Top 5 Ontario stouts to drink this winter

As soon as the temperature starts dropping, I instantly want to trade my juicy brews for a toasty Ontario stout. One of the first beers I fell in love with was a classic pint of Guinness, but now, with so many tasty craft offerings, I’m turning to creamy luscious stouts made in Ontario. Here are my Top 5 Ontario craft stouts that you must try this winter.

Henderson’s Brewing Export Stout

I’m a wee bit biased on this one as I used to work at Henderson, but I believe that this beer must make your #STOUTGOALS list. My first taste of this was fresh on tap at Henderson Brewing poured on nitrogen gas, which gives a stout a tight, ultra foamy cap and a light bubbly body. What makes this a great stout is that the style isn’t very common: Export stouts as a style are on the drier side without a lingering finish or heavy body despite their higher alcohol. At  7 per cent ABV, this beer will keep you warm through the winter months.

Get it at Henderson or at the LCBO.

Sawdust City’s Viva La Stout

When I was a kid and went grocery shopping with my Dad I got to choose one treat for my lunches. Viva Puffs were definitely a favourite. These chocolate, raspberry marshmallow cookies were a trifecta of scrumptiousness. When I first saw this stout, I was worried about it being too sweet but my nostalgia outbeat any hesitation. To my pleasant surprise, this stout is balanced and highlights each of these distinct flavours, which harmonize beautifully together. It’s beer sorcery, plain and simple.

Get it at LCBO or from Sawdust City, ships across Ontario. 

Left Field’s Sweet Spot, Mocha Marshmallow Stout

Is it even a change of season without this staple? This crowd favourite stout returns every year at Toronto’s Left Field. Some of my fondest memories are enjoying this brew in their taproom (or a beer fest) served with a toasted marshmallow on top. This milk stout is like a liquid chocolate bar offering a beautiful, mix of chocolate, caramel and vanilla, which pairs perfectly with a cozy night in!

Grab it from Left Field via pick-up, delivery or shipping. If you’re headed to the LCBO: grab their holiday pack which includes this brew!

Rainhard Brewing’s Sweetbacks Milk Stout

This award-winning staple balances lactose’s creamy sweetness with dark, lightly bitter cacao  Look for a  variant on this that’s heavily dosed with coffee from a local roastery—Sweetback’s Coffee—which is perfect for coffee fiends.

Get the original Sweetbacks at the LCBO and directly from Rainhard via pick-up, delivery and shipping. Sweetback’s Coffee variant is only available from the brewery directly.

Dominion City’s Between Two Evils

About two years ago, I first tried a variant of this brew and it opened my eyes to the beauty and complexity of bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts. I’m a sucker for the immediate warmth soothing my soul from the bourbon and the sweet array of chocolate and dark fruit that linger on my tongue. You might want to share this short can as it is a hefty brew at 11 per cent ABV, then again you might want to keep it all to yourself.

Get it direct from the brewery via pick-up, local delivery or shipping, occasionally you can find it in the wild at craft beer watering holes like Thirsty & Miserable or The 4th & 7th.

Honourable mention

Any of the stouts from Nickel Brook Brewing are not to be missed. From Cheeky Bastard to Winey Bastard to Kentucky Bastard even the Cafe Del Bastardo, Nickelbrook has been doing some great classic stouts which are available at the brewery via pick up, delivery or shipping province-wide. Sometimes they’ll even have previous years available. This season the LCBO has Winey Bastard, Cafe Del Bastardo & Cheeky Bastard.

By: Michelle Hempstock, Social Media Manager at The Growler Ontario.

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