OK, I’ll say it. My Dad’s favourite beer is Fruili. He has a big sweet tooth and was never much of a drinker. (My genetics must have come from my rye-loving grandmother). He’s not the Dad portrayed in Labatt commercials—and, thank goodness, most our fathers are a lot more complicated than that guy. My husband, for instance, is a graphic novelist, nerd-ball playing sports nut who does his half of the child-rearing and house-cleaning without complaint. (An All-Star, in other words).
Neither of these awesome Dads are satisfied with Molson Canadian or other everyday lagers, they like their food and their beer to be as interesting as they are. So I’ve come up with a Top Four Father’s Day Beers list to suit the brilliant Dads out there. Happy Father’s Day folks!
#1 Neustadt 10W30, Neustadt Springs Brewery, ON
My Dad spends a lot of time tinkering with stuff—and not just in the garage—he brought life back to my 15-year-old laptop, fashioned a hot plate out of old beer champagne-bottle stoppers, and built baby gates out of an old crib he found on the curbside. Oh, and he built our first house too. No biggie. Other Dads know more about how to fix a designer espresso at home than how to put up a shelf (and duct tape doesn’t count). So whether your pop fixes shit with a roll of duct tape or a wrench, this manly king can, vaguely resembling a cheap can of motor oil, will make him feel like he’s in charge—at least for a few sips. This under-the-radar, English-style brown ale is divine. A malty, mellow brew with aromas of pumpernickel bread, red licorice and raisin, try it with Chinese takeout or nutty, caramel cheeses like aged gouda.
$2.75 / 473 ml can, LCBO
#2 Cuvee Des Jacobins Belgian Lambic Ale, Brouwerij Bockor Brasserie, Belgium
My husband’s favourite beer style is Flanders Red—an ancient style of beer made with a blend of wild and brewery house yeasts, then aged and blended back with younger beer to create a living ale that’s been dubbed the Burgundy of Belgium. Puckering, fruity and layered with caramel and vinegar notes, it drinks like a cross between a cider and a Merlot. If your pop has an adventurous palate, this is the beer for him, and it’s only in the LCBO for a limited time, so check the stock here and gift him a few.
My tasting notes: a super-sour beer with aged balsamic and sour cherry notes, and puckering acidity from start to finish. Refreshing and tart, it’s perfect for a Father’s Day barbecue aperitif or as a supporting player in its finale— sip it with the richest, chocolate cake you can find and savour the contrast.
$3.70/330 ml bottle, LCBO
#3 Thornbury Cider, Thornbury Village Cidery, ON
Breaking News Alert: Not all Dads like beer. (And lots of Moms can’t get enough of the stuff). For Dads who like sweeter, fruitier white wines, hard apple cider is a no-brainer. This local cider is made from a “secret” blend of Ontario apples in Thornbury, Ontario (that’s somewhere around Collingwood). Launched in 2011, this brilliant, sparkling cider embodies the sweet-tart taste of a Granny Smith with a crisp, medium-dry finish.
$13.95/6 bottles, LCBO
#4 Saint of Circumstance Blonde Ale, Collective Arts Brewing Company, ON
Does your father know that the name of this beer is also the title of a Grateful Dead song? Then this is the beer for your artsy pop. Collective Arts’ bottles feature scannable labels of album covers, art pieces and film stills by emerging artists. This unfiltered blonde ale has been infused with citrus fruits and lightly bittered with floral, fruity American hops, making for a beautiful summertime ale. Aromas of pineapple, mango and orange are supported by a sweet cracker backbone and spicy floral and grapefruit hops. A softer ale with a full mouthfeel, try it with summer salads, roast chicken and grilled salmon.
$13.95/6 bottles LCBO
Don’t like these suggestions? There’s always Fruili.