wpid-img_20151122_213751.jpgWe spent a great afternoon wandering around the Summerhill LCBO recently, looking for treats for the magical 8 Beers of Chanukah. So many possibilities for 8 crazy nights! During this time of year, we drop our local bias and go for unique and delicious brews from around the world. We decided to splurge on a bottle of Epicurean Coffee & Fig Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Epic Brewing Company out of Auckland, New Zealand. It was a bit of a gamble, as we had never heard of them before and a 750 ml of 8.5% ABV will set you back $13.90 at the LCBO. A bit pricey for a beer, but it is an import and will set you back as much as a moderate bottle of wine. Alright, let’s go for it in the name of Bubbies everywhere.

This is a rich brew, with 8 different malts and plenty of extra. There is the self evident diced Turkish lerdia figs, and the brew is matured on whole Kenyan coffee beans before being conditioned on toasted coconut from the Philippines. That’s quite the salad! We recommend serving it in a large wine glass or a balloon style glass, and let it warm up to about 8-10C before serving to let the aromas shine.

Appearance: Deep back, with a lingering creamy tan head..

Aroma: Dark chocolate and fig, with undertones of coconut. Notes of coffee and vanilla.

Taste: Very slick, almost oily mouth feel. Heavily toasted malts. Warming alcohol feeling. More coffee and vanilla on the palate.

Aftertaste: Coconut shows up at the end of the show.

Overall: This was a great find, we’re glad we splurged. The brewery recommends pairing it with proper French vanilla ice cream, and I bet it would be delicious lightly drizzled on top. We paired it with Lady Laurier cheese, a pungent surface ripened cheese with a bloomy rind. It was glorious.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com