A Line of Beers Under 5% Finds its Way


With the craft beer market trending more and more heavily towards beers with ever higher concentrations of hop bitterness and heavier alcohol percentages, you have to wonder whether there’s room to go the other way.

Consider this: two of my last three columns have mentioned beers that are brewed with bacon. Just during this Ontario Craft Beer week I’ve tasted beers brewed with rye, cardamom, sarsaparilla root, jalapeno pepper and vanilla beans and the week isn’t over yet.

I’m all for experimentation and innovation, but those qualities do not always lie in the direction of more.

In the current climate, offering a stripped-down product that gets back to the bare essentials is practically a risky proposition. If the hue and cry of the craft beer world is for an 11% barrel-aged monster of a beer with three yeast strains, it is downright courageous to decide to offer a core lineup of beers that all weigh in at under 5%.

Grand River Brewing of Cambridge, Ont., does just that.

When Bob Hanenberg opened the brewery five years ago, he did so with the simple ambition of creating well made, flavourful beers that contain less than 5% alcohol. As such, the core lineup that Grand River has to offer are all styles that lend themselves towards providing as much flavour as possible without compromising that vision.

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