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I found Elora Borealis on a recent night out in downtown Guelph, just about the time I was losing all hope I’d be drowned in an endless sea of Alexander Keiths and Sleeman Original.

Nothing against those inoffensive beers, but when you’re craving a well-made North American-style pale ale, everything else kind of disappoints.

All the usual craft beer pubs were jammed, so we were stuck searching elsewhere. Our final stop on the night was NV, a bar I associate more with cocktails and than craft beer. But credit to their bar manager, who on had a keg of Elora Borealis on tap.

One of my friends immediately zeroed in on the Elora-made beer and suggested I try it. I’m so glad he did.

The first pint was a revelation. Bright pine and citrus greeted me, with hints of mango and something like canned peaches. It had an intense aroma of musky tropical fruit thanks to the exclusive use of Citra hops.

The beer, a bronze medal winner at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards, was a looker. A fine, frothy white head that lasted until the final sip, pouring with a hazy, golden hue. It weighs in at 5.1 ABV and is a dry 30 IBUs, just about right for a hoppy, but not too overpowering, North American-style pale ale.

The next week, I picked up a few bottles from the LCBO ($4.50 for 500ml), which only started stocking the Elora-made pale ale in October. It was every bit as good as I remembered. I enjoyed smelling it almost as much as drinking it. Almost.

When so many Ontario breweries are jumping on the pale ale bandwagon, it was refreshing to find one of the best in the province is made right here in Wellington County. This is an excellent beer.

What the brewery says:

“Elora Borealis is a lightly malted pale ale that is bittered, flavoured, and dry-hopped exclusively with Citra Hops. A bright, floral nose gives way to crisp, light malt flavours and finishes with several citrus notes.”