January 16, 2020
Light beer has a bad reputation. For many years it was known as a watery, largely tasteless pseudo-beverage, for those worried about their weight. Not any more!
Smart brewers know that light beer is gaining in popularity these days, thanks to an increased focus on health, wellness, and a growing movement of people who are deliberately drinking less alcohol.
“This style has been a new brew for us,” says Thom Riley, Brewmaster at Stanley Park Brewing. “We wanted to rejuvenate and revitalize the space of light beer. Traditionally they’ve been low in calories, low in carbs but also low in flavour, so we set out to redefine what a light beer could and should be.”
The result of this process is Stanley Park Brewing’s Electro Light lager. It’s just 90 calories per can, but Riley filled in the flavour by using oats and sea salt in the brewing process.
“If you’ve ever had an oatmeal stout, you know that it gives the beer a nice creaminess and full mouthfeel. The oats in our light lager, along with a hint of sea salt, help provide a perceived sweetness, even though the beer is truly very dry,” Riley explains.
Riley has taken an unusual path to being a brewmaster. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Astrophysics before realizing his heart wasn’t in it. Focused mainly on research, the job left Riley wanting a career that was more hands-on and less solitary. Having been a dedicated home brewer throughout university, Riley started dabbling more seriously in the brewing arts.
“It started as a way to make beer cheap for everyone to enjoy on weekends and then it kind of turned into more of an interest,” Riley recalls. “I started reading more about the science and really started delving into it.”
After graduating, Riley and his wife decided to take a trip to experience the world before sliding into day jobs, routines and settling down. The plan was to arrive in Vancouver, then spend six months travelling across Canada, with the ultimate goal of finishing up on the east coast and then returning back home to Scotland. Things however, didn’t exactly go according to plan; “We got to Vancouver and just never left!”
Riley eventually started working in Canada, and got his IBD diploma from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Since then he has worked at various craft breweries and is now the Brewmaster at Stanley Park Brewing.
“I’m really happy with our approach. We have a pretty diverse lineup of beers, and with all them we focus on ensuring they are really approachable and also good examples of each of the styles we’re making. Some breweries get pigeonholed into being a brewery that is all about IPAs or that only makes really hoppy beer. We brew a variety of beer styles that anyone can enjoy.”
You could say Stanley Park Brewing’s mantra is that it’s the craft brewery for people who don’t consider themselves craft beer aficionados. And its outlook on light beer may just be the best example of how they’re making great quality, approachable and truly tasty beer for real people who just like beer.
Find Stanley Park Brewing’s Electro Light Lager at Calgary area Co-op Wine Spirits beer stores.
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