What to drink: Three beer-wine hybrids for craft beer newbies

The trend of beer-wine hybrids is taking off in Toronto. These excellent bottles are available from local sellers

Whether an introduction to craft beer for wine drinkers or an entrée into natural, fermented wines for beer lovers, beer-wine hybrids serve a dual purpose. They typically have the low alcohol by volume and texture of beer, making them infinitely crushable. They also taste mostly like wine from the skin fermentation. Pick up these hybrid bottles from Ontario breweries or at one of the bottle shops found on our best-of-the-city list.

Burdock ERO IV Sour Cherry­ Saison

Pucker up – this mixed fermentation saison packs a punch. Burdock’s ERO brews are an ongoing series that pay tribute to the Montmorency sour cherry. This fourth iteration was aged for five months on Cabernet Franc grape skins from Niagara-on-the-Lake (foot-stomped, not pressed, for authentic flare) and then aged again for 30 days on the cherries. The result is a medium tart, fruit-forward beer. A limited release came out in February and promptly sold out at the brewery, but bottle shop 4th and 7, right across the street still, has it in stock.

Burdock Brewery, Toronto. $26.55/750 ml. Get it at 4th and 7 (1211 Bloor West, 4thand7.com). Toronto-wide shipping available.

Merit P.S. Sour

The P and S in this sour’s name stand for pear and Sauvignon Blanc. The grape skins and juice used to make this hybrid came from Fielding Estate Winery in Beamsville, Ontario. It’s bright and fresh thanks to citrus, white grape, pear, lychee, gooseberry and melon notes.

Brewing, Hamilton. $27/750 ml. Get it at Boxcar Social Summerhill (1210 Yonge, boxcarsocial.ca). Ontario-wide shipping available.

Sonnen Hill Pinot Rosé

This grape ale is a blend of Pinot Noir and Sonnen Hill’s cherry beer. It’s like sipping a glass of rosé. Drink it with a slight chill to get the most of the cherry and red fruit notes. Subtle cherry, sweet almond and warm spice instantly hit the palate.

Sonnen Hill, Caledon. 750 ml. Get it from the brewery (20727 Heart Lake, sonnenhill.com) for $22, or at Bar Volo (17 St Nicholas, barvolo.com) for $27.10. Ontario-wide shipping available.

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