By Julie Reitsma
Despite what some overdone franchises may tell us, women enjoy a lot more than what can be served à la martini glass or via champagne. And while it can be a tad disconcerting that the vast majority of beer companies are clearly not interested in appealing to our palates – though we’re sure y’all have a grand time with your knee-socked short shorted ‘counsellors’ – it doesn’t mean we don’t salivate on a hot day when the mountains have turned blue. We may not get an invite from the boys’ club, but their beer can tend more towards piss than pleasing, so let’s move up and up, and skip the dredges for the good stuff – we’re leaving Durango country, ladies.
A good summer beer is made all the better when hitching a ride with some good summer food and, with this being our first backyard and BBQ’d summer (we’ll miss you George Foreman!), we’ve been steadfastly perusing the land o’ grill while cracking a few cold ones in the hopes of discovering some perfect pairings.
How fortuitous that along with this early warm weather the good people at Innis + Gunn decided to seek us out to give a few of their concoctions a whirl. Scottish though they may be, their limited edition Canadian Cask, made specifically for this year’s July 1st celebrations, is a tall glass of just right. Sure, we could make long-winded speeches about how we’re Canadian and love hockey, and the correct way to pronounce the letter Z or whatnot, or we could actually drink a beer with some balls. Aged in oak Canadian whiskey barrels, it also just so happens to go really well with a skewer of spice-rubbed prawns, tossed in some roasted garlic butter to finish off post-grill (our newest crush, Cook’s Illustrated , suggests brining your crustaceans before they hit the heat – a-maz-ing!). Innis + Gunn’s Original brew is nothing to be scoffed at either – full-bodied yet refreshing, with notes of vanilla, citrus and toffee – and when some warm weather comfort food is in order, pairing a bottle with soft pillows of homemade gnocchi topped with a pile of wee enoki, fresh from the garden Italian parsley and shavings of sharp and salty manchego will make your toes curl.
If you want to be a stickler and drink local, there are a slew of top-notch microbreweries to greet you with open arms (that just so happen to also be laden with bottles of joy). Mill Street’s Lemon Tea Beer, deemed by all who have imbibed to be a go-down-almost-too-easy journey into the heart of citrusness, won’t over-power you with sweetness and while currently only available in a few select LCBOs (Brock and Liberty Village), is being rolled out across the city as we speak. Add a jalapeno’d tilapia and smoky grilled corn-off -the-cob burrito? Bliss.
On the fruitier end, hop the border to la belle province for some McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale (a fantastic food-match), or if you’re looking for a more traditional brew, flag down one of those darling old timey Roundhouse trucks loaded with Steam Whistle’s pilsner (they do that one thing really well, indeed).
We realize that our Sav Blanc consumption likely represents 5% of Chile’s GDP, but damn – mercury hits 30 and we want a beer. So let’s bust out the citronella candles (who says mosquito repellent can’t double as perfume?), turn up the propane, keep that guy away from the sprinkler and, of course, slather on the sunscreen – it’s going to be a long and hot one, let’s leave the char marks to the steak, shall we?
A big merci to Chef Jonathan Gushue of Langdon Hall for the lovely gnocchi recipe.