Sawdust City “Sägemehl Stadt Festbier”, Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada (Alcohol 5.7%) LCBO $3.95 (473ml can)

Sägemehl Stadt (pronounced “Zeg-a-meal St-tad-t”, a very rough translation of Sawdust City) Festbier won my heart over last night. I was looking for something to take the edge off these rapidly drawing-in nights, and this seriously malty treat certainly ticked all the right boxes for me, although if you aren’t so fond of the maltier side of the spectrum, I’d advise you to give this a wide berth.

It pours with a white head that doesn’t hang around, dissipating quickly, leaving some gentle but pronounced lacing on the glass. The carbonation is reasonably soft but very pleasant.

Aromatically, malt takes precedence, with local hops from BackRoads Hop Farm, Ontario, playing a significant but supporting role. One will find caramel, toffee, chocolate, malt loaf, and a slightly burnt biscuit note. 

On the palate, all that malty goodness continues, but takes a roasted nut turn, reminding me a little of the malt extract my mother fed us as children. The 5.7% alcohol is right in the zone for my liking, sitting well with the beer’s structure. 

The gorgeously nutty and bitter (not to mention persistent) finish shows off the Cascade hops and more of that warming malt character. Wonderful stuff.

This comes in updated packaging that is much more appealing than that shown on the LCBO website, although after consuming a few cans, I honestly thought I was seeing double, only to discover that there were some printing errors on a couple of the cans (see above).


(Four and a half out of a possible five apples)