Barking Squirrel Lager: Craft with Attitude

Barking Squirrel Lager, Hop City Brewing Company

Barking Squirrel Lager

Hop City Brewing Company

I’m not much of a beer drinker but I enjoyed Hop City Brewing Company’s flagship brew: Barking Squirrel Lager. Their publicity firm sent me a few samples to try.

When I poured the lager into a glass, the colour was darker than what I would normally expect from a lager. It’s a deep golden hue. When I said I’m not much of a beer drinker, I really mean, I truly stick to light, girly beers, wheat lagers at most. It’s mostly that strong bitter hit of hops that turns me off. When I was a kid, I took a sip from my dad’s beer can during the Superbowl and that first bitter bite has turned me off of beer ever since. So when I saw the dark orange Barking Squirrel lager in the glass, I was expecting a giant bitter taste to slam down on my tongue. But I was pleasantly surprised. Despite its bold colour, Barking Squirrel lager tastes light, refreshing and even slightly sweet, finishing off with apple and nutty caramel aftertastes. I can still taste the hops but it’s extremely subtle, even for someone who can barely chug girly beer.

Barking Squirrel Lager, Hop City Brewing Company

So far, we’ve paired Barking Squirrel with roast chicken and potatoes and a seafood hotpot, and the lager is versatile enough to go well with both dinners. Don’t let that cute, cartoon squirrel on Barking Squirrel’s can fool you, the lager is more complex and flavourful that you’d expect. Barking Squirrel is a great thirst-quencher and an excellent brew to serve with dinner.

And who doesn’t love a craft beer with a good back story: Barking Squirrel is the flagship brew of Hop City Brewing Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada’s Moosehead Breweries. Hop City Brewing Company is independently operated as a craft brewer by Kevin Gray and John Gagliardi. John grows Hallertau hops in his backyard and uses them in his home brews. Kevin got his start in the brewery business after he completed his biology degree, he applied for a job at a brewery because his mother asked him not to. Hop City Brewery has won many accolades including two Ontario Brewing Awards, two Grand Gold medals at the Monde Selection in Brussels, Belgium. The Barking Squirrel lager has been awarded the World Beer Award for America’s Best Standard Lager. It’s still Hop City’s motto that sticks in my mind the most though: craft with attitude.

Barking Squirrel Lager, Hop City Brewing Company

I’m considering ditching my usual girly beers for Barking Squirrel Lager. The beers will be great for holiday dinners – perfect conversation pieces and even better for food pairings.

Barking Squirrel is now available in BC Liquor Distribution Branch locations in addition to LCBO stores in Ontario (on draft and in package: 473mL cans and 330 mL bottles)

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