Summer means two things for me: baseball and beer.
The Toronto upstart, Left Field Brewery (est. 2013), just speaks to me. With their craft beers being bottled in a nice, oversized 650 mL bottle, having baseball-themed names, I have been on board from the start.
Thankfully, the product is quality, too.
My first impression was that I loved the bottle and branding, chuckling at the asterisk that followed the “Maris” name.
The brew was named after long-time single season MLB home run champ Roger Maris, and the Maris Otter malt (which Wikipedia can describe better than me – admittedly, baseball is more in my “field” of expertise than malt specifics) with which this Session Pale Ale was brewed.
At first, I was a bit underwhelmed by the idea of a 4.5%, 40 IBU pale ale, with more hoppy, acidic brews being in my wheelhouse. However, loving past offerings from Left Field, I came into this with an open mind, after work one day.
This approach worked out well, as I didn’t want a beer too heavy on a seasonally hot June day in Ontario, particularly with court the next day.
The beer pours beautifully golden, with a very slight cloudiness. My first sip was a bit underwhelming, with a lightness that I expected from such a light pale ale.
However, the taste really started to develop in my mouth, with a very delicious and palatable hoppiness that didn’t linger too long after the fact.
Maris* is slightly bitter on the tongue, but entirely inoffensive, which is in line with the descriptor on the bottle as being not “flashy or boastful”, much like the beer’s two-time MVP namesake.
It went down extremely smooth, and I am not ashamed to say that the 650 mL quantity did not last particularly long.
I was shocked to see how low the Untappd reviews were for Maris* (which I habitually do not check until after I’ve formed my own opinions of a brew).
This isn’t a Belgian Trappist or specialty beer, but for an American Pale Ale, I couldn’t possibly ask for more.
I think that it is only fair to base a beer’s rating relative to other similar beers. It may be a bit “mainstream” for a craft beer, but it has such a clean finish and distinct flavour that it still screams “craft”.
Not all of Left Field’s brews are designed for ballpark consumption, but this is a delightful pale ale that is a great pick for a hot day at the park or patio.
I considered ending this with a cheesy “from out of Left Field” pun, but I will spare you.
What I will say is that Roger Maris’ home run record stood for decades, and it took steroid-tainted ballplayers to top it. Maris* is a Pale Ale with the same innocent purity.
Not a Hall of Famer, but underrated and outstanding.
- ABV: 4.5%
- IBU: 40
- Style: Pale Ale
- Taste: Crisp and smooth, with a touch of hops
- Rating: 4.75/5
- Untappd reviews