Thursday, 21 March 2013

Wishing the Winter Goodbye with Fond Recollections of its Best in Beer

If you thought the fact that I have been too busy to write of late meant I hadn't either had time to have a few good beers or that I hadn't found any worth writing about lately... you'd be wrong indeed!

I thought I'd briefly share the notable findings of the last two months as I start to catch up with what matters to us all herein: good beer!

However, many of my newly discovered loves come from trades and a trip to Premier Gourmet in Buffalo (with "ONLY 1500 beers to choose from"), though I will start with my new discoveries in Quebec and Ontario first and post on the many excellent US gems shortly.  Note that these beers aren't (all) from these places, but are available/procured there for those wanting to find mentioned products.


Ontario

On my first visit to Bellwoods Brewery, I thought, "Everything's good; if nothing's great at least nothing is even as bad as average...impressive enough."  On my second visit, things improved with what would become Grizzly Beer American Brown Ale, Roman Candle IPA and Monogamy (Summit) impressing.  But then... on my third visit... Hellwoods Imperial Stout and Witchshark Imperial IPA became my two favourite Bellwoods offerings thus far!  I brought home - and promptly devoured the Witchshark which was also available in bombers from the now-opened retail store.  Though not available at the LCBO, the brewpub is a gem and their retail store offers excellent product at a reasonable price.  If you have yet to experience the place - or these specific beers - hop to it, lest they move on to something else (that will likely be equally delicious!)

Though no longer available, with some outside help - thanks Shlomit! - I managed to grab a couple Great Lakes 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA's which, though delicious, resulted in one bottle for trade that brought back two cans of Heady Topper in return.  More on that shortly.  Yes, the Black IPA was remarkable with a complex combination of melon, pine, citrus, and rind on the nose complemented by a toastiness dried with a smoky citrus finish.  I mention this mainly to say that, though I have now procured a few of their final 25th Anniversary product - a Bourbon-Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - I have yet to drink them, but anticipate marvellous goodness and so encourage you strongly to grab any of them few that remain in LCBO stocks!

The LCBO has a strong spring seasonal release this year, and one of those yet available that has stood out for me is Lakefront's Bridge Burner Special Reserve Ale.  This American Strong Ale (8.5% ABV) has a piney and slightly herbal hoppy nose with a faint roasted maltiness that quickly dries out with a nice spicy hops finish.  A very, very good beer and at just over $5 for a bomber (650 ml) of a solid American Strong, it is a (rapidly disappearing) steal!


Quebec

I have been disappointed of late with any new Quebec discoveries, while still enjoying regular staples.  Though Les Trois Mousquetaires' Hopfenweisse - a hoppier US-style version of the hefeweizen - has been available for some time, as a moderate fan of wheat beers at best, I had not as yet spent the money for it.  However, a bring-your-own-beer sushi night necessitated a hefeweizen pairing, and this didn't disappoint!  Especially if you enjoy hefeweizens, grab one and pair it with some sushi for a nice matchup!

Though not new, my love affair with Tripel Karmeliet continues.  Sometimes available at the LCBO and always at the SAQ, this is a treat not to be missed!

As always, many super finds from the US pleased (and continue to do so), but that will be for my next review!

'Til then... cheers!

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