Easter weekend has just passed us by, marking the end of the season of Lent.
The more devout readers in the audience may have spent the 40 days of Lent in a state of introspective penitence and self-denial.
Being isolated at home for most of Lent due to the ongoing global pandemic, I must confess that there has been very little fasting or abstaining from earthly vices, what with my refrigerator and wine cellar teaming up to conspire against me with their tempting wares as I spend the days in isolation, munching and guzzling my way to putting on the quarantine 15.
Easter also marks the first long weekend after the snow has (hopefully) gone for good, starting us down that path towards the long weekends of summer. We will see about one long weekend per month from now until Labour Day, although it looks like the next several long weekends will be much like Easter, spent at home in isolation.
Similar to the Buckingham Palace tradition of the regular changing of the guard, Easter is the time of year that I switch from dark beer to light beer. No, I’m not referring to the low-alcohol variety, just the type you can see through.
That’s right – winter is over, and I’m moving away from the full flavoured dark beers that are best served at 8-10 degrees, to the refreshing crisp beers that you enjoy straight from a bucket of ice on the patio.
I normally participate in a craft brewery crawl to mark the ritual changing of the beer style, by ordering my last dark beer of the season, followed by the first pint of pale goodness.
This year was markedly different, as I cracked open my patiently hoarded final can of Township 24 Last Cabin Stout in front of a FaceTime session with my regular drinking companions, who were all safely ensconced in the isolation of their own homes.
Fortunately, the hard-working team at Township 24 delivered their delicious wares directly to our respective doors, so I was able to follow up my last dark beer of the season with their crisp and refreshing Stolen Canoe Pale Ale, with its citrusy and pine resin hop notes making me think of springtime.
Lest you think I am the only one committed enough to beer to have a seasonal ritual built around beer, let me assure you that I’m not alone. Many of our local brew pubs and microbreweries change out their seasonal brews about this time of year, putting away their higher-alcohol Bocks, Stouts, and darker Ales.
Now is the time for light and invigorating beers, the Blonde and Pale Ales of the world. The beers we will be knocking back while sitting all alone on our sunny balconies and patios while remain in isolation, so long as our hard-working brewers can continue with home delivery.
If you have not yet given consideration to your seasonal beer habits, now is the time. Just think of all the beer-related happiness you could be revelling in during the coming months! If you’d like a head start on figuring out which beers to try out this summer, read on for some free tips.
In years past, Corona was the best-selling import beer in Canada, but I suspect they will be facing some negative brand association this year with the global pandemic. Fortunately, we have a wide selection of local alternatives for those who enjoy a light and easy-drinking beer.
Close to home, the Township 24 Dominion Kolsch is perhaps their easiest-drinking brand, brewed in the style made famous by the German city of Köln, or Cologne to English speakers.
Kölsch is a unique beer style among the lager-loving German brewers, fermented at warm temperatures with an ale yeast, but then cold conditioned like a lager, giving it the crisp finish of a lager with the more flavourful malt backbone of an ale.
As an added bonus, the easy-drinking Kölsch acts as a gateway beer for macrobrew drinkers, allowing them to enjoy the crafty wares of our local brewers without being overwhelmed with malt bombs or blindingly bitter hops of some of the more extreme artisanal brews.
I will be enjoying my spring and summer beers from the safe and socially distanced deck chair on my patio, and hope to see my neighbours doing the same, all from a safe distance of course!