We’re back with another year of kvetching about everything, with the 2020 Dumpster Fire version of the #8BeersOfChanukah ready to kick off this holiday season. In fact, we made a whole outing of it to the Summerhill LCBO to stock up this year, which was my first trip outside of my neighbourhood since early October. It was really exciting – I even put on clean pants for the occasion.

First up this year is Sawdust City Brewing Co‘s Viva La Stout – Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Stout. We ordered this one directly from the Gravenhurst, ON brewery for home delivery, but it is available for purchase from the LCBO for $4.25 a can. The brewery charges a $15 flat fee for province-wide shipping, which we took advantage of because I don’t like going outside. I’ve been a fan of Sawdust City Brewing since their early days as a contract brewery, so it only feels right to include them in this year’s lineup of Chanukah beers.

The packaging gives it away. Did you grow up delicately pulling the dark chocolate coating off of the Viva Puff cookies and licking the marshmallow filling until it melted in your mouth? Was your family the kind that bought it with or without the raspberry filling? Or are you a lost Quebecois soul, like me, who was raised on des Whippets, the identical cookie created to serve the Quebec market? Whatever the case may be, it’s a great middle of the afternoon beer for your Zoom Chanukah party.

Appearance: Dark mahogany colour, long lasting frothy tan head.

Aroma: Smells like a Viva Puff or Whippet cookie with loads of confected jam.

Taste: Deep cocoa notes, a mix of milk and dark chocolate, marshmallow, raspberry jam, and graham crackers.

Aftertaste: Vanilla and confected flavour.

Food pairing: Chocolate babka, salted caramel chocolate chip cookies, or an entire box of Viva Puffs eaten on your couch in your bathrobe in the afternoon while watching soap operas.

Overall: It’s my childhood in beer form. Oy vey.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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