In celebration of picking up my new reading glasses on the weekend (yay, getting old), I figured the aptly named beer of Squints from Left Field Brewery  would be a fitting choice for this third night of Chanukah.  After all, it means no more squinting at books since the ones I’ve been wearing for four years are no longer quite the right prescription – and treating yourself to proper vision care is one awesome Chanukah present if you ask me. Tonight’s #8BeersOfChanukah includes a can for Kole, so clearly the spirit of benevolence is upon me this year as I shared one of these 5.2% ABV small cans with him, weighing in at only 10 IBU.

I was a little nervous about cracking open this gose, as it’s been sitting in our fridge since sometime in September and the manufacturing date on the can was August 21. Since goses have very minimal hops, there isn’t a lot to preserve the beer. Luckily it has been stored in a cold and dark environment since we bought it, so I took a chance. We picked it up on an early autumn hike in the east end that culminated with a few beers in Left Field’s very inviting taproom.

Squints is a sunflower seed gose with lime and black pepper, reminiscent of warm summer days at the Rogers Centre watching the Blue Jays lose.  Lime is a popular addition to a gose and black pepper is a lovely compliment to lime flavour (think of Miss Vickie’s tasty snack). Sunflower seeds was a new ingredient for me in beer. Brewed with sea salt and Ontario malted sunflower seeds from Barn Owl Malt, there’s a lot going on in this brew. Plus you can wave it under Uncle Shlomo’s nose and get him intrigued since he snacks on sunflower seeds all day after all. I find that goses are a polarizing beer choice – some people are horrified that they lack the bitterness of a popular hop bomb and cannot embrace the salty nature of the brew, whereas others are refreshed by the salt. Since I live for savoury foods and I’m supposed to eat a reduced sodium diet, I cannot get enough of the salt. Bring it. Let me lick the Dead Sea (don’t actually do that – I tried). Serve me all of the pickles. Raise my blood pressure. Where was I? Ah yes. I like goses cause I love salty things. I’m the one hovering by the salty snacks at your Chanukah party, wearing an ironic llama sweater.

Appearance: Lovely clear golden colour, filtered with a thick, long lasting snow white head.

Aroma: Coriander, sea salt, tangerine, lime juice.

Taste: Very tart on the palate, with lots of sour lime – highly acidic which was noticeable since I had some dental work done a few days ago. 

Aftertaste: Quite salty at first, giving way to the flavour of roasted sunflower seeds, coriander and black pepper.

Food pairing: Sushi, edamame, gefilte fish. Also best served with some of your parents’ guilt over not owning a home in Toronto because you spent all of your money on craft beer and avocado toast, you bearded hipster you.

Overall: I’m just relieved it didn’t oxidize since I forgot about this one. A delicious option if you want to confuse the relatives at this year’s Chanukah party, Christmas gathering, or the Festivus Airing of Grievances.

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