The Best Beer in Canada Is a Cocktail-Inspired Winner
Lifestyle Canada's 2019 Beer of the Year is the Red Racer After Hours Old Fashioned Pale Ale from Central City Brewers — and it's a beer cocktail!
Canada’s top award-winning beer hails from Surrey, British Columbia. The Red Racer After Hours Old Fashioned Pale Ale from Central City Brewers and Distillers recently won Canada’s Beer of the Year at the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards, beating thousands of beers and hundreds of breweries for the title. As a two-time former Brewery of the Year winner, Central City’s newest concoction takes inspiration from other aspects of their business as more of a beer cocktail.
As a two-time former Brewery of the Year winner, Central City’s newest concoction takes inspiration from other aspects of their business as more of a beer cocktail.
Part of the Red Racer Spirited Series, the After Hours is inspired by the Old Fashioned cocktail, traditionally made with whisky, bitters, and sugar then garnished with orange peel and sometimes cherry. What makes the beverage truly unique are the high-quality ingredients that go into it, including Central City’s own Lohin McKinnon single malt whisky, the brainchild of brew master Gary Lohin and head distiller Stuart McKinnon.
“It is the joint effort of brewer and distiller to make a really high-quality whisky,” said Dustan Sept, Marketing Director at Central City Brewers and Distillers. “And in making the After Hours we actually infuse the beer with Lohin McKinnon whisky, which you can’t do unless you’re a distillery.”
The third part of the After Hours is the bitters, which act as a flavour-agent to the beer.
“Bitters are a flavour ingredient that have an intense herbal-bitter character,” adds Sept. “In a typical Old Fashioned cocktail, you would put a couple of dashes of bitters in it which will embark that aromatic, herbal flavour into the drink.”
Red Racer brewers, Gary and Zak
Central City’s award-winning mixologist, Christos Kalaitzis, developed a line of bitters that go into the After Hours. Kalaitzis’ bitters recently won three double-gold medals at the 2018 San Diego International Spirits Festival.
“Between the award-winning beer, award-winning Lohin McKinnon whisky, the award-winning bitters, and then infusing that all with cherries and orange peels, it comes together as the cohesive, innovative, and delicious product that is the After Hours,” said Sept.
The innovative idea for creating an Old Fashioned-inspired beer was the result of creative brainstorming. The beer first appeared in the company’s 2018 Alpine Adventure pack — a 24 pack of mixed beers released each November to count down to the Holidays. In this pack comes a variety of innovative and experimental flavours such as the After Hours. The overwhelming response to this beer encouraged the release to the broader market, sharing the innovative flavour with beer drinkers across Canada.