So here’s what you do: get on your bike one hot, sunny afternoon, growler in tow, and grab a fill of Raspberry Changeling from Main Street’s Brassneck Brewery. Go home, to the park, or wherever else your fancy takes you, and soak up the sun with a glass of this perfect summer beer. You won’t be disappointed.
Fermented with Lactobacillus and five hundred pounds of juicy Fraser Valley raspberries, Raspberry Changeling really encapsulates the fleeting nature of summer in our rainy little corner of the world. Because like those long, lazy days at the beach and those warm nights under the stars, Raspberry Changeling is only around for a short while, so you’d be well-advised to enjoy a glass or two before it’s gone. Since debuting in 2014, it’s been one of my sure signs of summer, and one of my favourite local beers.
Now, considering how much ink has been spilled on ‘sour’ beers in the last few years, this may be a little trite, but they really are a great style for people who think they don’t like ‘beer’. Rather than fitting the flavour profiles that most people associate with beer (the bright crispness and mild Saaz-hopped bitterness of a Bohemian pilsner, the bready, butterscotch notes from the malt bill of an American pale ale, or the tropical, grassy notes from new world hops in a West Coast IPA), sours – and especially fruit sours like Raspberry Changeling – can display a broad range of complex and often contrasting flavours that you’d more likely associate with things like good wine or well-crafted cocktails. So if you enjoy the occasional Kir Royale, El Diablo or glass of Rosé, chances are you’ll absolutely love Raspberry Changeling.
Complimented on the nose by bright notes of lychee and tangerine that effortlessly mingle with subtle hints of oak, those sweet, vine-ripened Fraser Valley raspberries really are the stars of this show. They also feature prominently up-front, supported by a mild, bready backbone, and some nice mid-palate notes of vanilla bean and strawberry. Giving way to a puckery, grapefruit tartness that draws easy comparisons with sour raspberry candy, this summer’s batch of Raspberry Changeling is gorgeous, and lives up to the hype that surrounds this much-loved seasonal treat.
So if you do heed my advice and make it to Brassneck for a fill of Raspberry Changeling only to find that it’s no longer on offer, don’t despair. Brassneck’s Changeling program rotates though a whole bunch of seasonal deliciousness (they’ve experimented with everything from Viognier grape must, sour cherries, and peaches, to Gewürztraminer grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and gooseberries), and if history is anything to go by, whatever they have on offer when you pop by will undoubtedly be a solid summer companion.