We are quite late writing about any of the amazing Black is Beautiful beer campaigns that made the rounds this summer. Friends, please know that we see you, we hear you, and this was not a willful omission, but rather we haven’t been updating as much during the pandemic as sitting down to write a blog post has been too mentally taxing for us. But this makes us weak allies, and in the true spirit of the annual tradition of The 8 Beers Of Chanukah, we felt it was important to include one of the many delicious iterations of this project. The original story of Chanukah is one of revolt against an oppressive regime in favour of religious freedom, and we feel this ties in with the collaborative effort that Black is Beautiful is working on, to raise awareness for the injustices people of colour face daily.

The campaign began with Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas, the participating breweries donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged. Breweries across Canada opted to participate in this campaign, and today’s beer comes to us from Hamilton’s lovely Grain & Grit Beer Co. and their collaboration with Ren Navarro’s company, Beer. Diversity.

For this second night of a locked-down Chanukah, we sampled the Black is Beautiful stout, a 5% ABV beauty that is no longer available for sale through Grain & Grit Beer Co., but I hope it makes a triumphant return. We stopped by the brewery in person after a long hike in the Hamilton area during the summer, and the patio was at capacity that day so we bought a bunch of cans to try at home. It was a carefree day, spent hiking parts of the Bruce Trail and picking wild black raspberries to snack on. It seems like a distant memory now, when patios were permissible and there was renewed hope. Since the story of Chanukah is one of hope, resilience, and making things last, today seemed like as good of a day as any to get into this beer after enjoying some sunshine and a long solo walk through the neighbourhood with the dog. After all, I could use some hope for the future, couldn’t you?

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

Aroma: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder, freshly brewed espresso.

Taste: Toasted bread, bitter dark chocolate, a marriage of bitterness from the dark roasted malt the choice of hops.

Aftertaste: Long lasting toasted flavour.

Food pairing: Slow roasted brisket, Sufaniyot (Chanukah donuts) with blueberry filling.

Overall: Goes nicely with a side of social justice.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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