Putting back a bottle of Bellwoods Brewery’s Witchshark Imperial India Pale Ale is a heady experience. Since the buzzing Ossington brewpub launched last year, the city’s growing class of beer geeks have flocked there for the changing raft of inventive craft brews, and the powerful, hoppy Witchshark is one of the most fervently sought-after creations. With nine per cent alcohol and 80-plus international bitterness units (Molson Canadian has closer to 20), the first sip is a shock to the palate. The second sip settles on the tongue to reveal citrus and pine flavours, and by the third, the beer’s malty caramel and peppery notes take over. Soon a pleasant, boozy haze descends, interrupted only by a mounting desire to hasten back to the brewery’s new bottle shop to pick up another round. $8.
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