Local Surrey, BC based Central City Brewing has been brewing up a storm of beer and cider in recent years since they expanded into a new huge location a few years back. New for 2016, they have designed, brewed and released two exciting Radlers, one that’s made with their Hopping Mad Cider and one that’s made with a version of their base Pilsner beer. Each of these are pre-mixed with grapefruit juice and have since bee released in tallboy 473mL cans across most provinces in Canada. They were kind enough to invite me to their special release party and give away some free samples of each beer for me and others to try for the first time.
It’s no secret that pre-mixed radlers have grown in popularity recently, especially during the spring and summer drinking seasons. The term Radler has been around since the 1900’s and is the German word for cyclist, which became a common name for a beer and fruit juice mixed drink that one could conceivably consume and still safely ride a bicycle since the added juice cut the alcohol level down. It makes for a very refreshing beverage that if consumed in small amounts won’t make you significantly inebriated but will leave you less parched than before. Taking advantage of this rising market, the folks at Central City decided to release both a craft cider and craft beer version of this popular beer cocktail, pre-mixed with grapefruit juice instead of lemonade and ready for an early Spring release.
Tap & Barrel Appetizers Served During the Launch Party
The launch party was held at the Vancouver Convention Center Tap & Barrel location in the small private room near the water. Radio contest winners and local beer writers were invited to come and try each of the radlers during the launch, prizes were given out and they generously provided some appetizers from the restaurant next door to keep us well fed with lots of samples of beer to keep us nourished. The organizers even held a draw for a new bicycle, which fit the radler theme perfectly, and it just so happened that their mixologist created a special radler sangria which was simply amazing and a total hit with the mixed crowd (see below for the recipe).
Sample #1 – Hopping Mad Cider Radler
I’ve never had a cider based radler before so when I tried the Hopping Mad Cider Radler from Central City, I was venturing into new territory. Traditionally I haven’t been a huge cider fan, however I have enjoyed some of the craft versions over the last couple of years which are way better than many commercial options and I will say that this one was a hit for me. It has a fruit forward flavour with mild notes of apple, pear and lots of grapefruit juice followed by a slightly crisp dry cider finish. At 4.2% alcohol by volume, this craft cider cocktail is quite light on the alcohol levels but not at all light on flavour, so I expect it will do quite well with the cider crowd and even might draw in a few more beer fans in the process.
Sample #2 – Red Racer Radler
For the beer radler, I’m very familiar with many of the radlers on the market and this one is up there in terms of taste and quality. It has solid beer presence up front which I enjoy, highlighting a bit of biscuit malt and resinous hops before moving into a mildly bittersweet grapefruit juice finish that almost mirrors an IPA. This is right up there with the best of the pre-mixed radlers and priced at just under $3 a tallboy can it will likely sell very well in all markets. With an alcohol by volume strength of only 3.5%, this is perfect picnic, pool, patio or even breakfast beer option for pretty much any day of the week. Honestly, I’ve already purchased a few more cans of each Radler to put in my fridge as I certainly look forward to many more of these as the weather warms.
Bonus Sample – Hopping Mad Sangria
As previously mentioned, they also created a Hopping Mad Sangria for us which was fantastically tasty. Here’s the full recipe since it’s hard to read the version in the picture.
- 1oz Brandy
- 3oz White Wine
- 1/2oz Orange Liqueur
- 2oz Apple Juice
- 2oz Orange Juice
- Top up with Hopping Mad Cider
- Garnish as you like (they suggest apple slices and a mint sprig)
- Not mentioned, but it is always a good practice is premix the hard alcohol and the juice and soaking some added fruit in it for a few hours (or overnight) to give it even more flavour. Orange slices, strawberries and frozen peaches would work well in this one.