First Draught

Indie Ale House’s Barnyard IPA

standard Indie Ale House’s Barnyard IPA

July is just around the corner and even though the calendar says it’s summer we still haven’t been subjected to any truly blistering days. This comfortably warm weather strikes me as an invitation to get on my bike and venture out to one of the city’s thriving craft breweries for a beer you can only find at the source. Indie Ale House’s Barnyard IPA is delicious and unusual enough to justify the trip to the Junction. Click through to read the rest of this week’s First Draught 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

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.

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

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.