Toronto’s Best Winter Beers

A dark night. A crackling fire. A dark, delicious pint. Who needs sunshine and patios? Here, Toronto’s best winter beers.

Amsterdam Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
The guys at Amsterdam have been working on their own seasonal beer to warm you up when the mercury drops. Wee Heavy Scotch Ale (formerly “Tilted Kilt”) is brewed with five types of malt and boiled extra long for a full-bodied taste and deep ruby hue. Coming soon to LCBO.

Creemore Springs urBock
Bock was traditionally brewed for nobles using the year’s finest hops and barely. (The “ur” prefix denotes an original style of the highest quality.) Notes of nutty caramel make for perfect sipping in front of the fire. $13.25/6 x 341mL at LCBO.

Beau’s Bog Water
Instead of hops, Beau’s uses wild harvested bog myrtle – an herb used in brewing until the 1500s – to create a unique Eastern Ontario Gruit. The result is a malty fruitiness, balanced by a hint of bitter spice. Coming soon to LCBO.

John by Imperial Stout
Every November, Ottawa’s Scotch Irish Brewing makes five batches of their Imperial Stout. Faithful to the heritage of 18th and 19th century stouts, John is distinguished by its almost-black colour, intense malt flavour and 6.7 percent ABV. $2.75/341mL at LCBO.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 Year Old
Ounce-for-ounce, it’s as expensive as good wine, but you pay a premium for the complex, intoxicating flavour of a beer matured in casks once used for Highland Park Scotch whisky.? $18.95/330mL at LCBO.

Image courtesy of tomazstolfa.

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Toronto’s Best Winter Beers

Nothing’s better on a hot summer’s day than an ice-cold beer. Fortunately, the same holds true for a frigid winter’s day; the only difference is in the kind of beer you might crave. (Winter tends to bring boozier brews with more complex flavours.) Here, the best winter beers in town, and our favourite place to drink each one.

Mill St. Weizenbock
Notes of malty caramel, with fruity aromas of banana and even bubblegum, make this Bavarian-style winter classic worth the trip to the Mill Street Brew Pub in the Distillery District. At 7.2 percent ABV, this seasonal will warm you deep, deep down. Mill St. Brew Pub, 55 Mill St., Building 63, 416-681-0338.

St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
Crisp as the Montreal air, this black-as-night Quebec stout is surprisingly light, with a smooth, sweet finish; gentle enough to convince anyone to join the dark side. Savour the mocha and coffee notes along with neighbourhood pub ambience at Auld Spot’s newest outpost. Auld Spot, 633 College St., 416-645-0285.

Great Lakes Winter Ale
This spicy winter ale from Etobicoke’s Great Lakes Brewery will melt away the snow – metaphorically speaking. Notes of orange and spicy ginger are soothing, but don’t overpower subtle touches of honey and cinnamon; its complexity invites a big sip. C’est What?, 67 Front St. E., 416-867-9499.

Innis and Gunn Triple Matured
After aging for 99 days in American white oak barrels, this dark amber acquires a rich, taste that lingers with toffee and chocolate and a hint of syrup. Brewed in small batches, get this limited run from Innis and Gunn while you can. Your place; available at LCBO.

Image courtesy of Wickenden.

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