It’s my holiday, so I’m allowed to branch out and include non-Ontario beers on this one. There’s no rhyme or reason to my choices – I usually hit up the Summerhill LCBO and come away with more than 8 beers that I must narrow down as I go along. I buy things that look tasty, fun, unique, expensive. I buy things based on packaging. In short, it’s a glorious liquor store excursion that fills my fridge with deliciousness well beyond Chanukah.

Enter Avec Les Bons Voeux from la Brasserie Dupont, a lovely farmhouse saison import from Belgium. Avec Les Bons Voeux translates to Good Wishes in English, perfect for this time of year even if you’ve had 14 relatives ask you about your plans for marriage already this Chanukah season.

Brasserie Dupont specializes in bottle refermented beers, and this one weighs in at 9.5% ABV. Packaged champagne style in a thicker glass bottle with a mushroom cork and cage, this one has a cellaring potential until 2021 – so if you didn’t get around to it this Chanukah, check it out in a year or two. A 375 ml bottle will set you back $6.75 at the LCBO. It’s a discontinued product according to the LCBO website but they have plenty in stock, so gather some for next year’s Chanukah parties or the inevitable late night Bar Mitzvah celebrations you have in store over the next few years.

Brasserie Dupont also produce some lovely cheeses with beer washed rinds. I didn’t pick any up to go with my brew cause I barely had the foresight to stock my fridge before Christmas.

Appearance: Amber colour, lasting white head, fine champagne-style bubbles.

Aroma: Pizza dough, sourdough, malt forward, freshly baked bread. Definitely smells like there was lees contact on this beer.

Taste: Creamy and smooth mouth texture on the palate, warming alcohol sensation. More freshly baked bread on the palate with some underlying bitterness.

Aftertaste: Lingering residual bitterness that is entirely delicious.

Food pairing: A cheese with a beer-washed rind (preferably from Brasserie Dupont), otherwise serve this on its own in a white wine glass for optimal enjoyment. We resurrected our old Bar Volo glasses for the occasion.

Overall: Have one of these as a celebration. 2016 was brutal, you deserve something good to finish up with.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com