Thor’s Hammer is a pretty badass name for a beer. I think I would have been happier if they called it Mjölnir instead because I’ve got a bit of a fetish for umlauts. In any case, we’re in the home stretch of Chanukah and I’m pulling in the big guns here.

We don’t write about too many barley wines, cause that’s not your average week day beer. But it’s Friday night, and I’m running out of chances to write about non-Ontario brews in my own series. So I thought bringing out a weapon capable of levelling mountains and knocking me out until 2017 seemed fitting. A 650 ml bottle of 11.5% ABV Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine Bottle Conditioned 2015 vintage from Surrey, BC’s Central City Brewers & Distillers will set you back $9.95 at the LCBO. But it’s been a rough year and this week has been bad for celebrity deaths, so why not? You only live once.

We let the bottle rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes while we walked the dog. Then we battled the demon known as the wax seal. The label indicates you can cellar this for up to 5 years. It’s been in my fridge for about a month, which by my standards is next to nothing. My beer fridge is a scary and mysterious place. The bottle suggests serving this between 12-14C in a balloon glass, and to decant it like wine to remove the lees. We resurrected the old Bar Volo glasses again for this one.

Appearance: Mahogany colour with maroon highlights.

Aroma: Raisins, cinnamon, caramel, nutmeg, eucalyptus (I often find eucalyptus notes in BC beers, to be honest) and plum.

Taste: Candy apple, tobacco, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Definite alcohol burn on the palate.

Aftertaste: Dried cherries, underlying bread flavour from the prolonged lees contact. Boozy as heck. Good thing we walked the dog first.

Food pairing: A single plum floating in perfume in a man’s hat. Nah, I kid. I wrote this post immediately after finishing my glass, can you tell? Serve it with high quality vanilla ice cream and dribble a bit over there.

Overall: Oy vey I’d like another please.

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

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