Hopper's Bazaar by Lunn's Mill Beer Co. with Ladies Beer League (6.7 percent, 14 IBU)
When the Ladies Beer League teamed up with Lunn's Mill, they wanted to make something unique. The league shot out ideas until one stuck, says board member Kelly Costello. "Finally someone said, 'Well, why don't we use garam masala?' And then we're like, 'OK, that sounds great—but what kind of beer are we gonna put that in?'" The result was a Belgian dubbel: a dark style of beer which often has spicy characteristics. Costello wrote up an ingredient list and sent it to Lunn's brewer Sean Ebert. Once the recipe was set, Costello and three other members of the league board headed to Lawrencetown before Christmas to participate in the brewing process. This collaboration launched at The Wooden Monkey last week and you'll be able to find it for a limited time at Good Robot and the Lunn's Mill taproom.
Vanilla Porter by Nine Locks Brewing Co.
(5 percent, 25 IBU)
"Vanilla" is sometimes used to describe something plain or boring. This beer, however, is anything but. The porter is a warm hug including chocolate malts and a toffee finish along with its vanilla taste. If you want to get your hands on it this winter, you'll have to act fast: "Madagascar, which produces the majority of the world's vanilla beans was hit by a major cyclone this year, driving prices to record heights and making quality vanilla beans difficult to buy," explains head brewer Jake Saunders. "We haven't reduced the amount of vanilla going into our beer, so we'll see if our supplies hold up for the rest of the season."
Russian Imperial Stout by Propeller Brewing Co.
(8 percent, 60 IBU)
If a bitter beer is what you crave while you curl up on these bitter cold nights, this one's for you. The dark, hoppy brew hits the tongue with roasted malt and dark fruit notes. Propeller will later be releasing a special, barrel-aged version of the Russian Imperial Stout, so stay tuned.
Saison de Pinot by North Brewing Co. with Benjamin Bridge (7.1 percent, 18 IBU)
"This is the second year we've done a saison with Benjamin Bridge," says Rozina Darvesh, North's co-owner. Last year, North used pinot noir must—the pressed juice still containing the grape skins, seeds and stems. This year's bottle-conditioned creation was made with 220 litres of Pinot Meunier must. A little funky, the Saison de Pinot has hints of honeydew, orange, strawberries and rose hips.
Bourbon barrel-aged Wintervention by Garrison Brewing Co. (11.5 percent, 40 IBU)
A twist on the original Wintervention Chocolate Imperial Stout, this boozy beer was aged in bourbon barrels for 11 months. It's made with Munich and chocolate malts like the other Wintervention, but the nature of the aging kicks the flavour—and the alcohol content—up a notch. Be sure to drink this one slowly.
Feronia by Tatamagouche Brewing Co.
(5.1 percent, 25 IBU)
This American Brett is more than just a pretty label. Named for an ancient Roman goddess associated with nature and wildlife, Feronia is aged on organic plums and bottle-conditioned. "Another fun fact on the name that isn't included on the label is that there was a boat named Feronia built in our area," says brewery manager Christiane Jost.