We take a wide-open view on featuring beers here at The Growler. That is to say, every brewery gets at least two of their beers listed in our directory. (Which, by the way, will include all of Ontario as of next issue when we expand northwards.) All selections need to be available during the season and it’s good if we can get in ones that are new or on-theme.
With over 200 breweries in the directory, that’s a long list of beers. So, it’s good to be able to call attention to a few that stand out from the crowd as well-made examples of their style, groundbreaking experiments or just really enjoyable drinks.
Godspeed’s Fuyu – Cold weather means that heavier beers will join the lineup that usually focusses on applying a light touch with smoke or Asian citrus. The former includes this barleywine that is due out early next month.
Tooth & Nail’s Vim & Vigor – This ampersand-heavy option really does stand out from other Ontario pilsners for its straightforward quality. There’s a joke that wine writers and winemakers drink a lot of beer after their hard days’ work — this is the beer that beer people drink.
Dark & Sour sour stout by Blood Brothers – Usually, stouts have to be really finely balanced with a light roast (with none of that road-tar element) for me to get into them. But add a sour side and my eyes light up. This one perfectly captures the Black Forest cake idea.
Innocente Charcoal Porter – Down near the sessionable end of the porter range, Innocente’s bring roasted coffee and dark chocolate.
Russian Imperial stout by Wellington – A wintertime go-to for as long as I can remember; it’s strength is well-integrated.
Junction Essex Ale – We hear a lot at this time of year about the darker side of the British range — brown ales, porters and stouts — but I like to keep a well-made bitter (this one with an Essex ale yeast) in the regular rotation.
Indie Alehouse’s Wild Ale – A few weeks ago I erroneously stated that Exchange has the only spontaneous beer in Ontario. Join me in correcting the record by downing a glass or two of this oak-aged take on the style that’s made with a combination of lighter malts.
Saison d’Automne by Little Beasts – Nearly everyone who’s asked about the origins of saison have been told (sometimes pretty formulaically) that they were made to the farmhands during the harvest season. It’s lovely to see that Little Beasts makes one for every season and doubly so because they have put boysenberries into this one.
Covered Bridge’s Walk on the Mild Side – With the most recent wave of session IPAs, I think we’ve figured out the pale and hoppy side of the low-ABV spectrum. Now, let’s have more milds like this one, please.
Curse of Knowledge from Halcyon – A dynamite combination of tart, sour and the calling-card saison yeast.