by Jennie Orton
Winter is coming, friends. And many of us combat the darker days by shifting to beer that matches our cold dark hearts. We trade in crushable beach lagers for beer that requires a knife and fork. We put down the saison in favour of the intoxicating tendrils of stout foam as it crawls up the glass like a smoke bomb revealing your new dark master. To keep it interesting and save you from a season of Guinness, BeatRoute has compiled a list of our favourite choices for beer that sticks to your ribs through the cold months.
Broken Resolution Cherry Baltic Porter – Parallel 49 Brewing
An aptly named holiday season Limited Release, this is a surprisingly tasty addition to your vices. This porter is cool-fermented and complex of flavour. A present malt refrains from taking over the palate thanks to the tart cherry flavour and the standard porter characteristics of chocolate and deep purple fruit. A satisfying sipper to say “f@#$ it” with.
33 Acres of Darkness – 33 Acres
A perennial favourite of local beer connoisseurs, this sessionable at 5% Schwarzbier combines Cara Vienna, Black Prinz, and Caramel Munich 40 malts roasted in harmony to produce a caramelized but light “supernatural lager” as described by the brewery. It’s the dark beer that doesn’t make you feel full, combining chocolate and coffee notes with a refreshing mouth feel.
Postmark Stout – Postmark Brewing
A more standard issue stout, this drinkable 4.8% beer has the roasted barley backbone stout lovers crave while not destroying your cozy guts with high gravity. If you are looking for an exceptionally made traditional stout, this one’s your man.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout – Moody Ales
Aged for six months in bourbon barrels, this one…this one has teeth. At 11%, this Imperial is brewed more to the English tradition with large hops to balance the malt and make this a dangerously drinkable behemoth.
Attack of the Cherry Stout – The Parkside Brewery
This murky black goddess finishes with sweet sour cherries to give it an exciting palate experience while still being a high gravity dark beer. This is one fruity brew you can enjoy and not worry about toxic masculinity coming from a neighbouring table to ruin your fun.
Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co.
This surprising brew from our new favourite local brewery is a wonderfully clean stout with crisp oaked age to its finish. A non-aggressive 5% with a refreshing quench to it, and they let you bring your dog into the taproom so…gold medal as far as we are concerned.
Mapalé Milk Stout – Andina Brewing Company
It wouldn’t be a list without a milk stout, and this one is an infinitely interesting brew from one of the city’s most charming breweries. As with all milk stouts, it features lactose so those with allergies should steer clear lest you crop-dust the taproom with your intestinal woe. But for the rest of you, this is a smooth and sweet milkshake of a beer. You’ll love it.
Chai Milk Stout – R&B Brewing
This beer is like dessert after Christmas dinner. Sweet and milky and filling, this isn’t a beer you would drink more than one of, but it is a great way to cap off an evening. There is a lot going on in this beer but it’s the Silguri Chai Spices that make it a rare treat.
Mona – Four Winds Brewing Company
This saucy minx is a Belgian Ale aged in Port Barrels on Cherries then blended with an assortment of barrels which amounts to a truly crazy personality. This beer is bold and lush and lusty, a good show off bottle to bring to your holiday party.
Luminosity – Temporal Artisan Ales
Though not in keeping with the seasonal dark beer theme, this is a must drink right now in the city. Available at Luppolo as a shared space-brewing project, Temporal brews very interesting beer; but this one is their masterpiece. A truly fascinating and delicious beer, this sour has bretty atmosphere with tequila barrel character and an overall flavour profile that will make you salivate. Seriously: go try this beer.
Floridian Holiday IPA – Electric Bicycle Brewing
For those of you that prefer to escape the winter and head somewhere balmy for the holidays, this one is for you. And much like Florida, it is a complex experience. Tropical fruit is all over the initial palate but then it hits you with an absolutely numbing pepper punch. It, like Florida, is not for everyone. But if you’ve got the stomach for it, it’s a pretty swell vacation from the every day.
Winter Cider – Dominion Cider Co.
For those with celiac disease or those who like their brew a little sweeter who still want to cash in on the winter brew hoopla, we recommend this apple pie in a bottle. Heirloom apples and a wallop of mulled spice flavour, the flavour is balanced by the dryness to create a cider that would be at home in a to-go mug for a night of ice skating. But wear a helmet: it’s 6.5%.