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  • Variety Is The Spice Of Life

    Readers in the audience who were of age in the 1970’s may remember dropping their keys into a bowl when arriving at a party, then picking up an entirely different set of keys later.

    Yes, gentle reader, I am referring to those parties in the swinging seventies where the carpeting was not the only thing that was shagged.

    To help recapture the spirit of those heady days of free love, rocking out to Blue Öyster Cult, and never worrying about a bikini wax, local craft brewer Big Rock has released a new 15-pack of cans called The Swinger Pack (For those that like variety).

    With three cans each of five different beers, enjoying something a little different than your same-old-same-old everyday beer may bring new vigor and excitement into your life.

    In the Swinger Pack, you will find 3 cans of Grasshopper, a beer that has been popular in Southern Alberta for a quarter-century. Sometimes even swingers like to wrap their lips around something familiar, and this beer is just the ticket.

    Made in the style of a Kristallweizen (that’s German for clear wheat beer), this is the brew that introduced Albertans to wheat beer. The European hops give it a slightly citrus aroma and aftertaste, which is nicely balanced by the Alberta wheat that has made it so popular.

    There are also 3 cans of IPA, essentially a hoppier version of the Big Rock Pale Ale. Interestingly, this India Pale Ale was on the Big Rock roster in the early 2000’s, but was not a big seller. It was retired in 2005, but revived in 2011 as the IPA style had greatly increased in popularity.

    The Big Rock IPA starts out as a classic Pale Ale, and is then dry hopped at the end of the boil to add strong aromatics and a touch more bitterness. This beer is hoppy enough to appeal to the beer nerds, but not so bitter as to scare off the novice beer drinkers who were raised on a steady diet of Coors Lite.

    Moving on to the next beer in the Swinger Pack, the SAAZ Republic Pilz is a pedigreed beer indeed, made with the noble Saaz hops from the Czech Republic. It was the Czech town of Pilzen that invented Pilsner type of beer, which is now the most popular beer style in the world.

    However, despite sharing the Pilsner style with the likes of Labatt Blue and Budweiser, the SAAZ Republic Pilz is much more true to its European heritage than the pale and watered-down imitations from the North American megabreweries.

    The Saaz hops used in this style of beer imparts a particular herbaceous and earthy flavour, with only a very mild bittering effect. The low bitterness makes Pilsners attractive to the teeming millions, but the 100% Alberta barley used in the mash makes for a flavourful beer fit for a beer snob like your humble narrator.

    We now arrive at the first of two new beers in the Swinger Pack. We will start with the Purple Gas, named not for the tax-free dyed farm gasoline, but for the colour imparted by the additional of Saskatoon berries and a touch of blue agave nectar to a summertime wheat beer.

    Similar to my last blind date, the Saskatoon berries are a little tart, but are balanced out by a dash of agave nectar. The result is a fruit-flavoured beer that is not overly fruity, suitable for both girlie-girls and manly-men to enjoy on the patio on a hot summer day.

    The last 3 cans in the Swinger Pack were the Paradox Dark Light, an enigma in a can if there ever was one. Weighing in at only 3.75% ABV, you can knock several of these back in one session without regretting it the next morning.

    Designed to be a hybrid of dark and light ales, the Paradox is brewed with black malts to contribute a robust flavour to the brew, but the low alcohol content means the brewmaster has to ease back on the amount of barley in the mash, resulting in a light to medium bodied ale, that is easy to pound all night.

    Wherever your inclinations may lie, a little Swinger action is sure to tickle your fancy, so try out the Swinger Pack today!