Post City

Spearhead Sam Roberts Session

standard Spearhead Sam Roberts Session

Compared to “what is craft beer?” the slightly less nebulous “what is a session ale” is an easier question to answer. These are beers well-suited to a several-pint night because they are lower in alcohol than usual and have a balanced flavour profile. The idea grew out the British tradition where a session at the local pub has friends take turns buying a round (hence the lower ABV), so the beers usually are also made to stylistically nod in the general direction of England. The full First Draught for this week is over on

Red Rocket Stout

standard Red Rocket Stout

A food and drink critic should have no absolute aversions. Short of an allergy or potentially poisonous pufferfish, if it’s on your beat, you should be willing to put it in your mouth. As Jeffrey Steingarten wrote in 1996, while reflecting on his own food phobias, “I feared that I could be no more objective than an art critic who detests the color yellow or suffers from red-green color blindness.”  Beers with chilies are my yellow. The rest of this week’s First Draught is available on

Weihenstephaner Alkoholfrei

standard Weihenstephaner Alkoholfrei

Beer is more than just its buzz. So, it follows that it must be possible, at least in a vague, theoretical way, to create a de-alcoholized beer that is worth drinking. Supermarket-brand near beer proves that theory does not always translate to practice. The stuff is awful; hopped up on artificial flavour and sweeteners. The rest of this week’s First Draught can be found over on

Southern Tier Warlock

standard Southern Tier Warlock

Skip the traditional pumpkin beers this Hallowe’en and head straight for this imperial stout from Southern Tier. It does have that most seasonal of gourds in its list of ingredients and the label has a certain honesty about its gimmicky nature. The rest of this week’s First Draught is over on the Post City Magazines website.

Mikkeller k:rlek

standard Mikkeller k:rlek

By choosing Mikkeller, Denmark’s second-best-known brewery, for their current feature, the LCBO seems to have earned a tentative thumbs-up from Ontario’s beer geek community. More than anyone, that’s who the brewery feature is aimed at. These are six unusual, wacky beers that will only be on shelves for a single season. The k:rlek American pale ale is my favourite from the lot. The rest of this week’s First Draught is over on the the Post City Magazines site.

Melville's Ginger Beer

standard Melville’s Ginger Beer

The one recommendation I’ve made in this column that I wish I could take back is from May 2012. Freshly back from visiting London for the first time where our hosts introduced me to it, I was excited to see Crabbie’s finally coming to the Ontario market. As far as ginger beers go, that one is saccharine and fairly one-dimensional, so I’m happy that as the selection has grown it has also improved. This week’s First Draught is on the Post City Magazines site.