Ten refreshing spring beers hitting LCBO shelves this month
Despite what the weather forecast may suggest, spring is indeed coming. For those who need proof, the LCBO recently went public with its seasonal craft beer release. Springtime beers tend to be lighter, fruitier and—this year at least—hoppier than winter options. We chose our favourites from the LCBO’s hops-heavy list and added some of our own picks for spring: sour ales, saisons and a handful of new local brews. Here, ten spring beers to get you through the last stretch of snow.
Brouwerij F Boon Framboise
$5.85 | 375 mL | 5% ABV
Belgian Lambics are usually known for their dry, tart finish, but this one is all fruit. It’s spontaneously fermented and brewed with 25 per cent raspberries and five per cent wild cherries. It tastes a bit like raspberry jam, but with a yeasty finish.
Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace
TBD | 8 x 355 mL | 7.6% ABV
Developed in Japan by crossing British Brewer’s Gold and Czech Saaz hops, the Sorachi Ace variety is known for its strong lemon nose and unusual flavours of lemongrass, white pepper and bubblegum (yes, really). Brooklyn Brewery added it to a classic saison recipe, both pre- and post-fermentation (the latter is referred to as “dry hopping”). The result is a uniquely refreshing brew.
Brouwerij der St Benedictusabdij de Achelse Trappist Achel 8º Bruin
TBD | 330 mL | 8% ABV
This Trappist dubbel is rich and malty with loads of dried dark fruit, figs, licorice and a caramelized brown-sugar finish that’s balanced out by mild hoppy bitterness. The medium carbonation delivers a creamy mouthfeel that helps conceal a relatively high alcohol content.
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck Kasteelbier Donker
$3.25 | 330 mL | 11% ABV
Aromas of caramel, brown sugar and mocha only hint at the wonderfully sweet malts, dark fruit and toffee flavours in this strong Belgian brown ale. With an alcohol content of 11 per cent, this brew will keep you warm through the last of the winter freeze. You could also cellar it for a few years to soften and integrate the flavours.
Cameron’s Rye Bock
$5.95 | 650 mL | 6.3% ABV
Cameron’s take on the traditional Bavarian maibock, a strong malty lager that’s lightly hopped, gets its spicy backbone from their signature rye malt. Traditionally served in the spring, it’s a transitional style that will keep you warm while still remaining highly sessionable.
Great Lakes Brewery Harry Porter and The Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Bean
$5.95 | 650 mL | 6% ABV
As you hunker down through the last throes of winter, you might want to cozy up to this porter, which is brewed with bourbon-soaked vanilla beans. It’s not as sweet as you’d expect—the vanilla is mostly on the nose, and traditional porter characteristics of roasted coffee and baker’s chocolate are well-balanced on the palate.
Le Trou du Diable La Morsure
$6.45 | 600 mL | 6.5% ABV
This beer is lighter tasting and less astringent than we’re accustomed to for an American-style IPA. The mild malt profile lets the grapefruit, citrus and pine of the hops dominate the palate, leading to a pleasingly dry bitter finish.
Liefman’s Cuvée Brut
$5.95 | 375 mL | 6% ABV
This blend of the brewery’s Goudenband and Oud Bruin sour ales incorporates sour cherries, making for a sweet, tart brew with a vinegary profile and subtle hints of vanilla and oak.
$13.65 | 6 x 355 mL | 4.3% ABV
It’s remarkable how much flavour is packed into this beer. It combines tropical aromas of mango and pineapple with more astringent hints of citrus and pine. Its low alcohol content (just 4.3 per cent) makes it exceptionally easy to drink. It might become our go-to for the summer.
St Feuillien Saison
$3.25 | 330 mL | 6.5% ABV
Belgians call these “beers of the terroir”—traditional farmhouse ales that take on the flavours of the land. They’re floral, earthy and yeasty, and brewed to hydrate and refresh farm workers though the summer months. St Feuillien’s is typical of the style: highly carbonated with hints of citrus peel and spice, and a dry crisp finish.