I’ve explained to Kole that the true spirit of Chanukah is little tokens to let a person know that you care. Tonight’s token: I let Kole have his own beer as part of the #8BeersOfChanukah. I fully expect him to get excited when I give him dental floss one of these nights.

On this second night of Chanukah, I decided to warm up a bit from the rather frigid late autumn we’ve been having and enjoy the Night Watcher Oatmeal Stout from Lake of Bays Brewing, located up in the town of Lake of Bays in the heart of Muskoka. We stopped in for a beer back in 2015 after a very early spring camping trip to Algonquin Park, where we almost froze to death with our dog. It seemed like a fitting choice for the cold weather we’ve had lately, no?

A tallboy retails for $3.35 at the LCBO, and is a light option for a Monday night beer on this second night of Chanukah, at only 4.4% and 25 IBU. Maybe your family has their Chanukah party on a Monday night – who am I to judge? Maybe it’s been a long work week already, since you dusted off your tinsel Chanukah decorations for your cubicle and nudged the office Christmas tree out of the way. Or maybe you’re a lush having a few brews on a Monday night – I’ve got wine classes on Mondays so again, who am I to judge? At least this beer has no un-kosher ingredients, so I’m already ahead of yesterday’s beer.

Appearance: Deep dark brown colour, almost black, with ruby highlights. One can had a lasting tan head, and one faded really fast. We each had our beer in a challice.

Aroma: Toasted almonds, vanilla, black coffee, freshly brewed java.

Taste: Dark chocolate, coffee grinds, toast. The oatmeal in the mash lends the beer a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel that is really pleasant – more stouts should use oats in the mash.

Aftertaste: Lingering bitter chocolate and burnt toast.

Food pairing: Oy, piss off your bubby and marinate this year’s brisket in it, then serve a can on the side. We actually used it to make an Irish stew with lamb and beef (cause I’m an Irish Jew, right) and it came out rich and savoury.

Overall: A nice low ABV stout. Have some on hand for that cousin who asks if you have any Guinness, since you’re a beer snob.

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. A dedicated Booze Hound, Shawna completed the Wine Specialist Certificate at George Brown College in 2018.

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

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com