Hey stu­dents, craft beer makes you smarter

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - LIFE - WAYNE NEW­TON Wayne New­ton is a free­lance jour­nal­ist based in Lon­don. wayne.new­ton@bell.net Twit­ter.com/WayneWriteOn

If your mom and dad for­got to have the Talk be­fore you left home for col­lege, here it is in eight words: If you choose to drink, choose craft beer.

A craft beer in hand au­to­mat­i­cally makes you more hip, smarter, and chat­tier — all key when meet­ing new class­mates and Deep-Six­ing those awk­ward years when beer choices were based on low prices and high al­co­hol con­tent. Stop that now. Many cam­pus pubs, in­clud­ing those at Western Univer­sity, have been of­fer­ing craft beers, typ­i­cally on ro­ta­tion.

For ex­am­ple, stu­dents hit­ting the Spoke at Western will find Forked River’s ver­sa­tile Hop Salad pale ale and pop­u­lar Mojo wheat. The Wave will have the in­trigu­ing Forked River Rasp­berry Milk­shake IPA.

Both Western and Fan­shawe will be host­ing craft-beer fests in the weeks ahead.

Un­til then, and for those stock­ing their cam­pus fridges, here are some de­gree-wor­thy choices widely avail­able at the LCBO, gro­cery stores or the Beer Store.

Cap­i­tal Blonde Ale by Forked River. Blondes, along with cream ales, are great en­try points to the flavour­ful world of craft beer. Forked River’s cit­rusy Cap­i­tal Blonde is bolder than the usual take on the style. In­ter­est has been re­ju­ve­nated by sell­ing Cap­i­tal Blonde in 473-ml cans, ap­pro­pri­ately fea­tur­ing a bearded hip­ster. ”It’s a solid award-win­ning beer which has a great bal­ance of malt and hops to pro­vide a beer with flavour, but still ap­peal to the con­sumer who may not be veer­ing too far off the mac­robeer path,” said Dave Reed, co­founder of Forked River Brew­ery and a Western Univer­sity alum­nus. At the brew­ery, Forked River sells kegs for pri­vate par­ties and rents Pony Pumps to dis­pense the beer. Phone first.

In­nis & Gunn Ses­sion IPA. It’s not of­ten I can use “easy to drink” and “In­dia pale ale” in the same sen­tence. Too of­ten, IPAs are the beer equiv­a­lent of a hot-pep­per eat­ing con­test where pain trumps taste. That’s not the case here, with the es­teemed In­nis & Gunn de­liv­er­ing the most en­joy­able IPA on On­tario shelves. Maybe it’s Scot­land’s way of apol­o­giz­ing for the bag­pipes.

Lug Tread Lagered Ale by Beau’s All Nat­u­ral Brew­ing. Crisp and bal­anced, this gem from the Ot­tawa Val­ley has won some 20 awards. It’s also now avail­able as part of the four-bot­tle fall Beau’s Mix boxed set. The box also in­cludes Sergeant Stripes, a 7.9 per cent stout to keep on hand for when dad vis­its.

Ex­press In­dia Ses­sion Lager by Rail­way City. A lit­tle or­ange, a lit­tle pineap­ple. Hold this on your tongue for a mo­ment and try to pick out the mul­ti­ple citrus flavours this light-ish (4.8 per cent) lager of­fers. Sure, it’s billed as a ses­sion­able lager, but that’s no ex­cuse for not tak­ing it slow and en­joy­ing its flavour.

Sub­ur­ban Men­ace by Re­fined Fool. An ode to the child­hood of many col­lege stu­dents, Sub­ur­ban Men­ace is a malty Amer­i­can am­ber with a hint of blue­ber­ries from Sar­nia’s cool lit­tle down­town brew­ery.

Kelly’s Con­trap­tion by Cow­bell Brew­ing Co. OK, you’re go­ing to school in Lon­don or Water­loo and you’ve heard about Cow­bell’s new des­ti­na­tion brew­ery in Blyth and, yes, it’s awe­some. But you need a car and a des­ig­nated driver to get there. A solid B plan is to pick up Cow­bell’s new­est widely-dis­trib­uted beer, Kelly’s Con­trap­tion. This 5 per cent al­co­hol hefeweizen (wheat) beer is named for one of the smartest guys Blyth has ever known, John B. Kelly. He was an in­ven­tor who built a car in 1883, four years be­fore Henry Ford. And the beer? Low on bit­ter­ness with a ba­nana flavour.

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