SERIOUSLY GOOD CANADIAN ALES
My first blog of the year is for beer. No, I havenâ€™t gone to the dark side! Beer is my second love and I taste almost everything through the LCBO and at specialty beer bars around the world.
The beer industry has seen the same kind of expansion of choice as in wine, with a similar resulting confusion. Marketing rules, of course, and the successful brands are the ones that pretend to be â€˜differentâ€™ but which are ordinary and easy. Such as Keithâ€™s or Rickardâ€™s. The booming craft beer business in Canada is headed in the opposite direction â€“ attempting originality, but often misfiring. A lot like chefs thinking they can bypassing basic skills and experience in their rush for stardom. The more local craft beers I drink, the more I appreciate the European classics. And some American upstarts such as Sierra Nevada.
St. Ambroise beers (from Quebecâ€™s McAuslan brewery) are an exception. Founded in 1989, this brewery produces perfectly balanced beer with depth and personality, and I highly recommend you search LCBOs for their pair of Holiday packs. (Meant to put this out pre-Christmas but the power-out got in the way).
The â€˜Vintage Aleâ€™ pack offers a really interesting experience â€“ three different years of the same beer. Toasty, sweet, nourishing, high alcohol Â â€“ fireside sippers. Amazing depth of flavor. The â€˜Holiday Tasteâ€™ pack is about variety, and all three offerings are outstanding. Tangy dry Pale Ale, strong, sweet Scotch Ale, and delicious, toasty Oastmeal Stout.
ST. AMBROISE Vintage Ale 3-PackÂ (2011, 2012, 2013)Â 66027 $17.95
ST. AMBROISE Holiday Taste 3-Pack (Pale Ale, Scotch Ale, Oatmeal Stout)Â 288787 $13.00