One of the interesting hybrid styles that has popped up in recent years has been the dry-hopped sour ale. The style gained in popularity after Four Winds’ Nectarous won beer of the year at the Canadian Brewing Awards in 2016, and soon every brewery in the province was trying to replicate that magic in a bottle.
The beauty of a dry-hopped sour is that the tart acidity of the sour ale—which can be off putting to many people’s palates—is somewhat tempered by dry-hopping the beer, which can add a touch of sweetness and a whole lot of fruit and citrus aroma and flavour. What was once a polarizing style is now a crowd-pleaser.
East Van’s Strathcona Beer Co. teamed up with its best buds/tenants Superflux to produce Swirl, a dry-hopped sour ale with passion fruit that was released earlier this month. Superflux brews all of its beer at Strathcona and this is the third collaboration between the two brands, following Like This and Like That IPAs a couple years ago.
Swirl looks very much like a Superflux creation—that is to say, hazy AF—and the nose is all tropical passion fruit, pineapple and citrus, thanks to the copious amounts of Galaxy hops that no doubt made it into this beer. It’s is still very much a sour ale, though, and that lactic acidity is right up front when you take a sip, followed by the tropical fruitiness of the passion fruit and galaxy hops.
There’s also a touch of lactose (a.k.a. milk sugar) in this to help take the edge off the tart finish, too, but it’s still a puckerer (not a word), so fair warning.
Shout out to whoever came up with the pop art can design; it’s super cool. You can easily spot these bad boys from the other side of the liquor store. There are three different variations of the label, with pink, yellow and turquoise colour combinations—but all the cans have the same beer. I picked up a four-pack of tall cans at a private liquor store for $13.99, which also makes this probably the cheapest beer to ever have a Superflux label on it.
Swirl by Strathcona Beer Co. / Superflux Beer Co.
5.5% ABV • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Hazy straw gold, with a short-lived white head.
Aroma: Passion fruit, lactic acidity, tropical fruit, citrus.
Flavour: Tart acidity, passion fruit, grapefruit, citrus, pineapple.
Body/Finish: Medium/light bodied with a tart lactic finish.
Pairs with: Prosciutto, chili con carne, hot pink short shorts and Roy Lichtenstein paintings.