Saint Valentine’s Day is here again. A day when lovers come together to share special moments and rekindle their romance. This Valentine’s Day remember that there is no better gift for your special someone than time shared together. That is…unless it is time shared together while sharing a delicious beer from one of Niagara’s craft breweries!
In recent years, Niagara is positively bursting with craft beer. And we’re not talking about plain old lagers and red ales. From Farmhouse Ales to Saisons, Belgian-inspired Sours to high alcohol Strong Ales, Niagara is making some seriously super suds these days. And forget about single serve 330mL bottles and 473mL cans. Many Niagara craft breweries are producing beers in shareable formats. Please find here a few of my recommendations for shareable beers for you and your hunnie this Valentine’s Day.
Silversmith Brewing Company’s The Black Lager
The Black Lager has been Silversmith Brewing Company’s flagship beer since the brewery’s founding in 2011. While it is available in a 650mL bottle at many LCBO locations, it is best enjoyed from a 1.9L growler. What’s a “growler,” you say? Much more hospitable than it sounds, a growler is a large, refillable, glass jug with a screw top. A growler can be purchased at the brewery and refilled as often as you need! Nothing says “I love you hunnie,” like a big jug of fresh Niagara beer, right?
The Black Lager gets its black colour from an extended period of kilning for the barley after germination. While this beer appears heavy and thick, it is the exact opposite as it is made in a lager style with a long duration of cold fermentation. It is crisp in texture, light in body, and possesses flavours of coffee, chocolate, and malt.
TAPS on Queen Brewhouse’s Sinister Sam’s Insane IPA
TAPS on Queen Brewhouse is located in the City of Niagara Falls. It is away from the waterfall itself, as well as Clifton Hill, located in a part of the city that is probably more familiar to locals than to the throngs of tourists that visit every year. This brewery has a full pub-style restaurant on site with the beer fermentation tanks located right in the middle of the seating area, allowing everyone to clearly see where their beer is being made.
What makes Sinister Sam’s IPA so “insane?” Hops! IPA Stands for “India Pale Ale.” It is a style of beer that was created in the 1600s so that beer from England could withstand the long sea voyage to India. Hops were used as a natural preservative, and additional hops were added so that the beer could maintain its integrity during these long voyages. Today, hops are added for flavour and are recognized for their pleasing bitter quality. Sinister Sam’s Insane IPA possesses flavours of citrus with floral notes and is balanced by caramel and malt.
TAPS on Queen Brewhouse offers its beers to take home in 1L or 2L refillable glass growlers.
Niagara Oast House Brewers’ Watermelon Gose
Niagara Oast House Brewers is known for producing beers that are “bottle conditioned.” This means that after a beer is bottled, a little bit of extra yeast and sugar is added before the container is sealed. The yeast will continue to eat the sugars and change them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Because the bottle is sealed, the carbon dioxide dissolves into the beer, creating a natural carbonation. This is different from standard beers where the carbonation is added artificially by injecting carbon dioxide into the beer at the time of bottling. Bottle conditioned beers have the potential to develop with age in the same way that a fine wine can.
Niagara Oast House Brewers’ Watermelon Gose is a German-inspired, sour wheat beer. It features a healthy dose of Canadian watermelons and comes across tart and quenching. Being sold in a 750mL bottle, it is the perfect size to share with your favourite melon!
Life is best when it is shared with someone you love, and beer is no different! Thank goodness the brew masters of Niagara have had the foresight to make these delicious beers in large, shareable formats. Perfect for you and your hunnie this Valentine’s Day!
To taste some of the beers recommended in this article, as well as many others, join a tour of Niagara’s breweries with Bootleggers! Call our guest services agents today at 1-866-628-5428 for more information or to join a tour. Even better—consider surprising your special someone with an exciting tour of the breweries in Niagara Falls, culminating in a romantic three-course dinner. Bootleggers can deliver!
By: Michael Twyman, Sommelier and Wine Smart Guide for Niagara Vintage Wine Tours and Bootleggers.