My Kind of Beer With Chris Goddard
Each season the LCBO releases a stock of fresh, new beers that are only available for a limited time. These beers try to reflect the taste or styles of the season. In the summer you can expect a selection of wheat beers, saisons, fruit beers and other lighter suds. In the fall they begin to stock some predictably named Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers along with some darker beauties ranging from pale ales to porters and stouts (which will also carry through to the winter). In the winter the LCBO sources some bigger and bolder styles with higher alcohol content (ABVs) like spiced beers, old ales and barrel aged beers. That brings us to where we are now – the spring release.
The LCBO starts to fill their shelves in March with some traditional spring styles like helles bocks or maibocks as well as imperial IPAs and sour beers. These wide-ranging styles can lend themselves to a huge spectrum of flavours and strengths, both in taste and in alcohol. Much like the fickle rodent on Groundhog Day, these spring beers can swing from light, mild beers to big, punch-you-in-the-face, high alcohol hoppy beers.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect to see at your local LCBO this spring:
Doppel-Hirsch Bavarian Doppelbock (Der Hirschbrau Brewing)
The Bock style is, in my mind, the quintessential spring beer. Originally developed as a “Lenten beer” to help sustain the Monks during their fast for Lent it is also often described as “liquid bread”. Coming in at 7.2% ABV in a 500mL bottle this one would be great to share with a friend with a burger.
Moralité IPA (Dieu du Ciel!)
Boasting a double 100 on ratebeer.com this beer was made in collaboration with iconic Vermont craft brewery The Alchemist (and some would say it’s similar to their Heady Topper) and walks that beautiful line of sweet maltiness and bitter hoppiness. Any spicy dish would be a good place to start when pairing this beer with eats.
Heelch O’Hops Imperial IPA (Anderson Valley Brewing)
The locals in Boonville, California have a jargon they speak called Boontling and in this language “heelch” means “a lot” and this double IPA certainly packs a lot of hops. We find the usual IPA suspects here: the grapefruity-ness of Cascade, the piney-ness of Chinook and the deep, dankness of one of AVBC’s favourite hops — Columbus. Give this one a go with a rack of BBQ ribs slathered in a smoky sweet sauce.
Cabin Fever Imperial Black IPA (Phillips Brewing) | The darker malts bring a different style of sweetness and bitterness that you don’t usually find in an IPA while the hop bill brings a bright citrus zest to help punch through the darkness — much like the first sunny days of spring. Another big imperial beer that is probably best shared with a friend and some aged gouda.