ARKELL BEST BITTER – WELLINGTON BREWERY
In an era when every craft brewer is trying to out-do one another with bigger, bolder, more in-your-face flavours, Wellington’s Arkell Best Bitter had always remained a throw-back craft beer, an old-school, roasted, sessionable delight.
It was the unassuming, grandfatherly English professor teaching the class of skinny-jeaned hipsters. That’s why I was disappointed to learn Guelph’s Wellington Brewery says it will no longer offer Arkell Best Bitter in tall cans or bottles as it shakes up its product line.
It’s one of three Wellington beers that will have reduced availability as the local brewery shakes things up so it can offer more small-batch, seasonal and one-off brews.
Fans of the caramely, traditional British-style bitter will only be able to pick up growlers of the beer at the brewery, or hunt it down at local restaurants or pubs. Weighing in at only 20 IBU and a gentle 4 per cent alcohol/vol., it was a craft beer you could enjoy all night long. Ironically, it’s only bitter in name, not taste.
As part of the changes, the brewery’s summertime standby – Trailhead Lager – will also no longer be available in bottles at the Beer Store. This easy-going, Vienna-style brew will only be sold in tall cans and on tap, sad news for fans of the crisp lager that was a refreshing step up from mainstream options.
Iron Duke, a 6.5 per cent dessert beer that’s a little sweet for my tastes, will only be available once per year as a seasonal release, and will no longer be available at the Beer Store.
When I learned Arkell was being phased out, I grabbed a few cans directly from the brewery, and debated whether I wanted to crack them – or save them for posterity. I opted to drink them.