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.

Beer with Thanksgiving Dinner

standard Beer with Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is both a golden opportunity and hard-sell for beer. As with other “big meals” this is traditional stomping ground for wine, but there are several factors that cross signals for the boozy grape juice and point in the direction of beer. Head over to for my complete guide to serving beer with Thanksgiving dinner.

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.


standard Oktoberfest

The next time you open a wedding invitation from a cousin who wants you to travel to Bermuda to help celebrate their big day and feel like things really have gotten out of hand, know that it could be worse. Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest festival and originally a celebration of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, is still running more than 200 years after they tied the knot. Read the rest of my Oktoberfest guide on

Chimay White

standard Chimay White

They seem like news and happen so infrequently so new releases onto LCBO shelves tend to get the majority of the beer coverage in Toronto. Chimay’s tripel is a great example of how some of the best beers, often at great prices, are steady regulars that don’t get press releases or media tastings. This week’s full First Draught is over on

Beyond the Standard Porters

standard Beyond the Standard Porters

Porters are one of the oldest beer styles – IPAs, abbey tripels, and pilsners are all green by comparison. They are sometimes described as stout’s weaker and less well-known cousin, often associated with London and industrialization, and otherwise fairly difficult to define. In Tasting Beer, Randy Mosher wrote that “studying the history of porter is like staring into the multidimensional universe of theoretical cosmology, with multiple shifting parallel worlds constantly warping and shifting the flow of time.” Its history has also not been a straight line; the style nearly died and was revived in England during the 20th century. It’s […]

Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier

standard Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier

Every shorter guide to Oktoberfest should mention that Munich’s annual beer festival is the world’s largest fair; the beer is called Marzen because it was traditionally made in March and cellared over the summer; and most of the sixteen-day stretch actually falls in September. Jump over to for the rest of this week’s column.