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HERITAGE CREAM ALE, TOGETHER WE’RE BITTER

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Over a century ago, the Preston Hops Yard was one of the biggest hops farms in Canada. But few people have tasted beer connected to this former 70-acre plot in Cambridge for a very, very long time.

But thanks to a special collaboration between the Tavistock Hops Co. and Kitchener’s Together We’re Bitter Cooperative Brewing (TWB), we finally can.

TWB is selling a one-off batch of cream ale brewed with hops that were originally grown on the now-wild hops land. For that, we can thank Kyle Wynette, who grew up on Hamilton Street in Preston, just a few blocks from where the hop yards used to be.

When Wynette started his Tavistock hops farm a few years ago, he dug up some wild hops rootstalks on the banks of the Speed River, all that’s left of the old Preston site, and replanted them on his farm. Soon he had enough for a small crop, and found a local brewer willing to work with him.

TWB, run in a unique cooperative model, produced what they called a Heritage Cream Ale based on a traditional recipe that would have been brewed at the turn of the century. The result is a surprisingly tasty and smooth cream ale that craft beer fans and mainstream drinkers alike should appreciate.

You get a hint of fruit and floral in the first whiff, and a touch of malt sweetness that’s balanced out nicely by the local hops. It’s a quintessential Canadian-style cream ale. I can picture myself walking into a local pub a hundred years ago and drinking this.

The brewery only made about 750 litres of the one-off batch, so don’t expect it to last much longer. I sampled the beer at the brewery’s Mill Street tasting room, then bought a growler to take home. For now, that’s the only way you can taste this one-of-a-kind brew.