Thursday, 31 March 2011

March 31, 2011

130)  Home:  Yankee Jim Ice Bock by Big Hole Brewing of New York, USA:  *;  I was ready to pass this one by - neither the name nor the package appealed to me but I persisted when I saw who the brewer was;  sad to report, this pale ice bock is unoffensive and a bit ordinary;

Today is the feast of St. Guy of Pomposa

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

March 30, 2011

129)  Home:  Aventinus Weizen Eisbok Ale by Private Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn of Germany:  **1/2;  12%;  this wheat doppelbock, brewed following Reinheitsgebot, was a bit of a surprise;  the flavours are very intense and with that nose, I might have mistaken this for a Belgian beer;  normally I like my bocks darker (like Growlers used to make and Duggan's, in the same location, has been known to make) but this is superb; 

Lent is not yet half over. It sure is tough giving up beer.  I would have skipped today but I couldn't let the feast of St. Clinius go by without marking it.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

March 29, 2011

128)  Home:  Organic Ale by Duchy Originals of England:  **;  just a touch of bitterness to this slightly fruity/grassy ale;  another very refreshing English ale;  profits go to the Prince of Wales' Charitable Foundation - a few years back, Prince Charles was voted Beer Drinker of the Year for his "Pub is the Hub" campaign, to preserve the institution that is the English pub;

Today is the feast of St. Eustace.

Monday, 28 March 2011

March 28, 2011

127)  Home:  Galt Knife Old Style by Grand River Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a "pre-prohibition style lager";  I'm glad I gave this one a second chance;  I tried it last year and came away thinking if this was how beer was in those days I might have supported prohibition, too;  Now, I think it may not have been stored properly on the way to the store;  Today's bottle was slightly dry, very refreshing;

I am now caught up in my posts - time to do some promoting.

It is the feast of a different St. Alexander than yesterday's.

March 27, 2011

125)  Huether's Hotel, Waterloo:  Chief's Pale Ale by Lion Brewery of Ontario:  **;  an English style IPA;

126)  Huether's Hotel:  Black & Tan:  **;  This one actually has stronger hop notes than the IPA;

The same as my earlier visit, I was in the Lion Brewery Restaurant.  The Barley Works upstairs has the same draught list but it does have a different menu so it may be worth my time to change my routine next visit.

Today is the feast of St. Alexander.

March 26, 2011

123)  Home:  Nut Brown Ale by Amsterdam of Ontario:  **:  Malty and rich;  I enjoyed this one a fair bit more back in the days of the Amsterdam brewpub on John Street;

124)  Home:  Little Korkny Ale by Noerrebro Bryghus of Denmark:  *;  at $21.95 for a 600ml bottle, this is the most expensive beer so far;  a 12.5% American inspired barley wine;  I am glad to have tried it but it is an experience that does not necessarily need to be repeated.

Today is the feast of St. Basil the Younger.  Also St. Peter - had I remembered I would have waited to drink that English Ale.

March 25, 2011

120)  Sin and Redemption of Toronto:  Hop-It by De Leyerth Brouwerijen (Urthel) of Belgium:  ***:  picture a very strongly hopped blonde ale;  strong hop presence but very malty at the same time;  we are in the midst of a cold snap so the 9.5% abv got me to the concert very nicely;

121)  Caffe Volo of Toronto:  Wind and Sail Dark Ale by Barley Days of Ontario:  **;  I visited the brewey last summer;  a very capable dark ale;

122)  Caffe Volo:  Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **;  the cranberry nose and flavour add a richness to this stout;  perfect at the end of a cold day;

Today is the feast of St. Dismas, one of the thieves who was crucified with Christ at Calvary.

March 24, 2011

119)  Home:  Mocha Porter by Lake of Bays of Ontario:  **1/2;  brewed with coffee;  the roasted barley gives chocolate notes;

Today is the feast of St. Aldemar.

March 23, 2011

118)  Home:  English Ale by St. Peter's Brewery of England:  **;  a refreshing English ale in a beautiful bottle;

It is not the feast of St. Peter but it is the feast of St. Ethelwald.

March 22, 2011

117)  Home:  Dernier Volonte by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec:  **;  translates as last will or last wish;  a blonde Abbey style ale; very Belgian;  hops to the nose but not so much to the taste;

Today is the feast of St. Saturninus.

March 21, 2011

116)  Home:  Rigor Mortis by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec:  **;  a 10.5% brown abbey style quadrupel;  I have had this aging in the fridge since last October and there is a second bottle waiting to be consumed next October;  layers of complexity and richness;

Drink up, it is the feast of St. Seraphon the Scholastic

March 20, 2011

115)  Home:  Dark Ale by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;  nicely done;  in light of yesteday's festivities anything is going to seem ordinary for a while;  I found myself wishing, as I am want to do, to be able to find this on cask

Today is the feast of St. Wulfram.

March 19, 2011

107)  Cloak and Dagger in Toronto:  Lug Tread Lagered Ale by Beau's all Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  top fermented like an ale, aged like a lager;  a year-round beer; 

108)  Caplanski's Deli in Toronto:  Dunkel by Denison's of Ontario:  **;  a revival of a beer I used to enjoy at the late, lamented Growlers brewed by the original brewmaster;  a dark Bavarian style lager. 

109)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern in Toronto:  XXX by County Durham of Ontario:  **;  on cask;  very English;  a hearty convival brew;

110)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Robust Porter by Cheshire Valley of Ontario:  **1/2;  a rich and hearty porter;

111)  Harbord House in Toronto:  Blak Katt Stout by County Durham of Ontario:  **1/2;  to my taste this one sits on that hard to define border between a porter and a stout;  a bit thin for a stout but very flavourful;

112)  Harbord House:  Winter Brewed Coffee Infused Ale by Beau's:  **1/2;  Unlike most coffee beers this is an ale, not a porter, not a stout;  you know you are drinking beer;  fresh coffee flavour, no bitterness up front or as an after taste;  Nicaraguan coffee is added very late in the brewing process to achieve this;

113)  Victory Cafe in Toronto:  Scotch Ale by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  *1/2:  a typical Scotch ale but a nice find on cask;

114)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Sham-Bock by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  Yes, I went back when I heard that I had missed this one and I am glad of it, besides, I'm crazy about this place;  a doppelbock brewed with Ontario maple syrup;

Today was the mid-point between Toronto Beer Week 2010 and 2011 and it was marked by two six-month countdown pub crawls.  I chose the Kensington Market/Annex crawl.  I noticed that they have Molson Stock Ale at the Cloak & Dagger which merits a repeat visit.  It was the first stop of the day and I was pacing myself (half pints only) with root beer at Caplanski's and club soda at the Victory.  Besides, I cannot be certain how 40 or so cask ale enthusiasts/snobs would react to the sight of me with a bottle of Molson anything in my hand.

I certainly did myself a favour by pacing myself and it didn't hurt that I walked to the crawl from Union Station (detouring to the LCBO at Queen's Quay to buy a bottle of Bitter & Twisted) and then back again.

A side note:  in spite of how great it smelled inside Caplanski's or how posh the Harbord House was, everyone I saw eating today was eating at the Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern. 

Today is the feast of St. Adrian

March 18, 2011

106)  Home:  Scottish Stout by Belhaven Brewery of Scotland:  **;  Malty with faint alcohol notes;  roasty with hints of caramel/honey;

Today is the feast of St. Edward the Martyr, not to mention St Cyril of Jerusalem.

March 17, 2011

104)  The 3 Brewers, Toronto:  Equinox, brewed on site:  *1/2;  a pale ale with a floral nose;

105)  The 3 Brewers:  Stout, brewed on site:  **;  for a French place they make a very credible stout;  I look forward to this seasonal;  my daughter likes the Little Brewers kids' special.

In addtion to St. Patrick, today is the feast of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, St. Jan Sarkander, St. Joseph of Arimathea, St. Paul of Cyprus; 

March 16, 2011

Some beer blogs I follow:

March 15, 2011

102)  Home:  Dark Ale by F & M Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  slight roast notes;  pleasant but unexceptional;

103)  Home:  London Pride Premium Ale by Fullers of England:  *1/2;  an English style ale, not bad;  would be improved by being on cask;

Today is the feast of St Clement Mary Hofbauer, born Dvorak, a Redemptorist monk (see entries for Sin & Redemption)

March14, 2011

101)  Home:  Stock Ale by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  *:  That name, that brewery:  I was expecting more;  a bit sweet for my taste;  not bad, just ordinary - which is even worse;

Today is the feast of St. Mathilda

March 13, 2011

Other goals:  I make certain that I have a drink on Tracks' patio at least once every month of the year and I run outdoors in short pants at least once every month of the year as well.  The looks I get are more than worth it.

I began the year training for a second marathon but a third of the way in I punched out and will settle for a half marathon.  A 23km run was particulary miserable.  Maybe I shouldn't have judged myself on a performance the day after four pints, running on ice in a snow storm but I was also starting to feel badly about all the (day) time I was spending away from home.  Now, I am thinking I should have tried ten-and-ones.

I may be leaving a certain impression by publishing my beer exploits so I will mention that on both my last visit to the YMCA in 2010, and my first visit in 2011, I weighed 87.4kg.  The most recent time I weighed myself at the YMCA, I was 83.7kg.

March 12, 2011

95)  C'est What, Toronto:  Coffee Oatmeal Stout by F & M Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  Thick, rich and hearty;

96)  C'est What:  Double Fuggled by Neustadt Springs of Ontario:  **:  Extra fuggles hops give this a strong hop aroma and taste - on cask

97)  C'est What:  Arkell Best Bitter by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;  very English:  a very nice bitter on cask and at under 4% abv it would work well as a session ale;

98)  Caffe Volo, Toronto:  Dude, Where's My Czar? by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  Russian Imperial Stout;  strong alcohol notes;  So far this is just about the best name for a beer this year, though Smashbomb Atomic IPA comes close.

99)  Caffe Volo:  My Bitterer Wife by Great Lakes Brewery:  **1/2;  Double IPA version of My Bitter Wife

100)  Caffe Volo:  Lazarus Breakfast Stout:  **;  Rich and delicious;

I don't want to leave the wrong impression - I knew that after the show when I got to the Volo for a night with Great Lakes brewmaster Mike Lackey I would have trouble making up my mind so it was small glasses all around.

Today is the feast of St. Fina, also known as Seraphina.

March 11, 2011

94)  Home:  Young's Double Chocolate Stout by Wells & Young's Brewing:  **;  very nice - thick and rich;

Today is the feast of St. Euthymius of Sardis.

March 10, 2011

93)  Home:  IPA by Greene King of England:  **;  a recreation of the original IPAs, very English;

I don't normally drink beer during Lent but today is the feast of St. Anastasia the Patrician.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

March 9, 2011

I think I have found something even more poisonous to the atmosphere of a pub than television and bad piped in music:  comedy;  It is perhaps a generational thing.  My taste in humour runs from the Three Stooges to Woody Allen.  The trend seems to be to string together profanity and racism.  It's one way to get me to leave after just the one.

March 8, 2011

92)  Home:  Pumpking by Southern Tier of New York, USA:  **;  left over from Hallowe'en;  brewed with pureed pumpkin - I felt the need for a fork;  very nice

March 7, 2011

91)  Home:  Blanche du Paradis by Dieu du Ciel of Quebec:  **;  a wheat beer brewed with spices;  I don't usually go for wheat beers but I liked this one and it can only taste better come the warm weather;

March 6, 2011

89)  Village Idiot Pub in Toronto:  ESB by Fullers of England:  **;  very English;  perfect with a late lunch ;

90)  Village Idiot Pub:  Leffe Brune by Abbaye Leffe S.A. of Belgium:  **:  beautiful colour, slightly sweet, slightly roasty;  a contemplative beer to follow a visit to the nearby Art Gallery of Ontario;

March 5, 2011

88)  Home:  Infinium by Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, USA:  **;  rather pricy;  a collaboration between Sam Adams and Germany's Weihenstephan;  Reinheitsgebot compliant;  the bottle and tiny bubbles bring champagne to mind;  tastes vaguely Dutch or Belgian

March 4, 2011

86)  Tracks Brewpub of Brampton:  Heritage Ale by Tracks Brewpub of Ontario:  **;  unfiltered, reminds me of Hoegaarden with the notes of orange and coriander;

87)  Tracks Brewpub:  Tracks Light by Tracks Brewpub:  *;  bartender extraordinaire Brian describes it as Coors Light with flavour;  a number of regulars seem to go for it but I remain unconvinced;

If truth be told, it has been a few months since beers were brewed on site;  they are currently brewed on contract under the supervision of the owners;  back in the day, it was a proud moment when they asked me to add the yeast;

March 3, 2011

85)  Home:  Brown Ale by Newcastle of England:  **;  an old favourite to be sure;  I used to be able to find this on tap but not lately;

March 2, 2011

84)  Home:  Russian Gun Imperial Stout by Grand River Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  Not as bitter as this variety can be - rich, malty, hearty;

March 1, 2011

83)  Home:  Dead Elephant Ale by Railway City Brewing in Ontario:  **1/2;  Strong hop notes and taste;  brewed in St. Thomas where Jumbo the Elephant met his end in a collision with a train;  one of my favourite IPAs

February 28, 2011

81)  Huether Hotel in Waterloo:  English Ale by the Lion Brewery of Ontario:  **;  a brown ale, roasty with fruity notes;

82)  Huether Hotel:  Adley's Ale by the Lion Brewery:  *1/2;  a red ale

Pronounced Hee-ther, this location goes back a long time in Waterloo;  the family also owns the brew-your-own next door as well as the Gold Crown Brewery, also next door, which brews different beers than available at the brewpub in Heuther's;  Heuthers is a great place for a casual meal be it breakfast, lunch or dinner;

February 27, 2011

80)  Mill Street Brewpub in Toronto:  Father John by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  ESB with extra hops;  as a bonus, this very flavourful beer was on cask;

February 26, 2011

77)  Sin and Redemption in Toronto:  Delirium Tremens by Brewery Huyghe NV of Belgium:  ***;  A top three beer;  triple fermented, a bit sweet, very warming;  this is definitely one I would travel for (need I add by public transit?);  my pre-concert drink of choice for an evening listening to the Tallis Choir;

78)  Sin and Redemption:  La Trappe/Koningshoeven Dubbel by Bierbrouwerij Koningshoeven B.V. of the Netherlands:  ***:  double fermented;  beautiful colour, very complex flavours, worth searching for;

79)  Sin and Redemption:  La Trappe/Koningshoeven Tripel by Bierbrouwerij Koningshoeven B.V.:  ***;  triple fermented;  a bit fruitier than its stablemates but every bit as wonderful and warming;

Sin and Redemption is located across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral (founded by Redemptorist monks...) which is where the Tallis Choir performs;  what I find interesting is that the Village Idiot Pub next door is owned by the same individual;  S & R is more of a bistro than a pub and the beer list is tilted more towards continental Europe.  I like both places.

February 25, 2011

74)  Caffe Volo in Toronto:  Baltic Shipwreck Imperial Stout by Taps Brewery of Ontario:  **;  Strong alcohol notes in this very dark, very strong beer.  I have become quite fond of Russian Imperial Stouts and Porters;

75)  Caffe Volo:  Smashbomb Atomic IPA by Flying Monkeys Brewery of Ontario:  ***;  incredibly hoppy both to the nose and to the palate;  This is one of my three favourite beers and it was the ideal thing to have coursing through my veins as I attended a night of "medieval songs of drunkeness, lechery and other altered states", and best of all, it was on cask!

76)  C'est What in Toronto:  Black Eye by County Durham Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  I'm not sure I get this one;  it's an aggressively hopped porter - sort of a porter/IPA blend;  on cask;

February 24, 2011

A couple of links:

I haven't been to the Beer Store in years.  They take a lot of abuse on other blogs but I think the LCBO does a pretty reasonable job of acquiring unusual and interesting beers.  The site has a great product search function which permits a certain degree of browsing by country, for example.  A proviso:  the function that lets you know how much of a product is at a particular store is not 100% accurate.

I keep up with the Ontario Craft Brewers Association by way of the second site.  Not every craft brewer is a member of the association but this is still a helpful site.  I especially like the advance notice of the Discovery Pack and what will be contained.

February 23, 2011

72)  Fanzorelli's Lounge in Brampton:  Premium Lager by Creemore Springs of Ontario:  *;  This was at one time Ontario's best lager but it suffers for having been taken over by Molson;

73)  Fanzorelli's Lounge:  Moretti by Birra Moretti of Italy:  *;  sort of ordinary;

February 22, 2011

71)  Home:  Bombay Pale Ale by Norrebro Bryghus of Denmark:  **;  a Danish brewery's take on an English style ale originally intended for export to Imperial India;

February 21, 2011

69)  Home:  IPA by Southern Tier of New York, USA:  **;  Yes, another aggressively hopped IPA and a very fine one at that;

70)  Home:  SPA by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  Special Pale Ale in the English style - I have a feeling this would be so much better on cask;

February 20, 2011

68)  Home:  Choklat Imperial Stout by Southern Tier of New York, USA:  *;  the strong chocolate and alcohol notes combine to make each sip both cloyingly sweet and unpleasantly bitter;

February 19, 2011

64)  Caffe Volo, Toronto:  Le Porteur by Trou du Diable of Quebec:  **1/2;  nothing eccentric about this porter, just solid good taste

65)  Caffe Volo:  Dubai Pilee by Trou du Diable:  **1/2;  Double IPA;  the nose was Sauvignon Blanc, believe it or don't;

66)  Caffe Volo:  La Grivoise de Noel by Trou du Diable;  **;  a spiced Christmas ale;  it reminded me of the Jubilation ale from a while back;

67)  Caffe Volo:  "V" 5th Anniversary Beer by Trou du Diable:  ** a bourbon barrel aged Scotch ale

Tonight was an event with the brewmaster of Trou du Diable of Shawinigan featuring their wares.

February 18, 2011

63)  Tracks Brewpub, Brampton:  Tuborg by Tuborg Brewery of Denmark (can):  *1/2;  pale, very continental;  this quest gives me the excuse to explore Tracks' imports cooler;

February 17, 2011

62)  Home:  Headstrong Pale Ale by Big Hole Brewing of New York, USA:  **1/2;  it's another aggressively hopped West coast style IPA with a strong floral, citrusy scent and a strong taste;  much like winter, I don't think I will tire of all the strongly hopped ales available these days;

February 16, 2011

61)  Home:  Headstrong Black & Tan by Big Hole Brewing of New York, USA:  **;  a Black & Tan is a blend of pale ale and stout and this is a very nice example;

February 15, 2011

Another one for the read list:  I just purchased Brew North - How Canadians Made Beer and Beer Made Canada by Ian Coutts

Before cable TV and the internet, rural Ontario was several years behind urban/suburban Ontario and vacations were like a trip back in time.  Not only would you see kids your age with crew cuts but you would pass places with separate entrances for Ladies and Escorts and there were those old liquor stores where you had to filll in a slip of paper and take it to the counter to buy booze.  This is a reminder of those days and so much more.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

February 14, 2011

59)  Home:  ur-Bock by Creemore Springs of Ontario:  **;  Bock is yet another of so very many reasons to love winter, especially a Canadian winter, and this is one of my favourite bocks;  I still so fondly remember the bock at Growlers back in the day;

60)  Home:  Black Irish Porter by Scotch Irish Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  a very good porter;  now that Kichesippi Beer Co. has bought them out I can only hope that nothing changes with any of their brands;

February 13, 2011

59)  Home:  London Porter by Fullers of England:  **;  rich and hearty

60)  Jack Astors, Brampton:  Sam Adams Light by Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, USA:  **;  this was a surprise - decent hop notes for a light beer.  I am going to have to give their summer lager a second chance in a few months

February 12, 2011

55)  Caffe Volo, Toronto:  Jubilation Spiced Ale by Grand River of Ontario:  **1/2;  a winter ale, as described and very enjoyable

56)  Caffe Volo:  Currently Incarcerated Porter by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  another winner from Great Lakes;  I have met Mr. Lackey and I no matter what I say I seem unable to get a rise from him;

February 11, 2011

Some recommended reading:

by Nicholas Pashley, Notes On A Beermat:  Drinking and Why It's Necessary;  and
Cheers:  An Intemporate History of Beer in Canada (they seem to have dropped the word 'intemporate' since I read it); 
I am fortunate enough to have met Mr. Pashley in person on a number of occasions and he is just as witty and charming in person as he is in print;

Steven Beaumont, The Great Canadian Beer Guide; 
I'm not sure what the most recent edition is (I have the 2001 edition) but there aren't going to be further updates.  I bought this as an historical reference

Paul Brent, Lager Heads; 
an often hilarious tale of Molson and Labatts and their efforts to one-up each other in the areas of advertising, acquisitions, expansion, new products, diversification (or as Peter Lynch famously called it, di-worse-ificiation) ;  some of the tales read like long lost Monty Python sketches;

February 10, 2011

53)  Home:  10W30 by Neustadt Springs of Ontario:  **;  Dark and malty;

54)  Home:  Devil's Pale Ale 666 by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  from the package:  666kg malt, 6.66kg hops. 66.6 minutes of boiling, 6% alcohol, 6.6.06 date of conception;  'the devil made me brew it';  nicely hopped, very English;

February 9, 2011

One of the drawbacks to living this way is that I fear I might pass over an old favourite in favour of fluffing up my beer count.  Hard to say if that is a factor or not - people I meet drinking will tell you they often hear me say, "I have tried every one except that one so that's the one I will order.".

February 8, 2011

52)  Home:  Oyster Stout by Marston's Beer Company of England:  **1/2;  it's not flavoured with oysters as the name might suggest but rather it is recommended as their ideal accompanyment;  rich, hearty, delicious

February 7, 2011

51)  Home:  Abt 12 Abbey Ale by St. Bernardus of Belgium:  **;  beautiful colour - I was glad I had the right glassware on hand;  egads, 10%...

February 6, 2011

Other reasons for a visit to T.O.:

That last one may sound silly and, indeed, I used to think it was the very height of silliness until I visited for an early music event.  I got there early and was invited to look around and what I found was history and art from an unusual perspective.  It is also very kid-friendly.

February 5, 2011

49)  Home:  Coffee Porter by Meantime of England:  **1/2;  barely rates a mention on their website (if only I could find the other beers mentioned there);  aromatic, flavourful, one of the best coffee porters going;  very nice looking bottle as well;

50)  Home:  Betelgeuse by Mill Street of Ontario:  **;  Belgian style Trippel, wonderfully complex;  I don't get tired of saying, at 8.5% I hope Spring never comes;

February 4, 2011

48)  Home:  Winterbier by Bierbrouwerij Sint Christoffel B. V.;  *1/2;  Comes in a beautiful 2 litre ceramic jug;  the beer couldn't possibly live up to the packaging;  it was a gift so I did like the cost;

February 3, 2011

47)  Home:  Coffee Porter by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario;  **; easy-drinking, moderate coffee flavour and nose;  another gem from Mill Street

February 2, 2011

45)  Home:  Tankhouse Ale by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a go-to beer for places that want a craft ale on tap and I'm happy with that because it's a favourite of mine;  compared to many the hops are subtle but very nice indeed;

46)  Home:  Lemon Tea Beer by Mill Street;  **;  brewed with Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey teas as well as lemon puree;  more of a summertime beer I would think;  I got it as part of Mill Street's sampler six-pack

February 1, 2011

44)  Home:  Winterse Christoffel Bok by Bierbrouwerij Sint Christoffel B.V.:  *1/2;  a bit sweet and malty for my liking;  comes in a nifty swing-cap like Grolsch

January 31, 2011

43)  Home:  Jacobite Ale by Traquair of Scotland:  *;  a strong beer, flavoured with coriander which to my taste works better for pale beers than with a dark one like this;  the first sip was tough going but each subsequent sip beat the previous one;

January 30, 2011

41)  Duke of York, Toronto:  Hoegaarden by Brouwerij van Hoegaarden of Belgium:  **:  a witbier, flavoured with coriander and orange peel;

42)  Duke of York:  Dark Ale by Muskoka Cottage Brewery:  **;  hints of caramel, coffee, chocolate

January 29, 2011

39)  Home:  St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout by McAuslan of Quebec;  **1/2;  Beer writer Steven Beaumont once opined that if this is not the best beer made in Canada it is certainly the best stout;  hints of coffee;  I think Mr. Beaumont is co-owner of the beerbistro;

40)  Home:  Crazy Canuck Pale Ale by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario;  **;  purchased at the brewery;  another in a series of aggressively hopped pale ales;  appealing hop aroma and taste;

January 28, 2011

That's not what you meant when you asked what brings me to Toronto?

How about this:  I'm a particularly big fan of the Academy Concert Series, Musicians in Ordinary, Sine Nomine, Tallis Choir and Toronto Continuo Collective.  I try to get out to the Toronto Consort and Tafelmusik once a year or so.  Quite a lot of one-offs I learn of from the Wholenote also.

I'll add a few more:

January 27, 2011

36)  C'est What, Toronto:  Mill-Gap Bitter by Neustadt Springs of Ontario:  *1/2;  on cask;  rather English, mild hop nose and flavour;

37)  C'est What:  Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale by Flying Monkeys Brewery of Ontario;  *1/2;  a lot of flavours going on though not quite so many as Bog Father mentioned earlier;

38)  C'est What:  Vanilla Porter by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario;  ***;  much as it sounds;  thick, rich, makes for a great dessert;

Happy birthday to me!

January 26, 2011

34)  Home:  Weisser Hirsch by Hirschbrau of Germany;  *;  golden, cloudy with hints of clove and banana;

35)  Home:  Black Chocolate Stout by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, USA:  *;  strong flavour;  10% alcohol;  would qualify under Reinheitsgebot;  bitter chocolate notes and strong alcohol notes

January 25, 2011

33)  Home:  Neuschwansteiner Das Echte by Hirschbrau of Germany;  *;  a golden lager, pleasant but not particularly distinctive

January 24, 2011

So what brings me to Toronto? not to mention

January 23, 2011

32)  Home:  Black Creek Porter by Black Creek Historic Brewery in Ontario;  **;  Thinner than many porters, almost no head;  still, quite hearty and enjoyable.  Porters are becoming fashionable - a trend I welcome.

January 22, 2011

Today's beers were consumed at the Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern in Toronto at January's Cask Ale Social.

28)  Red Dragon by Durham County in Ontario;  **1/2;  an ESB on cask with nice colour and nice hop notes;

29)  Bog Father Gruit Ale by Beau's All Natural Brewing in Ontario;  **1/2;  brewed with bogmyrtle;  gruit is a mix of herbs, twigs, spices, etc. - gruit did the job of hops before they became common;  hints of cola among so very many other flavours and aromas

30)  Barley Legal Barley Wine by Church Key of Ontario;  **;  very high octane which was nice on such a cold day;

31)  Maple Porter by Nickel Brook of Ontario;  **;  a good, solid porter with hints of maple;

I had never been here before but I will certainly return.  It was incredibly busy but if our barmaids were stressed they didn't show it.  They were unfailingly pleasant and efficient.  The place looks just like the saloons featured in the vintage Westerns that play on the screen above the bar and it's kid-friendly:  there is even a spot for stroller parking. 

The Oh My Goodness This Just Might Kill Me burger is one of the two best burgers I have ever eaten.  I did survive but just barely.  I look forward to my next one.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

January 21, 2010

I am setting a good pace which I feel is necessary as I expect things to dry up come summer.  With the end of concert season, there is less reason to go to Toronto and the porters and dark ales I favour will become harder to find.  Also, I can't store beer in my garage during the hot months so I am factoring in that things may slow down for me around May or so.

January 20, 2011

27)  Home:  Fraoch by Heather Ale of Scotland;  **;  Ales brewed with heather are said to date back 4000 years;  this one is based on a sixteenth century recipe;  I learned from the website that Heather Ale is owned by Williams Bros Brewing

January 19, 2011

26)  Home:  Alba by Heather Ale of Scotland;  **1/2;  brewed with Scots Pine and Spruce sprigs;  my favourite of the four in this gift pack;  they say that the Vikings introduced spruce/pine ales to Scotland;

January 18, 2011

25)  Home:  Grozet by Heather Ale of Scotland;  **;  Brewed with wheat, lager malt, bog myrtle, hops (unusual for an 'ancient' recipe I would think) and meadowsweet;  undergoes a secondary fermentation with gooseberries;

January 17, 2011

24)  Home:  Ebulum by Heather Ale of Scotland;  **;  Part of the Historic Ales of Scotland gift pack (thank you, Sweetie);  based on a sixteenth century recipe;  brewed with elderberries;

January 16, 2011

23)  Home:  Lava Smoked Imperial Stout by Olvishot Brugghus of Iceland;  *;  Smoked beers do not in general work for me but my wife liked it;

January 15, 2011

21)  Home:  10 Bitter Years by Black Oak of Etobicoke, Ontario;  ***;  Their anniversary IPA;  very aggressively hopped - 8% - I don't care if winter never ends

22)  Home:  Solstice d'Hiver by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec;  **1/2;  translates as Winter Solstice;  at 10.2% this was perfect after an hour of skating outdoors

January 14, 2011

18)  Home:  Dunkeler Hirsch by Hirschbrau of Germany;  *1/2;  Reminds me a bit of the beers formerly brewed at Growlers in Toronto, cloudy, a tad sweet with hints of yeast and banana;

19)  Jack Astor's in Brampton:  Winter Lager by Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, USA;  *1/2;  hints of cinammon, ginger and orange peel;  I haven't been here in a while and I was pleasantly surprised at the draught offerings;

20)  Jack Astor's:  Barking Squirrel Lager by Hop City of Ontario;  *;  a bit disaapointing given the name of the brewery, Hop CIty is actually ownd by Moosehead which makes this a stealth beer, like Rickard's;  I detected little if anything in the way of hops;

January 13, 2011

17)  Home:  Boneshaker Unfiltered IPA by Amsterdam of Toronto, Ontario;  **;  another limited run product;  7.1% - I am having little difficulty staying warm this winter;

January 12, 2011

Other things impeding me:  I count my beers as a matter of health so there is a limit to what I consume.  I do give myself a week off per month, 'crazy week', during which I allow myself to go absolutely mad.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

January 11, 2011

15)  Home:  Teicher Smoked Porter by Amsterdam of Toronto, Ontario;  **;  as first prize in the Toronto Beer Week homebrew contest, Amsterdam brewed a full batch;  the strong porter flavours stand up well to any smokiness;

16)  Home:  Winter Ale by Great Lakes Brewery of Toronto, Ontario;  **1/2;  brewed with honey, cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, it tastes like Christmas;  I had a glass from a special batch late last year at the Volo that was brewed with raisins and wood chips from bourbon barrels

January 10, 2011

14)  Home:  CJM Brown Royal by Amsterdam Brewery of Toronto;  **;  a one-off from Amsterdam, purchased on-site;  a 7.2% brown ale

January 9, 2011

We will see how long it takes me to run out of things to say on days I don't drink beer.  I want to add that unless I say otherwise, at home I am drinking from a can or bottle and while I am out it is draft (or cask) unless I say different.

January 8, 2011

13)  Home:  #8 Porter by Duggan's Brewery of Toronto;  **1/2;  roasted coffee notes, a very nice porter;  I purchased this in a growler at the brewery/brewpub;  perhaps it is a hold-over from prohibition but I had to leave by way of the Lombard Street exit instead of the way I came in, after making my purchase;  the person who served me was embarassed to ask but I found it charming;

January 7, 2011

12)  Tracks Brewpub, Brampton:  Old Mill Ale;  **;  the fact is I do order another one and often;  this is my regular haunt and I always leave feeling like I have received special treatment;  there are faint hints of chocolate in this dark-ish ale

January 6, 2011

10)  Home:  Peche Mortel Imperial Coffee Stout by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec;  **1/2;  9.1%, translates as Mortal Sin;  strong coffee taste and aroma

11)  Home:  Aphrodite Cocoa Vanilla Stout by Dieu du Ciel!;  ***;  I first tried this in Quebec City where it was called Aphrodesiac;  that it was delayed while waiting for labelling issues to be resolved causes me to conclude that our LCBO was at it again;

January 5, 2011

9)  Home:  Corne du Diable IPA by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec;  **1/2;  translates as Devil's Horn;  very aggressively hopped

January 4, 2011

No beer today so I will clarify my mission a bit.  I am hoping to be able to achieve this with minimal use of the names Molson and Labatts.  Possible exceptions:  I have had a trip to the Linsmore on my to-do list for some time.  This may be Toronto's last old-style tap-room and I may have no choice in the matter of what I drink there.  For old times sake I may drink a Molson Stock Ale.  It's different enough from most big brewers products and it may have been what first caused me to imagine that there might be more out there than the suds my peers were consuming.

January 3, 2011

6)  beerbistro, Toronto:  Square Nail Pale Ale by Publican House of Ontario **;  pleasant pine/citrus nose

7)  beerbistro:  Big Dog Porter by Neustadt Springs of Ontario **;  dark and rich, went great with lunch

8)  beerbistro:  Yuletide Cherry Porter by Barley Days of Ontario  **;  Unusually thin for a porter with a big cherry taste - made for a great dessert

The beerbistro is a fairly high-end joint;  about as posh a beer destination as you will find in Toronto and they also make the best frites going

Monday, 21 March 2011

January 2, 2011

3)  The 3 Brewers, Toronto:  Christmas Ale;  ** At 7.2% it kept me warm on my walk to the concert

4)  The 3 Brewers:  La Belle Province;  **  I had a bit of a wrestling match with all the CO2 in the bottle;  brewed with maple syrup;

5)  The 3 Brewers:  Brown Ale;  **  My usual 3B quaff;  with 4) post-concert;

I had a chat recently about how to direct someone looking to enter the world of craft beer and the conclusion we reached was that The 3 Brewers was as good a start as any.  Perhaps there isn't the personality of some craft brews but at the same time they won't frighten off the new-comer.

January 1, 2011

1)  Home:  Double Chocolate Cherry Stout by Black Oak, Toronto, Ontario;  **1/2;  hearty and warming

2)  Home:  Nutcracker Porter also by Black Oak;  **1/2;  flavoured with cinammon

By chance or design Ken Woods is the face of Ontario craft brewing  At Black Oak he does it all including answering the phone and looking after people at the counter - a most pleasant and congenial man.

Where to start?

The idea came to me late last year.  I had such a good time at Caffe Volo's heavy hitters night that I wrote down my beers for posterity.  It occurred to me that even though I couldn't name 365 beers right then, it was something to aim for. 

The idea for the blog came much later.  During the Toronto Beer Week 6-month countdown pub crawl I let slip that I was doing this and someone asked if I had a blog and offered that if I did he would definitely follow it.  So there's going to be some back-filling, in part because I don't know how to attach the Excel spreadsheet I am using to keep track of my beers but it might just look better too.

Some ground rules:  to count it has to be at least a half pint, no tasters.  I decided not to include ciders, even though they are available along side the beers but I am including barley wines, which I consider a variant of beer.  I will list the date, where I drank it, the brewery's name and location and I will give it a rating and add some comments.  I am pinching the Beer Diva's rating system but since I can't come up with pint and half pint icons I will use stars:  * = I would finish it;  ** = I would order another and *** = I would seek this one out.

Here's to your very good health!