This St. Patrick’s Day, you can skip all that green beer and Guinness and celebrate your pretend-Irish heritage by hoisting these made-in Ontario stouts that give a nod to the Emerald Isle, without leaving the province.
100 STEPS STOUT, ROYAL CITY BREWING
If you want a stout less travelled, we’d suggest heading to the Victoria Road brewery and picking up a growler of this local stout. A dry, traditional stout modelled after Guinness’s iconic Irish brew, this is a subtle, easy to drink stout that’s one of our favourites from the Royal City stable. It has a mild hint of espresso, but without overtaking the brew. Weighs in at 5.2 ABV.
BLACK COAL STOUT, RAILWAY CITY
Like the name suggests, this is a deep, dark, smoky stout that tastes like it was brewed in a mine shaft far underground. But this 6 ABV beer from St. Thomas is no lump of coal. With heavy notes of roasted, black coffee and dark chocolate, it’s a more full-flavoured take on the stout style, with a slight liquorice finish. No wonder it was a gold medal winner at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards.
LUCK & CHARM OATMEAL STOUT, MACLEANS
With a funky label that was obviously marketed toward me (hello cool charm bracelet!), this oatmeal stout did not disappoint. A thick, creamy head leads the way to bitter, roasted, dark chocolate notes and a slightly sweet finish. The strong 5.6 ABV stands out with this stout, but it’s nicely balanced with the dry, big hops. It’s become one of our favourite made-in Ontario stouts.
COBBLESTONE STOUT, MILLSTREET
Mill Street Cobblestone Stout has wandered into our fridge many times, but we’ve never reviewed it before. It has a super smooth mouth-feel, with a dry, lightly roasted flavour, making this a fantastic beer you’ll drink on repeat – especially with a relatively low alcohol percentage (compared to other stouts) of 4.2 ABV. Mill Street uses nitrogen charging to carbonate this stout, just like Guinness, which gives it that classic stout creaminess, without having to travel to Ireland.
SKINNY DIPPIN’ STOUT, SAWDUST CITY
The Gravenhurst brewery makes a fine oatmeal stout, with all the chocolate and roasted malt flavours you’d expect from the style. Because of the addition of oatmeal to the malt, it’s sweeter variety of stout than a dry Irish-style stout, and pours with a light brown foamy head that disappears quickly. At 5.5 ABV, it also packs more punch than Cobblestone’s stout, but without sacrificing any smoothness.
Compiled by Greg and Kate Mercer