Best P.E.I. beer to drink on the patio this summer
'These beers are usually low-alcohol percentage with a salty or tart finish to them'
Even people who aren't "drinkers" sometimes enjoy a cold beer on a hot summer day.
We asked the Island's four breweries, along with Charlottetown's Hopyard restaurant — which sells only craft beer, much of it from P.E.I. — which beer they'd most enjoy sipping on a P.E.I. patio this summer. We also checked in with the guys who write Atlantic Canada Beer Blog.
"I think that most people when sitting on a patio are looking for something light and refreshing," said Brett Hogan, co-owner of Hopyard restaurant and the new Sugar Skull Cantina on Water St. in Charlottetown. "We sell a lot of Upstreet Commons Pilsner and Beach Chair Lager (by the P.E.I. Brewing Co.)."
Hogan also recommends the light, easy-drinking Summer Sessions Ale from Barnone, and suggests another style that is really starting to grow in the Maritimes — sour-based beer.
"These beers are usually low-alcohol percentage with a salty or tart finish to them, so they are perfect for drinking in the sunshine! Moth Lane Brewery just came out with a really nice cranberry sour that sold very very quickly at HopYard," Hogan noted.
Chris McDonald from Atlantic Canada Beer Blog seconded that, nominating Moth Lane's Twisted Sisters Sour Cranberry beer as "the perfect patio beer: refreshing acidity to cut through your barbecue meal, while offering a pleasant fruit flavour from the local cranberries."
Those who steer clear of fruit beers because they are too sweet: fear not, McDonald said.
"Using a technique to promote a tart finish, this beer finishes with a crisp bite, inviting you back for more. With Moth Lane featuring their own patio overlooking the water, and live music throughout the week, a trip to western P.E.I. is a perfect retreat," he suggests.
Fellow beer blogger Shawn Meek picked Vic Park from P.E.I. Brewing, calling it "a great pale ale which features lots of bright citrus flavour and aroma, without being too bitter."
P.E.I. Brewing Co.
"My go-to beer in the summer heat is definitely Vic Park Pale Ale," said Chris Long, brewmaster at P.E.I.'s oldest brewery, P.E.I. Brewing Company.
"Most brewers love India Pale Ales which are bursting with citrus and tropical fruit hop flavour and aroma (sorry Alexander Keith's)," Long explained.
"However, the higher alcohol of that style can be a bad thing when you're sweltering in the sun. Vic Park has all the hop flavour and aroma of an IPA, but at 5 per cent alcohol by volume, you can enjoy a full-flavoured beer without all the alcohol. It's great poolside, on the patio, the deck, the gazebo, under a tree, or even in the screen tent if the mosquitoes get bad."
Long's second choice is Moth Lane's Weizen Up B'ye German-style wheat beer.
"I'm a sucker for weizen beers which usually share a lot of qualities with German lagers but add both a lovely banana and clove flavour from the special yeast that they utilize, and a soda-cracker-like maltiness from the malted wheat. It's pale and crisp, with enough character to hold your interest over a long day of doing nothing," he said.
Moth Lane Brewing
"My pick for my summer beer is Motorboat'r," said Eric Wagner from P.E.I.'s newest brewery, Moth Lane in Ellerslie, P.E.I.
The refreshing blonde ale is 6.5 per cent alcohol by volume, and Wagner said "there is a little taste of the Island in it, from the great well water we have."
Wagner's second pick would be Sir John A.'s Honey Wheat Ale from the P.E.I. Brewing Co., a light ale which boasts a "brisk, clean flavour... with lovely floral aroma."
Upstreet Craft Brewing
"Our Rhuby Social is a strawberry rhubarb witbier that has a pleasant summery aroma of fresh fruit and spices," said Upstreet Craft Brewery co-founder and head brewer Mike Hogan. "The taste has just the perfect balance of sweet and tart, so whether you're grilling on your deck or hitting a patio with some friends, Rhuby has all the flavour you need to soak in the sun."
"Hogie"'s second choice would be Barnone's IPA, which he said is "loaded with hops but with just the right balance of bitterness to enjoy on a hot summer's evening."
Barnone Brewery and Hop Farm in Rose Valley, P.E.I., is owned and operated by Don Campbell — a man of few words.
"Our pick for summer deck beer — our brewery: Summer Sessions, a light blonde ale," Campbell said. His second pick is Upstreet's Rhuby Social.
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