What’s that you say? Autumn is your favourite season?
Enough, already. It’s everyone’s favourite time of year in this age of post-obvious, planned irony. We can all get behind pleasant nighttime temperatures, some pretty strong holidays and nature’s annual display of brightly coloured foliage.
Also, we like to be a little bit different here at The Growler so our fall edition nicely bridges the gap between late summer and cooler weather—and that means a broad range of top beer choices, spanning from drinkable pilsners to contemplative bieres de garde.
Rainhard’s Four on the Floor (4.9% ABV) — Don’t jump the gun on the end of summer just yet; this German-style pils will see you through the final hot days of August and September.
Great Lakes Brewery’s Karma Citra (6.5% ABV) — September means that this IPA, weighed down by its groaning trophy case, makes its way back onto shelves at the brewery and LCBO locations. Of all the regular GLB IPAs, this one comes out the strongest for the really exotic tropical flavours.
Marigold (6.9% ABV) by Clifford — Celebrate this Hamilton brewery’s big win at the Canadian Brewing Awards by venturing out beyond their (delicious) porter. Marigold is one of the best Ontario-brewed takes on the Belgian strong golden style and features dry-hopped character on the finish to balance the yeast notes that open the show.
Yes! We have no pumpkins
Into the Groovey (7.5% ABV) by Half Hours on Earth — On one hand, I’m an easy mark for anything aged with cherries but this beer made the list on its subtly and very fine balance.
Dominion City’s Northfield (6.5% ABV) — Saison is a notoriously difficult style to define. The label can either apply to clean (if yeast-forward) examples like the Dupont original or to more rambunctious, funky affair like this one aged in foeders.
Tooth and Nail’s Victory Parade (5.5% ABV) — Isn’t märzen the traditional Oktoberfest style? It was until about 1980 when a few Munich breweries felt that attendees were filling up on that amber style before they had the chance to get absolutely obliterated. So, festbier is a lighter, golden version and this one is great even if you don’t drink it by the litre.
Cheeky Bastard (4.5% ABV) by Nickel Brook — This is the Ontario stout that spawned a thousand variants. While Kentucky Bastard and Winey Bastard are powerful (if smooth) bruisers, Cheeky is subtle and punches above its weight.
Sweater weather sippers
Les Portes de l’Enfer (8% ABV) — Biere de garde is the unsung hero of autumn — remember, Garrett Oliver called it his favourite style to go with all the fixin’s that make up a Thanksgiving feast. Stack’s award-winning take is rich with ripe orchard fruit and a touch of alcohol.
Shacklands’ Bourbon-barrel-aged Belgian porter (8.7% ABV) — What’s a Belgian porter? A style that more breweries should make and put in barrels, of course. Think a mix between the roastiness of porter and dubbel’s round sweetness, all with the edges smoothed off by bourbon barrels.
Revolution 81 (9% ABV) by Radical Road — It’s great news that this heavyweight biere de garde (made in collaboration with Malivoire) is making a comeback this year. Everything from the barrel choice (old vines Foch, a somewhat rare Ontario grape variety) to the final fermentation with champagne yeast makes this a beer to watch out for.