This week I highlight some recent Ontario beer releases that stand out.
From Amsterdam Brewing in Toronto we have Pantomime Golden Ale. It features a fairly new British hop, Harlequin, developed by the U.K. hop supplier Charles Faram – specifically its Hop Development Program.
The beer is a recent release of Amsterdam’s Small Batch Adventure Brew series. Since the beers are available for a limited time only it gives the Amsterdam brewers a chance to stretch and try new ideas.
Amsterdam describes Pantomime Golden Ale as a collaboration with Charles Faram, a venerable but innovative business with roots in the 19th century.
A Charles Faram webpage offers a good description of its Hop Development Program. An object is to marry “new world” flavours with a character informed by English soils and environment.
I attended a seminar in Toronto recently led by Ben Adams and Shayn Sawchuk of Faram’s Toronto office. This added further perspective, e.g. the “Harlequin” name was inspired by the how’s multi-coloured hop bract (the main leaf structure of the plant).
Pantomime Golden Ale employs Harlequin as single hop. It is added throughout the boil, at whirlpool stage, and by dry-hopping at termination of fermentation before final gravity is reached.
The malt for Mannequin is the classic Maris Otter from British maltster Crisp.
The result of all this showcases peach and pineapple from the Harlequin against a rich, velvety malt base.
Classic English malt and a new English hop with non-British blood in its lineage produce together an accomplished golden ale. Never had a better one.
You can buy it at Amsterdam’s shop on Esander Drive, at the Brewhouse shop downtown on Queen’s Quay and through the website for delivery. All details in the above link.