This summer’s patio-friendly specialty beer release from the LCBO

This summer’s patio-friendly specialty beer release from the LCBO

The Rosée d’Hibiscus from Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel (Image: Bernt Rostad) 

Back in February, we told you about the spring release at the LCBO that had beer geeks buzzing. The summer releases, on the other hand, tend to be biased toward wheat and fruit beers, and can be the weakest of the seasonal offerings. But continuing on the improvements from the last few seasons, there’s enough variety this year to whet even the more discriminating whistles. Returning favourites include Rosée d’Hibiscus from Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel, a herbaceous beer brewed, yes, with hibiscus flowers, and Lindemans’ Gueuze Cuvée René, an excellent example of the traditional Belgian style that blends young and old Lambics and is then further aged to intensify the dry, fruity and sour characteristics (Lambic beer is fermented using ambient native yeast as opposed to the carefully cultivated yeasts in most other beers). Rounding out the more refreshing summer sippers is New Morning, a saison from Italy’s Birrificio Del Ducato. Selections should start appearing on store shelves this week with some bottles, including both Rosée D’hibiscus and Cuvée René, delayed until mid-June.

Notably absent from this season’s list are any Ontario craft beers, but with several being added to the general listings there’s much to look forward to from the LCBO’s fastest growing segment: Wellington’s Russian Imperial Stout, Double Trouble’s Hops and Robbers IPA, Spearhead’s Hawaiian Style Pale Ale (a west coast–style IPA brewed with actual pineapple), Amsterdam’s Boneshaker IPA and Kensington Brewing Company’s Augusta Ale, all of which will become available in the coming months. Also available at select LCBO outlets (and the brewery’s retail store) in very limited quantities is the outstanding 25th Anniversary Robust Porter from Great Lakes Brewery—maybe not the best choice for a sunny afternoon on the patio, but with a dark chocolate sweetness balanced with a roasted coffee bitterness, it’s one of the better expressions of the style out there.