harvest Sky is brewed with ingredients grown by Canadian prairie family owned and operated farms. A special thank you to the farmers who grew the ingredients for our 2021 batch of Harvest Sky Pale Ale:
Barley grown by Jeff Elder & Family, Maple Grove farm of Wawanesa, MB
Malted barley by Matt Enns, Makers Malt of Rosthern, SK
Hops grown by Sandra Gowan and Family, Prairie Gem Hops of Rosser, MB. 5.2% ABV / 21 IBU

Appearance: Pours a light lemon yellow/straw body with a light to moderate amount of cloudiness to it. A liberal amount of carbonation in the body and a thick snow white head on top that leaves behind a good layered lacing on the glass.

Aroma: The initial whiff I get from this beer straight of the bottle was kind of weird.. it smelled like roast beef.. which.. really isn't a thing in beer unless if we're getting a smoked beer, which we aren't here. Once I pour it in the glass and let it settle, I get a bit of a nuttiness to it, great deal of toasted malt, a slight lemon citrus presence, a light crisp graininess from the malt and a slight floral hop presence at the end.

Taste: Like the aroma, I get a good deal of nuttiness to it right off the bat. Once I get past the nuttiness, I get a sharp malt flavour that I can only describe as the kind of taste you used to get from a lager in the 90s, which is a sharp, somewhat sweet, slightly soapy and a bit of a graininess to it.. something I haven't tasted in a beer in a very, very long time. There's notes of lemon, a grassy and floral hop presence to it. The beer gets a bit more citrusy and lighter on mouthfeel closer to the end of the bottle, as well as a tad bit of piney bitterness.

Overall Thoughts: Not bad, though I find the nuttiness a bit aggressive for a Pale Ale but overall it's quite drinkable and samples some of the best malt and hops Manitoba has to offer. I think one should let this beer mellow for a bit or roll the bottle gently to get all the sediment evenly in every sip as the first half of the bottle was completely different than the second half. Sweet, light floral and grassy hops - it was a rough year for farmers but seeing that we have a beer made from Manitoba crops at all is great!

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