By Lundy Dale
BEER OF THE YEAR – Central City Brewers – After Hours Pale Ale
The 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards was held in Toronto this past week and it was great to see a blend of old and new breweries taking awards home with them. Congratulations to all the winners across the country, and especially to Clifford Brewing in Hamilton, Ontario for taking home the “Brewery of the Year”.
British Columbia also did pretty well this year with a trophy count of fifty awards! Four of those fifty awards went to two-time past “Brewery of the year” winner Central City Brewery of Surrey, BC. Their After Hours Pale Ale won Gold in the “Experimental Beer” Category and was also the big winner of BEER OF THE YEAR!
The 16-year-old Central City Brewing Co, with Gary Lohin as head brewer, took the BC craft beer world by storm back in the early 2000s with their innovative and hop forward IPA. Since then, the brewery and the team has grown much larger, with an added distillery in 2013. Stuart McKinnon, mixologist at the downtown location of Central City (now named Red Racer Taproom) joined up with Lohin and took on the role of Distiller. In addition to producing distilled and barrel-aged spirits (and they have a lot of cool barrels to play with) they have collaborated on a beer/spirit blend, aptly named “Spirit Series”. The After Dark Pale Ale is one of those and is based on the classic Old fashioned cocktail.
This 6.5% (and 35 IUs) ale pours a rich copper colour with a slight off white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is a blend of oak, whisky, oranges and cherry, just what you would expect from an Old Fashioned cocktail.
The taste? Well, if you you could pour this into an old-fashioned style crystal glass, you would swear that’s what you were drinking as there’s no need for the addition of bitters, orange slices or a cherry garnish because this beer has it all. It’s also interesting to note that both the whisky and the bitters used were in house and award winning. That my beer friends is why this beer won GOLD and BEER of the YEAR!