Brewers have applied their best expertise to designing beers meant to be imbibed during the hot months
Why: This Montreal-brewed Belgian- style wit is crisp, citrusy and mellow: a solid patio pint. Cheval Blanc isn’t reinventing the wit wheel – there aren’t many complexities to ponder – but, paradoxically, its dry finish goes a long way in the quench department.
Price: 6 x 341 ml bottles/$13.60
Availability: LCBO 302851
Why: This classy saison is a collaborative exclusive from the Local 7 collective (the brew luminati of the Auld Spot, Bar Hop, BarVolo, Bryden’s, C’est What, the Only Café and WVRST) brewed to fruition by Sam Corbeil (of Sawdust City). Spiked with raspberry and lemon verbena, it’s called Session for a reason: sweet, tart and perfect for passing back and forth across a picnic blanket.
Price: 750 ml/$9.95
Availability: LCBO 383927, or grab a pint at Session Craft Beer Festival, June 13-14 at Yonge-Dundas Square (sessiontoronto.com).
Why: I drank buckets of Rodenbach last summer, and I see no good reason to switch gears this year. Increasingly trendy sour beers can be hard for some to wrap their palates around, but consider this classic Flanders red ale an ambassador for the style. With its notes of tangy cherry and oak, this is an elegant, mouth-watering Sour Brew 101.
Availability: On draught and in bottles at specialty beer bars like Bar Hop (391 King West, 647-352-7476, barhopbar.com), Beer Bistro (18 King East, 416-861-9872, beerbistro.com) and Bier Markt locations. Treat yourself to the Grand Cru if you can find it.
Why: A recent abundance of quaffable, locally brewed pale ales has those wary of having their tongues eviscerated by hops bombs drinking for joy. An extra-pale APA, Rhyme & Reason is dry-hopped to preserve a juicy bouquet without the sucker-punching bitterness. What I mean is that you can easily throw back a six in the sun. (Feel free to take that as a challenge.)
Price: 6 x 355 ml/$14
Availability: LCBO 363465
Why: The OG Czech brand that started the golden anti-ale revolution back in 1842 maintains a devoted following of beer geeks and casual drinkers alike. Grassy, bready and bitter, Urquell remains the paradigm pilsner, setting the standard for refreshment.
Price: 500 ml/$2.55
Availability: LCBO 255380