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Brews News: London Brewing uses BackRoads hops for 'approachable' pale ale

Running shoes, a hop yard and beer. London’s Three Amigos are something you never imagined.

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Running shoes, a hop yard and beer. London’s Three Amigos are something you never imagined.

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The new beer is a dry-hopped pale ale christened Runner’s High. Brewed by London Brewing, Runner’s High uses hops from the BackRoads yard in Parkhill and pays homage to the city’s most fit pub, BackRoads Brews and Shoes in Riverbend.

You read that right. BackRoads is an well-curated craft beer pub with a side of running shoes. Owner Aaron Hendrikx’s other business is a hop yard started in 2017 and now producing Centennial, Chinook, Cascade, Triple Pearl and Magnum hops in commercial quantities.

Ace brewer Aaron Lawrence selected Chinook and Cascade to create a beer for die-hard runners and fitness voyeurs alike.

“For the recipe, we were looking for something that showed off the aromas and flavours of BackRoad’s hops, while still being approachable, i.e. not too bitter, easy on the palate, and more sessionable than a full-strength IPA,” Lawrence said in an email.

Running, hops from Parkhill and craft beer set the pace in a new collaboration between London Brewing and BackRoad Brews and Shoes. (London Brewing photo)
Running, hops from Parkhill and craft beer set the pace in a new collaboration between London Brewing and BackRoad Brews and Shoes. (London Brewing photo)

“On the malt side, after a base of local organic Newdale, we added a healthy addition of oats and wheat to round out the mouthfeel, A small early bittering charge of Chinook to balance that malt sweetness, followed by a heavy whirlpool addition of Cascade and Chinook. Double dry-hopped, leaning more Cascade than Chinook. It’s a smooth, hazy hoppy pale ale, coming in at 5.5 per cent. Nice citrus, grapefruit aromas with a touch of blackcurrant.”

Dual purpose aroma and flavour hops, Chinook and Cascade are frequently used for IPAs. Chinook gives a piney and grapefruit flavour. Cascade, one of the most used and best-known hop varieties, is more floral.

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There are more varieties coming from Parkhill with which Lawrence can play. Next season’s harvest will include Hallertau, Kent Golding, Ultra and Galena.

The beer board at BackRoads Brews and Shoes is a celebration of local microbreweries and their small-batch offerings. A recent taproom check found Stonepicker’s amber ale from Forest, Shakespeare’s pumpkin brown ale, Freshly Squeezed IPA from Black Gold of Petrolia, and Oxidation Amber from Rusty Wrench of Strathroy. There was also Helios Lager brewed by contract brewer Karbon in Toronto using hops from Wolfe Island. Karbon is aiming to become a carbon-negative brewery.

New London Brewing beer called Runner’s High is a dry-hopped pale ale which pays hommage to BackRoads Brews and Shoes in London, Ont. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)
New London Brewing beer called Runner’s High is a dry-hopped pale ale which pays hommage to BackRoads Brews and Shoes in London, Ont. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

Prefer cider? Thedford’s Shale Ridge has a spot at BackRoads with a light 4.2 per cent alcohol peach-apple cider.

To bond the new beer with BackRoads, there’s a cross-city morning run on Sunday, Nov. 21, 26 kilometres from the store in the west end of the city to the brewery in London’s Old East Village. Or not. If that distance doesn’t work for you, there are shorter routes of four, 15 or 19 kilometres outlined on the BackRoads Brews and Shoes webpage.

It’s a beer run on which you’ll want to get in.

NEW BEAU FOR STEAM WHISTLE

Ontario’s big city craft brewery and the pride of rural Vankleek Hill might seem like unlikely buddies. But beer and business brings benefits.

Steam Whistle of Toronto and Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Co. have inked a deal to sell and distribute each others’ portfolios.

The two breweries mesh on a number of levels, including the fact that Steam Whistle is focused on lagers and Beau’s on ales. But the core purpose is to sell more beer and grow the businesses.

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“Steam Whistle and Beau’s are stronger together,” said Greg Taylor, co-founder and CEO of Steam Whistle, in a media release. “Our combined line-up of leading brands is, we believe, the most outstanding craft beer portfolio in the country. There’s a great future of quality craft beer for our beloved fanbase.”

Added Steve Beauchesne, co-founder and CEO of Beau’s: “We refuse to be slowed by the pandemic-based hospitality industry impacts. This new bold alliance between Steam Whistle and Beau’s gives us resiliency and capacity for growth. Together, Beau’s and Steam Whistle are living the spirit of innovation and collaboration that the craft beer community is known for.”

It’s not the first big deal the evolving Steam Whistle has made. Two years ago, it announced an agreement with New Belgium of Fort Collins, Colo., to brew and distribute two exceptional brands, Fat Tire amber ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA.

New Belgium now is owned by Kirin, the Japanese beverage giant, through its Lion subsidiary of Australia. Lion also just bought the best-known brewery in Michigan, Bell’s of Kalamazoo and Comstock.

As David Bowie would’ve said, Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

NEW AND NOTED

Toboggan Brewing on Richmond Row in London has a hefty new wheat beer. Galactic Imperial Wheat, dry hopped with Galaxy and Citra, is 9.2 per cent alcohol. Expect tastes of tropical fruits from mango to pineapple.

Henderson Brewing of Toronto has a special 12 Days of Christmas pack featuring year-round, seasonals and special releases including Rush Golden Ale for the progressive rock fans on your list. Move quickly, because a 24-can advent calendar pack from Upper Thames in Woodstock sold out in two days.

Junction Brewing in Toronto is still open, but operating under bankruptcy protection and looking for new owners.

Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.

wayne.newton@bell.net

Twitter.com/WayneWriteOn

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