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A Guide to Fall Beers at the LCBO

Hauling out those fall and winter coats is hard, depressing work. Why not have a beer to help get you through it? 

By: Brendan Ross | TORONTOist | September 30, 2013


Photo credit: Brendan Ross

We’re nearing the time of year when one trades T-shirts for long sleeves, patios for armchairs by the fireplace, and light poundables for more robust, warming beers. Winter may be coming, but there’s still time to enjoy the rapidly darkening evenings outdoors with a variety of delicious ales, porters, saisons, and stouts. Here are a few you may wish to consider.

Fall-tastic Beers from Toronto and ‘Round the Way

There’s quite a bit of weather overlap with summer during the early fall weeks, and that transition has found its beer equivalent in Amsterdam Brewery’s Autumn Hop Harvest Ale. Made with freshly picked hops, it’s a crisp ale with citrus and a light, hoppy taste—sort of the beer equivalent of sitting on a patio with your jacket on.

Speaking of (comparatively) lighter beers, Great Lakes Brewery’s Audrey Hopburn Belgian IPA has been on LCBO shelves for a few weeks. With its hoppy, spicy flavours, it’s a great beer for early October sweater weather.

Cameron’s Brewery has done well brewing with rye in the past, so it’s no surprise the brewery’s new Resurrection Roggenbier is so tasty. Supposedly the return of a long-lost style (although Cameron’s is hardly the first to take it on), it’s a malty and fruity beer with some nice bitterness and, of course, grainy rye flavour.

A bit later this fall, look out for Sawdust City’s Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus (that is, unless the government “social responsibility” police get to it first). It’s an imperial stout with a bitter, chocolatey favour that’s about as subtle as its name. It may not sound like what you want to be drinking right now, but we Southern Ontario folk might soon need a beer like this to help us hold our own against the onslaught of dark beers coming from all around the world.

(Mostly Dark) Beers From All Around the World

If this fall’s seasonal selection is anything to go by, the LCBO is predicting a cold, early winter. The imports consist mostly of porters and stouts: dark, substantial beers to warm you up after a cold evening’s walk (or sleigh ride) home. Fortunately, they’re quite good—although you might want to store them away for when the weather gets colder and the days get shorter.

Among those beers new to the province is iStout, from New Zealand’s 8 Wired Brewing Co. It’s a pitch-black beer with aromas of coffee and some citrusy vanilla (like a really good mango), and a bold flavour with hints of chocolate, coffee, and hops, plus a lingering bitterness.

Also in the realm of the incredibly dark and extremely delicious is the X-Porter, a collaboration brew from Denmark’s Midtfyns Bryghus and the Netherlands’ Brouwerij de Molen. Chocolate and liquorice aromas lead to coffee, some ash, and a lingering bitterness, with a creamy texture. It’s a great after-dinner beer, although at eight-per-cent alcohol, you might want to share it with a friend.

For several seasons now, drinkers have been enjoying the fruits of the LCBO’s ongoing love affair with New Zealand’s Renaissance Brewing. The outfit’s latest offering is Enlightenment Series Great Punkin, a pumpkin beer that eschews the sickly overt flavours present in its contemporaries (such as Southern Tier’s Pumking) in favour of a malty, bitter taste with a little caramel and spice.

Of course, there are plenty of other pumpkin beers ready for your consumption this fall. On the local front, Black Creek Historic Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale delivers a solid taste of the big orange squash, along with some nutmeg and cinnamon, while Great Lakes’ Saison Du Pump is a bit more reserved on the pumpkin front, fusing it with grassy, sour notes. From outside the province, British Columbia’s Howe Sound Brewing delivers what tastes like a liquid pumpkin pie in a one-litre bottle with its Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale, while Smashed Pumpkin, from Maine’s Shipyard Brewing Company, offers sweet, spicy notes mixed with some bitterness.

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