The LCBO has imported a dozen new brews just for spring. Here are a few to consider (and a couple to avoid) when building your perfect seasonal six-pack.
SIP: Framboise, Brouwerij Boon, Belgium
Brewmasters dumped tons of fresh raspberries into a tart, wild-fermented wheat-beer base to make this stunner. It’s all raspberry jam and leaves, a hint of cherry syrup, and mouth-puckering notes of bright lemon, with a dry, crisp finish. This will easily tide you over until the end of summer.
SKIP: Enlightenment Age of Raisin, Renaissance Brewing Company,New Zealand
The makers of this beer added plump California raisins twice during the caramel-forward brewing process—which was two times too many. The result is cloyingly sweet, with a boozy tinge and Raisin Bran flavours. Not even toddlers like shrivelled grapes this much.
SIP: Saison, Brasserie St. Feuillien, Belgium
Made by a family-owned outfit that dates back to 1873, the Saison is a relatively recent addition to the brewery’s portfolio. It’s a farmhouse-style brew, with notes of white pepper, coriander, pear, and a mild, grassy finish. Try aging this live ale for six to 12 months to dry it out and accentuate its rustic tastes.
SIP: Montagnarde Amber, Abbaye des Rocs Brewery, Belgium
Coming in at nine per cent ABV, this is the booziest beer on our list. It’s also the sweetest: Notes of toffee, raisin, ginger cookies, and nutmeg dominate, with a mild bitterness that keeps the sugary flavours in check. It’ll warm you up on chilly days. (And if you’re brave enough to fire up the barbecue, it’ll go well with sausage or chicken legs.)
SIP: Kåååd Spring IPA, Amager Bryghus, Denmark
Sipping on this heady, burnt-orange IPA is like biting into a key lime pie: Vanilla and sweet graham wafer tastes give way to mild tropical fruit (like kiwi, lime, and passionfruit), with a piney prickle at the end.
SKIP: Celt Silures, The Celt Experience, Wales
Hoppy beers are best enjoyed fresh, and some foreign-made pilsners, lagers, and IPAs just can’t withstand the journey. This American-style pale ale is a bit stale—aside from the grapefruit hops, we detected wet cardboard and a metallic finish. If that doesn’t dissuade you, perhaps this descriptor from Celt’s website will: “A stray brewery absent in time chasing emotions reflected in their ancestors.” Huh?