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We recently had the opportunity to brew a beer with our good friends at Sawdust City Brewing from Gravenhurst. Their Brewmaster, Sam, was one of my teachers at Niagara College Teaching Brewery, and their Head Brewer Aaron Spinney graduated a year before me.  Aaron and I worked together at Flying Monkeys and have remained good friends ever since.  Over the past few years the three of us have shared many beers along with a respect for each other’s brewing talents.

When we sat down after the first few whirlwind months at Redline and began planning out what we wanted to brew in 2016, a few collaborations were at the top of our list. We have a lot of good friends making great beer in Ontario and one of the special qualities in the brewing industry is the way we work together to help each other grow and produce quality beer.  Additionally, we sometimes get the opportunity to put our heads together and come up with something fun and new.

We settled on approaching Sawdust City for our first big collaboration. We love their beer and they’re only 45 minutes away, making them a natural pick. Collaborations provide an opportunity to brew something unique so I didn’t think it made sense to brew something similar to what either brewery already offered.  If we did a hoppy pale ale, it would have to be significantly different from Clutch or Golden Beach.

So we decided on a style that both breweries enjoy drinking and brewing, but also came up with a unique approach. Settling on a saison, we decided on something with fruit, but still needed a twist to make it special. The answer came in the form of milk sugar – or lactose.

Lactose is a common ingredient in many dark beers, such as the traditional Milk Stout. We chose it for the creaminess and balance it would add to the dry body of a saison, and the tart fruitiness of Montmorency cherries.

The result is a really fun beer, hazy pink in colour with a complex nose of saison yeast and tart cherries. The flavour is cherry pie filling up front, some wheat malt through the middle and a dry, tart finish.

Brewing with friends is fun!

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