Spring is upon us–finally. After a long winter, it is time to awaken the senses with the best beers the world has to offer.
1. Witbeir/Belgian Wheat Beer
Witbier, also known as white beer or blanche, is a top-fermented beer originally brewed in Belgium and the Netherlands. It got its name from the use of fresh or malted wheat that causes the beer to look hazy and white when cold.
It originated from medieval beers brewed with a blend of spices and other plants, like coriander and bitter orange, instead of hops. The taste is therefore only slightly hoppy with citrus and herb aromas.
To Pair: Spring mix salad with fruit and goat cheese, grilled scallops, bacon, or breakfast items
2. Sour Ale
In contrast to commercial brewing, which is done in a meticulously clean environment, sour beers are made by intentionally allowing wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew.
Traditionally, Belgian brewers allowed wild yeast into the brew naturally through beer barrels. Modern brewers sometimes use wine, fruit wine or bourbon barrels to add sour bacteria and flavors to the beer.
To Pair: Sweet potatoes, blueberry crêpes, grilled pineapple and teriyaki chicken.
Pilsner is a style of Pale Lager that orignated in Plzeň, Czech Republic. Czech-style pilsner has a golden color, high foaminess and lighter flavour compared to the light-staw colour German-style that has more earthy flavors. These beers are the original lager-style of beer, fresh and easy-going and perfect for sunny days.
To Pair: Fish, light & spicy Asian cuisine, white cheddar.
4. Blonde Ale
Blondes are a classic beer to enjoy as the weather gets warmer. They tend to be clear, crisp, and dry. They are golden in colour, have low-to-medium bitterness with subtle malt sweetness and a light fruitiness from yeast. Literally sunshine in a glass.
To Pair: Seafood salad, calamari, grilled vegetables and chicken.
5. Hefweizen/German Wheat Beer
The Hefweizen style is an unfiltered variety of wheat beer originating from Germany. Like Belgian witbeir, a significant proportion of malted barley in the mash is replaced with malted wheat.
German weissbiers are different from the Belgian-styles because no corriander or orange flavourings are added. Instead, special strains of weissbier yeast are used, which produce aromas of banana and clove.
To Pair: Salads with fruity vinaigrette dressings, German-style dishes (weisswurst, cured meats), guacamole, or apple glazed pork.
6. Maple Beer
It’s true. In Canada, we put that s**t on everything. Maple beer is brewed with the addition of maple syrup as an additional fermentable.
Spring is maple syrup season, and hence many seasonal beers featuring maple are available this time of year.
To Pair: Sweet and spicy pad thai for lighter maple ales; maple quinoa pancakes, or bacon for red maple beer; sweeter maple desserts or wild game for Maple Porter.
For more about beer, and food to go with it, make sure to check out these articles: