I’m not a wheat ale guy. Usually, that is. Wheat ales generally don’t have the hoppy bite or right malt character for this guy’s palate. However, I am a firm believer that every beer has its time and place. Since we live multi-faceted lives, there should be a beer for each facet we find ourselves in.
When a six pack of Parish Brewing Company’s Canebrake arrived at my door in a package post-marked from Louisiana I thought, Well, this beer has traveled so far to get to my Maine doorstep, drink it without predisposition. Let’s see it for what it is.
The package was from my brother and his girlfriend. A week before the sixer of Canebrake arrived, my brother told me, “I’m sending you a beer that everyone down here is talking about. It’s made with local sugarcane syrup.”
“Send it to me,” I urged him, ever intrigued by a new brew. “I’ll toss it down my beer hole and see what I see.”
A week later, I was unwrapping handsomely labeled Canebrake bottles. The label itself is indicative of the taste of the refreshing beer inside.
This beer pours with a honey-colored, clear appearance. The head retention is solid for a wheat ale. The aroma is light. You can smell the sweat sugars — mostly honey and cane — as you pour the beer. The taste is where this wheat ale comes alive. The best way to describe the taste of Canebrake is to highlight the interplay between the sugars, the wheat grains, and the sharp yeast they use in this brew. The first thought that came to my mind: On a summer day on a boat, disc golfing, or sitting on a beach, this is the beer. The sugar/wheat/yeast combination gives the beer just enough bite to keep big beer drinkers interested, and lighter beer swillers satiated.
It’s a difficult balance to find, but the Parish Brewing Company’s brewmasters have found the recipe that walks that razor’s edge.
As the deep freeze of winter sets in in my New England, Canebrake is a reminder of the summer that awaits us. Since Canebrake finds its home in balmy Louisiana, I can imagine that this beer offers refuge from the heat year round from Baton Rouge, to Bourbon Street, right on down to the gator-filled bayous. If you can find this beer near your home — on whichever side of the Mason-Dixon line you live — pick up a six pack on a sweltering day and let the sugar/wheat/yeast balance turn your summer experience up to 11.