Electrolytic Beer: The Future of Refreshing

Sponsored by Rally. Words and photos :: Kristin Schnelten. 

“Electrolytic beer” reads the can of Rally beer in my hand. Electrolytes? In beer?

Interest piqued, I pop the top, take a first swig—and am transported to another time, another life. To the mid-90s. A hot, humid, nameless midwestern town. Before I discovered hops, before pale ales steamrolled the industry. I’m a college kid, holding a keg cup after a multi-hour slog on the rugby pitch. And this beer in my hand? Damn, is it ever refreshing.

Rally Beer
Time to hydrate – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

The brainchild of Alan Wood, Michael Mavian and Spencer Sgro, Rally is in a class of its own in Canada, tagged as a “functional beer.”

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Back in 2019, mid-way through the Butter Tart 700 (a 760-km Southern Ontario bikepacking route), Alan stopped in Thornbury to crash on his buddy Spencer’s couch. “It had been a long, hot day on the bike, and I just wanted to quench my thirst with a post-ride beer—but I didn’t want something heavy.” Why didn’t a post-adventure beer exist? One that restores electrolytes, replenishes sodium loss? Why hadn’t someone developed a beer for athletes? The two started brainstorming, and enthusiasm for their lightbulb idea quickly morphed into a plan.

Alan had experience in the brewing industry, and used those skills to formulate a recipe: a golden ale. Lower-alcohol (it clocks in at a sessionable 4.9% ABV). Artisanal salts. Blackcurrants.

Rally Beer
Functional Beer – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

The result of his experiments not only ticked all the boxes, but was easy on the taste buds, to boot. Light but flavourful, with slight fruity hints.

Working on the contract-brewing model, an established Ontario brewery produces their cans following Alan’s recipe, while he, Spencer and co-founder Michael Mavian concentrate on distribution, marketing and sales. But launching a new craft beer during a pandemic was a challenge: “All licensees were closed, and all events cancelled. No sampling and events is a killer, because that’s the best way to tell people about the product, our mission, and us!”

As much of a struggle as it’s been, word has been trickling out since they delivered their first cans last July. As they begin their second year in business, Alan says, “We’re absolutely swamped right now.”

With their company growing exponentially, Alan and Spencer are working around the clock. But, as athletes and adventurers, they’re still finding time to get out there: a few laps on the ski hill, a quick run, a kiteboarding session on the bay. Because that’s where it all started, with a love of beer and a love of the outdoors.

Before the snow completely melted, I took Rally out for a couple test runs. We tucked a few cans in our packs for an afternoon snowshoe; friends filled their six-pack carriers on an evening fat-bike ride; we distance-gathered around the campfire.

Snowshoe adventure beers – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

Simultaneously cracking cans, we toasted a fine day on the trail. A mixed bag of beer lovers, some of us gravitate to brews high on the IBU scale, while others hang out with the pilsners (and I even included a couple cider drinkers). What was the verdict on this new brew? I heard comments about fruitiness, appreciation of the concept, declarations of new-favourite-beer status—and multiple utterances of, “a perfect après beer.”

Rally beer and bikes
Packing some essentials – Photo: Kristin Schnelten

But the most common feedback? “This is just so refreshing!”

These guys seem to have hit the nail squarely on the head with this one.

You can find Rally at your local LCBO, Sobeys or Longo’s. Assuming they can keep it in stock during the long, hot summer ahead.


4 thoughts on “Electrolytic Beer: The Future of Refreshing

  1. This is awesome!

    I have tipped a few cans of this Golden Ale. The currant and salt really balance each other out with some subtle malty flavours coming through. Whether its hot summers day out on the trails or a crips bluebird on the slopes, this beer is the cherry on top!

  2. This is my new favourite beer! It’s exactly what I’m craving after a long run. Refreshing, light and tasty, plus I’ve found the electrolytes have a huge hydrating effect.

  3. I never go riding without a few beers in my camelbak – super stoked to get out on the trails this summer!

  4. I am looking forward to trying your beer but in your ads and in the comments there’s mention of taking beer on bike rides.
    Since bicycles are suppose to follow the rules of the road and trails same as cars ATV’s etc I don’t think that you should be taking beer on rides and encouraging other riders to do the same.
    I am sure there’s lots of time to enjoy a cool one after the ride is done

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