Back to school beers

By Laurel Borrowman, Life & Style Editor

Welcome back, gang! The dawn of a new semester is in the air, and you are about to get thrown to the wolves in some form or another. It’s inevitable, but here are two recommendations that can make this transition smooth, easy, and fun for you.

First, remember that just because school is in, doesn’t mean that summer is out. Far from it! September can be one of the most beautiful months of the year, with lots of sun, a refreshing crispness in the air, and the slow transition into autumn at the end of the month.

Second, drink beer! Not too much, and the kind that’s delicious, seasonal, and/or local, because there are herds of it. Just because a six-pack of Bud Light costs $8 doesn’t mean you have to crumble to the corporate slugs and buy the first thing that’s there (remember, the girls in zero-clothing don’t come with it). Why not spend your waning dollars on something worthy? Craft beer is prevalent and cheap, and even tastier.

I don’t encourage drinking to cope, but I do encourage pausing to enjoy something that’s sip-tastic, and if it takes the edge of first-week jitters off in the meantime, that’s a bonus. I’d recommend any of these delicious brews as readily as I’d recommend my other beverage of choice—dark black coffee—but we’ll save that for next week when you need a wake-up call.

Here are four 100-mile-diet approved, affordable brews, worthy of your dwindling bank account contents. While prices vary (as does availability: Parallel 49 brews have been flying off the shelves since their launch, so count yourself lucky if you find it), you should be able to find a sixer of any of these for under $12.

Old Boy, Parallel 49, Vancouver: A nod to foggy London town, this chap tastes like chocolate, toffee, and caramel all at once. 5%

Hoparazzi, Parallel 49, Vancouver: A pale gold lager, inspired by IPAs, with a citrusy hoppy aroma. 6%

Raven Cream Ale, R&B Brewing Co., Vancouver: Not only has it placed twice in the World Beer Cup competition (taking home a silver and a matching bronze), but it’s won my heart on dozens of occasions. It’s chocolatey, nutty, and like the name says, creamy. 4.8%

Ginger Beer, Phillips Brewing Co., Victoria: Finally, ginger ale for adults! Just like the name says, it’s gingery. Also, screw saki. Next time you feast on sushi, pair it with a 650 mL bottle of this for about $6. 5%