Food and drink blog: Growlers, a Lansdowne luxury

In case you are wondering, the best LCBO in Ottawa is at Lansdowne. It used to be the one at King Edward and Rideau—but with the new renovations at Lansdowne they managed to build beer-topia.

First of all, the store is huge. Second of all, this LCBO has something I’ve never seen outside of bottle shops attached to breweries: they have a growler station. For those not aware, a growler is basically those giant bottles they often have in Bugs Bunny cartoons with “xxx” on them. The difference is that in the real world they are usually not in the hands of some cowboy character—well, not that I’ve seen.

Growlers are 1.89 litres or a half-gallon in size, and are probably the best thing next to having something on tap. Growlers are filled right from a keg, similar to having beer on draught at a bar, except you pay 16 dollars and get ALL the beer instead of just two pints.

So there I was on a sunny Sunday strolling through my neighbourhood, looking in Whole Foods and realizing I couldn’t afford anything, when I decided to drop into the LCBO.

I peered at the options at the growler stop and gasped audibly. For those not as beer-versed as me: every February Beau’s has what is called FeBrewary, where they release a new, funky beer each week for the whole month.

Now these are super special limited-edition beers that often can only be found on tap at certain bars or at the brewery (which is in Vankleek Hill, and I don’t have a car so that’s not happening). And here they all were on tap at the growler stop. Within minutes an LCBO employee came over asking if I had any questions.

“Can I sample these beers?” I asked.

“You sure can,” my saviour said, opening my eyes to a whole new world.  “Can I see some I.D first?” they added, bringing me back to reality (but I mean I had just come from the gym so I looked even more like a 12-year-old than usual).

First I tried Blood Simple, which is a wheat beer made with blood oranges. The growler-filler and me agreed it came out in the wrong season—this would be a perfect summer beer.

Next I tried Triceratops Tripel, which my dad had tried without me when he visited (myself and another LCBO employee agreed this was rude). This beer was crisp, fruity with no hint of bitterness, but don’t be fooled—it’s nine per cent, so no guzzling.

The three of us geeked out about beer for the next 10 minutes. It was beautiful. Finally, I sampled the Tyrannosaurus Gruit, which is the colour of the stuff they put in hummingbird feeders, though I bet that tastes better. This beer is made with beets, and man does it taste like it, which is not a good thing. It tasted like I was drinking a vegetable smoothie, not beer. Not to mention it literally smells like gardening.

I went in hoping to buy a couple bottles and came out buying a growler of the tripel.

We are insanely lucky to have one of these growler stops in Ottawa, as the LCBO only currently has two, with the other one in Toronto. I will likely be visiting this LCBO more than I already do (seriously—I think the staff is starting to recognize me).