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BELLWOODS BREWING, JUTSU AMERICAN PALE ALE

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It’s no secret some of the best beers being brewed in Ontario right now aren’t ones you can find on LCBO or Beer Stores shelves.

Bellwoods Brewery’s Jutsu pale ale is a fine example. I had two 12-ounce glasses of it at Guelph’s Baker Street Station pub last week, and kinda fell in love. It’s a hazy, hoppy concoction the colour of pale orange juice, with an appealing aroma of tropical fruit and nectarine.

It tasted like it had just been brewed that day, and was exactly what you’d want in a dry, aromatic American-style pale ale. Bellwoods uses a unique Vermont yeast strain that gives it an especially juicy character, at a pleasantly sessionable 5.6 ABV. I promptly went home, and tried to find some more Jutsu I could put in my fridge. Only it’s not available on any local shelves.

The Beer Store and LCBO don’t carry it, or any other Bellwoods beers for that matter, since their listing requirements exceed the small brewery’s production capacity. A few local bars carry Bellwoods on tap and occasionally in bottles, including Baker Street and Woolwich Arrow in Guelph, Kitchener’s Arabella Park and Abe Erb, and Brux House and The Brain in Hamilton.

If you want take-home Bellwoods bottles, you need to go direct to the brewery. Which, I suppose, adds to its allure, but sucks if you’re a fan living outside the GTA.

Bellwoods, which started as a small brewery and pub in Toronto in 2012, brews such popular beers that their retail shop on Ossington Avenue became known for running out of stock. They’ve tried to fix the problem with expansion, and added a second shop on Hafis Road in North York, but in the rest of Ontario our only option is to hope our local bars are smart enough to put Bellwoods beer on tap.

But if we want to bring the Jutsu magic into our homes? We remain out of luck. That still requires a road trip into Toronto, and my taste buds are hoping that changes soon.

What the brewery says:

“Hazy with restrained bitterness, juicy yeast-derived aromatics, and a dry body. A refreshing and super drinkable hoppy beer with notes of cantaloupe, grass, and nectarine.”