Still in Durham Region for the holidays, I continued my craft beer pilgrimage, stopping by 5 Paddles Brewing Co., in Whitby, Ontario.

I actually stopped at my sister’s request (from a successful social marketing pitch by the brewery), to pick up a “must-try” lemon meringue pie beer.

I was skeptical about it, because it seemed a bit of a kitschy premise, and I generally lean towards Belgians if I want something sweet.

I’ll admit I spent more than I should have on the awesome selection of bottles (frequently rotating) at the industrial-style location of the brewery. So far, no regrets. The Dr. Juice IIPA is a staple of the microbrewery, and with good reason, but that will be for another review, perhaps.

I bought myself a bottle of the Lemon Meringue Pie, because it definitely piqued my curiosity. I read about the inclusion of lactose, and it is fascinating.

If you’re not familiar with it, lactose is the primary sugar found in milk and it is used in brewing because it doesn’t break down in the fermentation process. This allows it to shine through in the finished product and balance any bitterness.

I brought this beer out for New Year’s Eve with my wife’s family, between IPAs, to mix things up. I also figured it would be an intriguing sampler for the rest of the non-beer drinkers here. I wasn’t wrong.

Lemon Meringue Pie first hits sour, but not overbearing, with the sweetness detectable on the nose. It finishes smooth and a bit savoury, definitely leaving me smacking my lips.

Lemon Meringue pie ale

The lemon flavour shone through in abundance, and the aftertaste was surprisingly complex.

After a few sips I let it breathe and perhaps it was psychosomatic, but I definitely detected subtle graham cracker notes. The sweetness from the lactose provided the meringue-like finish.

It definitely is not for everyone and it would not be my everyday indulgence, but this was a fun treat. Every sip provided different tasting notes, and the 5.5% ABV provided a bit of a punch underneath the sweetness.

I will say that although I do not generally tend toward sweet beers, this did not overwhelm me, which was great.

This Lemon Meringue Pie would be a great dessert on its own, and could be an excellent introduction to Craft Beer for those who are generally adverse to beer.

My Father-in-Law provided a telling review of his own, “This doesn’t even taste like beer, which I don’t know what that says for the brewery.”

What I think it says is that 5 Paddles knows how to diversify its offerings and appeal to more than just hop-heads, which is certainly a positive.

  • ABV: 5.75%
  • IBU: 8
  • Style: Sour Ale
  • Taste: Tangy and Lemony
  • Rating: 4.3/5
  • Untappd Reviews

As a new feature of my reviews, each review will be followed by a one to two line review from my wife, Stephanie. As a non-beer drinker, her reviews will be from the perspective of a “layman” beer drinker.

Stephanie’s review:

“This is one of the most delightful beers I have ever had. It’s like a hard lemonade without all the sugar, and a warmer feeling. Do recommend!”


Ryan Heighton

Ryan Heighton

The Bar of Ontario isn’t the only bar to which he’s been called. Misses drinking at the SkyDome. Enjoying Waterloo Region one (sometimes two) craft beer at a time. Favourite beers: anything hoppy enough to jump off the table.
Ryan Heighton
Say hi online:

Twitter - Instagram