Happy Chanukah! We’re back for another year of Llamakuh good times, with the third installment of my favourite series, #The8BeersofChanukah2017 edition. It’s been a busy year since we ran this series last year, including Kole stepping on a glass at our wedding (on purpose).

So gather all your favourite goyim around some latkes, and spin a dreidl with Captain Kirk and Mister Spock.

Red ales are one of my favourite styles of beer, a really popular option in my native Quebec. They haven’t gathered quite the following here in Ontario thus far, so I make an effort to have one whenever I can. I’ve had a lot of MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Co.‘s Red Fox Ale over the last year or so on tap, usually at festivals. We found out during Drink Inc’s Hoppy Holidays event that the ever popular beet brew would be appearing in the LCBO later that week. A tall boy weighs in at 4.2% and will set you back $3.05 at the LCBO, but our can was a Chanukah miracle from the brewery.

The beets add a lovely ruby colour, and an earthy backbone to the beer. I savoured it while hiding from Kole assembling furniture, with ample guilt of course. It wouldn’t be the first night of Chanukah without guilt, after all. MacKinnon Brothers Brewing hails from Bath, ON, a farm based brewery on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario and is run by 2 brothers. Their Toronto rep has the loveliest Scottish accent. Every time I drink this beer, I wonder, “What did the fox say?” and I think the answer is, “More beer please.” Or yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip. You choose.

Appearance: Rick ruby colour with a lasting frothy white head.

Aroma: Fresh baked bread, earthy notes with mild citrus aroma.

Taste: Earthy, with a mix of savoury and sweetness from the hops.

Aftertaste: Lasting savoury notes – beet greens and grass.

Food pairing: I enjoyed it with a salmon burger on a Montreal-style bagel with a kosher dill pickle. Food not pictured, as I was busy defending my plate against the dog. It would be lovely with roasted beets for obvious reasons.

Overall: A solid red ale, and a creative use of the natural sugar in beets to ferment.

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