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.

I recently got the Maris* pale ale in a Craft Beer Mystery Pack (online exclusive from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

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
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
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