Friday, 9 August 2013

Beer Brain Trust: Beaus Knows Beer

My name is Sam, and I'm a diva. Wow, that feels good to get off my chest. My whole life I've been a picky eater, refusing to try new things, and generally living in a small, comfortable box. Lucky for me, it's never too late to change, at least some things. I've begun to push the walls of my comfortable box a tad further; and one of the ways I've found particularly rewarding, is with beer.

We've all been there, staring at a wall of beer on a Friday evening. You've been telling yourself for a while that you were going to try something new. Maybe one of those craft beers everyone's talking about. Only now there's a line forming at the cashier and you're not sure you can pronounce the name of the beer you're eyeing, so what do you do? You go back to your trusty mainstream favourite and get home in time for dinner. I can't blame you - but the good news is - we are here to help. 

When I want to try a new beer and don't know where to turn, I reach out to my "Beer Brain Trust," made up of Real Man Travels contributors Ed and Scott. Ed is the general manager of a sports bar and sees new beers everyday, while Scott has a passion for beer that borders on obsession. It was from them I heard of Beau's Lug-Tread Lagered Ale.

Beau's Knows Beer

When Ed told me about this new beer the name intrigued me. "What does 'Lug-Tread' even mean" I thought as he continued his endorsement. "They use all natural organic ingredients and spring water. It's a flavourful lager with a crisp taste and refreshing finish. Sits light and goes well with plenty of food options, a great all around beer. It's like Mill Street Organic with more flavour." Sure enough about a month later I was facing the oh so familiar Friday night beer shopping dilemma when the unique packaging of a 4 pack caught my eye. With my comfortable box of familiarity threatened, I rationalized that should I not like the beer, I could share it with friends at a weekend BBQ. However, with the pop of a top those plans changed quickly. That 600 mL brown bottle of 5.2% ABV deliciousness didn't stand a chance. Boundaries, pushed. Taste buds, tantalized. Friends at BBQ, beerless.  

Lug Tread owns prime real estate in my fridge these days

 Now I'm not one for tasting notes but here is how Beau's describes Lug-Tread:

"Golden-hued, crisp and finely balanced, Lug-Tread is our tribute to the classic beer of Cologne, Germany. Lug-Tread is top fermented (like an ale) and then cold aged (like a lager) for a lengthy period. This gives our beer some light ale notes complemented by a lager-like crispness. Lug-Tread displays interwoven malt and hop flavours, subtle fruit flavours and a crisp, lingering finish."

Still with me? Good. Now for that in English here's Scott's armchair interpretation:

"Lug tread is a lagered ale, and living up to it's name it provides the best of both worlds; the refreshing, crisp drink-ability of a lager with the mild bitterness most would associate with paler ales. The balance is remarkable. Lager sweetness gives way to dry bitterness with an pleasant, earthy aftertaste. Fruit flavour expresses only slightly and the hops are ever-present but not overpowering. A perfect beer for those who commonly drink lagers but are starting to dabble in more flavourful, hop-forward ales."

A little clearer now? My turn then. It's a Damn. Good. Beer. And clearly I'm not the only one that thinks so. Just take a look at the results of the 2013 LCBO Brewmasters Cup. After working its way through its bracket it captured 58% of the votes in the final 4. Pure domination.

My obsessive personality wanted to learn all I could about this new find, so I went over to to learn more. What I found was a fiercely independent brewery that runs its day-to-day operations like I imagine I would - with family and friends. It sounds like a place where any day could be an episode of "American Choppers" or "Duck Dynasty," but with beer. Makes me like the beer even more.

The lesson here: try new things (especially beer). If you escape your comfort zone every once in a while you might just be rewarded - as I was with Beau's Lug-Tread. I will be heading to Ottawa in September and will be sure to find time for a visit to their brewery in Vankleek, ON; I just hope they let me drive the tractor.




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