by Erica Campbell
In my opinion, in the province there is so much emphasis on local and Ontario craft beers (which is totally not a bad thing!) BUT that means that often times, I feel us craft beer drinkers sometimes forget about all the incredible imported beers available to us! I will admit it, when I DO buy beer at LCBO’s, Beer Stores, grocery stores or private bottle shops I often skim past the Belgian beer section. Instead reaching for the latest guava-this, or pineapple-that but I really do need to remember to not fall prey to the latest kitchy fad, but to #respectyourelders, ya know?!
When it comes to imported craft beers, as much as I love crushing a couple German lagers and Czech pilsners, I have a soft spot for the complexity and flavour profiles of Belgian beers. My love for these magical brews developed when I lived in Montreal – where Belgian beers were aplenty at a plethora of craft-friendly depanneurs and many local micro breweries also took much inspiration from Belgian recipes. I drank many of Quebec’s finest Belgian-inspired beers from the likes of Dieu de Ciel, Unibroue and Trou De Diable. From dubbels to tripels to Quadrupels, my mind was blown at how rich they were, how smooth they were and how well they paired with food. Apart from imbibing on these beautifully made nectars, I also became fascinated with learning about about the rich history behind many Belgian beers and the significance Belgium has had in the international craft beer scene.
Now enter into the picture Aram Ettibaryan – owner and operator of Ontario licenced agency, PolyBEER, importing Belgian beers! He reached out looking for ways to work together with us over here at Society of Beer Drinking Ladies HQ. He has a portfolio of over a dozen Belgian beers available for private orders and licensee sales. Recently they have entered to the Beer Store with Brugse Zot Blond (https://www.thebeerstore.ca/beers/brugse-zot-blond), which is also becoming available in select Groceries (e.g. Coppas, Cousins Market, Galati, Marcheleos, StarSky, Village Grocer, Yummy Market etc.). Aram’s love for Belgian beers is truly INFECTIOUS. He is mega passionate and hella knowledgeable about all things Belgian Beers. He’s lived in the Toronto area for over a decade now but fun fact: he lived in Belgium prior to coming to Canada, where he ran BEER PLANET aka a mecca bottle shop selling the largest 1000+ selection of Belgian brews.
He popped over on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a TON of samples to which I immediately called up the SOBDL crew aka Jessica, Michelle and Jaime to help me sample through these.
We started with a refreshing, spritzy Belgian Blonde ale and continued right up to a boozy, complex Quadrupels. Let’s just say we were not sober by the end of our sample sesh and very happy with discovering all these lovely beers.
Long story short, Belgian beers are the BOMB and to further expand your beer palette, I urge you to head to https://www.polybeer.com and order through Aram’s online shop! Within a week, your order will be available at your closest LCBO store for pick-up. Or, if it’s just Brugse Zot Blond that you’re after, find it at The Beer Store at these locations. Easy peasy. Proost op onze lever!