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Unfiltered or no? It’s a murky debate

<p>In a beer world that demands clear beer, it’s unfiltered beer that has made a small splash over the last couple of summers.</p>

Better shelf-life, but would it sell? Brewers split on it






In a beer world that demands clear beer, it’s unfiltered beer that has made a small splash over the last couple of summers.





Whether they are categorized as wheat, wit, white, weiss or hefeweizen, here are a few:




  • Weihenstephan (Germany, served at the recent Festival of Beer in Toronto; now gone, (sniff, sob).



  • Paulaner (Germany, released last year, served at various pubs and at the LCBO and Beer Store, $12.55 for six).



  • Rickard’s Original White, by Molson (more on that one next week, $11.95 for six at LCBO, 12 for $21.95 at Beer Store).



  • Mill Street Belgian Wit (improved since last year, $11.95 for six at LCBO, or try their brewpub).



  • Brick Brewing Waterloo Wheat (released in July, sold at LCBO in Kitchener-Waterloo area only; $3.25 for 650-ml bottle).






Speaking of wheat, Michael Hancock was recently recognized by the online Ontario craft beer awards, the Golden Taps, for his career of brewing one of my favourites Denison’s Weissbier (available only on tap), which has become so popular, he has stopped brewing his dunkel, a dark lager. For now.





All that extra yeast in your beer fights off a brewer’s worst enemy — oxygen?— as the brew is moved from one stage to the next. It will stay fresher on the shelf, and perhaps in your glass, too.





With all of these beers clouding up beer glasses in pubs — crystal clear beer is so 1980s — the one thing that’s clear is the demand for them. That’s why I wonder how Ontario drinkers would react to downing unfiltered lager or pilsner at their local.





“I think it would work. But once again, it has to be a really good product to start with,” Hancock said yesterday. He would know. He used to serve an unfiltered helles, or pale lager, at his now-closed downtown brewpub. And it was a hit, for the customers, and for him. “That was our hallmark. When we opened in 1989, we were the only place to be serving unfiltered lager in Canada or North America, as far as I knew.”





How about Creemore Springs?





The question came to me over the weekend at the Copper Kettle Festival in Creemore when on a tour with brewmaster Gord Fuller.





Serving two-oz. cups of his traditional pilsner out of a 26,000-litre aging tank, he held one up to the light. A veil of yeast could be seen.





“This is best way to drink beer in my opinion,” he proclaimed.





But he hummed and hawed later when asked if Creemore would sell it at some point.





“I think the place for that is brewpubs.”


Too bad. Because it does make a good beer taste that much fresher.





Sláinte!



suds@metronews.ca














Brewery tour:


  • Visit Creemore Springs’ brewery at 139 Mill St., north of Alliston. Visit www.creemoresprings.comfor more information. But bring a map!


 
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