Brews News: Beer beats ties for dad

Good child or bad child? As father’s day rolls around, the test is nigh.

The History Channel says father’s day was invented more than 100 years ago in the United States by the daughter of a Civil War soldier from Arkansas who joined both the Confederate and Union armies. We’re thinking a guy like William Jackson Smart, a twice-widowed father of 14 who switched sides to become a Yankee wagon driver instead of riding out the war in a prison camp probably could’ve used a beer.

Just like your dad.

Here’s the tip sheet you need as you shun neckties for more refreshing gift ideas on June 20.

Buy a box, not a case.

No one, not even a traditional dad, wants 24 of the same beer. Change it up by buying a curated variety box from trend-setting Ontario craft breweries such as Collective Arts, while hedging your bet by including something more traditional, such as a pair of socks and deck of cards. The Collective Arts father’s day box ($60) includes four tall boys of Good Monster DIPA, and one each of Audio Visual lager, Guava Gose, Jam Up with passion fruit and peach, Hazy State low-alcohol IPA, and Matter of Fact dry-hopped blonde.

Dad’s not into out-there craft beers?

Mill Street caters to lager fans with a specially-packaged box. In the Lager Lane Mix Pack ($29) are four each of Original Organic and the new Organic Pilsner and Big Little Lager.

Bucket list!

Personally pick your favourite Forked River beers, create a personalized label and toss ’em in a FR-branded galvanized pail. Impress dad by including the London brewery’s returning summer seasonal, Berry Mangolow radler. Or kick the bucket, and choose the Forked River barrel-aged beer pack ($50) that includes a church key and 500 ml bottles of Reforest Kelly (bourbon barrel aged sour imperial stout with black cherries, the Oracle (white wine barrel aged sour Belgian triple), and a three-year vertical tasting of Forked River’s sour Flanders Red from 2016. 2017 and 2018. There’s also a 473 ml can of a white wine aged sour blonde ale, Hansel and Brett’el.

Beer and charity?

They’re not mutually exclusive for Equals Brewing of London, whose Shake Lager is helping raise money for the Baker centre for pancreatic cancer at London Health Sciences Centre. Now until June 20, every Shake Lager sold will generate 40 cents for the centre. Equals’ inspiring co-founder, Rick (Shake) Baker, and wife Shelley helped fund the centre before he died.

Take a seat on the patio.

With pandemic restrictions being aged, London craft beer drinkers can discover they’ve got one of the best brewery patios in the province. Powerhouse, in the old Kellogg factory, is the place to take dad for some craft beer education in a cool setting, with talking points ranging from the architecture of Albert Kahn (yep, you’re looking at his work) to a Cliff Clavin-esque talk about how the founder of Post cereals was once a patient at John Kellogg’s sanitorium. The tale gets complicated from there, so you’ll need a Fruit Looper IPA and an Illbury Cranberry Honey Brown to get through it.

The father’s day gift pack from Cowbell in Blyth is saucy.

For $50, you get a bottle of barbecue sauce made with Shindig lager, a Cowbell cap, a wooden Cowbell-branded grill scraper and, most importantly, a six-pack of Shindig.

Is he an Amsterdam-good dad?

The 35-year-old Toronto brewery has a pack of goodies that includes a 3 Speed lunch box, bottle opener, socks and a couple of beer can koozies for $45. Actual beer sold separately.


Hudson 2850, a West Coast IPA, has returned to Railway City in St. Thomas. It was first brewed a year ago.

Looks like Shakespeare Brewing is preparing a s’mores-inspired beer in time for campfire season. Shakespeare’s patio re-opens June 17, the date originally planned before Ontario moved things up.

Missed finally visiting Grey Matter Beer Co. in Kincardine because I was in town on a Monday before summer hours started. But I did catch the window display from Kincardine Pride and noted Grey Matter’s got a fresh batch of Breaking the Enigma, a grisette. Grey Matter has a streetside patio and now is open seven days a week for the summer.

Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.

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