It's a gruelling 30 degrees in the shade as you make your way towards the patio, pushing through the crowd to a lonely, empty table, you collapse into a plastic chair and look up desperately at the server.
"I'd like a beer that tastes like maple, bacon and doughnuts, please."
What? This is Canada after all, eh? And while this scenario might seem like a distant fantasy to some, it can, in fact, become reality this very summer. The Toronto Star reports the most recent and innovative craft beer to hit LCBO shelves, Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale, is infused with a lot of Canadiana, despite being the creation of Rogue breweries out of Oregon. And it's sure to be a hit amongst beer enthusiasts.
"What we've seen at the LCBO is growing interest, especially over the last six or seven years, in craft beers," explains LCBO spokesperson Chris Layton. "I think that can be explained by the fact that consumers today are looking for higher quality products. They're not necessarily buying more but they're buying better."
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Layton goes on to explain that the LCBO is experiencing double digit growth for craft beers. And it won't stop at maple bacon doughnut flavour, either. The LCBO will introduce a bevy of new and unique craft beer flavours this summer, including a honey dew variety in Fuller's Organic Honey Dew, hibiscus-flavouring in Rosée d'Hibiscus — not to mention banana, ginger and chocolate.
A recent Globe and Mail story attributes the recent explosion in innovatively-flavoured beer to increased sales in wine and spirits.
"While beer is far and away the most-consumed alcoholic beverage in the country, its dominance has slipped somewhat in recent years," explains the story.
"That has led brewers to make more drinks that compete against wines, coolers and spritzers, adding a new twist to the tried-and-true brew."
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So who, exactly, is buying niche craft beer like Voodoo Douhgnut?
"People who don't just buy beer for the sake of buying beer," explains Layton. "But people who buy beer to examine the flavour, look at the beer in terms of how it's made, how those flavours are developed and also what the beer matches up with in terms of food.
As for Voodoo Doughnut, Layton sees it as more of a dessert beer. "I don't know if I want to encourage anybody to drink at breakfast, but the taste profile would match up with bacon and eggs at brunchtime, " he says.
Watch the video below about a bar concept meant to make you feel like a kid, complete with candy, toys and a slushie cocktail machine.