How does the mainstay’s summer mingler hold up?
Does it seem like Red Truck has been around forever?
It’s been hawking ales since 2005 (it started in North Van), but unfortunately for the brand—which has held down its iconic East Van brewery since 2015—Main Street hipsterdom seems to have completely turned on its head these days. It ain’t about things being cool before they were cool, or kicking it old school when it comes to drinking beer. It’s about what’s new and flashy. 2015 might as well be the ’80s.
But the folks at Red Truck truck on. Indeed, the brand with the iconic signage and still packed-to-the-brim tasting room continues to churn out product and garner plum placement on liquor store shelves.
Of course, now that we’re in the summer months, the importance of having a solid mixer pack can’t possibly be overstated. Let’s see how Red Truck’s eight-can adventure pack (two of each beer, $12.99 at the BCL) measures up.
Here are the beers that comprise it, ranked.
4. Baja Bound Mexican Lager
If you know anything about The Sip, you know that we really don’t mind hating on things. In fact, we actually quite like it. But even though this concoction gets last place here, it’s really not that bad. In fact, it’s more or less fine. A crushable, easy-drinking summer beer, it just doesn’t have a ton of flavour. And that’s fine, Mexican-style lagers often don’t. It’s better than a Corona though. Yes, even without the lime.
3. Haulin’ Some Mass New England Hazy IPA
This was tough. Honestly, each of the next three are top-notch brews. We’re putting the hazy IPA here mostly because these types of beers are having a moment, and we’re not sure it does quite enough to separate itself from the competitors currently on the market.
That being said, it’s straight up delicious. With fruity flavours this thing absolutely sings along at a 6.5 alcohol percentage. A great, if somewhat boozy, summer beer. (Not that we're complaining.)
2. El Space Camino Dry Hopped Ale
OK, the next two beers aren’t as summery as the first two, there’s no debate about that. And yes, that’s taken into consideration. But you know what, it doesn’t have to be summer to be about “adventure” and that’s all Red Truck promised with this mixer. And boy, does the El Space Camino deliver on that one. It’s very hoppy for a pale ale, but it fully works. And yes, we’re going to give it some points on the branding too.
When you have to fit the car motif into every beer’s branding, you’re somewhat limited. But the packaging and what’s inside it really come together to form one of the more striking beers out there.
1. Road Trip Classic Lager
Call me old-fashioned. Call me stuck in the past.
Call me maybe.
This isn’t a new beer by any means, but it’s long been one of my favourite lagers. It’s clean, crisp and having four of them won’t make you feel like you’ve been hit by a (Red) truck the next day.
One of the smoothest beers of its type around, there’s a reason it won Gold in the North American-style lager category at the most recent Canadian Beer Awards.
Next time you’re loading up and you think, hmm, we need something people are going to have to drink a lot of, don’t subject them to Old Milwaukee or Budweiser. Just because it’s an easy-drinking lager doesn’t mean it has to be terrible.
And it’s also a perfect fit as the flagship brew in a mix-pack.