The LCBO has outdone itself this season, stocking up with 15 limited-edition brews. They’re all like children to us, but if we have to play favourites, these six bottles get a bit more of our love.
1. Sainte-Reserve Lupulus, QC
Hopped up like an India Pale Ale but brewed with a fruity, spicy Belgian yeast, this hybrid beer by Microbrasserie Charlevoix is like sunshine in a glass. The aroma is all honeysuckle, lavender, lemon, and orange, and the fresh, zingy notes continue in the mouth. Enjoy it on its own: This is the George Clooney of the spring release, and any food pairing is mere arm candy.
2. Weihenstephaner Vitus
Not quite ready for the super-light wheat beers of summer? This Weizenbock (an amped-up wheat beer) will see you through the spring thaw. At 7.7 per cent alcohol, its malty backbone lends notes of chocolate while the wheat brings bubblegum, clove, and fresh bread. This hefty brew pairs well with barbecued pork or spicy sausage and sauerkraut.
3. Panil Barriquée Sour
The Panil is a nice gateway beer for those who want to get into sours but aren’t quite ready for “sweaty horse” or “catty” tastes. (Trust us, they’re acquired ones.) This Italian microbrew from Torrechiara di Losi Giuseppe tastes a little like sourdough bread on acid, with hints of vinegar and tart cherry. It’s a fine match for a cherry cheesecake or sweet and sour pickles.
4. Mikkeller Frelser Triple Bock
This 11 per cent alcohol, triple-strength bock beer is brewed with sultanas and brown sugar and has a heady nose of stewed prune, licorice, and toffee, with a bitter finish. Savour this Danish beauty on a warm spring night on your patio—it will open up as it warms. A piece of Stilton or chocolate-covered caramel wouldn’t hurt, either.
5. Thornbridge Jaipur IPA
This U.K. microbrewery is the star of England’s emerging craft beer scene—and one sip of its award-winning IPA tells you why. The egg yolk–yellow ale smells of citrus zest, balanced with a tangy bitterness and waves of honey. It’s a thirst-quencher that can stand up to the spice of tikka masala and saag gosht curries.
6. Westmalle Tripel, Belgium
Bright yellow with a meringue-like head, this legendary tripel is delightfully complex thanks to aromas of pepper, pear, candied apple, lemon, and spice. And it’s a bargain—in Buffalo, you’ll pay twice the price. This beer is so versatile you can drink it with asparagus, arugula salad, or almost anything else on the table.