First Draught: Lake of Bays continues the NHLAA series with Cujo


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Image: David Ort

From "Ex says it all" to "I am Canadian," my early exposure to beer as a brand came through hockey advertising. These commercials didn't usually feature bikini-clad models (it was the winter, after all), but they also didn't focus on the flavour or quality of the beer.

To celebrate this relationship in a more refined, craft-focused way, Lake of Bays Brewing has partnered with the NHL Alumni Association to market a Signature Series of special release beers. Each features a hockey great on the outside of the bottle and a special beer inside. 

Continuing with the theme set by the first release, China Wall — the nickname of Leafs great goaltender Johnny Bower — the second in the series is called Cujo after Curtis Joseph. Cujo was the Leafs' backstop during their deep playoff runs in 1999 and 2002 and was a member of the gold medal-winning Team Canada hockey squad in Salt Lake City. 

Cujo pours an amber gold in a beer snifter with a generous, creamy cap. As the head slowly recedes, aromas of bread, grass, and sweet toffee come out. Toasted bread, ripe apricot, and a crisp lemony finish combine for an intriguing flavour profile. The 8% ABV is very well hidden in this interesting golden ale.

A portion of the relatively hefty $11.95 price tag goes to support the NHLAA's activities. Lake of Bays also offers a premium option: for $50, you'll get numbered versions of the four bottles in the series, along with printer's proofs for the designs.  

Lake of Bays Brewing's Cujo Imperial Golden Ale, $11.95 for a 750 ml bottle, LCBO #383653

In addition to covering beer, new restaurants and food trucks for Post City, David Ort writes about food and drink for several Toronto publications including his own site, Food With Legs. He is the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook; now in stores and available for ordering online. For more of his thoughts on food, beer and life in general, follow him on Twitter or get in touch at info@foodwithlegs.com.

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