Photo credit: Colin Green (@vp_craft_lcbo) at LCBO Victoria Park & Ellesmere.
written by Erica Campbell, Co-founder SOBDL
Like everything in society right now, things are quite unusual at LCBO due to COVID-19. Stores are closed Mondays, have reduced hours, there’s massive line-ups and staff shortages. Breweries are sifting through all these roadblocks and complications daily making it QUITE a challenge to sell beer to the LCBO right now!
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Sales reps can’t visit stores to drop off sales sheets, connect with beer ambassadors to discuss new products, check date codes for product freshness, request specific shelf placements, smooth out issues and do staff tastings; all key ways to get product on LCBO shelves. On top of that, breweries have also been asked to refrain from calling and e-mailing stores to relieve the very stressed and busy LCBO staff. So, although direct delivery from breweries is booming right now, craft breweries are struggling to get their beer on LCBO shelves; one of the biggest revenue sources for craft breweries in Ontario.
LET’S DO OUR PART
But let’s not get all doom and gloom. I want to HYPE UP a whopping 10 (+1 bonus beer) really interesting and unique Springtime Ontario beer releases gracing LCBO shelves that YOU can drink either right NOW, or very soon.
WHAT’S NEW IN BEER
Now, not all of these brands are “new“. You may have enjoyed a pint on tap or grabbed cans to go direct from a brewery. But, they’re all new to LCBO. You’ll also note a major departure from what filled the shelves during the fall/winter months. Darker, full-bodied, high alcohol brews are getting swapped for lighter, juicier, crisper offerings reminiscent of warm weather drinking.
DRINKING OUR WAY ACROSS THE PROVINCE
I was pleasantly surprised that it appears we have a solid mix of Toronto-area beers AND a nice selection from outside Toronto. We’ve also got brews from relatively new breweries AND ones that have been open for decades. And size-wise, there is quite a bit of diversity: ranging from tiny brew pubs to bigger volume-driven operations.
So without further ado and in no particular order, here are some of the beers we, at the Society, are most excited to try out in the coming months!
P.S – Pregnancy during a pandemic SUCKS. It’s nothing short of a travesty. But I will keep this list handy for post-birth enjoyment!
- THE BREWERY: Omnipollo (Brewed at Brunswick Bierworks)
- THE BEER NAME: Mimmi
- THE BEER STYLE: Mimosa Sour
- THE BOOZINESS: 7%
ON THE SHELF? Not yet! Look out for it Mid-May
THE BREWERY MEMO: An intuitive and carefree union of vinous sour beer and orange juice.
Catching the last memories of summer with this Mimosa inspired fruited sour full of lemon peel and orange juice. Orange, medium-bodied, mildly hopped, orangey, citrus notes.
- THE BREWERY: Muddy York
- THE BEER NAME: Working Hard
- THE BEER STYLE: New England IPA
- THE BOOZINESS: 6.5%
ON THE SHELF? Looks like it!
THE BREWERY MEMO: We re-release our Working Hard NEIPA with a snappy new look. After experimenting with different hop combinations over the past year, we’ve settled on the super juicy, and tropical duo of Mosaic & El Dorado. Aromas of mango, tangerine and stone fruit burst out of the can, making this hazy New England IPA the perfect way to reward all of your hard work.
- THE BREWERY: Radical Road
- THE BEER NAME: Cucumber Mint Kolsch
- THE BEER STYLE: Flavoured Kolsch
- THE BOOZINESS: 5.0%
ON THE SHELF? Not yet! Look for it early May
THE BREWERY MEMO: Refreshing & lively with real fruit flavours and no bitterness. The addition of cucumber and mint adds a lovely freshness to this German-inspired style Kolsch. Like cucumber water and beer had a baby!
- THE BREWERY: Muskoka Brewery
- THE BEER: Late Bloomer
- THE STYLE: Kolsch with Elderflower & Blueberry
- THE BOOZINESS: 5.0%
ON THE SHELF? Indeed!
THE BREWERY MEMO: This Kolsch-style beer is brewed as ale then cold fermented and aged. Elderflower and blueberry are added to create a fruity, crisp beer with hints of blueberry pie and citrus zest. Mirroring the aroma, blueberry and elderflower provide a mix of muted fruit and fresh floral flavour, while fresh flavour, while slight hop bitterness provides additional floral notes with a hint of spice.
- THE BREWERY: Wellington
- THE BEER: Brewery Mix Pack Volume 6
ON THE SHELF? Looks like VERY soon!
- THE BEER: Piñata
- THE STYLE: Ginger Peach Sour
- THE BOOZINESS: 4.8%
THE BREWERY MEMO: Take a swing at this delicious kettle sour which is packed with ginger and fresh peach puree. With a spicy ginger aroma, sweet peach notes, and a whack of sour, this unique beer is bursting at the seams with flavour!
- THE BEER: Pleasant Island
- THE STYLE: Hazy Pale Ale
- THE BOOZINESS: 4.9%
THE BREWERY MEMO: Floating on the breeze, this hazy pale ale is a pleasant respite from the everyday. Brewed with New Zealand hops, this sessionable pale ale has a balanced spicy bitterness and big juicy tropical hop notes.
- THE BEER: Cry If I Want To
- THE STYLE: Sour IPA
- THE BOOZINESS: 5.7%
THE BREWERY MEMO: This delicious Sour IPA has a tangy tartness upfront alongside juicy citrus hop flavours from the generous additions of Mosaic, Amarillo, and Cascade hops.
- THE BEER: Helles
- THE STYLE: Lager
- THE BOOZINESS: 4.5%
THE BREWERY MEMO: Crisp, refreshing, and smooth, this classic lager is the perfect go-to beer. Inspired by traditional German light lagers, this award-winning Helles Lager is light gold in colour with a balanced malt sweetness and crisp noble hop finish.
- THE BREWERY: Indie Ale House
- THE BEER: Lemonade Stand
- THE STYLE: Lactose Sour
- THE BOOZINESS: 5.0%
ON THE SHELF? Not quite yet! Look out for it early-mid May
THE BREWERY MEMO: We started brewing this a couple of years back, initially inspired by everyone’s favourite summer drink. This brew is dry hopped and brewed with Meyer lemons and lactose, creating a refreshingly tart brew with a hint of sweetness.
- THE BREWERY: Beau’s All Natural
- THE BEER: Juiced Up
- THE STYLE: New England Pale Ale
- THE BOOZINESS: 4.5%
ON THE SHELF? So very soon! Early May
THE BREWERY MEMO: A Hazy Pale Ale that doubles down on delivering big, New England style juicy hop aroma and flavour. It’s soft on the palate and really refreshing with a bright finish. It hits all the right notes of citrus, tropical and fruity with a hint of those dank, sticky hop resins we love.
- THE BREWERY: Bench
- THE BEER: Cherry Grove
- THE STYLE: Mixed Fermentation Ale on Niagara Cherries
- THE BOOZINESS: 6.2%
ON THE SHELF? Yes! Grab it!
THE BREWERY MEMO: fermented on Niagara Montmorency cherries and brewed up with Mosaic hops and fermented with lactobacillus, saison and brettanomyces. Notes of tart cherries and citrus fruit with a tangy acidity with subtle earthiness.
- THE BREWERY: Bellwoods
- THE BEER: Jutsu
- THE STYLE: Pale Ale
- THE BOOZINESS: 5.6%
ON THE SHELF? Yes! Find it here!
THE BREWERY MEMO: Jutsu was created to embody all the elements of hoppy beer we love, in a most approachable format. This pale ale is easy to drink, and easy to call a favourite. It’s super aromatic, but low in bitterness, incredibly hazy, but light bodied, and strikes the perfect balance between juicy and dry. Hazy with restrained bitterness, juicy yeast-derived aromatics, and a dry body. A refreshing and super drinkable hoppy beer with notes of cantaloupe, grass, and nectarine.
- THE BREWERY: Caledon Hills
- THE BEER: Bohemian Pils
- THE STYLE: Bohemian Pilsner
- THE BOOZINESS: 4.2%
ON THE SHELF? Oh ya! Go for it!
THE BREWERY MEMO: Our Bohemian Pils is brewed in the Headwaters region on Ontario using Fresh Caledon water. The result, a locally brewed beer elevated by using a world renowned Bohemian Pilsner malt to perfect a clean, crisp pale-light lager. From the backyard to the patio, this craft beer pours like liquid sunshine making it a true local favourite.
LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST…
- THE BREWERY: Henderson X The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies
- THE BEER: BREW 0003
- THE STYLE: Hazy Session IPA w/ Grapefruit and Lime
- THE BOOZINESS: 4%
ON THE SHELF? It is! Snag it here!
THE BREWERY MEMO: The 3rd in our collab series with Henderson, #Brew0003 is a bright, fruit-forward, highly drinkable light IPA at 4%. You’ll smell fresh lime and grapefruit along with citrus oil and ripe melon. The taste is a big citrus flavour up front followed by a bright fruitiness, touch of bitterness and a herbaceous note. The addition of oats and wheat make it soft and almost creamy on the palate, encouraging another sip. It’ll be your new summer favourite!
…OH YOU THOUGHT WE WERE DONE, EH?
BONUS! Not a beer, but…
- THE MEADERY: Royal Canadian Mead
- THE MEAD: All Day Croquet
- THE STYLE: Wildflower Peach Session Mead
- THE BOOZINESS: 5.6%
ON THE SHELF? Yup! Try it!
THE MEADERY MEMO: A bright, fruity session mead brewed with Ontario brewed with Ontario wildflower honey and fresh peach puree. Bright peach skin aromas with a subtle stone fruit flavour and mild floral finish. Lightly carbonated, crisp and dry.