So here's the situation, for your consideration: it's Thursday, I'm getting jazzed at the prospect of a long weekend dominated by weather that doesn't require folk to huddle next to space heaters, when - Shock! Horror! I realize that I've got nothing alcoholic to drink in the apartment, and no opportunity to get some myself! Fortunately, as is most welcome in desperate fixes like this, a friend came through - I gave him five bucks, he said he would surprise me, and he came back with a bottle of Abbey Belgian Spiced Ale, which I've never seen before. Truly, the downtown LCBOs have wonders far beyond that of simple Parkdale.
My experience with Belgian beers runs entirely to Hoegaarden, which is not a bad choice but does cost a fair bit more than the standard standby of a six-pack of Lucky Lager (unfortunately, no longer just a dollar a can). Despite its name the Abbey Belgian brew does not appear to be importado, unless you consider Oakville to be some glamorous foreign destination, which I will not until and unless Toronto achieves its destiny. That's an advantage, though, in one respect - I can get all the joys of Belgian, or at least "Belgian," brewing with a significantly lower carbon footprint involved in shipping it from the manufacturer to the seller and the joyous consumer.
The ale itself was dark brown in color, and did not foam excessively when I poured it - always good, because more foam means the more time I have to wait for it to settle down before I can drink it. It went down smooth with a very vaguely bitter aftertaste, but not enough for me to think ill of it. As for me, the taste and the smell conjured up imagery of big, old wooden barrels, and the ale itself filled me with one of those temporary yet profound senses of well-being.
If you've got some spare cash around and you don't have a problem with dropping multiple dollars on a single 650 mL bottle, I'd recommend this.
In addition, it appears to have expired last month - the best before date reads "MAR 09" - here's hoping for no ill effects! Fingers crossed!