10 new beers to help you fight the cold in Toronto
With snow and wind bearing down on Toronto in a manner that would make the Stark family blanch, there seems to be very little worth leaving the house for and it's increasingly tempting to just hide under a blanket with Netflix until Spring arrives.
Thankfully, the city's craft brewers are as dedicated to their calling as the Night's Watch and punishing weather hasn't kept them from doing what they do best: creating excellent new beers that are worth braving the cold.
Here are 10 new local beers to get you through the next wintry onslaught.
Indie Alehouse's Love Triangle IPA
Bucking the trend for single-variety-hopped pale ales, Indie has opted to craft a series of IPAs made using a combination of three hops. The 6.5% ABV inaugural batch of the new series, brewed with Columbus, Chinook, and Calypso hops, is available on tap now at Indie for $6.5 20 oz pint, as well as in growlers and will soon be on tap at places like barVolo, Bar Hop, and Pharmacy.
Muddy York Porter
The first beer from fledgling brewery Muddy York Brewing, the 4.7% Muddy York Porter boasts notes of dark chocolate and roasted marshmallow and is deep brown to harken back to TO's dirty past. No, really. Find it on tap at The Wren, The Mugshot Tavern,, and more.
Great Lakes Brewery's Karma Citra IPA
Look, I know Karma Citra isn't a new beer but it's on here for two reasons: 1) There aren't ten new mid-winter beers. No one really releases new beer this time of year. 2) Karma Citra is such a delicious, citrusy, piney, grapefruity beast that any time this 6.5% IPA comes to the LCBO it's worth talking about. $5.95 for 650mL bottles, in LCBOs by the end of this month.
Black Oak's Break of Dusk Black American Pale Ale
A weird hybrid of stout and American pale ale, Break of Dusk has suggestions of pine and citrus in the aroma with a coffee and chocolate taste. Somehow it all works. It's also a sessionable 4,4% ABV so you can have a few while you try to figure out if "Black American Pale Ale" is really a beer style. Available now in 341 ml bottles at the Black Oak retail store
The Joe Sixpacks of the world who take pleasure in haunting the comments sections of posts like this one are fond of asking "Why can't any craft brewers just make a lager?" So Bellwoods Brewery, recently named the Top Brewer in Ontario by Ratebeer, did just that. Paper Tiger will be the name of a frequently changing beer but for the first iteration, Bellwoods opted to make this clean, crisp, refreshing, and dry 5% lager.
Liberty Village Black Blessing Stout
A 7.4% Chocolate Stout conditioned on organic cocoa nibs, Black Blessing is a rich, earthy beer with just enough hoppy bite in the finish to remain balanced. The third offering from LVBC is available on draught and in cans at Vespa Pizzeria, Dundas & Carlaw, and at a handful of Toronto bars.
Amsterdam Cruiser All Day Pale Ale
A welcome addition to the growing class of local, hoppy-but-sessionable ales, Amsterdam's 4.9% Cruiser All Day Pale ale is aromatic and flavourful without being bitter and has a refreshing finish. It's definitely a beer ideally suited to all day summer drinking, but who's to say we can't sit out in the snow and enjoy a few, too? Available for $13.65 per six-pack at both Amsterdam retail stores.
Shillow Sass on the Side Brown Ale
Pouring exclusively at beer bistro, Sass on the Side Brown Ale from Shillow Beer Company is a 5.6% abv, medium-bodied, roasty, nutty brown ale that the beerbistro's executive chef, Michelle Usprech, has noted as being "incredibly food-friendly." So eat something with your beer. You're getting too skinny.
Mill Street Old Fashioned Oatmeal Stout
A sweeter, 5.7% stout that harkens back to an English style once prescribed to nursing mothers, Mill Street's Old Fashioned Oatmeal Stout is silky smooth owing to both the oats in the mash and the fact that it's nitrogen-charged. A perfect winter pint even if you aren't breastfeeding. Catch it on tap at the Mill Street Brewpub and their Beer Hall now.
The new Coors Altitude is a contemporary lager brewed to 6.4% with all the clean, smooth taste you've come to expect from Coors. Slather on some Axe Body Spray, throw a few wide mouth aluminum bottles in the freezer, and get stoked for a totally epic night, bro. Warning: It's probably going to include high fives. Available in 473ml widemouth aluminum bottles and 355ml sleek cans.
Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. Follow him on twitter @Ben_T_Johnson.
Photo be Stephen Gardiner
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