Summer, it’s been fun, but there comes a time when beer drinkers must put away childish things. Painful as it may be, we must bid adieu to our wimpy summer Coronas! Bye-bye, Bud Lite Lime! Sayonara, Sapporo! We’ve entered the season of hearty beers. Lucky for you, this fall’s got a lot of good suds on offer.
Cold-weather India Pale Ales call for fresh, piney hops and a warm caramel backbone—and this Revelstoke IPA has been made to order. Crack this big bottle, pour into small glasses, and serve it with carrot cake for dessert. Then watch as your guests’ minds are blown.
Ever wonder what fresh-cut grass tastes like? Neither did we. But the strangely curious need look no further. The fresh bitter bite of your lawn is balanced with a deep toffee sweetness in this ale. Try it with smoked trout or a spicy red curry.
$8.95/750-ml bottle, LCBO.
Making a return to the LCBO again this fall, this longtime favourite is sure to fly off the shelves. A deeper, maltier brew than most North American examples, its brown sugar, burnt caramel sweetness are married with a lasting pine and birch character that practically scream “drink me in Algonquin Park.”
$11.60/four pack, LCBO.
Ripe blackberries and baker’s chocolate commingle to create a flavourful porter that will beckon to be opened on a cool fall evening. Try adding a bit of this beer to a dark chocolate or black forest cake and drink the rest alongside.
This light-bodied porter smells like you’ve been baking your favourite cookies all day—big vanilla, rich toffee, and biscuit, all pinned together by roasted-coffee flavour—it’s the ultimate beer latte.
This beer uses the natural banana and clove flavours of a German-style hefeweizen but adds pumpkin puree and a few spices to the mix. The result is the only pumpkin wheat on the market in Ontario (oh, and it’s organic, too). This limited-quantity batch hits select LCBO store shelves today, so grab a bottle before it’s all gone.
So this is neat—Amsterdam brewers used some of the less-concentrated wort (malty sugar water) of their 10 per cent ABV Tempest Imperial Stout to create a 3.2 per cent English mild. The result is a real Bobby Dazzler: a deep brown ale with the roasty oomph of a stout, but without the boozy punch. Its zippy carbonation and vanilla and nutty characteristics means it’ll be fantastic with a ploughman’s lunch or a barbecued steak. Buy a six-pack and drink the afternoon away.
$2.50/bottle, available at the brewery only, 21 Bathurst St., 416-504-6882. On tap at Bryden’s, Victory Café, Sauce on the Danforth, and other beer bars.
The return of fall means it’s time to dip back into darker, maltier brews. The Granite’s classic example of a roasty Irish stout with a creamy, tan head, is the perfect way to ease into the dark side.
$16 growler (includes $4 deposit), Granite Brewery, 245 Eglinton Ave. E., 416-322-0723; on tap at C’est What, Grapefruit Moon, and Get Well.
Roast pumpkin is full-frontal in this locavore-brew that uses gourds harvested less than 100 miles from the Oregon brewery. With a champagne-like mouthfeel and a lingering, spicy finish (thanks to the addition of local hops, vanilla bean, ginger, and cinnamon), this is the pum-kingpin at the LCBO this season.
This New Zealand Stout is perfect for the chocoholic in your life. Oatmeal lends a silky texture to this cocoa and dark chocolate beer (which uses cocoa nibs), while its roasted coffee notes lend a subtle smoke. Bake some gingerbread or chocolate chip cookies for the kids, but make sure your milk glass is filled with this beer.
Belgian dubbels are autumn’s ultimate beer—served at room temperature, they have just the right amount of heft, booze, and complexity to keep the chilly nights at bay. The Chimay is a proper Trappist dubbel, with signature notes of date, overripe apricot, clove, and a medium-dry finish. Seriously yummy.
Traditionally a summer beer, this Belgian-style saison is spicy enough to take you into fall, thanks to the addition of coriander seed and peppercorns. Pop this special bottle to celebrate the finish of one of the myriad fall charity runs that take over the city—it’ll quench the thirst of runners and spectators alike.
CORRECTION, SEPT. 13, 2012: In the original online version of this article, an incorrect title and photo were placed alongside the Cannery Black Porter write-up. Both have been updated; the title and image were printed correctly in the Sept. 13, 2012 edition of The Grid.