Muskoka and Howe Sound Team Up on a Surprisingly Restrained Effort

I have on my desk a bottle of a beer called Heffy Anniversary, brewed in collaboration by Howe Sound Brewing of Squamish, British Columbia, and Muskoka Brewing of Bracebridge, Ontario. It was created to celebrate the 20th anniversary milestone of both breweries, which were born a month apart two decades ago. And given that, you’d expect it to be some monster beer with massive alcohol and hops, probably aged for a good while in some sort of barrel.

Heffy AnniversaryBut it’s not. Instead, Heffy Anniversary is an “American hefeweizen” – I hate that term, since the the German term usually has me expecting banana and clove, but at least the presence of the “American” modifier in the small print on the label warns drinkers not to expect anything in the Bavarian tradition – that is bottled at 5% alcohol for maximum quaffability. And from that perspective, I have to say that it’s quite nice.

(Note that this is the Howe Sound version. I am led to believe that the beer was brewed in both provinces, so Ontario drinkers will no doubt be discovering something somewhat different, if only subtly so.)

Hazy gold with a tropical fruity aroma that complements pineapple and sweet lemon notes with almost lilac-like florals, the start of this ale is sweetish and perfumey, carrying soft suggestions of pineapple and mandarin orange. The mid-palate does begin to show its hoppiness, but only mild to moderately so, staying more fruity than not, with a light leafiness and the really hoppy bitterness staying in reserve until the drying, bittering finish.

It’s a bit too sharply bitter on the end for its relatively light body, I think, but otherwise this is a sensible, refreshing quaffer – and a good thing, too, since it’s packaged in a one litre bottle! A bottle, I might add, that I have every intention of finishing.

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