First, it should be noted that when I heard the Kensington Brewing Company was going to be doing a hoppy wheat beer, it wasn’t a tough sell for me. It’s a style I’ve become just short of obsessed with this summer so, when I received a press release announcing the beer, a 4.4% hoppy wheat beer one-off, I’m not even sure I finished reading the email before I responded with something akin to “Me want.”
Luckily for me, the folks at KBCo were happy to oblige and a short while later a friendly gent on a scooter came to greet me with a sample ahead of the beer’s slated Toronto Beer Week release at Toronto bars 3030, Get Well, and “other participating pinball bars in Toronto.”
After it sweeps the city’s vast number of pinball bars this week…it will be available at Tequila Bookworm, Bar Hop, Bar Volo, WVRST, Handle Bar, and others.
So how’s the beer?
From the can the beer poured a sort of golden straw colour and was less cloudy than one would expect from a wheat beer albeit with a nice white head that it retained fairly well.
The smell dissipated a little of my excitement for a new hoppy wheat offering. Part of what I love about the infusion of wheat beers and hops that’s happening this summer is the awesome aromatics that the beers typically retain. That wasn’t massively present with Tilt and instead the smell was more reminiscent of a golden ale. It had a sort of vaguely sour astringency as opposed to the floral, hoppy aromas I love with this style.
Some of that astringency is there in the flavour too, but there’s also great bitterness and a decent almost sour sweetness. It’s a good beer, and the galaxy and falconer’s flight hops are evident, but without the benefit of dry-hopping I’m afraid this beer falls a bit short and ends up being something like the poor man’s Miami Weiss. Don’t get me wrong, I would definitely drink this again–would happily order it on draught or snatch it up if an LCBO offering is in the works–but if one of Ontario’s other better-executed hoppy wheat beers was available, like Bellwood’s phenomenal Quien es el Hefe? or Sawdust City’s Golden Beach, I’d likely skip KBCo’s offering.
That said, the beer is solid and represents KBCo’s ability to read the market (read: this should sell well) and frankly it’s a nice evolution of Kensington Brewing Company’s lineup. It’s easily my favourite KBCo beer to date, but it’s in a style that’s already got some shining Ontario examples available.