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Tapped In: Vancouver brewery makes strong argument for spicy and salty beer

Yes, beer can be salty.

Welcome to Tapped In, a thing Brendan Kergin writes. It's about local beers and the culture (as in social behaviours, not yeast) for the people who like Vancouver's brewed scene, but aren't in like with it.

Beer, traditionally, is a cool, refreshing drink with some bitter or malty flavours.

With the boom in craft brewers over the last couple of decades, there has been a lot of creativity unleashed and fruity, pumpkiny and flowery beers are not uncommon now. And sours are currently the trendiest style around.

Spicy and salty, though, are still rare, but East Vancouver's Andina Brewery has taken on the challenge.

To be fair, their Puchero Apricot Pink Sea Salt Gose is a sour, and mixes a few distinct flavours, not just salt. In this case, the saltiness in the beer is more subdued and fleeting and less of an experience like salty popcorn.

In fact, the sour nature of the gose is the main feature, with the apricot flavour more of a bit player in the background. This isn't a bad thing if you're a fan of sours; just know going in it's not a big fruity, juicy beer (if you want fruity, juicy, try the tasting room's passion fruit hot sauce).

The Candela Peach Habanero IPA is a more interesting beer, if you've had your share of sours over the past couple of years. Like the gose, it's an IPA out of the gate.

Notably, the spice won't hit you right away, it hides until you think it won't come. Even though it's not an explosive heat, it's definitely spicy in the sense of a tingle and not a 'spiced' beer.

While the peach notes don't show up if you're just drinking the beer solo, they come out to play with some food. I'm not sure what trips it (we tried Andina's tasting room's platachos - nachos with plantain chips - and empanadas), but the difference between flavours with and without food was surprising (in a good way).

The habanero brew is just one of the hot pepper beers Andina has come out with recently. Unfortunately, past spicy brews from Andina have passed us by already,  but the brewery's series has also featured a Mango Ghost Pepper IPA and a Pineapple Hot Pepper IPA (done with Mariner Brewing).