The Specs: Tin Whistle Brewing (Penticton, B.C.) Strawberry Blonde Ale
5 per cent ABV, 650mL, seasonal (I think. It’s hard to tell with this company)
This is the story of a good beer that made me think bad things.
I was about halfway through my first glass of Strawberry Blonde Ale when it first popped into my head: “This is a girl beer.”
This beer — this nice, very drinkable beer — was making me sexist.
It’s odd, because I’ve reviewed many a fruit beer on this site and this has never occurred to me before. Raspberry beers in particular are mainstream for all genders.
Yet there’s something about this light, somewhat sweet, not too bitter strawberry beer that makes me vaguely embarrassed about recommending.
Maybe it’s strawberries themselves. Your usual beer berries are assertive, tart. Raspberries and blackberries. Strawberries are more commonly found in creamy pink liqueurs and wine spritzers.
And there’s no denying that this is a strawberry beer. As with my last Tin Whistle selection, Peach Cream Ale, this is a beer that tastes exactly of its eponymous fruit. The strawberry here is so potent I would have sworn I could feel seeds grinding between my teeth as I sipped.
But, Strawberry Blonde is also fairly smartly balanced. Where other berry beers can get weighed down by their sugar, blonde ale is light in the mouth, with a finish of beery bitterness that I was not expecting.
It strikes me as a good gateway beer. The brew you could hand the friend who drank a lot of Boone’s Farm or Arbour Mist in their misspent youth, but never developed a thing for beer.
Maybe that’s the problem. I think of craft brew as a lot of things — but craft beer for people who don’t love beer? Sounds almost sacrilegious.
Obviously, that’s a bullshit attitude. A craft beer can be inventive and well-brewed and still appeal to those who aren’t living a 24/7 malt-and-hop lifestyle. Otherwise, all we end up with are trends like that one a few years back, when every IPA had to be so hoppy you couldn’t force half of them down without a glass of water as a chaser.
So give Strawberry Blonde a shot. Hell, if you really want to double down on the girly, serve it with a salad heavy on green vegetables, which seem to pair well. Both are delicious.
Girls have good taste.