Autumn Brews: 10 cozy craft beers hitting LCBO shelves this fall
Ah, fall. Crisp air, cool nights, and big, hearty beers that’ll warm you up like a chunky sweater. This autumn’s stouts, porters and seasonal harvest ales deliver roasted malts, creamy textures and the toe-tingling warmth of a higher-than-average ABVs. Here, the 10 best brews hitting LCBO shelves this month, from Danish flavour bombs to Halloween-themed bottles.
Great Lakes Brewery Saison Dupump
$5.95 | 650 mL | 5.2%
Pumpkin beers can be polarizing—some beer geeks them, others hate them. We’re pretty big fans, albeit only in moderation, which is why this unique take on the traditional Belgian saison has us excited. The saison profile still dominates with peppery yeast and bready malts, while spices like nutmeg and clove remain soft and subtle. It delivers pumpkin pie flavours, but remains very drinkable.
Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout
$4.25 | 330 mL | 7.5%
This Japanese stout takes the dark chocolate profile of roasted malts and adds fresh espresso beans to deliver a mocha-like flavour with hints of molasses, brown sugar and a light bitterness on the finish.
Lost Coast 8 Ball Stout
$4.80 | 650 mL | 6.3%
We were happy to see the return of this oatmeal stout, which pours a rich dark brown and delivers an immediate hit of milk chocolate and toasted oat. Caramel and coffee notes round out the chocolate, and a relatively thin mouth feel and hoppy finish make this easier to drink than most stouts.
$9.65 | 375 mL | 17.5%
Denmark’s Mikkeller is the focus of the LCBO’s fall brewery feature. Pouring an opaque black, it’s a flavour bomb of dark chocolate, prunes, raisins, cherries and anise, all of which integrate surprisingly well with the staggering 17.5 per cent ABV. Sip this one like a port, and consider sharing with a friend on a cool night.
Muskoka Harvest Ale
$8.95 | 750 mL | 7%
Sweet aromas of caramel, baking spices, malts and flowers are well-balanced against a dry hoppy bitterness. This crowd-pleasing pale ale isn’t too aggressively hopped, and pairs exceptionally well with food.
New Holland The Poet Oatmeal Stout
$13.95 | 6 x 355 mL | 5.2%
We recommend this one for times when you’re craving big stout flavours (roasted grain, coffee, dark chocolate, toffee and oatmeal) but would prefer to avoid the sky-high ABVs of some other stouts on this list. At a relatively light 5.2 per cent, you can enjoy one of the better oatmeal stouts around and still have room for a second.
Smuttynose Robust Porter
$2.35 | 355 mL | 6.2%
Characterized by its well-balanced malts and hops, this robust porter has subtle notes of coffee, dark chocolate, caramel and dark fruit with a floral hop aroma and citrusy bitterness.
Southern Tier Pumking Ale
$9.15 | 650 mL | 8.6%
With flavours and aromas of pumpkin purée, vanilla and graham crackers, plus plenty of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg spice, this is the closest thing you’ll find to drinking a slice of pumpkin pie. Best saved for sharing with (or as) dessert with friends, and it just wouldn’t feel like fall without a few.
Southern Tier Warlock
$9.25 | 650 mL | 8.6%
Warlock, an imperial stout brewed with pumpkins, serves as a nice counterpoint to Pumking. Big roasted malts, mild carbonation, and a spice-forward flavour profile pay tribute to the season, but without being cloyingly sweet.
Les Trois Mousquetaires Grand Cuvée Porter Baltique
$9.95 | 750 mL | 10%
A luxurious and robust beer inspired by the porters of the Baltic region. You’ll taste big malt flavours of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla, a subtle hint of smoke from the smoked cherry-wood malts, and the sweetness of molasses and dark fruits like figs and dates. We like to cellar this one for a year or more to let the flavours integrate and the alcohol heat mellow.