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Brews News: Bird-friendly brew takes wing at London Brewing

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Flight or flights? They’re converging this spring at a community-focused brewery in London’s Old East Village.

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London Brewing is back with a reformulated beer and a celebration of songbirds, nesting and the eye-opening advocacy of Bird Friendly London.

The beer is somewhat familiar to the wee brewer’s fans of the last seven years or so. It’s a rewrite of one of its early offerings, Heritage Wit, that tweets a new name, Bird Friendly London Currant Wit.

It’s a wheat beer brewed in a Belgian tradition with a generous amount of orange zest and, in homage to local birds’ diet, blackcurrants. London Brewing got its currants, a favourite bird food, from Popham Lane Farm in Northumberland County.

Available by the tallboy can with labels featuring commonly sighted southern Ontario birds, it’s just the beer to sip after putting down the binoculars and heavy telephoto lenses at popular city birding spots such as Kilally Meadows, Gibbons Park or Springbank.

It’s the second year London Brewing has partnered with Bird Friendly London, a group soaring with ideas to make urban life nicer and safer for birds, from anti-collision window decals and lighting advice for building owners to preserving bird-friendly habitats.

The beer can labels include tips about birds, including how to keep them healthy at backyard feeders. Like your favourite beer glass, feeders must be frequently emptied of stale contents and cleaned.

Those migrating to the brewery or its online store will find six-packs of 473 ml cans for $19.65. Can’t decide if it’s a beer for you? Order it in – wait for it  – a flight.

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A new beer aimed at satisfying post-exercise thirsts is ready for its spring run at London Brewing and BackRoads Brews and Shoes. Using a single hop variety grown in Parkhill, BackRoads Hazy Hydration is a light 3.5 per cent alcohol. (London Brewing photo)
A new beer aimed at satisfying post-exercise thirsts is ready for its spring run at London Brewing and BackRoads Brews and Shoes. Using a single hop variety grown in Parkhill, BackRoads Hazy Hydration is a light 3.5 per cent alcohol. (London Brewing photo)

ONE HOP FOR FLEET FEET

Also new in the cooler is a one-hop beer for those with fleet feet.

London Brewing’s BackRoads Hazy Hydration uses Parkhill-grown Cascade hops in a pale ale designed to be a flavourful post-run thirst quencher capitalizing on the single-hop beer trend. Its low alcohol content of 3.5 per cent makes it sessionable.

The yeast used, Escarpment Labs’ Thiol Libre, gives Hazy Hydration tropical aromas like passion fruit. Six-packs of Hazy Hydration are $17.26 at the brewery; or check it out at the BackRoads Brews and Shoes shop in London’s West Five.

Summer Haze is a double IPA from Forked River arriving soon at the LCBO. (Forked River photo)
Summer Haze is a double IPA from Forked River arriving soon at the LCBO. (Forked River photo)

NEW AND NOTED

• Every dog has his day, especially the pet pup of Reid McAllister, an assistant brewer at Forked River in London. The new Mexi-Mutt, a light cream ale tailored to relaxing on decks, docks or around campfires, is Reid’s recipe. It’s 4.9 per cent alcohol and a mere 13 IBU. You should pick out notes of honey and maize. On the label is Reid’s own pet pooch, Sammy, a photogenic “Cozumeleno Mexi-Mutt”.

• Also new from Forked River and coming to LCBO shelves is a summer seasonal, Summer Haze Double IPA. Based on last year’s Hazy Days of Summer, Summer Haze is 8.5 per cent alcohol. It debuts at the brewery in mid-May. Be ready to taste ripe stonefruit, pithy tangelo and citrus notes.

• The most intriguing beer I’ve tasted this month is Imperial City’s Maple Brown. Sugar bush season may have passed, but this maple-heavy beer is a pleasingly sweet reminder. I feel like I’m toasting British settlers in a Canada-meets-English-flavour tradition. Maple Brown is at the Sarnia taphouse with a souvenir glass special. Also fresh at 1330 Exmouth St.: a new batch and the return of the creamy Irish Red with its sweet toffee-meets-chocolate finish.

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• Continuing the seasonal switch to light, sociable beers, Hyde Park Curley Brewing in Hyde Park has brewed a new one as part of its Experimental Series. DH Pale Ale No. 4, dry-hopped with innovative Cryo Pop and robust Talus, has 5.5 per cent alcohol. It’s sold in large-format bottles.

• A beer collaboration between Sawdust City of Gravenhurst and the Mariposa Folk Festival is back. Mariposa Sun Lager, a light 4 per cent, uses Czech Saaz hops. Sales help support the Unison Benevolent Fund for Canadian musicians. It’s available at the brewery and its online store for $3.31 per tall-boy can.

Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.

wayne.newton@bell.net

Twitter.com/WayneWriteOn

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