Brews News: Craft brewers turn to Mexico for vacation in a bottle

Arriba! Abajo! Al centro! Y pa’dentro!

I can almost hear brewmasters shouting this Mexican toast — translated as “Put your arm up! Put your arm down. For your health! Inside!” —while tasting pilot batches this past winter.

Craft brewers are forever on the prowl for new takes on international styles and while the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic have been well-mined for inspiration, now Mexico is on-trend.

Since we’ve all missed our Mexican and Caribbean vacations, why not lean on locally brewed light-tasting, light-alcohol homages to recreate the atmosphere until the world gets vaccinated and we can safely travel again?

Railway City in St. Thomas first tried a cerveza with Train Reaction, a lager made interesting with the additions of lime and sea salt. Railway City has given it a rebranding and a recipe revision. Playa Cerveza, also flavoured with sea salt and lime, launches May 23.

In Stratford, Black Swan has a fresh batch of Road Trip to Tijuana ready to kick off the summer. This is brewed with some Carolina Reaper peppers, along with the obligatory lime. The hops are Saaz and Perle, the malt is the same as that used for a pale ale.

From Toronto, Muddy York has the sessionable, get-out-the-nachos-and-salsa Uno Mas (One More). It’s attractively priced at $3 for a tall boy, plus it comes with a pledge to transport you, magically, to the beach you missed out on last winter, in spirit, at least. More likely to be true is you’ll be reaching for one more.

Great Lakes Brewery in Toronto has introduced Dos Llaves (Two Wrenches), a Mexican lager brewed with the obligatory flaked corn. Don’t mock the corn, it helps make the beer crisp. Part of its Seven Barrel Series, Dos Llaves tasting notes mention a hint of pear. The label features two crossed pipe wrenches.


Beers from St. Thomas are heading out of province. First stop: Manitoba.

Railway City, with plans to go national with distribution, is starting with select grocery and convenience stores in Manitoba. They’ll be introduced to the likes of Dead Elephant IPA, Black Coal Stout and the seasonal hit, Orange Creamsic Ale.

It’ll be interesting to see which brand sells best across the provincial border.


Kudos to Anderson Craft Ales of London for signing on as a certified living-wage employer. Anderson is the only craft brewery in Southwestern Ontario to do so, thus far. It joins Muskoka Brewing in Bracebridge, Block Three in St. Jacobs, Left Field in Toronto, and Little Beasts in Whitby.

A living wages is a regional calculation of what workers need, based on the cost of living in their area. It’s more than the legal minimum wage.

Committing to paying at least living wages underlines the commitment these breweries have to their communities.


More farmers markets are ready to have craft beer for sale alongside local produce. London Brewing will be at the outdoor Covent Garden Market as well as Ilderton. Horton Market in St. Thomas promises to have brewery vendors, although the names of which ones were not available.

It’s a welcome change to Ontario law that allows craft beer sales.


Storm Stayed in London has a new spin on its wheat-based sour series: Shook Milkshake Kettle Sour with Lulo, Vanilla and Lactose. Lulo is a citrus fruit from Columbia.

Coming later this month from London Brewing is Heritage Wit, orange zest edition.

Beer Lab London has a new double IPA, Super Astrid, brewed with Ekuanot Cryo and Citra hops. Ekuanot Cryo is noted for its intense tropical fruit and pine notes. Super Astrid is 8.8 per cent alcohol.

Like pineapple? Tropix IPA is back at Curley Brewing. Like cherry pie? Curley has you covered with Cherry Pie, a sour brewed with Montmorency cherries and vanilla.

Take heart, golfers. Courses will soon open legally. Meanwhile, Steam Whistle, the official beer of Golf Canada, has tucked free golf balls inside specially-marked cases of 24 so you can quench your thirst while you stay safe at your personal 19th hole.

Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.

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