It was a beautiful sunny day last Sunday and though it was only slightly above 0, Shawna and I decided to go have a beer in the backyard. I made sure to include a cigar while we were at it. Our choice was El Idaho, a farmhouse ale by Shackland’s Brew Co. We remembered enjoying it at the brewery and who could forget one of our favourite Simpsons moments:

If you don’t have much experience with Shackland’s, they are a Belgian-style focused brewer in the west end aleyards district that have a love affair with funk. While the beer we were tasting, a farmhouse ale, is light, I can bet it will be filled to the brim with funky flavour.

I should admit – when I first got into craft beer the funkier choices were always a bit too much for me. I always saw it as an “off” style that just didn’t appeal. As my pallet got better though I learned to really appreciate what you can find. Where there was once just nastiness I discovered clove and banana peel. Even something like bruised apple can be fantastic if mixed right.

I paired this with a cigar from Cuba. Generally I don’t recommend this as cigars can kill taste buds but I found it worked well.

The beer sits at a reasonable 5.1% ABV (reasonable for them) and is not available at the LCBO. You’ll have to go to the brewery for it.

Appearance: Nice dark gold. Lasting snow white head. Hazy so unfiltered.
Aroma: Mango and pears at first and a soft fresh bread. Banana undertones from the yeast.
Taste: Vanilla and banana. Some clove. The yeast really comes in on the palette.
Aftertaste: Clove, hardcore clove. Orange rind for a bit of pleasant bitterness. Like my personality.
Overall: A nice Belgian blonde. Pair with cheese and pears. Maybe fries and mayo. Keep it simple.

Kole McRae

Founder of Toronto Booze Hound. He can be seen drinking almost anything in the wild from beer to rum. Try not to startle him, he may use humour as a self defence method.

Email: kole@torontoboozehound.com