You know what I like about Chanukah? Treating myself to a lovely Baltic Porter to celebrate another day of latkes, smoked salmon, and overlapping with Christmas this year. Kole and I don’t decorate for the holidays. No Christmas tree, no lights, no decals on the window. Some years I remember to buy Chanukah candles. Last year we were in China over Chanukah and the whole thing got completely glossed over.

I took a much deserved break from cleaning and cooking to enjoy Continuity Baltic Porter from Guelph’s Stonehammer Brewing. We popped into the brewery back in April or May en route to a family function in Guelph, but never got around to writing about the brews we picked up. I blame Kole, and now I’m airing my grievances by writing about them. Wait. Wrong holiday.

This winter warmer clocks in at a very boozy 7.8% and a respectable 34 IBU. If you’re just crawling out of bed and have some Christmas present to unwrap, this one will make a solid alternative to coffee while the kiddos unwrap their gifts. A 500 ml bottle will set you back only $5.95, so it’s a pretty solid value choice if times are lean. It’s a well-recognized beer, as it has the honour of taking home gold twice in the Canadian Brewing Awards. Hey, you deserve something award winning at the table.

Appearance:  Deep rich black poor, lasting frothy mocha coloured head. Mahogany highlights.

Aroma: Coffee, dark chocolate malt. Warms up to a richer cocoa after 30+ minutes at room temperature in the glass.

Taste: Baking spice, vanilla, toffee, black current.

Aftertaste: Toast and coffee – it’s breakfast in a beer.

Suggested food pairing: Pair with desserts such as bobka and reugalah (chocolate only!), or if you’re feeling really bold and not at all kosher. serve it with oysters for a contrasting palate.

Overall: Ho ho ho, this one makes me feel really jolly at a time of year where I’m known for my crankiness.

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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