Tuesday, 30 October 2012

May 16, 2012

74/474): Home: Skjálfti by Ölvishot Brugghús of Iceland: *1/2; Skjálfti translates as earthquake; brewery is located in Iceland's most geologically active area and in 2000 there was an earthquake at this site measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale; brewed with Icelandic water; malty nose with a hint of bitterness; some see ale elements in this lager as a result; taste is malty, biscuity with a tart finish; not bad as lagers go;

May 15, 2012

73/473)  Sin and Redemption: Tripel by St. Bernardus of Belgium (bottle):  **;  weights in at 8%;  yeasty nose; champagne like mouth feel;  sweet and yeasty with a hint of fruit;

Barmaid Carron says Sin and Redemption is getting as many as 8 or 9 new taps in addition to their already remarkable selection - I can hardly wait.  The menu is starting to resemble that of the Town Crier/Halfway Beer House - same owner as S&R and the Village Idiot Pub, next door.

It was a nice way to prolong the glow of an afternoon spent at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the company of Picasso, the Group of Seven and Ken Thomson's scale boat collection. 

May 11, 2012

73/473)  The 3 Brewers:  Rebellion Rice brewed at The 3 Brewers in Ontario:  **;  a spiced rice malt beer;  presumably named for the student uprising of May 1968 in Paris under Dany Le Rouge;  seeing;  the malty nose does not prepare one for the boldy spiced experience that follows with notes of vanilla, cinnaom and nutmeg;  very unusual but very good;

It made me want to re-watch Milou en Mai (released in North American as May Fools) from 1990, starring one my favourite actresses of the era, Miou-Miou (born Sylvette Herry).

May 10, 2012

72/472)  Home:  Augustijn Grand Cru by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **1/2;  in the tradition of the Augustin Fathers;  as with the others in the six-pack it referments in the bottle;  this one checks in at 9%;  very rich and fruity sweet nose;  taste is fruity with sweet yeast and a touch of alcohol;  my favourite of the 6 so far;

May 9, 2012

69/469)  Home:  Augustijn Brune by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **1/2:  sweetish nose;  dark and rich tasting;

70/470)  Home:  Jaipur India Pale Ale by Thornbridge Brewery of England:  **1/2;  a 5.9%  ale, unpasteurized, unfiltered;  it is a bright, almost neon blonde;  nose has a hint of West Coast with a touch of citrus (lemon) against an almost biscuity, bready back-drop;  opens slightly citrusy with a bitter, earthy finish and after-taste;  a top flight British IPA;

May 7, 2012

68/468)  Home:  Augustijn Blonde by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **;  this 7% beer was first brewed in 1295;  a monastic beer with a sweet, faintly fruity, yeasty nose;  pours cloudy;  touch of sweetness, hints of fruit (dried) with a brown sugary finish;

May 6, 2012

The winners were announced yesterday in the 2012 World Beer Cup in San Diego.  A full list of winner can be found at <www.worldbeercup.org> but I will mention my highlights below.

I take perhaps a bit too much pleasure in this but Labatt's 50 took silver among fourty-six entries in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.

Others that stood out for me were Amsterdam's Framboise which took bronze among twenty-eight entries in the Fruit Wheat Beer category;  King Dark Lager took silver among thirty-four in the European Style Dark/Munchner Dunkel stakes;  Cameron's Dark 266 won bronze in the German-Style Schwartzbier competition against fourty-three competitors;

I always have a chuckle when I see 50 win something like this.  Unexpected things happen in a blind tasting and beer fanciers have had several moments to compare with the notorious tasting, in the 1970s I think, where California wines scored higher than French wines.  I can think of two movies inspired by this event. 

It is entirely possible that we are little more than poseurs.  I look forward to the day when, alongside figures for abv and ibu we have something to tell us how much street cred we gain (or lose) being seen drinking a particular beer.

Monday, 29 October 2012

May 5, 2012

There I was minding my own business at the Runners' Expo for the 2012 Mississauga Marathon when I heard a young lady's voice from behind asking me if I had received a free beer yet.  I didn't need to be asked twice.

It turns out that they were handing out tins of low calorie Michelob Ultra.  After stamping my hand I made off with a free beer.  It really couldn't get much better so I left.  I imagine I will be saying, "Shame about the beer, though." as some point but you find your pleasure where you can.

Not that I am running anything in May but I reason that those vendors pay good money for their booths and whether or not I am running something major that weekend I am a customer with cash in hand.

May 4, 2012

65/465)  Caffe Volo:  Night Train, a House Ales/Amsterdam collaboration, both of Ontario:  **1/2;  this is a Belgian-style brown ale aged in wine barrels -  Wildass Red by Stratus to be specific;  I have a couple of bottles of Wildass Red at home, as well as a bottle of Tollgate and a Vigonier so I know this winery well;  wine is most prominent in the nose;  mild sweet chocolate notes with sharp wine finish;

66/466)  Caffe Volo:  25th Anniversary Robust Porter by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  thick rich foamy head;  rich and chocolatey;  dry after taste with just a touch of hops;

67/467)  Caffe Volo:  Naughty Neighbour by Nickel Brook Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  an American Pale Ale;  very piney nose with delicious pine notes; originally ** but on reflection that ** was more a reflection of how tired I am getting of this hops, HOPS, HOPS! mentality than of what was in the glass; sorry about that;

House Ales is the Volo's nano-brewery, which as I understand it is little more than a corner of their kitchen.

It's good to take a minute to congratulate Great Lakes on achieving 25 years and to thank them for all the pleasureful sips.

May 2, 2012

64/464)  Home:  Dark Horse Stout by Broadhead Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  this came in a 1.89 litre growler picked up by my wife when she was in Ottawa;  pours very dark brown with a soft creamy head;  nose is mocha;  rich tasting with notes of sweet chocolate;  "almost like a meal" quoth my wife; 

These new breweries just keep popping up.  This is a great time to be a beer fancier.  I have been saying that for a number of years and things continue to get better.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

April 30, 2012

63/463)  Home:  Native Storm Crafted Ale by The Celt Experience of Wales:  **;  named in memory of the armed uprising which began September 16, 1400 under Owain Glyn Dwr which lasted over 15 years;  this would put it in the time of English Kings Henry IV (parts one and two) and Henry V;  biscuity, warm nose with mild hoppiness;  biscuity flavours with a mild hop finish;  I can only hope to see their Bleddyn 1075 Ale in my travels one day- this one sounds special;

April 28, 2012

62/462)  Home:  The Legendary Spring Oddity by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **;  brewed with heather (not Heather) tips, juniper berries, sweet orange peel shavings, North American malts, Noble hops, Belgian yeast and Belgian candi sugar;  pours golden brown;  the nose is Belgian yeast, smoke and juniper;  tastes yeasty, smoky with a hint of bitter orange oil;   I found the orange is more up front than the juniper;

April 27, 2012

61/461)  Home:  Leute Bokbier by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **;  7.5% abv;  has a sweet, fruity nose;  tastes of dried fruit, hint of chocolate touch of yeastiness; intended to be served in a special tumbler with a wooden stand - another reason for a trip to Belgium;

From this gift pack:

April 26, 2012

60/460)  Home:  Schloss Eggenberg Doppelbock Dunkel by Eggenberg Stoehr of Austria:  **;  malty nose;   biscuity with a hint of coffee;  rich and creamy with mocha notes;

April 25, 2012

59/459)  Home:  Pale Ale by Highlander Brew Co. of Ontario:  **;  from South River, a locale I have not had the pleasure of visiting to date;  nose is sweet and malty;  pours clear dark brown (not so pale, in other words);  a hearty Scottish ale

April 24, 2012

On the 4th of this month, the topic of The Beer Store came up in John Doyle's television column.  You can read it here:   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/watch-the-scavenger-economy-unfold-and-weep/article4097578/  but for today's purposes the part I would draw your attention to is this quotation:  "at least one Beer Store, located where condos for rich young things have mushroomed, will not accept empty bottle returns. The impoverished, with their bags of bottles and their dilapidated appearance, aren’t there. Don’t want to lower the tone, one supposes." 

This bit of "news" has since been repeated elsewhere, including Ian Bowering's column in the Great Lakes Brewing News.

The state of the Globe and Mail's fact-checking being what it is, I did my own research which involved going directly to the source and I received this reply from the customer service department of The Beer Store:  "Thank you for your recent email to The Beer Store's Customer Service Department. The only Beer Store locations that do not accept empties are our Beer Boutiques located in the Distillery District and Liberty Village as they are not equipped for them. All other locations will accept empties from any customer."

A bit more digging reveals a description of The Beer Store's  "Boutique Store format in urban centers where the beer is displayed in smaller pack sizes with increased beer education and tastings. No bottle returns."

Not precisely the impression Mr. Doyle was aiming for, one supposes.

April 22, 2012

58/458)  The Monk's Kettle:  La Terrible by Unibroue of Quebec:  **1/2;    an extra stong ale (10.5%) in a 750ml bottle;  either you share it, or it's the only drink of the day (or both);  pours black as night;  nose is dark coffee, raisin, alcohol, dates;  deep, rich, complex flavours of expresso, fruitcake;

Interestingly, this one gets a write-up on Unibroue's English web-site but not the French side of things.

April 21, 2012

57/457)  Home:  Pilsner by King Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  grainy nose;  subtle notes of citrus;  a refreshing lawn mower beer; 

April 20, 2012

54/454)  The 3 Brewers:  Spring Fling by The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **;  theircurrent  seasonal;  golden blonde;  yeasty, lightly spiced; Czech Saaz hops

55/455) The 3 Brewers:  The Hopper by The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **;  or La Lapine;  not all that hoppy;  rich biscuity maltiness; 

A special note of thanks goes out to Cynthia, my favourite 3 Brewers barmaid, who noticed I was making tasting notes and made sure I had a glass of water between beers.

56/456)  Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  Lift Lock Lager by Church Key of Ontario:  specially brewed to mark the 100th anniversary of Peterborough's lift lock;  grainy nose and flavours;

April 19, 2012

53/453)  Jack Astor's, Brampton:  Spring Lager by Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, U.S.A.: **1/2;  surprising;  citrusy (sweet grapefruit);  I normally don't expect to enjoy a lager as much as this;  however, with tax and tip it checks in north of $10 so I won't be indulging often, or at least not here;

April 18, 2012

52/452)  Home:    Vienna Lager by King Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  grainy, grassy nose;  straw colour;  good expample of the style - a refreshing patio beer;

April 17, 2012

51/451)  Home:  Dark Lager by King Brewery of Ontario:  **;  malty nose with a hint of chocolate;  bready, biscuity with a hit of chocolate and nutty flavours;  stood up well to a bold, spicy kebab;

This and the next two installments from King Brewery are from a gift pack called "The 3 Kings" which came with a nice glass.

April 15, 2012

49/449) Sarah's Café and Bar, Toronto:  Ephemere (Apple) by Unibroue of Quebec:  **;  more apple to the nose than to the tongue;  sparkling wine, sweet candy-like notes;  sweet yeast and apple flavours;  Stephen Beaumont suspects this is Blanche de Chambly with apple added; this was a bottle;

50/450)  Monk's Kettle:  Raftman by Unibroue of Quebec:  **;  yeasty Belgian nose;  sweet Belgian inspired yeastiness with a touch of smoke;  a portion of the malt is whisky malt;

Sarah's, on the Danforth, is a new discovery for me.  I just happened to walk by after a meeting of the Richard III Scoiety of Canada.  They do a terrific brunch and they have an outstanding selection of Belgian bottles.  It is a charming place with great staff.  I had to chuckle:  the chalkboard referred to Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA as Railway City Lone Pint IPA.

April 4, 2012

48/448)  Home:  Holzar Bier by Der Hirschbrau of Germany:  **;  rich brown colour;  malty with muted sweet chocolate notes; 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

March 31, 2012

One of the topics raised at January's Cask Social at C'est What was the great times had during the pub crawl held at the half-way point between Toronto Beer Weeks.  I ended up sending an e-mail to one of the organizers and I got the response, "Yes, we'll be looking at doing something fun in March for the six-month countdown." - no news yet.

March 30, 2012

45/445)  Caffe Volo:  Tokyo* by Brewdog of Scotland:  **1/2;  this bottle set me back some $30.00 after tax and tip but what an experience;  strong nose of alcohol, raisins, fruitcake;  flavours of bitter chocolate, aged wine, raisins and a hint of alcohol but not as much as you might expect from 18.2% abv;  I am reminded of Samuel Adams Triple Bock in that there was no head to speak of;

46/446) Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  Terrestrial IBA (India Brown Ale) by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;  bitter earthy hoppiness;  mildly sweet chocoate finish followed by a mildly bitter after-taste;  earthy hoppy nose;  beautiful brown colour;

47/447)  Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  10 Point IPA by Lake of Bays Brewery of Ontario:  **;  on cask;  mildly citrusy nose with fruity sweetness;  very mild hop flavours;  vaguely floral - mildly in the West Coast style but in the end, closer to England;  malty finish;

March 28, 2012

44/444)  Home:  India Pale Ale by Big Rock Breweries of Alberta:  **;  dry-hopped;  another throw-back to what a "strongly-hopped" IPA was years ago;  earthy, dry hop flavours;  slightly malty finish;  very nutty nose

March 24, 2012

42/442)  Home:  Traditional Ale by Big Rock Brewery of Alberta:  **1/2;  a malty English style brown ale;  a bit of a throw-back to the days when we spoke of "micro-breweries" and why not?  Big Rock were pioneers of the Canadian scene;  rich and biscuity and reminiscent of the very best of that era;

43/443)  Home:  Blond by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  *1/2;  a  6% "lightly oaked beer", matured 37 days;  hints of vanilla, oak and fruit;  I have to question Innis and Gunn's insistence on using clear bottles -  mine had signs of light damage;  more of their line should be in boxes;

March 22, 2012

41/441)  Home:  Cranberry Pilsner by Railway City Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  yes, there are cranberry notes but they are subtle;  had I been thinking, I might have saved this one for Thanksgiving or Christmas;

There is a similar biscuity, almost buttery, backbone most Railway City beers which suggests to me that the malt source is constant throughout the line.

March 18, 2012

39/439)  Wychwood Barns:  'Dam Horse Porter by Amsterdam of Ontario:  *1/2;  muted coffee and chocolate notes;  brewed with cocoa nibs and espresso beans from the Dark Horse Espresso bar;

40/440)  Wychwood Barns:  Tempest Imperial Stout by Amsterdam of Ontario:  *1/2;  nose is mostly alcohol;  bitter alcohol notes with astringent coffee, raisins and currents; 

This was a Brewery Market Event.  I commiserated with a number of individuals over last night's atrocities, including Ralph from the Volo.

March 17, 2012

38/438)  Caffe Volo:  12 Minutes To Destiny Dark Ale by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  earthy bitter hoppiness to both the nose and palate; 

I also stopped by the 3 Brewers where I found "The Stout" more in the Irish style than last year, to its detriment, in my opinion.

Tonight featured an unfortunate confluence of unusually warm weather for March and St. Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday.  Every idiot who hadn't been drinking since New Year's Eve was on Yonge Street.  The quote of the night was heard outside the Volo:  "I don't want good beer, I want cheap beer".

My excuse is that I was in town for a recital by Musicians In Ordinary.

March 16, 2012

37/437)  C'est What:  Skinny Dipping Stout by Sawdust City of Ontario:  **;  sweet mocha nose;  rich mocha flavours;  sweet after taste decaying to coffee bitterness;

March 10, 2012

36/436)  Home:  Liberty Ale by Anchor Brewing Company of California:  **1/2;  this 5.9% ale was first brewed on April 18, 1975, the 200th annivesary of Paul Revere's ride;  dry citrusy nose;  strongly hopped against a sweet malty background;

Anchor is a pioneer of the North American craft brewing movement under the watch of one Fritz Maytag of the washing machine dynasty.  I regulary raise a glass in his honour.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

March 8, 2012

35/435)  Home:  Winter Warmer by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  **1/2;  a 6.5% "flavoured strong ale" with a sketch of a snow shovel on the label;  brewed with cloves, cinnamon and demerara (brown) sugar;  very warming, indeed;  cloves are most present in the nose;  dry cinnamon flavours with lingering raisin notes;  what's not to like about winter?

March 6, 2012

34/434)  Home:  McNally's Extra Ale by Big Rock Brewery of Alberta:  **1/2;    brown sugary/toffee-like nose;  malty with notes of burnt sugar and ginger, closes with a touch of alcohol;

March 5, 2012

33/433)  Home:  West Coast Pale Ale by Church Key of Ontario:  **1/2;  dry, earthy nose and flavours;  my favourite offering so far from Church Key;

March 4, 2012

Quite the adventure last night.  Prior to a performance by the Tallis Choir I was getting myself into the right state of mind at Sin & Redemption when a fellow approached and introduced himself.  He told me he was there spreading the word about Innis and Gunn.  At this point a remote region of my brain spoke up to inform me that it had been waiting quietly much of my life for precisely this moment and I was to defer to it until further notice.

"Why, yes, I've heard of Innis and Gunn...",  I said in my self-induced trance and I was rewarded with a glass on my new best friend's tab.  Innis and Gunn on tap is even better than by the bottle and not just because there is no worry about damage from light what with that clear bottle. 

When my brain reverted to its usual state I bought another glass in order to receive the very classy opener that he told me would come with a glass that night only.  I also learned that soon a stout would be receiving the oak treatment - something to look forward to,

March 3, 2012

32/432)  C'est What:  Headstock IPA by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **;  at 7%, it a strongish one;  the  nose is fragrant, piney and floral;  tastes of strong, earthy hoppiness - sweet and gingery at first with a mildly bitter finish & hoppy after taste;  by current standards mildly, yet still prominently hopped;

I had a Shambock by Railway City later that evening.  I always enjoy finding that one.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

February 27, 2012

31/431)  Home:  Grand Baltic Porter by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  **1/2;  rich dark brown colour with a finely bubbled head;  brewed with molasses and dates to give a rich warm flavour;  dates are most prominent to the nose;  another great warming winter beer, only partly because of the 9% alcohol;

February 22, 2012

30/430)  Home:  Unearthly IPA by Southern Tier of New York, U.S.A.: **1/2;  Very strong hop nose;  "vigorously hopped";   offset by sweet biscuity, malty notes;  rich, floral, flavourful hoppiness;

February 19, 2012

28/428)  The Monk's Kettle:  Cuvee by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **;  cidery champagne-like nose;  biscuity with hints of apple cider;

29/429)  Henry VIII Ale House, Etobicoke:  English Ale by Tetley's of England:  *1/2;  creamy head;  nose is mildly bitter English hops;  English hops are well balanced with maltiness;  I guess I could work on a joke involving the head and Henry's fondness for cutting heads off but I imagine few would find it worth my efforts;

Henry VIII is not my favourite monarch, being a Tudor and all that, but the ale house is a reasonable place and the service is good.  This was the newer location.  I think Bloor West Village may be a more accurate description of the location, rather then Etobicoke.  I have been to the other one, which is undeniably in Etobicoke.  The reason for today's visit is it is near where the Windermere String Quartet performs.

February 18, 2012

25/425)  The 3 Brewers, Toronto:  Winter Warmer brewed at The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  yeasty, malty nose;  lightly, warmingly spiced;  at 9% it makes for an ideal cold weather beer;  I will return for this one;

26/426)  The 3 Brewers:  The Beguiler brewed at The 3 Brewers:  **;    5.8%;  a cloudy white beer;  pleasing orange nose;  sweet wheaty notes with a bitter orange peel finish;

27/427)  Caffe Volo:  All Natural Beaver by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  an American IPA;  nose is sweet maltiness and hops;  rich taste with a pleasantly bitter hop finish;

The 3 Brewers now offers both a seasonal and a monthly special brew alongside their four regular beers and La Belle Province. I have also seen La Tripel in a bottle similar in size to La Belle Province.  I hope they still have it - I haven't tried that one yet.  It strikes me as one to linger over.

February 14, 2012

24/424)  Jack Astor's, Brampton:  Winter Ale by Granville Island Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;   found this one a bit much, what with the up front sweet chocolate taste but cheers to Jack Astor's who could easily be hosting the usual taps;  the down side is, I find the beer in general to be a bit pricy there;

February 13, 2012

21/421)  C'est What:  Caraway Rye Beer brewed at C'est What of Ontario:  *1/2;  this is an unusual one with mild peppery notes; 

22/422)  C'est What:  Bolshevik Bastard by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **;  a Russian Imperial Stout;  8%;  mocha and alcohol nose;  rich, smooth and creamy with dark coffee notes;

23/423)  C'est What:  Hops and Robbers by Double Trouble Brewing of Ontario:  **;  bitter, earthy hopiness to the nose;  taste starts sweet finishing with earthy bitter hoppiness;  Double Trouble is another in a series of exciting new Ontario breweries;

Today is C'est What's 24th anniversary so I took the train in to Toronto to get 24% off my lunch tab.

February 11, 2012

20/420)  Home:  Highland Cask by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2;  aged 69 days in oak barrels originally used to mature Highland single malt whisky;  sweet caramel/toffee nose;  complex flavours with notes of caramel, vanilla and alcohol;  a warming 7.1%

February 10, 2012

18/418)  C'est What:  Bitter Student by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  **;  soft, creamy with gentle notes of mocha;

19/419)  beerbistro:  Paulaner Salvator by Paulaner of Germany:  **;    a doppelbock;  pleasantly sweet with fruity notes;

The beerbistro also had Young's Double Chocolate Stout on tap.  It is much creamier and richer this way than it is in the bottle, and it's not so bad in the bottle either.

February 6, 2012

17/417)  Home:  Spruce Beer by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  **1/2;   North America's oldest beer style;  a strong ale flavoured with spruce tips, fir tips and molasses;  I am reminded a bit of the Pine Ale from the Historic Ales of Scotland package;  sweet (brown) sugary pine cone flavours;  reminds me of pine sap/gum;  very flavourfuland very unusual;  this style of beer gets a mention in Ian Coutts' Brew North;  at 7.5% it has a bit of a kick as well;

I am going to try something new here.  Let's see how this works out:

February 4, 2012

16/416)  Home:  Golden Pride by Fuller's of England:  **;  rich, sweet caramel notes to the nose;  tastes of alcohol, malt with a mildly bitter finish;

Monday, 1 October 2012

January 31, 2012

A topic that has been coming up lately at Cask Socials is the concept of session beers:  lower alcohol but fully flavoured (which is to say not light/lite) brews.

I think my first exposure to this line of thinking came at my wife's uncle's place.  He had brought back a tin of beer from England for me that read "Strong Ale".  My first sip prompted the sort of reaction where you nod your head and give your fist a bit of pump:  very flavourful.  Then I read that it was 3.2% alcohol.

I suppose this is the opposite of those high school kids who seek out today's equivalent to our Brador because it is 5.5%. 

I can imagine how a pub-keeper would want to have customers spending more time, drinking more beers, without having things get out of hand.  Customers are hard to come by, let's have them stay a while.

From the opposite side, I hate to imagine someone trying the latest IPA at 9% and treating it like an every day beer, not knowing its strength, so I suppose there is the element of being able to make an informed decision built into it. 

My feeling is it will be craft beers that break the ground here.  If anything the big breweries are going in the opposite direction.  I recently spotted a 6% "light" beer (!).

January 30, 2012

Another great link to share:  http://torontopubs.wordpress.com/.  Probably of most use to people in the Toronto area but it's a great read by an acquaintance whose identity I shall keep a secret.  I'd love to spill, but if she doesn't give biographical details in her own blog, I shouldn't do it either.

We do differ on one topic:  children in pubs.  She doesn't like mis-behaving kids (who does?) and her husband appreciates being able to go somewhere without having to set an example to a young audience which isn't such a bad argument.

On the other hand, my young ones saw the inside of several pubs at a young age and they enjoyed the bustle and the excitement of cheerful people getting along and, what's more, kids like pub food:  it is good, simple and filling.  Besides, they will be working to who knows what age to pay our pensions so let's show then some regard.

January 29, 2012

15/415)  Home:  Tripel by Brouwerij Affligem of Belgium:  **;  undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle;  banana and cloves to the nose;  sweet yeasty flavours;

January 28, 2012

14/414)  The Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  St. Ambroise Scotch Ale by McAuslin of Quebec:  **;  very rich and flavourful;  strong (7.5%) and malty with sweet butterscotch notes;

The Monk's Kettle is a fairly recent addition and it has quickly become the go-to place for good beer in Etobicoke.

January 27, 2012

10/410)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Doublewide DIPA by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  "massively hopped" double IPA;  bitter, earthy very much up front hop notes;  strong hop nose; on cask; 

11/411)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Shiver Eisbock by Ganaoque Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  Barmaid Katie says it's "yummy" and who am I to argue with such a fine server;  faint mocha nose;  mildly sweet, faint mocha notes;

12/412)  Caffe Volo:  Pompous Ass English Pale Ale by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  the hops are mild but prominent, just in a subtle fashion; 

13/413)  Caffe Volo:  Working Class Stout by Barley Days of Ontario:  **;  sweet chocolatey, nutty nose;  mocha and hazlenut flavours;  I am reminded of the Hazelnut Chocoate Ale they used to make at C'est What, though this isn't quite so rich and dessert-like;

I ate lunch at the Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern in the Kensington Market district.  Exchanged pleasantries with Brock, the owner, and ordered the OMGTJMKM (Oh My Goodness, This Just Might Kill Me) burger.  It starts with a whole wheat bun so you know it is going to be healthy.  Then they add an eight ounce pattie, chile, a fried egg, blue cheese, brie, chevre, bacon and an onion ring.  Some day it just might kill me but what a way to go.

January 21, 2012

5/405)  C'est What:  Lone Pine IPA by Sawdust City of Ontario:  **; piney nose;  not overly hopped,  pleasantly aromatic;  on cask

6/406)  C'est What:  Harry Porter and the Bourbon-Soaked Vanilla Bean by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  a vanilla porter aged in a barrel formerly used to store bourbon;  vanilla nose;  roasty bourbon notes;  on cask;

7/407)  C'est What:  First Draft Hoppy Mild by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  **;  earthy hoppiness to the nose;  mix of earthiness and citrusy hop flavours with gingery notes;  on cask

8/408)  C'est What:  Porter by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **;  astringent coffee notes;  this and the next were on draught, not cask;

9/409)  C'est What:  White Beard Stout by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **;  notes of vanilla and mocha;  a bit of a goof on their Winter Beard, formerly known as Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, without the berries;

This was 2012's first Cask Social.  C'est What is located very conveniently nearby the Union Station bus terminal.  As per usual, there were half pints here. 

A highlight for me was that Mark was able to participate as a customer so I got to know him a bit better.  Mark is one of Toronto's finest servers and I am glad to finally know his name.  Even if he's not your server, he is quick to ask what you are drinking and, based on how you like it, just as quick to make helpful suggestions for your next glass. 

I also met our new neighbour when I got home.  He was even more effusive than I was and I am pretty sure he wasn't imbibing.  He shook my hand four (4) times during our conversation.

January 5, 2012

4/404)  Home:  Gaffel Kolsch by Privatebrauerei Gaffel of Germany:  *1/2;  brewed in compliance with the 1516 Bavarian Purity Act;  crisp, bitter hop notes;

January 4, 2012

3/403)  Home:  Biere du Boucanier Golden Ale by Icobes B.V.B.A. of Belgium:  **;  nose is alcohol and sweet yeastiness;  bitter alcohol notes contrast sweet caramel flavours;

January 3, 2012

2/402)  Home:  Monster Ale by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  **;  a barleywine style ale;  pleasantly bitter alcohol notes;  malty nose;

It will take some time for me to become accustomed to the new blog format, not to mention the new Excel format that I ues to keep my notes along with all the other changes to the displays I have been accustomed to.

January 2, 2012

1/401)  Caffe Volo:  Trois Pistoles by Unibroue of Quebec:  **1/2;  notes of warming alcohol (9%)and spices;  this one is very nice indeed;

It has been in excess of six months since my last post and that was mainly to relate that I had some catching up to do.  I don't expect to achieve 366 (this being a leap year) beers this year but I can have some fun "ticking". 

I will be continuing my numbering system to relate both the running total since the blog began and the current year's figure.

I should keep off-topic ramblings to a minimum and it's not an excuse, at least not a good one, but I had no idea that you could buy a computer that didn't come with Microsoft Office installed.