By Beau’s All Natural Brewery, a certified “Good Food Fighter

An experimental fruit beer brewed with dates is the latest release in the Friendship Series from Beau’s All Natural Brewery. Called MATES… with Dates, it is a collaborative beer co-designed and brewed by Beau’s head brewer Matthew O’Hara together with British master brewer Alex Barlow.

The unique creation went into the tanks when Barlow visited Canada as a guest speaker for Beau’s Oktoberfest event last fall, and has been aging ever since. Loosely based on a British brown ale, MATES was fermented a second time with Trappist ale yeast. Thirty kilos of organic dates made their way into the brew, and the creation has now aged several months. The result is a strong fruit beer (7.7%) that does not conform to any particular recognized style — although dried fruit and spice notes are dominant. The beer is fruity without any overwhelming sweetness, and finishes pleasantly dry.

“The Friendship Series was inspired by all the great and innovative brewing going on around the world,” says Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “In the last few years I’ve had the chance to meet some truly talented brewers (like Alex Barlow), and when that happens we usually get talking about creating beers. Actual hands-on collaborating is always fun, and you end up sharing knowledge and experience at the same time.”

Barlow and Beau’s head brewer Matthew O’Hara will be attending launch events to introduce MATES… with Dates to the world, beginning with a “meet the brewers” event  on Feb. 9 Barlow and O’Hara will host a 4-course beer dinner at the Blueberry Hill Bistro in Vankleek Hill, each course paired with a different Beau’s beer. The brewers’ tour concludes in Toronto at Wvrst (609 King St. W), where Mates with Dates will be available on tap. Details of these events are available on the Beau’s All Natural Facebook page.

Presales of MATES… with Dates have already begun online at A very limited release, the beer will be sold direct from the brewery or online for home delivery in Ottawa only, in 600 ml bottles for $16 incl. tax and deposit.

BEAU’S All Natural Brewing is a small, family-run company founded in 2006. BEAU’S brews interesting, tasty beers using the highest-quality organic ingredients, and local spring water. A member of the Ontario Craft Brewers, BEAU’S is a recipient of numerous international awards for brewing excellence, including a GOLD medal at Mondial de la Biere in Strasbourg, France, two GOLD medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards, as well as “Best Craft Brewery in Ontario” and “Best Craft Beer in Ontario” at the 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 & 2007 Golden Tap Awards. BEAU’S was also chosen by CAFE as the 2010 Canadian Family Enterprise of the Year. BEAU’S signature fundraising event, Oktoberfest, was selected as a 2011 finalist for Best Ontario Culinary Tourism Experience. BEAU’S flagship and seasonal beers are available at LCBO locations throughout Eastern Ontario, as well as Kingston, GTA and Hamilton. BEAU’s entire line of beer is certified organic by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd.