5 patio beers for warm(ish) spring weather

Rob Mangelsdorf photo

It appears at last that the long, dreary winter has come to an end, as we once again emerge from our caves, cocoons and basement suites to greet the warmth of the sun. Our seasonal social hibernation is over, and that can only mean one thing: patio time!

That’s right, it’s time to gorge ourselves on that sweet, sweet Vitamin D as we brave balmy 12-degree days in short sleeves and shorts to drink and dine al fresco. Summer can’t come soon enough, even if it hasn’t yet come at all.

But beware, dear reader, for while the advent of patio season can spawn enthusiastic revelry, it’s all too easy to lose one’s wits to the drink after months of inactivity.

All it takes is that second pint of Fat Tug on an empty stomach and BOOM! You’re going to have to come back for your car tomorrow. A couple more and you won’t even be able to ride your bike home. At any rate, your time in the sun will undoubtedly be cut short, and those rickets aren’t going to cure themselves.

So, in the hopes of preventing such a faux pas, I present to you a captivating quintet of quaffable cold ones for warm(ish) days in the sun. Each with moderate alcohol content, so you can enjoy your time on the patio until the sun goes down (and maybe even a bit longer).


Off The Clock by Herald St. Brewing

Session ale • 4.2% ABV • 473 mL tall cans

Fruity Ekuanot hops take centre stage in the latest edition of Herald Street’s single hop session ale series. Earthy, grassy notes with gobs of citrus and resinous pine dominate here, with a malt character that minds its own business and lets the hops do the talking.


Flora by House of Funk Brewing Co.

Sour wheat ale • 3.0% ABV • 473 mL tall cans

So yeah, this beer is purple. Like, really purple. It even kinda tastes purple. Does purple even have a taste? I think it does, and I think its tart and floral, thanks to the butterfly pea flower, chamomile and chrysanthemum this beer was brewed with. Prince would love this beer, if he actually drank alcohol. And was alive.


Oak-Aged Table Beer by Slackwater Brewing

Belgian-style pale ale • 4.0% ABV • 355 mL cans

This is refreshing little number from Penticton’s Slackwater features Nelson Sauvin hops and Sacc Trois yeast, resulting in notes of gooseberry, pineapple and stone fruit, with a hint of tannic astringency to help dry out the finish.


Kelowner Weisse by Wild Ambition Brewing

Berlinerweisse • 2.8% ABV • 500 mL bottles

The classic German sour wheat ale gets the Okanagan treatment, and it’s as bone dry as its semi-arid provenance. The folks at Wild Ambition apparently used a mix culture of bacteria and yeast to ferment it that included brettanomyces isolated from 1970s East German berliner weisse. Which is absolutely insane.


Vélo by Four Winds Brewing Co.

Hazy pale ale • 4.5% ABV • 355 mL cans

Thanks to additions of lemon juice and pink Himalayan salt, this endlessly crushable hazy is reminiscent of—hear me out on this—Gatorade. Like, classic yellow, “lemon”-flavoured Gatorade. And it’s fucking delicious.


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