My Top Picks Beer Picks for GCBF 2018 (Non-Beer Nerd Edition)

The Great Canadian Beer Festival (GCBF) recently released the full list of beers being poured at this year’s festival.

Every year I go through the list of and pick out the beers that interest me most. The problem with that is that I’m a huge beer nerd and am always looking for what is new and exciting. Given the fact that I’ve tried a few thousand different beers, this tends to lead to a list of casks and one-offs brewed with unusual ingredients.

This is fine for fellow beer nerds, but 90% of the people attending beer fest are normal folk who just want to have a nice, delicious beer, without having to have spend five minutes deconstructing and analyzing it.

So I decided it would be good to put together a list for those interested in beer, but for whom it is not a lifestyle. These are all beers that I have tried previously and while available at local liquor stores are a little something different from the standard stuff you see at bars around town.

Hopefully you find something new and interesting to try!

Ravens Brewing—Corvus Lingonberry Lime Gose 

This beer won Best Contemporary Gose at the World Beer Cup this year, and rightly so! It is incredibly refreshing, slightly tart and salty, with delicious flavours of lingonberry and lime.  You’ll find yourself wishing you had a pint rather than a taster.

Collective Arts Brewing—Ransack The Universe IPA 

Hazy IPAs are all the rage these days. They are very different from traditional IPAs, both in appearance and in their lack of bitterness. This one from Ontario’s Collective Arts is one of my favourites. It is massively juicy with aromas and flavours of tropical fruits, mango, and citrus, with a crisp body and a smooth finish. It’s pretty glorious!

Mariner Brewing—Venture Blueberry Sour

This is probably one of the most approachable and enjoyable sours I’ve tried in a long time. It’s slightly tart with big jammy notes of blueberries and a really creamy mouthfeel. Even if you hate sours, I’d say give this one a go, you won’t be disappointed.

Riot Brewing—Back in Black Gose

I think that this recently released beer is the best thing that Riot has ever produced. It’s malty and slightly tart with notes of blackberry, chocolate, light roasted malt, and a touch of salt and coriander. Super interesting, but also easy drinking.

Fuggles & Warlock—Gin & Lime Pilsner

This has been one of my go-to camping beers this year. It is crisp and refreshing with delicious flavours and gin and lime. It’s really pushing the limits of what you can call beer, but in a good way, I guess?

Britannia Brewing—Sea Maiden Watermelon Sour

This one is another deliciously approachable sour that doesn’t assault the senses. It is slightly tart and a little salty, so super refreshing for a hot festival day. It basically tastes like sour watermelon candies. What’s not to love?

Brasserie Dunham—Saison du Pinacle

I think this hoppy farmhouse ale is one of Dunham’s best beers. It smells floral and herbal and has flavours of tropical fruit, citrus, and a touch of spice. It’s almost white wine-like with a dry and refreshing finish.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!—Rosée d’Hibiscus

If you’ve not tried anything from Quebec’s Brasserie Dieu du Ciel before, then this is a great introduction. This beer has a big floral nose and is slightly tart on the palate with gentle flavours of hibiscus, complemented by a touch of grapefruit.

Parallel 49 Brewing—Son of a Peach Tart Peachweisse

Surprise, it’s another sour! This one is light and refreshing with aromas and flavours of peach, mixed stone fruits, and mango. It’s not just a simple kettle sour either, they got all fancy and blended it with beer aged in a foeder (a huge barrel) like a traditional sour. I think it’s one of their best beers in a while!

Sooke Ocean Side Brewing—Moscow Brewle

OK, this last one is cheating, as I’ve not actually tried this beer, but I know it’s going to be amazing! For Saturday, SOB has knocked up a cask that is designed to emulate the classic cocktail, with flavours of hefty ginger spice and sharp lime. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.