Since it is a government agency, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario – a.k.a. the province’s alcohol retail & wholesale overlords – has to be as politically correct as possible when it comes to selecting what products will appear on the shelves. It’s therefore quite easy to correlate Ontario’s immigration patterns with the LCBO’s stocking patterns.
For example, I live in an area of Toronto that is quite close to a neighbourhood full of Polish shops and restaurants. As a result, my local outlet always has plenty of Polish brews on hand, including Tyskie, Okocim Lager and Strong (although sadly, they no longer carry the fantastic Okocim Porter), Zywiec Lager, EB Premium, Lezajsk Lager, Warka Strong, and Dojlidy Zubr.
The newest addition to this line-up of generally middling Polish imports is Lech Premium, which has the distinction of being the first of the bunch to be offered in cans (more evidence of the LCBO’s somewhat questionable new policy to give preference to cans over bottles when selecting new beers for their general list – a topic for a future blog post, perhaps…). Like Dojlidy Zubr and Tyskie, Lech comes to us from Kompania Piwowarska, the Polish arm of SABMiller that stirred up controversy a while back when it took on some of the brewing of Pilsner Urquell, the classic Czech beer that defined the Pilsner style. But that’s just the sort of thing that happens when multinational brewing behemoths keep chomping up the little guys…
Anyway… even though it’s produced by an evil conglomerate, this Lech Premium is a decent little beer. It pours a pale, bright yellow-gold with large white head that disappears pretty quickly. The aroma holds soft herbal hops and a bready maltiness – quite nice. The flavour is fairly sweet off the top, with lemon cookie notes in the middle, and a good balance of herbal, grassy hops and biscuity malt in the finish. This will be a good option in the future when I’m in the mood for something light and refreshing, especially since cans tend to keep beers like this in better shape than bottles.