I had a chat recently with Henderson Brewing’s general manager Steve Himel and got some good background on the brewery and principals. The brewery hit the ground running four years ago, benefitting from careful pre-production planning and market research.

A driving principle was and remains locality, the Toronto character is emphasized in different ways. The main products are Henderson Best, a flavourful ESB style, and the lighter Food Truck ale.

A fairly wide range is offered at the Henderson bar including currently an Imperial Porter and Export Stout (meaning I need to get back there soon). There is also an ongoing program of limited or special releases.

I like the emphatic Union Peason Ale (UPA), a West Coast-styled IPA that has a full but appealing taste. It reminds me of Ballantine India Pale Ale (1970s-80s), Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, and Arrogant Bastard, an amalgam of those. This means high praise.  🙂

Zerostomia was just released as part of the company’s Ides series, a full-flavoured lager yet only 3.5% abv. The name is a pun on the medical condition for dry mouth. The ad copy hints that when cannabis is legal this beer will hit the spot to refresh. It’s part of the overall message: a beer low in alcohol but full in body and hop character.

It delivers the goods certainly, achieving what a lot of 19th century lager did: rich taste but alcohol under 4% abv.

The hops are Magnum and Triskel, which lend a German blonde lager character. The Magnum betrays some citrus, probably from the U.S. part of its heritage (Galena), so there is a New World touch as well.

Triskel is somewhat like Strisselspalt from Alsace-Lorraine which forms part of its heritage, the other part is English. All in all a continental character is conferred, we’re in classic Helles country, mainly.

Zerostomia is really an 1800s-style lager as one can see from these numbers I calculate using data on the website: OG 1040, FG 1013, 66% attenuation.

It’s first-rate and fairly unique in the low-alcohol stakes. Most lights stress lean body and light flavour, sometimes assisted by malt adjunct. This beer is all-malt, indeed the Bohemian pilsener malt component is floor-malted.

This is good enough for permanent release. The UPA is, too.