I don’t care what the calendar says: In Canada, summer officially starts on the Victoria Day weekend. And while I have no doubt that a wide variety of libations will be consumed during the thousands of barbecues held across this great country in celebration of her majesty Queen Vicki, even a wine guy like me has to admit that long weekends belong to beer.


Now, while the term beer may cover a whole lot of liquid territory, my feeling is that the true summer brew is made with wheat: Fresh, citrusy and still serving up as much bravado as a classic U.K. ale.


A great wheat beer is cloudy, full-figured and often throws its fare share of unfiltered sediment.
Unless you’re German, the classic version is Belgium’s Hoegaarden (6 x 330 ml, $13.49 - $13.95): An easy-drinking wheaty that’s spiced up with an injection of coriander and orange peel. Over in Deutschland the bright, full-flavoured Erdinger Weissbier (500 ml, $3.05 - $4.21) sets the standard.


But you don’t have to travel far to enjoy a classic. Rickard’s Original White (12 x 341 ml, $21.95 - $22.49) – brewed right here in Canada — is a tasty interpretation.


Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.

Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.