First Draught: a maple syrup-infused lager from Trafalgar Ales and Meads
By David Ort
Canadians don’t usually make a big deal out of national icons, and the few we can agree on are not really about food or drink. Maple syrup is the glaring exception to that rule. We produce 85 per cent of the world’s supply and export millions of dollars worth of it to more than 40 countries every year.
With a history of finding its way into everything from bacon to doughnuts, the surprise is that there aren’t more breweries making maple syrup beer. One such brewery is Oakville’s Trafalgar Ales and Meads, which has released a maple syrup-infused bock as its spring seasonal this year.
Pure Ontario maple syrup is added to the beer after fermentation, but before it spends two months developing flavour through the lagering process. There is an obvious sweet note to the aroma, but I’m happy to find that the flavour incorporates the syrup’s woodsy notes right along with the sugary ones.
Maple is front and centre here, but the bock half of the name is just as important. Bocks are a class of strong German lagers (this one tips the scales at 6.5 per cent alcohol) and, appropriately, the maibock is a sub-type traditionally made for spring drinking. Trafalgar’s version gets a moderate amount of roasted malt flavours.
This is not the sort of beer that you would want to pop open and drink in one go after a hot day working in the yard. It falls squarely in the sippable category, and its 650 ml bottle works well shared among friends.
Even better — pair it with pork, from a casual lunch of peameal-on-a-bun to a more involved dinner of bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with mustard sauce. In both cases, the salty tang of cured pork fences with the beer’s maple sweetness, and they both calm the other’s rough edges.
Bottles of Maple Bock can be bought at the brewery and at various LCBO locations for $4.95 each. This week, 39 Toronto LCBOs still had some in stock but, as is the case with other seasonals, once the supply runs out that’s it until next year.
$4.95. LCBO #45880
When David isn't busy drinking beer for his articles here, he writes about food and drink for Toronto's online publications including his own site, Food With Legs. For more of his thoughts on beer and life in general follow him on Twitter.