The Wayward Son from Radical Road Brewing in Toronto, Ontario is light amber in colour with tinges of old gold and a loose, but creamy white head that tends to leave thick swathes of lace and settles as a thin but frothy collar. This Belgian strong pale ale is matured in Ontario sourced pinot noir wine barrels and has a pungent smell. Sour, rotting apple and grape tones converge with candi sugar-sweetened malts converge to create an air of apple crisp or rhubarb pie. Hints of yeast and pine contribute to an overall outdoorsy character.
The taste of The Wayward Son brings to mind a union of fresh, crusty white bread, red wine and a honey-soaked bran muffin. The ale has a yeasty and creamy mouthfeel with mild viscosity and carbonation. Mildly sour crab apple and grape notes create a dry finish while a juicy hint of the pinot noir barrels lingers in the back of the throat.
The Wayward Son is packaged in an ornate box that features art by Glenn Davis Group depicting a mounted knight or Templar slaying a dragon with a pike. The back of the box has a list of ingredients and thorough description of the beer, while the champagne-sized bottle itself uses a simple black label with a white wordmark.
The Wayward Son is a thoroughly excellent brew that showcases the current state of progressive tendencies in Ontario craft brewing. Assuming they can continue sourcing barrels and contracting out of Black Oak Brewing Company, this will be something I look forward to on a yearly basis. I have enjoyed it with sharp cheeses, fresh bread, red grapes, salami and prosciutto.
At the time of publication, The Wayward Son was still available at over 80 LCBO stores. This beer was originally released in the summer of 2013 and is slated to return in spring 2014.
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Region: Ontario, Toronto
Brewery: Radical Road Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 750 mL
Alcohol Content: 7.5%