Your intrepid liquor reporter is writing this column on the first day of spring. The sun is shining, and I might even pop down to the local pub to see if they were adventurous enough to open up the patio.
Springtime is a special time of year. A young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of amoré, in no small part because the bulky winter coats start to disappear from the lassies in favour of a more revealing wardrobe.
In addition to the baring of pasty sun-deprived flesh, spring is our first opportunity to drink outside in the sunshine after being cooped up in dreary pubs all winter. Your humble narrator has been known to skip out of the office early on the first warm and sunny day of the season, to while the day away on the patio at the Ship & Anchor in downtown Calgary.
Along with the changing of the seasons, and the rebirth of greenery throughout our fair land, springtime is also a time to change your drinking habits.
No gentle reader, your intrepid liquor reporter is not suggesting that you cut back to a mere 12-pack a week, or any other such nonsense. Rather, springtime is the season to switch away from the dark stouts and coffee porters that see you through the chilly winter months, and start drinking the light and carefree beers of summer again.
To pay my respects to our fromage-eating friends in La Belle Provence, your humble narrator has been drinking his way through the microbreweries of Quebec recently.
What better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than the variety 12-pack from Les Trois Mousquetaires just outside of Montreal. With four flagship beers available year-round, and ten more seasonal brews released only once per year, The Three Musketeers have something for everyone.
To represent the changing of the seasons, your humble narrator solemnly opened each of the four styles of beer, and even made a little speech about the circle of life, despite the weary eye-rolling of my paramour, who sometimes wishes your intrepid liquor reporter would just shut the heck up about how much more beer-related enjoyment he is getting from the fine brew in question.
Moving on, Noire beer is a fine example of the Schwarzbier, or Black Lager style. This is a very dark beer, similar in colour to a stout, but with a more bitter taste, and strong overtones of coffee and cocoa. Your humble narrator felt that this beer style was representative of the winter season, and for that reason, finished it off in a bit of a hurry.
The Blanche is made in the Hefeweizen or wheat beer style. This is an unfiltered wheat ale similar to a Hoegaarden. This particular style has been gaining popularity in North America, as witnessed by the bandwagon-jumping-on by Rickard’s White and Keith’s White.
With its zingy citrus aftertaste rounding out the full-bodied flavour, this is a beer that represents the coming sping season. Moving on from there, we get to the Blonde, which was the least flavourful of the lot, in the not so humble opinion of your by-this-time-slightly-tipsy narrator.
That’s not entirely surprising, as the Blonde is made in the Czech Pilsner style, and is intended to be a crisp and refreshing session beer that you will drink all night. This was the favourite of the bunch for my paramour, who is just now tentatively exploring the world of beer beyond the spectre of Coors Lite.
After she started on the third bottle, it seemed obvious that it’s not only gentlemen that prefer Blondes.
Rouding out the year, my choice for the Autumn season is the Rousse, a classic example of the Amber Lager style of beer. Although it is a lager-style beer, the use of dark roast malt makes it taste like a more flavourful ale. This is the perfect beer to ease yourself into the oncoming winter months that will be here again all too soon.
Do your part to celebrate the changing of the seasons by changing out your tired old beer choice for a new and exciting adventure in your mouth! You can get help at your favourite well-stocked booze merchant.