My Kind of Beer with Chris Goddard
LION or LAMB?
As a young child I can remember my teacher giving us the amateur prognosticators Groundhog Day-esque warning that if, “March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb,” or vice versa. Either way, it usually meant some additional snow days as long as Mother Nature didn’t waste those on March Break. It would be prudent to prepare your beer fridge with beers for the lion and some for the lamb (and maybe a couple in between). As luck would have it, the LCBO launches its spring beers on March 1st so we have a handful of seasonal brews to either help warm us up during the last snow fall or toast the first patio beer of the season.
“LION” BEERS — SOMETHING TO KEEP YOU WARM:
Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus
You don’t often get a chance to drink a Belgian Strong ale that is as highly decorated as DVL, let alone one that is made in Quebec. Ratebeer.com ranks this beer at 100 on style and 100 overall, which puts it in the top 10 of Belgian Strong Ales in the world (4-way tie for 7th). Clocking in at 10% ABV this beer can warm you up but has quite a few hops to give the alcohol balance. Buy one to share and one to cellar.
“LAMB” BEERS TO WELCOME THE SUN:
Steamworks Jasmine IPA
IPAs can have quite a bit of range from floral and citrus to big and dank; this one is the former. Coming in at 60 IBUs you might expect it to be very hoppy but instead it drinks very balanced. The delicate jasmine aromas take this beer from your standard IPA into something great to toast the impending spring sun.
Le Trou Du Diable Saison du Tracteur
This highly awarded saison from one of my absolute favourite breweries is also a style with a tremendous amount of range. Historically brewed in the off-season by French and Belgian farmers for their workers in the summer, these beers could range from 3% up to 6% and be fruity and floral or spicy — everyone had their own take on how to brew it (and still do). Saison du Tracteur hits the higher end of the ABV at 6% and delivers aromas of citrus and passion fruit that follow through to the palate and then meet with some spiciness when you take a sip.
BITTER-SWEET SPRING BEERS FOR THE IN-BETWEEN:
Lindemans Kriek Cuvée René
Possibly one of the most unique styles in the world, this kriek lambic beer walks the line of tart and sweet. Fermented using wild yeast and then aged in barrels with sour cherries, this beer is one that will interest both the beer lover in your family and the beer hater. Almost as beautiful to look at as it is to drink, this is another beer that will leave you wishing you bought more.
Vander Ghinste Cuvée des Jacobins
Sour beers are getting increasingly popular so it would be good to get a few great ones under your belt while you can. This traditional Belgian sour red ranks right up there with its Rodenbach sisters. The thing that makes this beer extra special is that it’s aged for 18 months in large French oak barrels called “foeders” and then packaged without blending which means that this beer can change quite a bit from vintage to vintage.