We’re in the home stretch of this year’s #8BeersOfChanukah and I’m relieved that the end is in sight, as I was not very successful in pre-writing my articles this year, let alone taking notes in advance. On this 6th night of Chanukah, I’m happy to say I have not missed a night of candles (yet) this year, and I’ve got a pretty solid track record on my brews despite running between provinces. For the record, by the end of Chanukah this week we will have driven some 1500 km this week – not bad for two people who don’t have a car.

In celebration of all this running around, tonight’s beer is The Runner Duck Craft Lager by Scarborough’s own Common Good Beer Company, which I picked up about 2 weeks ago at the brewery while I was there helping to make the collaboration birthday bevy brew with some of the fine ladies from the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies for their upcoming 6th-anniversary party on February 7, 2020.

After feeling like a badass from milling 55-pound bags of malt for a 1000 litre brew, we took a little behind the scenes tour of the facilities. I learned that Common Good has a partnership with Apricot Valley Waterfowl for the spent grains from this brew, where the spent grains become delicious food for the Indian Runner Ducks to lay more eggs. The 5% hoppy German lager has a mild bitter profile with 15 IBU, and is currently available directly from the brewery in cans.

I used to shy away from lagers, turning my nose up at them and proclaiming them to be macro beer rip-offs. Truth be told, a crisp and refreshing lager or pilsner is a truly beautiful thing to behold, with a light, filtered golden colour and a simple but clean palate. I’ve come around on craft lagers of late, and they make a good holiday addition to your beer fridge to keep your Uncle Moe happy when all he wants is something that “Tastes like beer, dagnabbit!” It turns out it wasn’t lagers I feared, but actually the drabness of macro lagers and their unpleasant effects on my digestive system.

Appearance: Filtered golden colour with a quickly fading snow-white head.

Taste: Simple but crisp malty backbone, light vegetal hoppiness.

Aftertaste: Lingering soda cracker notes on the palate, very light and clean aftertaste.

Food pairing: We got into my sister-in-law’s bag of jalapeno peanut M&Ms (did not know that was a thing until a few days ago) and it went down wonderfully. Serve with simple pub fare – wings, popcorn shrimp (not very kosher, I know), nachos, or a conversation with your in-laws about the cost of housing in Toronto.

Overall: A crisp, textbook lager. A great option for your family members who are not beer snobs, but for whom you cannot fathom having a case of Molson or Labbatt in your basement to appease.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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