Those outings may also include imbibing with some beer.
Jenn Tamse is the director of beer and beverage for the Charcoal Group of Restaurants, although she’s been dubbed their ‘beer czar’ for her extensive knowledge of all things beer.
She offered up the five beer trends she expects to see this summer.
Beers aren’t always crystal clear. Some these days look more like orange juice. Tamse says this is a trend that started in 2017 and became really popular last year. She expects to see it continue in popularity this summer.
The beers are inspired by New England and Vermont style beers, she said, and the hazy look is thanks to late additions of hops.
“Those late hop additions offer a lot of juicy notes, citrus tropical fruits depending on the hop varietal that you’re sourcing,” she said.
“People like the look of it. We’re no longer a part of the ‘clear is everything’ for beer.”
A classic lager
Brewers often promote their seasonal only or one-off beers, but Tamse says there’s something to be said for a flavourful and crisp lager.
She says Ontario brewers continue to push the limits on what that means, and may are still doing the “farm to table” approach by using locally sourced ingredients.
But the classic lager is still a big hit with people because you don’t always want a “really high ABV (alcohol by volume), flavour bomb of a beer.”
Low alcohol, low gluten
“People are looking to drink less, but drink better stuff,” Tamse says of this trend. “This is just kind of a fun alternative.”
She says people going out for lunch don’t want to drink a high-alcohol beer, and brewers know this, so they’re created some delicious alternatives.
Somewhat related, Tamse says there’s also more people looking for beers with low or no gluten.
There are two types, she notes. One is certifiable gluten, meaning it’s made with grains that don’t have any gluten like quinoa.
There are also ‘deglutenized’ beers, which are made with gluten but then go through a process to take the gluten out. In those cases, the gluten content is three to 15 parts per million and people who are gluten-free can usually drink them.
Tamse says people should look for gluten-free beers from Glutenberg in Montreal.
June is craft cider month in Ontario and Tamse says it’s fun to see what Ontario producers are coming up with.
She highlighted Revel Cider in Guelph, which uses spontaneous fermentation to create a variety of unique ciders.
“You’re seeing a lot of experimentation in that area to basically drink something that’s going to be super, super bone dry and really approaching and refreshing for the summer,” Tamse said.
International beers are making a comeback, Tamse says, largely because Canadian beer drinkers are becoming more informed and realize just how much is available by producers in other parts of the world.
Just like in Canada, the beer scene is flourishing in Europe, too, she says.
As well, there’s a new trend of “gypsy brewers” who travel and make beers at different breweries through contracts.
One brewery working with these travelling brewers is Brunswick Bierworks in Toronto, Tamse said.