Category Archives: LCBO

Please Kill the LCBO Seasonal Releases

Let me cut straight to the chase – the LCBO seasonal beer releases are quickly becoming pointless. While they’re fun to get excited about and discuss for a couple of days after the release, the LCBO no longer brings in beer at only four times during the year. The seasonal releases made sense when stores had limited beer space and it was a way to reserve room on the shelves for beers that they knew would rotate out every three months. But beer is now occupying bigger areas in LCBO stores with a lot more turnover of products.

The logistics of the beer releases have always been treated by the LCBO as an afterthought. Beers appear sporadically, slowly rolling out through stores in a haphazard manner. They give a date of when beers should start appearing, but one or two always come out before that date while others may not appear till a month later (or sometimes dropped without any notice). There is no promotion done for the release other than a small media tasting in Toronto. You pretty much have to be a Bar Towel reader to find out the full lists (especially since a certain blog stopped posting the lists). The LCBO doesn’t really care to advertise the releases, which makes me wonder why they don’t just bring in the beers whenever they choose.

There is now a strong precedent to bring in beers throughout the year as temporary listings. This has become especially common with Ontario craft breweries – most breweries can get a short term seasonal listing that is completely separate from the seasonal release (unlike the old days where the seasonal releases included Ontario beer). But it’s not just Ontario beers that get this exemption. Goose Island, 3 Fonteinen, Rochefort, Ommegang – these are some of the breweries that have come in this year without a listing in a seasonal release. These are also listings that have gone very well without the press that accompanies a seasonal release.

Being on a seasonal release means that a lot of the beer will be ordered, which is sometimes excellent but leads to lots of leftover stock at other times. Rather than turning over products, the shelves are stagnant while beer gets old. A lot of beer drinkers would rather see smaller orders and more turnover of products, giving more reason to visit the LCBO on a frequent basis. Now that most of the Winter release is on shelves, we’re looking at a long dry period before the Spring release of 2014.

The seasonal release program is another example of old LCBO business practices that need to be updated for the current beer environment. There have been changes in the right direction over the past couple of years, but they have not gone far enough. The structured seasonal releases have to go, allowing the LCBO more flexibility to bring in beers throughout the year in smaller quantities. If the LCBO doesn’t start improving the seasonal beer program, they should give it the axe.

LCBO 2013 Fall and Halloween Releases (Plus the Quebec Brewery Feature)

The LCBO has announced three releases for the autumn, the Fall Beer releases, Halloween and the Quebec brewery feature. No date for when to expect the beers on shelves.

The Fall release:

Sawdust City Long Dark Voyage to Uranus Stout / 650 / $7.95 (RB/BA)
Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique / 750 / $9.25 (RB/BA)
Charlevoix La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout / 500 / $5.65 (RB/BA)
Amager Rye Porter / 500 / $6.25 (RB/BA)
Midtfyns X-Porter / 500 / $5.95 (RB/BA)
Xbeeriment Black Force 1 Imperial Stout / 500 / $5.25 (RB/BA)
8 Wired iStout / 500 / $7.20 (RB/BA)
Box Steam Funnel Blower Porter / 500 / $3.95 (RB/BA)
Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout / 550 / $4.95 (RB/BA)
Deschutes Black Butte Porter / 650 / $5.30 (RB/BA)
Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout / 650 / $4.80 (RB/BA)


Quite the interesting release! I have never seen a release that is completely dominated by two styles and its variations, though apparently there used to be a release only for porter and stouts. Some of these seem like beers that would have been more appropriate for the winter release, but I won’t complain about that. Based on the styles, it is not surprising that the beers have really high ratings. This is a release to get excited for (unless you hate porters and stouts) with lots of interesting beers to try.

The Halloween release:

Howe Sound Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 1000 / $11.95 (RB/BA)
Grand River Highballer Pumpkin Ale / 500 / $3.95 (RB/BA)
Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale / 650 / $4.95 (RB/BA)
Black Creek Pumpkin Ale / 500 / $3.95 (RB/BA)
St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale / 4 X 341 / $9.95 (RB/BA)
Renaissance – Enlightenment Pumpkin / 500 / $5.95 (RB/BA)
Le Brasseurs de Montreal Ghosttown Stout / 341 / $2.95 (RB/BA)
Shepherd Neame Spooks Ale / 500 / $3.55 (RB/BA)
Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale / 355 / $2.50 (RB/BA)
Southern Tier Pumking Ale / 650 / $9.05 (RB/BA)
Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale / 625 / $7.95 (RB/BA)


Meh. Two new beers (the Shepherd Neame and Renaissance) and lots of retreads. The pumpkin fans should be happy once again, but I may avoid buying any of these.

The Quebec feature:

Dieu Du Ciel – Penombre Black IPA / 4 X 341 / $12.25 (RB/BA)
Dunham Belgian IPA / 750 / $6.35 (RB/BA)
Trou Du Diable Le Sang D’Encre / 375 / $3.65 (RB/BA)
Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus / 750 / $14.40 (RB/BA)
Les Trois Mousquetaires Doppelbock / 750 / $10.05 (RB/BA)


While not a bad selection of beers, it is kind of bland for a release featuring Quebec beers. The only new brewery to the LCBO is Dunham and there is nothing exciting for people that make beer trips to Quebec. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Charlevoix and Trois Mousquetaires beers sit on shelves for a while at that price.

LCBO 2013 Summer Beer Release and Renaissance Brewing Feature

The LCBO has released the list of the 2013 Summer Beer Release, scheduled to start appearing on shelves the week of May 27th.

  • Abbaye Des Rocs Blanche Des Honnelles / 330mL / 6.0% / $2.80 (RB)
  • Achouffe Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel / 330mL / 9.0% / $3.75 (RB)
  • Duboisson Scaldis Blonde Triple / 750mL / 10.5% / $8.10 (RB)
  • Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins  / 330mL / 5.5% / $3.30 (RB)
  • Howe Sound King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen / 1000mL / 7.7% / $11.20 (RB)
  • Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Saison / 750mL / 6.0% / $9.90 (RB)
  • Le Trou du Diable Shawinigan Handshake/ 500mL / 6.5% / $4.95 (RB)
  • Les Trois Mousquetaires Hopfenweisse / 750mL / 6.0% / $6.75 (RB)
  • Mikkeller Canadian Dream / 330mL / 4.6% / $3.45 (aka The American Dream? – RB)
  • Thornbridge Kipling South Pacific Ale / 500mL / 5.2% / $5.00 (RB)
  • Hofbrau Munchen Hefe Weizen / 500mL / 5.1% / $2.95 (RB)
  • Nogne O Saison / 500mL / 6.5% / $6.00 (RB)
  • Ommegang Hennepin / 6x355mL / 7.7% / $12.95 (RB)
  • Brooklyn Sorachi Ace / 750mL / 7.6% / $4.85 (RB)

The Renaissance brewery feature was also announced:

  • Renaissance Perfection Pale Ale / 500mL / 5.0% / $5.65 (RB)
  • Renaissance Marlborough Pale Ale / 500mL / 8.8% / $6.45 (RB)
  • Renaissance Discovery American Pale Ale / 500mL / 4.5% / $5.65 (RB)
  • Renaissance Voyager India Pale Ale / 500mL / 6.0% / $5.65 (RB)

Once again, two interesting releases and ones that are best talked about together. Some will likely complain about the summer release being heavy on beers that emphasis the yeast character (weisse beers, saisons and other Belgian style beers), but the Renaissance feature adds a nice hop compliment. Also keep in mind that Ontario breweries are meeting the hop fix right now, so it makes even more sense for the LCBO to bring in beers that cover styles not made in Ontario right now (or I should say styles that Ontario breweries maybe haven’t submitted to the LCBO). This is also the most expensive summer release that I’ve seen (for comparison, see last year). Not counting the Hennepin six pack, there are some pricier beers and it will be interesting to see how quickly these sell. A lot of the beers are also not made for mass consumption – five come in at higher than 7% (six if you include the Renaissance Marlborough).

The real test with the seasonal releases is how many of the beers are tempting to buy and once again this release fairs very well. There are a couple I will likely pass on because they just don’t thrill me, but there are no obvious duds. Add in the beers to come from Ontario breweries and it should be a good summer for beer!

Which Came First: the Chicken or the IPA?

There must be some mathematical formula for figuring out the demand for craft beer in any given province or state. The variables would be dependent on the province/state but would include any laws and regulations (for Ontario, that also means the whims and desires of the LCBO and what it chooses to put on shelves), local breweries (factoring in their size, how long they’ve been in operation, the beers being made), foreign breweries (desire/willingness to get into said market) and local demographics (urban vs rural, disposable income, maybe even age and education). It would largely be a theoretical exercise as trying to actual plug in the appropriate numbers for all the variables would be near impossible, but it would at least help to figure out how demand for craft beer changes over time.

This may sound weird, but it has been fascinating to watch the craft beer market in Ontario change so rapidly over the period of a year or two. Lately I’ve been trying to piece together all the little changes that brought craft beer to the forefront. It used to be that Ontario was kind of a waste land. Few breweries outside of Ontario wanted to deal with the LCBO because it just took too long to get your beers here. (Usually you brought in a beer or two through the seasonal releases, then might get a larger listing.) Though our population was large, the market was relatively unproven. Ontario breweries weren’t making anything too interesting or exciting because, once again, there wasn’t a proven market for IPAs or Imperial Stouts. What has changed in the past two years? How have we ascended to hop heaven so quickly? (There was no surer sign that the enlightenment had come than when the LCBO was advertising IPAs at TTC bus stops and on subway platforms.)

The claim that Ontario was ready for a big, hoppy beer permeated for years even though the release of Southern Tier IPA and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA in 2008 led to people obsessively tracking the beers down. (Dogfish Head later pulled out of Ontario because demand was too high for their beers in the US.) Neither beer was cheap – in fact, I can remember the Southern Tier IPA approaching $15 at one point. The beers got publicity and hype, leading very often to empty shelves. Yet still Ontario breweries refused to acknowledge that the market was evolving.

Here is my theory for why the whole “The Market Isn’t Ready Yet” theory persisted for so many years – because consumers are generally lazy. It takes a special kind of beer geek to go on regular beer runs to Buffalo or other cities with close proximity to the border. The time, money and energy just isn’t worth it for most people when compared to going to their local LCBO and picking up a six pack or two. People were ready for bigger beers packed with flavour, but had limited means of showing it (outside from the hardcore beer lovers making pilgrimages to the States). It had to be the Ontario craft breweries to change this idea by releasing hoppy beers and seeing how the market reacted. The people of Ontario spoke with their wallets, quickly establishing Smashbomb, Mad Tom and Crazy Canuck as regular brands in Ontario. Once these beers were available on a consistent basis through the LCBO, it was possible to prove that Ontario was now a very viable market for a wider range of craft beers. Black Oak could have run away with the market two or three years ago with 10 Bitter Years. By the time that beer finally gets released into the LCBO (latest reports say May), the competition will be much stiffer and the beer will have a harder time finding its place in the market. I find that rapid change in the market to be astonishing.

Another way of thinking about the Ontario beer market is to ask this question: has there ever been a case in the past three years where a beer made in Ontario was released that was ahead of the market? I can’t think of any instance where there was a really good beer (or even a really terrible beer) that no one was buying. Some of the foreign beers in the LCBO seasonal releases have not gone over so well, but the Ontario craft beer section is thriving. Even better, it is not one or two breweries leading the pack, but a solid effort from dozens of breweries to bring interesting products to the people of Ontario.

The LCBO gets shit on almost daily by craft beer lovers, but it has done a very fine job of recognizing the growing craft beer market and providing people with a greater selection. Yes, the system is still onerous to deal with and is not perfect, but it is not the hindrance that it once was. (I think it could be argued that the breweries had as big of a role in stalling the craft beer movement as the LCBO did.) The LCBO is probably the greatest influencer on what happens to craft beer and is doing better job at getting more seasonal products out to the province, while still finding room for new general list items. Not recognizing their role in the growth of craft beer would be shortsighted.

My theory is that the recent success by Ontario craft breweries in releasing more eclectic offerings has made the market more tempting for breweries outside of Ontario. Recent arrivals to the LCBO have included beers from Founder’s, Goose Island (being owned by AB-Inbev probably helps), Elysian, Green Flash and Phillips. Rogue started shipping kegs to go along with their bottles that appear in the LCBO. The gains that the Ontario breweries made is now making the market more attractive to outsiders, which in turn should cause the Ontario breweries to be more creative and experimental in their products.

In a year or two all the recent gains will seem trivial, just as all the hype over Smashbomb and Mad Tom seems funny now, but for now the golden age of beer is getting brighter by the month. The market shows no signs of slowing down – rather, increased competition seems to only drive craft beer to greater gains.

Poll: LCBO Winter Release 2012

The Spring release for 2013 is starting to show up on LCBO shelves, which is a good time to look back on the Winter release. The Winter release is always full of high ABV beers, which should make for some interesting voting (as will the one hoppy beer, a burst of sun during the dreary months). As always, only the beers from the 2012 Winter Release are included – none of the Ontario seasonals or beers that were in the Christmas gift pack release. Voting will close at 11pm EST on Sunday, April 7th.

Jim Koch, Sam Adams and Utopias

IMG_3113Jim Koch doesn’t look like a man whose job title reads co-founder and brewer of the biggest American craft brewery. He reminds me more of a cross between Mister Rogers and Don Knotts – a friendly yet unassuming man who wears his pants a little too high and not someone you would associate with a beer company. Yet having Koch act as brand ambassador has obviously worked for just this reason. His passion for beer is earnest and there is an aura of honesty around him that can’t be manufactured. I don’t know whose idea it was to market the innocence of this middle aged white guy, but it worked perfectly. Jim Koch is a man you instinctively trust, which is basically what people do whenever they go out to buy a Sam Adams beer.

Behind this exterior there is a very smart man, which shouldn’t be a surprise (after all, he did graduate from Harvard). I was part of a privileged group of media, LCBO employees and some Sam Adams folks that were invited to attend a small tasting of Sam Adams beers before the ticketed public tasting. Jim spent most of the time talking about beer, the history of Sam Adams and the creation of Utopias, impressing everyone in the room with his wealth of knowledge about all aspects of beer. (Everyone in the room was instantly smitten when Koch was handed his first bottle of beer and responded, “I was afraid I was going to have to do this sober.”) Koch was especially knowledgeable on the science of brewing and shed some insight into how science can help Sam Adams select the best hops for their beers.

Sam Adams and the Boston Beer Company are in a unique position within the American craft beer world. With 1% of the American beer market, they are the largest craft brewer in the States. Most of their production is done in two breweries, one in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania. They brew enough of the Boston Lager that there is a signature malt made only for them. It is a publicly traded company. The definition of a craft brewery from the Brewer’s Association had to be amended because Sam Adams was going to go over the production limit. For these reasons it is hard to think of them as small, at least for a craft brewer. I don’t want to say they’re not craft, but they straddle a fine line.

But then they make a beer like Utopias, which Koch described as a labour of love more than a money maker. The origins of the Utopias go back to the Triple Bock, which was described as the original extreme beer (it originally came out in 1994 at 18%). Some of that beer went into used spirit barrels and a little bit still goes into every batch of Utopias. At 29% ABV this year (previously 27%), the Utopias is more of a liqueur than a beer, though it has not undergone any freeze-distillation that many other extreme beers use to reach their high ABVs. Blending is done from beer that has been aged in bourbon, Port and rum casks to create a deliciously smooth sipper with just enough alcoholic heat to remind you of its potency.

The Utopias went on sale on Friday morning and sold out a couple of hours, which was no surprise. Sorry to anyone just getting the news now, but you missed out. That being said, it is a beer I have now tried twice and is not something I would be quick to buy. I think the $115 price tag is justified, but the rational side of my brain always seems to win out whenever the Utopias goes on sale. Odds are in favour of the Utopias going on sale through the LCBO in 2014, so anyone wanting a bottle next year should starting putting away $10 a month.

There were three beers in the tasting that preceded the Utopias. The Spring Lager (currently available at Summerhill and some other LCBOs) was a beautiful showcase of Noble hops (specifically the Tettnang Tettnanger – this is a single hop lager). The hops and touch of honey malt reminded me of a lemon square. The Boston Lager was, well, the Boston Lager. Finally, the Latitude 48 IPA was a weird mashup of American, German and British hops that just didn’t come together in a pleasant way to my palate. Mixing earthy and bright hops in the same beer just muddled the flavour.

Being able to hear Koch talk while drinking a glass of Utopias was an absolute pleasure. His years of experience talking to groups and being a spokesperson are evident in his smooth delivery, yet he somehow still seems energized by telling the same stories repeatedly. Sam Adams makes a wide range of beers, from the fantastic to the terrible (anyone care to defend the Cherry Wheat?), but they have been leaders of the craft beer revolution and will likely continue to be for a long time.

Breaking News: Jim Koch Coming to the LCBO, Bringing Sam Adams Utopias With Him

Big news for fans of the Sam Adams Utopias – the LCBO is getting 400 bottles of the Utopias 10th Anniversary. To celebrate the release, Sam Adams founder Jim Koch is coming to the Summerhill LCBO in Toronto on Thursday, February 28th for a small tutored tasting event at noon. The tasting will feature four Sam Adams beers and include food pairings. Tickets will be limited – only 24 will be available. They will cost $75 and go on sale Friday, February 22nd at 8:30am. Limit of two per person by calling the helloLCBO Contact Centre at 1-800-668-5226 or 416-365-5900. Tickets also include the opportunity to buy a bottle of Utopias before the release.

The Utopias will go on sale at 8:30am on Friday, March 1 on a first-come, first-serve basis and there will be a one bottle limit per customer. The 710mL bottle will sell for $114.95 and can be bought by calling the same phone numbers (1-800-668-5226 or 416-365-5900).

LCBO 2013 Spring Release and Brasserie Dupont Feature

The Spring 2013 beer list for the LCBO has been released and looks as such:

LCBO#/Product name/Size (mL)/ABV/Suggested Retail/Supplier/Country

318329/Gouden Carolus Tripel/330/9.0%/$3.05/Brouwerij Het Anker/BELGIUM (RB)
306860/St Feuillien Grand Cru/330/9.5%/$3.50/Brasserie St-Feuillien/BELGIUM (RB)
305896/Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru/330/9.5%/$3.25/Brasserie De L’Abbaye Des Rocs/BELGIUM (RB)
309658/Chaman Imperial Pale Ale/4 x 341/9.0%/$12.90/Microbrasserie Dieu Du Ciel/CANADA (RB)
318451/Les Trois Mousquetaires Maibock/750/8.0%/$6.90/Les Trois Mousquetaires/CANADA (RB)
322040/La Divine St Landelin/750/8.5%/$8.25/Les Brasseurs de Gayant/FRANCE (RB)
210591/Panil/750/8.0%/$14.05/Torrechiara Di Losi Giuseppe/ITALY (RB)
306845/BIA India Pale Ale/330/6.5%/$3.20/Birrificio del Ducato/ITALY (RB)
318295/8 Wired HopWired IPA/500/7.3%/$6.00/8 Wired Brewing Company/NEW ZEALAND (RB)
270496/Thornbridge Jaipur IPA/500/5.9%/$4.95/The Thornbridge Brewery/UNITED KINGDOM (RB)
303891/Lakefront Bridge Burner/650/8.0%/$5.50/Lakefront Brewing/UNITED STATES (RB)
318436/Kuhnhenn 4D Aged/355/13.5%/$7.95/Kuhnhenn Brewing Co./UNITED STATES (RB)

The next brewery feature has also been announced and will shine a light on four beers from Brasserie Dupont:

LCBO#/Product name/Size (mL)/ABV/Suggested Retail/Supplier/Country
322065/Miunette Brune/330/8.5%/$3.35/Brasserie Dupont/BELGIUM
322073/Monk’s Stout/330/5.2%/$3.15/Brasserie Dupont/BELGIUM
322081/Cervesia/750/8.0%/$8.25/Brasserie Dupont/BELGIUM
322503/Biere De Miel Bio/250/8.0%/$2.95/Brasserie Dupont/BELGIUM

Apparently the Dupont Saison will be out in 750mL bottles as a general listing at $8.05 (that news comes from the Twitter feed of Josh Rubin).

A couple of things jump out from the list, which a number of people have already commented on. 1) These are some very strong beers. True, but there have also been some strong beers in this release before. (For comparison, check out last year.) We’ve had the Schneider Hopfen Weisse in the spring and summer before, but that 8% wheat beer was still very popular.  There’s no reason that stronger beers still can’t be suitable for the season. 2) Every beer in the release has a chance to be decent. Not to be a slave to the rating sites, but the worst mark seems to go for Les Trois Mousquetaires (a 70 overall on Ratebeer, though a 90 for the style category) – that’s pretty damn good for an LCBO release.

One surprising aspect is the lack of any beers from Germany, though there is the aforementioned Maibock from Quebec. There could be any number of explanations – the German beers submitted didn’t fit in with the release, the German beers haven’t sold as well recently – but I’ll definitely be interested to see if this continues in the summer release. On the whole it’s a pretty solid release with a lot of beers I’m excited to try!

Throwing My Hat into the Westy Fire

The Westvleteren hype and madness is now, finally, behind us. If you’re tired of reading, talking, Tweeting and doing whatever else Westy related, feel free to not read this post (or just skip to the bottom for my holiday greeting). I was unsure about whether or not to post anything, mainly because it would be continuing to support the mayhem of last week and I was kind of sick of it myself. But it seemed like some perspective on the Westy frenzy was needed and I thought it would be useful to share my experience.

In many ways, my Westy experience was rather dull. I arrived at the Queens Quay LCBO at about 9:30am last Wednesday, with about 80-90 people in front of me for the 112 or 120 gift packs. (I don’t think the final count was ever known). The line was orderly and well mannered – no one tried to jump in line, no one was saving a spot for a friend. LCBO staff and a security guard came out at one point to redirect the line, but that was all. Most people, like myself, started chatting up the people around them, giving a bit more of a communal feel to the morning. It was like the old days, when people were camped out for concert tickets and you bonded with everyone based on the shared experience of being hardcore nerds about something. (And yes, I am just old enough to remember standing in line for concert tickets, back when I was too young to have a credit card and my parents were scared of online shopping.) There was a nervous tension in the air as we all waited to see if one of the prized gift packs would be ours, but also because of the excitement of it all. Yes, it was stressful in some ways, but also fun in an odd sort of way.

The doors opened promptly at 10am with LCBO employees waiting just inside to hand out a Westy pack to each person as they entered. Being further back in the line, I had the chance to watch people leave after buying the beer and it was the happiest I had ever seen people leaving the LCBO. It was probably the best beer buying experience I’ve ever had in Ontario – the gift pack, a bunch of Nøgne Ø and two barrel aged beers from Cameron’s. Sure, you could find lots to complain about the LCBO, but for a brief while it was an oasis to a starving beer community.

The group was quite mixed – some Bay Street types in suits, a lot of younger beer geeks and some people that I assumed were just there because of the hype. On my bus afterwards was a woman who had traveled from Oshawa and had been outside since 7am, waiting in the cold to buy a Westy pack as a Christmas gift for her husband. (Hopefully he doesn’t read this and get his Christmas spoiled. Or hopefully someone in Oshawa doesn’t start daydreaming about a Westy under the tree after reading this.) It was a novelty more than anything to try a beer that she had heard was the best in the world.

Who knows what she or his husband will think of the beer and I know this irritates some people. But whatever reasons people had to buy the beer doesn’t matter, at least to me. (Unless they were going up on eBay, which is not cool. I’m trading away bottles to people that missed out, but not selling any.) Everyone had as much of a right to buy the beer, whether they were or a beer geek or someone who hadn’t heard of Westvleteren until a couple of weeks ago. I understand why some people are upset about missing out on a Westy pack, but you can’t blame it on the people buying the beer.

The sale of the Westy was not smoothly done, but I’d be fine with that whether or not I had purchased any. (If you were annoyed trying to buy one, imagine the LCBO employees fielding an endless amount of phone calls.) The amazing thing was that for a couple of weeks people were talking about a beer. When you hang out with beer geeks enough, one can forget how many people know very little about beer, but this was a reminder about how much education still needs to be done. I was in Ottawa seeing family last weekend and my brother-in-law (who does not drink at all) was asking me what the deal was with this beer. This relatively obscure beer is now known by a larger percentage of the population, who are also now aware that there are monks in Belgian brewing beer that is different from standard ales and lagers. Who knows how many people will go out and seek new beers because of this or remember anything about Trappist beers, but at least for a little while beer became exciting news for a lot of people. It was a chance to change the greater perception about what beer can be, which can only have positive effects in the long term.

As this is the final post before Christmas, I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Hopefully the holidays are nice to everyone and spent with great company, food and beer. If you’re looking for a turkey pairing, the Beau’s Bog Water is quite nice and easily found throughout the province. Just remember not to drink and drive. My year end roundup post will be up next, likely after Boxing Day.

LCBO Announces Nøgne Ø Brewery Feature

As if there wasn’t enough beer to drink right now between the Christmas beers and impending 2012 Winter Beer Release, the LCBO has also announced the next brewery feature – Norway’s Nøgne Ø. The following beers will make up the release

  • #100 ($6.65 – RB)
  • Porter ($6.45 – RB)
  • Tiger Tripel ($6.55 – RB)
  • Two Captains Double IPA ($6.65 – RB)
  • Underlig Jul ($6.50 – RB)

All beers will be in 500mL bottles and should start showing up on shelves the week of December 10th. I should have a full review of both releases the week before that. Expect the beers to be limited to specific stores.