Monday, 29 September 2014

August 2, 2014

171/1152) Home:  The Matador Version 2.1 El Toro Bravo by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;   a 10.1%  Imperial Dark Rye Ale aged on a bed of Spanish cedar;  the inside of the crown reads. "Be nice or leave - gossip responsibly";  very strong cedar nose;    sharp and peppery with sweet toffee notes; cedar and cigar smoke finish; my wife was crazy about it which inflated my score just a bit;

172/1153) Home:  Split Personalité, a collaboration between the Indie Ale House of Ontario and Brasseurs du Monde of Quebec:  **;  7%;  a Belgian dubble style wit brewed with candi sugar and Belgian yeast;  deep rich brown colour;  hint of cocoa to the nose; there is a touch of dark fruit and oak;  not as sweet as most abbeys;

August 1, 2014

Another beer I miss is Gritstone Premium Ale by the Niagara Falls Brewing Company.  I can remember when this was on tap at the Pilot in Toronto.  The Niagara Falls Brewing Company was bought by Moosehead and re-named the Niagara Brewing Company but most of its memorable beers are gone.

July 31, 2014

170/1151) Hoperation Tripel Cross Belgian IPA by Phillips Brewing Company of British Columbia:  **1/2;  7.3%;  "You can almost hear the sirens as you pop the cap on this bomber.";  very strong hop nose with the edge only mildly rounded with citrusy fruitiness;  there is a touch of sweet citrus along side the hops and at the finish but this is undoubtedly an IPA first;

July 29, 2014

169/1150) Home:  Nebuchadnezzar Imperial India Pale Ale by Omnipollo of Sweden:  **1/2;  8.5%;  grapefruit nose;  fresh citrusy flavours;  dry finish, sweet aftertaste; a delicious IIPA;


July 28, 2014

168/1149) Home:  Cock Puncher by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **1/2;  11% IIPA;  "Ultra Rare", brewed four times a year;  "Some beers should come with a warning label - this one does;";  pours opaque;  rich hopped nose with notes of citrus;  full hop flavours, earthy, citrusy;

Sunday, 28 September 2014

July 20, 2014

166/1147) Home:  Framboise Lambic by Brouwerij Lindemans of Belgium:  **1/2;  2.5%; spontaneously fermented, which always sounds chancey to me;  in addition to the regular ingredients they used wheat, raspberry juice and sugar;  the hops are aged and the yeast is wild, hence spontaneously fermented;  wheaty, raspberry nose;  cidery mouthfeel;  very strong, tart raspberry flavour;  delicious;

167/1148) Home:  Vedette Extra White by Duvel Moortgat of Belgium:  *1/2;  4.7%;  nose is lemon with yeast and wheat notes;  the most prominent feature is sweet yeastiness;  a bit watery;  it does not live up to the promise of that nose but it would still be nice on a patio with a salad or fish and chips;



July 19, 2014

165/1146) Home:  Chocolate Milk Stout by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  7.2%;     brewed with flaked oats, lactose, cocoa, roasted malts;  very sweet chocolately nose;  flavours are very sweet, quite nearly overly so, chocolate with a bitter alcohol finish;  I am reminded of Southern Tier Choklat but this is not so extreme at either end of the scale;  it is a refinement, but not an improvement, of an offering from earlier in the year at C'est What, which was tried out under another variation of the name a couple of years earlier;



July 18, 2014

164/1145) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Darkside by Granite Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 6.75% dark IPA on cask;  hops are less prominent than might be expected - the bartender attributes this to the cask;  grainy nose with a hint of chocolate;  mild mocha, gentle hop notes;

Incidentally, July 18 is the feast of St Arnulf (Arnold) of Metz, the patron saint of brewers.  In terms of this sort of thing there is more than one saint per avocation.  For example, one St. Augustin is also credited as a patron saint of brewers.

July 17, 2014

163/1144) Home:  Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  5.0%, 20 ibu;  unpasteurized, no preservatives;  pineapple nose with a  mild hint smoke and an unexpected sweetness;  I take the pineapple flavours as a play on the hoppiness that is sometimes seen in this variety of beers but there is an off-putting, artificial sweetness as well;

July 15, 2014

161/1142)  BierMarkt, Mississauga:  Trappistes Rochefort 6 by Abbay St-Remy of Belgium:  **1/2;  7.5%;  this was a bottled selection;  sweet dried fruit nose;  dried fruit, caramel;  delicious and complex;

162/11430) BierMarkt, Mississauga:  7 Hop IPA by Rogue Brewery of Oregon:  **1/2;  6.6%;  piney hop nose;  strong, dry, bitter hop flavours;  a terific west coast IPA with a variety of layered flavours from the 7 hops;

It has to be said, the Biermarket is expensive.  Unless I see something I won't see anywhere else (refer back to how elastic the term 'exclusive' can be) I don't picture myself returning very often.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

July 14, 2014

160/1141)  Amnesiac Double IPA by Phillips Brewing Company of British Columbia:  **1/2;  8.5%;  very piney nose;  sharp hop bite;  dry after taste;


July 13, 2014

158/1139) Home:  Chiron American Pale by Thornbridge Brewery of England:  **1/2;  5.0%;  citrusy nose with an earthy edge;  grapefruit and spice notes; with an astringent caffeine like finish;  a refreshing APA;

159/1140) Home:  Calabanza Blanca Artisan White Ale by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales of Michigan:  *1/2;    4.8%;  barrel aged, bottle conditioned;  spiced with orange peel and coriander; not lacking for carbonation; - no matter how carefully I poured my glass quickly filled with foam;  cloudy appearance;  nose is yeasty, zesty, lemony;  sharp citrus bite against a sweet yeast backdrop;  appealing tartness;  great for summertime;

Calabanza Blanca translates as white pumpkin.


July 10, 2014

155/1136) Beer Academy:  Beta by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:**1/2;  6.2%, 52 ibu;  pale; grapefruity nose;  strong citrusy flavours;  very dry after taste, somewhat astringent;

156/1137) Beer Academy:  Alpha by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **;  6% 60 ibu;  darker than beta;  nose features caramel, mild citrus;  hops are present but milder and with a sweeter (or less bitter) finish;

157/1138) Beer Academy:  Summer Harvest by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.8% 51 ibu;  brewed with cascade hops and pink grapefruit;  extremely citrusy, grapefruit nose;  refreshing citrus notes with a citrusy finish;

The Beer Academy was featuring an Alpha Vs. Beta IPA Face Off to determine which would be its new core IPA  - "loser hangs up its hops forever".  I'm not sure why I was served Beta first, and alone instead of side by side, but clearly I did favour this one.  My one proviso was that while there are a lot of west coast IPAs out there we see fewer English hybrid IPAs and the Alpha may fare better in a smaller  pond.

I ended up bringing home some Summer Harvest along with a couple of other ales from the LCBO.


July 7, 2014

154/1135) Home:  Columbian Exposition by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  4.0%, 54 ibu;  from their hop series;  brewed with Columbia hops;  like yesterday's beer, this was purchased at Junction Craft Brewery;  dry, earthy nose;  malty back drop;  not over the top flavorus;  bitter bite at the finish;

July 6, 2014

153/1134) Home:  Brakeman's Session Ale by Junction Craft Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.5%; 48 ibu;  richly malty with a snappy hop finish;

Friday, 26 September 2014

July 5, 2014

152/1133) Home:  Lemon Balm Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **;  brewed with fresh lemon balm herb;  the nose is surprisingly bready with notes of lemon and zest;  a refreshing beer with a lemony after taste;

July 4, 2014

148/1129) Junction Craft Brewing:  Malloy's Golden Phoenix by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a 3% , 34 ibu golden ale, on cask;  Golden Promise malt and Phoenix hops;  mildly citrusy nose;  fresh mildly dry hop flavours;

149/1130) Junction Craft Brewing:  Hopfenstopfer by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.9%, 52 ibu;  on cask;  a dry hopped pale ale;  piney nose;  strong astringent bitter flavours;  lingering bitterness at the finish

150/1131) Junction Craft Brewing:  Imperial Stout by Shacklands of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.0%, 50 ibu;  very sweet mocha nose - I was reminded of a Coffee Crisp bar;  the sweetness is mainly in the nose;  dry coffee notes;

151/1132) Indie Ale House:  Camp Out S'more Stout, an Indie Ale House collaboration:  5%;  sweet mocha nose;  full rich mocha flavours;  there is a touch of marshmallow to nose;  brewed with marshmallow, graham crackers and chocolate;

The Indie Ale House website credits this as a collaboration with Karate Garage Home Brew but the chalkboard, and various other sources, credit Sawdust City as the collaborator.  

I was at Junction for a Mirella Amato book signing (the book was severely over-priced at this venue compared to what I would have paid anywhere else) but it was a nice affair with cheeses from local shop and I did spend a fair bit of time chatting with Mirella.  I am not accustomed to getting off the subway at Keele and because I was day-dreaming I went past my stop had to turn back.  I felt this acutely when the person in line ahead of me got the last glass of Admiral Tiberius.

The book is called Beerology.  I have since learned that she s a former opera singer so we have even more to talk about should we meet again.

As per usual, I did some shopping at the Indie Ale House.


July 3, 2014

147/1128) Home:  Warthog English Style Mild Ale by Big rock Brewing of Alberta: **;  4.5%;  very English;  a rich, sweet, malty, biscuity ale;

July 1, 2014

On Canada Day, along with so many others, I am missing Upper Canada's Colonial Stout.  It was a pretty good example of the style and I made use of the current phenomenon of the Mix Six at the Beer Store to take home a couple whenever I dropped in.  It's a shame they did away with that but the manager at the store I would go to explained that it wasn't his idea.  He felt it was his job to sell beer and his customers wanted to buy it that way but the higher ups thought they ought to buy it differently.  I was always reluctant to commit to six or more of something unknown and this changed my buying patterns.

June 26, 2014

145/1126) Home:  Sunshine APA by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.1%;  brewed with three varieties of American hops;  bright citrusy nose with a mild earthy, musty bite; grapefruit notes with dry bite at the finish

146/1127) Home:  Tribute Barley Wine Vintage 2012 by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **1/2;  10.8%;  pours dark murky brown;  uncarbonated;  very rich, complex mix of raisins, berries;

Thursday, 25 September 2014

June 25, 2014

Great Lakes Brewery's Crazy Canuck has been re-branded as Canuck Pale Ale.  The official word is that the beer remains the same but this has not prevented people from detecting differences.


June 24, 2014

144/1125;  Caplanski's Deli, Toronto:  Deli King by Barley Days of Ontario:  **;  a collaboration with Zane Caplanski;  a dark, spiced rye and barley Dunkel flavoured with the house made dry rub Caplanski's uses on its brisket;  it was served with a pickle -  a very nice touch;  rich rye nose;  interesting, mildly spicy with a bite of rye;  spiced peppery finish;

I was really in Toronto to mark St. Jean Baptiste Day by drinking beers brewed in Quebec, which I found at the unspeakably wonderful Thirsty and Miserable in nearby Kensington Market..  Best of all, the chalkboard outside the door read, "no soccer". Hurrah!

June 23, 2014

143/1124) Home:  Outburst Imperial IPA by Pyramid Brewing of Oregon:  **1/2;  8.5%; imported by Brick Brewing of Kitchener;  a dry hopped India Pale ale;  the nose is tropical citrus;   rich tropical flavours with earthy, rooty bitterness at the finish;

June 22, 2014

I suppose it was unfair to simply leave it that the beers in the Beau's four-pack that were recently listed were inspired by Mesopotamia so I have pinched some elaborations from Beau's website.

Sargon is a legendary warrior-king whose dynasty ruled Mesopotamia for over a century.  If I recall correctly, it was also the name of a very early days computer program that would beat you at chess.

Gilgamesh was a legendary king of Mesopotamia and the central character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving works of literature.

Siduri, the alewife, was a sage female divinity associated with fermentation.  She also appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) composed an oratorio based on the legend.  My version was a give-away disc from BBC Music magazine narrated by Jack Shepherd, who is perhaps best known as the low-key title character in the British police detective series Wycliffe, and a very enjoyable disc it is
  

June 21, 2014

142/1123) C'est What:  Black Prince Dark Ale by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.8%, 40 ibu;  on cask;  rich, sweet, malty nose;  very much in the English style; rich flavours with notes of mocha;

Black Prince is also a winery in Picton, Ontario.  In spite of the fact that I pointed out this error in person at said winery a couple of years ago, their website continues to assert that the Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III, was the father of King Richard III. His son was, in fact, Richard II, another unfairly maligned monarch.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

June 20, 2014

138/1119) Monk's Kettle. Etobicoke:  Genius of Suburbia by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  a 3.8% session IPA;  fresh grapefruit nose;  pleasant hop flavours

139/1120) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Equilibrium ESB by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **; this was on cask, in fact, mine was the first glass poured from said cask;  low carbonation as might be expected;  rich malty nose;  very much an English bitter;  very fresh tasting and malty;

140/1121) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  RPA by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.3%  it's OK as RPAs go;  rye nose;  sharp rye flavours;

141/1122) Caffe Volo:  Zinnebir by Brasserie de la Senne of Belgium:  *1/2;  5.8% (Brussells People Beer);  cloudy;  grassy nose;  sweet opening with a very bitter finish;  mostly grainy, musty;  this was a bit of a disappointment given the build up it had received;

June 12, 2014

137/1118) Home:  Game of Thrones Fire and Blood Red Ale by Brewery Ommegang of New York:  *1/2;  6.8%;  brewed with barley malt, dextrose, flaked rye, wheat malt, spelt malt, hops and ancho chili;  the hops are most prominent in nose along with some chili heat;  the ancho builds to a zesty finish;

I still have not seen a minute of this series.


June 9, 2014

136/1117) Home:  Siduri by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  10.2%, 24 ibu;  a white pepper saison aged in red ice wine barrels;  brewed with organic peppercorn; pours a vivid, opaque orange blonde colour;  thick persistent foamy head; the nose is yeasty, peppery with a mild hop edge;  malty with Belgian yeast flavours;  the peppery notes build as the finish approaches and they dominate the after taste without completely overpowering the ice wine and oak;  I was not expecting to like this as much as I did;

If the names of the beers in the four pack seem unfamiliar, they are derived from the art and mythology of ancient Mesopotamia.

June 8, 2014

135/1116) Home:  Wag The Wolf by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  6%, 20 ibu;  Wild Oats series No. 31;  a Hopfenweisse; hopped with New Zealand varieties;  a touch of smoke to the nose, also cloves;  the initial smokiness is followed by tropical fruit notes;


June 7, 2014

134/1115) Home:  Shock Top Raspberry White by Shock Top Brewing Co, of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.2%;  a Belgian style white ale with natural raspberry flavour;  brewed with barley and wheat;  the nose is like raspberry jam;  refreshing, if a bit too sweet, raspberry flavours;  a patio/lawn mower beer to be sure;

Yes, Shock Top Brewing is really a stealth division of a large, nasty, major brewery so be seen with this one at your own risk.  My wife brought this one into the house so I have a clear conscience and my street cred is secure.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

June 6, 2014

Another beer I would be very happy to see again is Publican's Bitters by Upper Canada Brewing.  I used to buy this one pretty regularly and it was available on draught in the bottom floor of the Duke of York, just north of the University of Toronto.  It used to be that bitters were pretty common in British style pubs but I scarcely see them these days which is a real shame,

June 5, 2014

133/1114)  Home:  Iron Maiden Trooper:  The Charge of the Light Brigade by Robinson's Brewery of  England:  **; 4.7%;  the story is that the Charge of the Light Brigade inspired Iron Maiden which inspired this beer;  strongly malty nose with a hint of hops;  a typical English ale, albeit with a slight hop bite;  I give it two pints or stars on the understanding that this will be consumed in the right company;  another beer dedicated to a band I never particularly cared for;


June 4, 2014


The winners of the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards were announced earlier in the week.  It's quite a list and rather than cutting and pasting I will instead direct interested individuals to this link:

http://www.canadianbeernews.com/2014/06/01/canadian-brewing-awards-2014-winners-announced/

June 3, 2014

132/1113) Home:  CuJo Curtis Joseph Imperial Golden Ale by Lake of Bays of Ontario:  **;  8%, 34 ibu;  from the NHL Alumni Signature Series;  nice balance of hop and malt;  sharp malt notes with a dry hoppy finish;

Curtis Joseph holds a special place in my heart as my second son had occasion to make use of the Curtis Joseph Room at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.  It was especially nice to be able to meet him in person years later to congratulate and thank him for his thoughtfulness and his generosity.  He makes for a pretty good argument in favour of "high" salaries for athletes.

 




June 2, 2014

131/1112) Home:  Double IPA by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **; 8.6%, 95 ibu;  earthy hop nose;  fresh hop flavours in the  presence of sweet malt notes;  bitter finish;


Monday, 22 September 2014

June 1, 2014

130/1111) Home:    Kåååd Spring IPA by Amager Bryghus of Denmark:  **;  6%;  the name translates as frisky;  grapefruit nose;  fresh citrusy flavours against a malty backdrop;  dry, slightly astringent finish;



May 31, 2014

129/1110) Fionn MacCool's, Brampton:  Honker's Ale by Goose Island of Illinois:  **;  pale, sweet, fruity nose;  candied fruit flavours with a bite of hop at the finish;

I was amused to read that this beer was "exclusive to Fionn MacCool's" as I had read precisely the same thing of the same beer at the BierMarkt.  I wonder if the sales representative wrote his own wedding vows.

May 29, 2014

I attended Thirsty Thursday at Montgomery's Inn in Etobicoke.  The last Thursday of every month the tavern at Montgomery's Inn, restored to its 1847 glory, is open for a night of fun and frivolity.  I had pictured this as an evening of people coming and going but this was not the case for the most part so my advice is to arrive spot on 7PM.

Admission is free and a hearty bowl of Irish stew is available for a mere five dollars and since it comes with a slice of bread baked in their brick oven out back there is no need to purchase the pretzels they offer.

The drinks are mostly bottled beers and ciders but I did manage to try the one historically authentic drink on offer, a peppermint whiskey.  Evidently, Mr. Montgomery economized on the whiskey and had to cover up the poor quality.

It is alleged that things could get rowdy, complete with flying chairs, some evenings.

We were treated to live music and it was a very convivial atmosphere with tables of people enjoying one another's company.  At one point, the mother of one of the performers stood up to berate us loudly, and at unnecessary length,  for carrying on conversations while people were playing music on the grounds that the evening was not just about us.  It was at this point that another fellow, who had also come by himself, leaned over and suggested that we might be treated to some historically authentic flying chairs tonight.

Visit <www.montgomerysinn.com>.


May 26, 2014

128/1109) Home:  Enlightenment:  The Age of Raisin by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  *1/2;  "The beer we had to brew";  a Belgian brown ale brewed with  raisins, spices "and passion (27% passion by volume)";   sweet raisin nose;  sweet, mildly spiced notes of raisin;

May 25, 2014

127/1108) Home:  Empirical Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5%;  brewed in honour of Her Imperial Highness Queen Victoria whose birthday was yesterday;  robustly malty with an earthy hop bite at the finish;

Sunday, 21 September 2014

May 24, 2014

124/1105) C'est What:  Limp Puppet by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **;  3.2%, 50 ibu;  on cask;  very strong grapefruit nose;  soft mouthfeel;  sharp grapefruit notes

125/1106) C'est What:  100 Mile Brown Ale by the Ontario Beer Company of Ontario:  **;  5.3%;  32 ibu;  on cask;  sweet, brown sugary nose;  rich sweet maltiness with mild hope bite;

126/1107) C'est What:  Achterbahn by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6.5%;  62 ibu;  malty nose;  refreshingly hopped;  there is a touch of dry bitterness, especially at the finish

There were all left over from last night's festivities so I don't feel quite so badly about missing out and, if truth be told, I seldom (if ever) regret a visit to the Volo.

May 23, 2014

120/1101) Caffe Volo:  Citra IPA by Shacklands of Ontario:  **;  a 5.7% American IPA;  piney, resiny, earthy nose;  dry bitter astringent flavours;

121/1102) Caffe Volo:  East Side IPA by House Ales of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 6.5% American IPA;  prominent sweet maltiness;  of the two, I prefer their West Side IPA;   sugary sweetness with a very mild hop presence and a sweet candi sugar finish;

122/1103) Caffe Volo:  Dubbel by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 7% Belgian Dubbel;  the nose is dark, slightly burnt sugar;  this sweetness returns in the finish and the after taste but first yeasty carbonated mild tartness intervenes;

123/1104) Caffe Volo:  Gucci Brown by House Ales of Ontario:  **1/2;  very rich, sweet brown sugar nose;  sweet dark sugary notes;

I had intended to visit C'est What where they were holding their Festival of Small Brewers but by the time I got there people were lined up outside as far as Church Street. I did meet my acquaintance Andrew who was lucky enough to have been there earlier but he was unimpressed at the prospect of paying $12 after taxes and tip for a pint of Princess Wears Peach Pants.

May 22, 2014

119/1100) Home:  Gilgamesh Old Ale by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  8.9%, 30 ibu;  aged in rum barrels;  sweet rum nose;  very sweet dark sugary flavours yielding to hop bite at finish;

May 21, 2014

118/1099)  Home:  Hopus by Brasserie Lefebvre of Belgium:  **:  8.3%;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus sugar;  a "bitter and blond ale";  a Belgian blonde ale with a strong, dry, rooty, earthy hop presence;  foamy, frothy head;  Belgian sugar at the finish with a lingering earthy bitter after taste;  the sugar adds a dimension lacking in many Belgian IPAs that use only yeast to achieve the Belgian style;

May 20, 2014

117/1098) Home:  Panil Enhanced by Birrificio Torrechiara of Italy:  8.2%;  a blond ale brewed with sparkling wine yeast;  it does not lack for carbonation it - foamed for a good twenty minutes in the sink with the crown part way off;  a sparkling beer with a tart, dry bite;


May 19, 2014

115/1096) Home:  Lanark County Blueberry Mead by Trafalgar Ales and Meads of Ontario:  **;  8.5%;  a "braggot" style mead;  brewed with honey and blueberries from Lanark County;  pours rather a bluish red;  honeyed nose;  a bit if a berry edge to the nose;  honey very prominent though berries off-set the sweetness;

I need to be careful here as it can be harmful to one's street cred to be seen praising Trafalgar.

116/1097) Home:  Ashnan by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a 9.8%, 18 ibu wheat wine aged in chardonnay barrels;  brewed with wheat and barley malts;  winey nose;  sweetness largely offset by dry wine notes; an odd one but interesting;


May 18, 2014

112/1093) The 3 Brewers:  The American Red Cream Ale by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  5.8%, 50 ibu;  a re-tuned version of a couple year's ago;  brewed with American hops;  saturated with Nitrogen gas which gives a thick persistent head;  in many ways a standard 3 Brewers offering:  dark, sugary maltiness;  rich tasting deep amber with a dry finish;

113/1094) Home:  Framboise Boon by Brouwerij Boon of Belgium:  **;  a Lambaic ale flavoured with raspberries and sour cherries;  tart, sour nose with cherry notes;  tart flavours with cherry and raspberry notes;  now that Biermarkt (finally) has a beer list on their website it is worth noting that I paid $5.85 for this at the LCBO;  the Biermarkt  asks $23.48 for a 375ml bottle;  to be fair, there are a number of items that are unusually reasonable priced;

114/1095) Home:  Sargon by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6%, 30 ibu;  a ginger beer aged in rum barrels;  brewed with organic ginger and organic cane sugar;  strong fresh gingery nose; gingery with a mild hop bite at the finish;  rum supplies a bit of sweetness;  dry after taste;


May 16, 2014

111/1092) Home:  Cutthroat Full Flavoured West Coast Ale by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  sweet, malty nose; strong malt backdrop with a mild hop edge and a dry hop finish - a well balanced IPA:


May 14, 2014

110/1091) Home:  La Morsure by Le Trou du Diable of Quebec:  **;  6.5% strong ale;  translates as the bite;  hazy appearance;  tropical fruit nose with pine notes;  hint of sweetness in the background; tropical fruit, resin, pine flavours;


May 12, 2014

108/1089) Home:  Sacred Mule Sparkling Ale by Barley Days of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.6%;  brewed with sparkling wine yeast;  cidery yeasty nose;  tastes yeasty with muted tart cidery notes;

109/1090) Home:  Kasteel Donker by Brouwerij Van Honsebrouk of Belgium:  **1/2;    "Castle Brewery";   the nose is burnt dark sugar;  dried fruit, alcohol.;  sweet dark sugar notes with warming alcohol at the finish;  very nice;


May 11, 2014

106/1087) Loyalist Lager by Barley Days of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%;  clear, straw coloured;  grainy nose;  sweet, malty, grainy and a touch nutty;

107/1088) Home:  Harvest Gold Pale Ale by Barley Days if Ontario:  **;  4.8%;  well-carbonated, almost sparkling, with a thin mouth feel;  sweet chocolate nose;  sweet chocolaty flavours;

May 10, 2014

105/1085) Home:  Spark House Red by Lake of Bays Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2; 5%%;  formerly know as Rousse Red Ale;  malty nose;  sweet maltiness with a hint of chocolate;

May 9, 2014

One of the first beers I thought of when I decided to list one a month that I missed was Upper Canada Rebellion.  Upper Canada was one of the very first in the wave of Ontario Craft brewing in the mid-1980s, though we called it micro-brewing at the time.  Their impact was huge as evidenced by how many former employees are active in the craft brewing scene and how very wide spread they are.

One of the first Upper Canada products I encountered was Upper Canada Rebellion, at the Sticky Wicket beyond the northwest corner of the University of Toronto.  It was unusually strong at 6% and unusually flavourful.  It wasn't quite the same in a bottle but it was still pretty good.  It certainly wasn't the same after it was re-formulated and re-branded Rebellion Lager to accompany the newly minted Rebellion Ale.  Neither survived very long after Upper Canada was purchased by Sleeman.

I did manage to save a bottle:


May 8, 2014

104/1085) Home:  Sugar Shack Ale by Barley days Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  605%;  brewed with Vader's maple syrup, from Cheery Valley;  surprisingly piney nose;  in contrast, the flavours are rich, dessert-sweet maple sugar;

May 7, 2014

102/1083) Home:  Dinner Jacket O'Red IPA by Arch Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.3%, 60 ibu;   the  nose has surprising sweetness alongside bold hop notes;  caramel notes against a hoppy backdrop with a bitter hoppy finish;;

103/1084) Home:  Montagnard by Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs of Belgium:  **1/2; 7.5%;  triple fermented;  lightly yeasty nose;  flavours of burnt sugar, spice and dried fruit;

May 6, 2014

100/1081) Home: Silures Crafted Ale by The Celt Experience of Wales:  **1/2;  5.5%, 61 ibu;  piney nose;  piney, citrusy flavours;  dry finish;  strongly hopped;  delicious;

101/1082) Home:  Trappiste Achel Bruin by V.Z.W. Sine Benedictus Abd of Belgium:  **;  8%;  yeasty, malty nose;  sweet, malty, yeasty;

May 5, 2014

99/1080/ Home:  County IPA Oaked by Barley Days Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.5%;  brewed with a blend of hops, including fresh Prince Edward County grown;  purchased at the brewery where we were able to taste Scrimshaw, though they had run out of bottles for sale;  pours like cask ale - no carbonation, no head;  very fresh hoppy nose with sweet oak notes;  fresh dry hop flavours and just a hint of lingering oak;


May 3, 2014

95/1076) Church Key Brewing, Petherick's Corners:  Red by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  an Irish red ale with a  sweet nose;  sweet and malty;  very nice

I also had a Northumberland  Ale and bought a growler of West Coast Pale Ale.

96/1077) Stinking Rose, Campbellford:  Small Beer by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  bottled;  a  fizzy, well carbonated light beer;  gingery; the chef was at Spring Revival which would explain the 'loaded nachos', which if truth be told were not;

97/1078) Stinking Rose, Campbellford:  Pale Ale - Chinook Single Hop Varietal:  **; bottle;  dry, bitter hop notes;

98/1079) Maple Farms Bed and Breakfast, Marmora:  It's The Great Pumpkin Ale (number 14) by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  **;  7.5%; bottle;  gingery spiced nose; strongly spiced:  ginger, nutmeg, yielding to pumpkin at finish;  brewed with locally sourced pumpkin;  half smoked and half was roasted;

We were in the Campbellford area for a visit to a bed and breakfast, a gift from a very nice lady I know, aimed to coincide with Spring Revival, a music, food and beer festival hosted annually by Church Key.

When we saw people arriving with mugs in their hands we thought that they had some serious beer drinkers in this area but we learned that there are no drinking utensils at Spring Revival.  They pour your beer into a branded mug, available for sale on site.

Church Key Brewing


There was food aailabe at Spring Revival.


That popular glass


Marmora


Thursday, 18 September 2014

April 30, 2014

94/1075) Home:  Weizenbock by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. (Beer Academy):  **;  deep brown colour;  sweet spiced nose;  caramel , banana flavours;  I'm not sure if the yeast is Belgian or not;  I missed the release party on Friday the 25th but this is the next best thing;

April 29, 2014

93/1074) Home:  Stay Classy by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  2.3%;  cloudy, straw coloured;  citrusy nose;  full flavoured citrusy hop notes;  I cannot believe this is a light beer - first they made it a good beer, then they made it light/sessionable;

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

April 28, 2014

91/1072) Home:  Monogamy Single Hop Pale Ale - Soraichi Ace by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  6.4%;  dry, slightly tropical nose;  astringent, bitter, instant coffee-like bite;

92/1073) Home:  Halcyon by Thornbridge Brewery of England:  **;  a 7.4% Imperial IPA;  brewed with wheat and barley;  cloudy, the colour of honey;  piney nose;  earthy, resiny flavours;

April 27, 2014

For an alternate view as to how a "beer fast" may work out in practice may I recommend that you visit www.drunkard.com, enter "beer fast" into the search engine and peruse the item at the top.  I have copied and pasted a number of times but for some unknown reason my Quality Control team is not able to make the link work afterwards.  As is the case with much of the prose at the Modern Drunkard it is worth any and all effort.

April 26, 2014

88/1069) the Epic Lounge at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto:  1929 Cream Ale by Double Trouble Brewing of Ontario *1/2;  this was a bottled selection, brewed especially for the Royal York;  the Royal York first opened its doors in 1929 and this commemorative beer is “crafted with ingredients and methods which hold true to the 20’s time period.”;  earthy, sweet malty nose;  hoppy flavours;  the prices approach epic but they do offer a free bowl of mixed snack items;

89/1070) the Epic Lounge at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel:  Royal York Stinger Honey Beer by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  brewed with honey from beehives on the rooftop garden and apiary at the Royal York; a golden ale;  subtle honeyed nose;  honey is most prominent at finish, otherwise it is subtle, mostly sweet maltiness;

90/1071)  The 3 Brewers:  The Blossom/La Floraison by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.6%;  for me the hook was that the source of starch is Corn Flakes;  brewed with Tettnang hops;  there is a faint tangyness in common with all of The 3 Brewers' beers, perhaps it is the yest or maybe the malt;  sweet and malty;  the story is a bit better than the beer;;

April 25, 2014

86/1067) C'est What:  Brun Au Mars by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  1/2;  5%, 22 ibu;  notes of sterilized, packaged bandages;  awful;  I must remember to order half pints when it's a new one;

87/1068) C'est What:  Apocalypse Later by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **;  10%, 100 ibu;  a thermonuclear hop bomb;  not the strongest hop nose of all time but those dry, bitter, astringent hop flavours!;  quite something;

April 24, 2014

84/1065) Home:  Vulcan Ale by Pluto's Moon Beer Co, of Alberta: *1/2;  brewed under license;  described as "a logical choice" and "Mind-Melding good";  brewed in 2013 to celebrate Vulcan Alberta's centennial;  an Irish Red Ale;  sweet, malty nose;  mildly sweet with a muted dry finish;

85/1066) Home:  Wizard Wolf Session Ale by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  *;  4.8%; fragrant hop nose;  the taste does not fulfill the promise of that nose;  there is an off-putting mustiness;  I do like the fragrant finish, however;


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

April 23, 2014

83/1064) Home:  Citra by Oakham Ales of Ontario:  *;  4.6%;  uses Citra hops exclusively;  floral, perfumed nose; bitter finish;  herbal/floral notes;

April 22, 2014

82/1063) Home:  Grognard Session Stout by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **;  3.8%;  bitter mocha nose;  thin mouth feel;  fresh coffee flavours;

I bought a few beers at Bellwoods recently.


April 21, 2014

80/1061) Home:  Grendel's Revenge Old Ale by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  *1/2;  8%; tart, citrusy nose;  very tart, funky (as the young beer geeks like to say) with what I am tempted to describe as a note of delightfully cheap red wine to the nose;  there is a sweetness just before the finish which is very dry indeed;  purchased at the Indie Ale House;  aged in port and Madeira barrels;

81/1062)  Lion Brewery restaurant at Heuther's Hotel:  IPA by Lion Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;   I found this to be very malty for an IPA;  sweet gingery notes with a very dry hoppy finish;

April 20, 2014

As April 20th - four twenty - is the day on which conspicuously stupid young people are duped into believing it makes them sophisticated to light up in celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Adolph Hitler I will focus on beers of questionable taste;

78/1059)  Home:  Octane 7.0 by Breuvage Octane of Quebec: *;    described using such terms as "alcoholic beverage + caffeine"  "elaborated in Canada";   among the ingredients are malt liquor and "guanara extract (caffeine)";  it smells like Red Bull and tastes much the same;  I'm not certain this needs to exist but it's not a drain pour either;  very candy like;  while I did buy it at the beer store it might find its most devoted audience among those who don't like beer very much;

79/1060) Home:  AC/DC Premium Lager by Brasserie Licarne of France:  *;  "brewed in accordance with the Rock 'n Roll manifesto of 1973 and the German Purity Law of 1516";  let it not be forgotten that on the 19th of February, 1980, AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott died after "a night of heavy alcohol consumption"; the official cause of death was "acute alcohol poisoning" according the Guardian (UK);  the booklet to CD release of Back in Black, which I do not own, claims he choked on his own vomit; a very German style later;  in short an ordinary beer for an unextraordinary band;


April 19, 2014

In the build up to the most significant days of the Christian calendar one can count on any number of insults and mockery of things Christian taking place so it was with hesitation that I pursued the tale of one Chris Schryer who has pledged that during Lent he would fast, save for beer.

To my relief, Chris is a Christian acting from sincerity and not mockery - a renactor, if you will. Amsterdam has provided a hearty Doppelbock of which he consumes 341ml at breakfast and 650ml at lunch along with apple juice, weak tea and water.  And that's it. He is emulating monastic orders of centuries ago in a fascinating first person recreation.

Having read some of his blog entries it is all very intriguing but his mention of headaches and the like may well discourage one from trying the same.

Another concern is that I gather he works at a licensed establishment so there is a certain amount of caution required.

I sincerely wish him well and will be reading http://www.torontobeerblog.com/ and cheering him on.  I only wish I had the nerve, and strength of character, to try something similar.

Monday, 15 September 2014

April 14, 2014

77/1058) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Dubbel Entendre by Black Oak Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6.4%;  a Belgian style dubbel;  strong dried fruit nose;  rich, fruity, warming;

April 13, 2014

75/1056) Home:  Spring Bock by Amsterdam Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.3%;  a new recipe for 2014;  aged 6 weeks;   sweet nose with sharp hint of grain and alcohol; rich tasting with caramel sweetness;  not quite up to the level of a nostalgia enhanced Growlers bock;

76/1057) Home: Worthington's White Shield by The National Brewing Centre of England:  *;  5.6%;  product of UK, yet the trademark is used under license by Six Pints of Victoria Street, Toronto;  lael reads, "closer to cask" and, what's more,  CAMRA says this is "real ale";  bitter, one dimensional Euro-hops scuttle this one;  there is a reasonable beer lurking behind the saaz - at first I thought it was spoiled;

April 10, 2014

73/1054) Home:  Gulden Draak 9000 Quadrupel by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **;  10.5%;  sweet nose with a hint of yeast and dried fruit aromas;  sweet fruity yeastiness witha finish of warming alcohol;   a very nice quad

74/1055) Home:  Irish Potato Stout by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  5%;  yes, brewed with potatoes;  nose has sweetness and coffee notes;  flavours much like their usual stout but there is a certain tough to describe heartiness about it; drinkvine calls it 'stick to your ribs";  it would go great with a hearty stew, Irish or otherwise;


April 6, 2014

This month's installment of beers I miss is Labatts IPA.  This is the one they say was good enough that Labatts had to stop producing it as it didn't fit their image.

I recall going to the beer store days before an anticipated strike and buying it because it was all that was left.  Perhaps the fact that it wasn't popular was a good sign.

It would be fun to see this one return if only to see if it really was a reasonable offering from one of the erstwhile Big Three.

April 5, 2014

71/1052) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Ten Bitter Tangerines by Black Oak of Toronto:  **;  on cask;   tiny pieces of pulp give a cloudy appearance;  the nose is very strong fruity tangerine with a distinct hop edge;  opens with fresh tangerine which lingers until a bitter hop finish;

72/1053) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  The Mayor's Craic by Oat House of Ontario:  **;  a dry Irish stout;   mocha nose; rich mocha flavours, more chocolate than coffee;  crisp, short finish;  I thought I detected a touch of (cigarette) smoke;

Sunday, 14 September 2014

April 4, 2014

70/1051) Home:  Hogan's Goat by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 6.9% spiced bock;  Wild Oats Series #15;  brewed with organic barley and rye malts, peppermint, orange peel, juniper berry;  nose  is minty; flavours are rooty, spicy. the finish is particularly spicy and here the citrus flavours emerge;  fresh and refreshing; very unusual and very good;


April 1, 2014

68/1049) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Namastale Gruit by Church Key of Ontario:  **;  6.5%, 0, yes zero,  ibu;  a Finnish Sahti style gruit;  Gruits pre-date the use of hops in beer;  slightly hazy;   flavoured with juniper boughs and rosemary;  nose is rooty with pine needles;   sweet juniper notes, spice and pine; an intriguing beer;

69/1050) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Ellesmere's Regret by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;   5.5%, 23 ibu;  a marshmallow, chocolate hemp stout;  nose of dark coffee;  bitter mocha flavours, dark espresso notes;  their use of maple syrup and vanilla highlights the marshmallow beautifully;  a pretty fine stout;

March 29, 2014

63/1044) Beer Academy:  Amber Ale by Six Pints Specialty Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6.1%;  73 ibu; this is up from 5% abv and 55 ibu in last year's version;   fruity, floral nose;  very hop forward in the West Coast style, partially balanced by sweetness; bitter hop bite at the finish;  this flight also had their IPA for comparison which I found much sharper, without offsetting sweet notes;

64/1045) Beer Academy:  Hopaweizen by Six Pints Specialty Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2; 5.25%, 42 ibu;   this was the third item on my flight;  hazy;  citrus zest nose;  notes of pine with banana notes at the close;

65/1046) beerbistro:  Sam Adams Cold Snap MA by Boston Brewing Company of Massachusetts:  **1/2; 5.5%  refreshing, lemon zest nose;  tastes of citrus zest, spices, corainder and orange peel;  a very refreshing white ale;  I think people imagined patio season would be sooner;

66/1047) beerbistro:  Hop Wallop by Victory Brewing of Pennsylvania:  **1/2;  bottle;  8.5%; earthy hoppy nose;  rooty, hoppy flavours;

67/1048) beerbistro:  Mocha Porter by Rogue Brewing of Oregon:  **;  5.1%, roasty mocha nose;  roasty flavours;

I liked the Amber Ale enough to bring some home with me.


March 26, 2014

Another interesting piece, courtesy <www.canadianabeernews.com>.  The annual craft beer tasting, hosted by the Speaker of Ontario's Legislative Assembly, has taken place. Some three hundred and fifty Members of Provincial Parliament, staff and guests voted on their favourite beers from among eighty seven tasted and not only do the winners get bragging rights, they will be on the menu in the dining room at Queen's Park.

The winners are:

The Speaker’s Choice: Mill Street Original Organic Lager
Golden Lagers, Pilsners, & Light Beer: Steam Whistle Pilsner
Amber Lagers, Ales & Honey Beer: Old Credit Amber Ale
Wheat Beer or Specialty: Cameron’s Rye Pale Ale
Refreshing Ales: Highlander Lion Grass
Malty Dark Lager or Ale: Lake of Bays Spark House Red Ale
Bold Flavoured Ale, Stout or Porter: Amsterdam Boneshaker IPA

Another mention of Steam Whistle:  that ought to get the trolls typing.

March 24, 2014

Sometimes events write your piece for you, in this case March's installment of beers that I miss.  Great Lakes Brewery has announced that Orange Peel Ale will be discontinued as its spring seasonal.  I had given this two pints of three back in 2011 and I enjoyed the fact that by using peel and not pulp the flavours were as subtle as they were.

It is being replaced by My Bitter Wife.  This one is good enough, and popular enough, I think, to be a year round offering and maybe that will happen one day.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

March 22, 2014

It has been announced that the Rogers Centre will not renew its one year contract with Steam Whistle Brewing.  You may be forgiven for not knowing that you could purchase Steam Whistle at a Blue Jays game.  It was very hard to find.

This is a shame and not just because it leaves Toronto as the only major league ballpark without a craft beer/local brewery choice.  Steam Whistle is right next door.  It seemed a good match and one ought to support one's neighbours.

Of course the very mention of Steam Whistle summons the trolls.  It isn't "craft" enough for some which in practice seems to mean that they are successful enough to be able to afford to advertise and the private party is over.

My theme has been good beer, not necessarily craft beer or fashionable beer.  The pilsner style has been around for a good many years and I suspect it will outlive all those salted, smoked and sour beers that the trend mongers endeavour to be seen drinking.

March 21, 2014

61/1042) Caffe Volo:  Thrust IPA by Great Lakes Brewing of Ontario:  **;  on cask;  6.5%;  cloudy with a piney nose;  bold hoppiness;  sharp, piney, sweet almost gingery finish with a lingering bitter after taste;  a draught sampler I was given to make up for the next one revealed even more intense hops;

62/1043) Caffe Volo:  Long White Cloud New Zealand Pale Ale by Silversmith Brewing of Ontario: 1/2;  5.5%;  I was expecting Nelson hops but what I got was intensely grassy;

I found myself looking for a spot to dump this out;  I briefly considered the patio or the sidewalk next to said patio but in the end decency and common sense got the better of me and I left it on the bar.

March 17, 2014

After the atrocities I witnessed in 2011, I no longer take March 17th off but I did enjoy a bottle of Railway City's Shambock for the occasion.

March 15, 2014

55/1036) Junction Craft Brewing:  Bockscar Winter Bock by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5 oz., 7.5%, 34 ibu;  pale amber colour with a sweet, malty nose;  malty, mildly sweet;

56/1037) Junction Craft Brewing:  Night Train Dark Ale by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%,;  pours as dark as a stout;  chocolate, mocha nose;  very malty and grainy with a hint of chocolate at the finish;

57/1038)  Junction Craft Brewing:  Santa Rosa Special (unfiltered):  **;   a 5.2% West Coast APA;  cloudy, as one might expect;  very pale - the same colour as ginger ale; citrusy nose, grapefruit notes;

I made this a new entry as I judged that pouring it unflitered brought something different to the party. By way of example, the bottled version is 5.0%.  Readers may recall I did something similar when I encountered unfiltered Steam Whistle.

58/1039) Indie Ale House:  King Richard's English Bitter by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **;  4.5%,;  brewed with English malts;  pours deep brown;  rich and flavourful;  sweet and malty;  there are porter/stout elements to this bitter;

All things considered the odds are against me passing up a beer playfully referred to as "King Richard's Bitter.

59/1040)  Indie Ale House:  Coffee Porter by Indie Ale House:  **; on cask;  nose is more mocha than coffee;  rich mocha flavours with a sweet mocha finish

60/1041)  Indie Ale House:  Quiet Time Coffee Chocolate Bourbon Stout by Indie Ale Hose of Ontario:  **1/2;   10.5%;  wow;  there's a tart cidery nose and the tartness lingers through mocha and sweet bourbon notes;

The glasses at Junction Craft Brewing were five ounces.  Whoever invented the flight of beer was a genius.

I also did some shopping while I was there.



March 14, 2014

51/1032) C'est What:  Shoulders of Giants by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 10%, 86 ibu Imperial IPA;  it is described as "high test";  for starters, they poured me a full pint (!);  very piney nose;  bitter, resiny;  it may be a case of too much of a good thing but I'm not entirely convinced by this one;

52/1033) C'est What:  Brown Bessie Milk Stout by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  **; 5.6%, 20 ibu;  sweet mocha nose;  mocha flavours with a grainy malt finish;

53/1034) Caffe Volo:  Poundcake Oatmeal Session Porter by House Ales of Ontario:  **;  3.4%;  nose is mocha, roasty;  roasty malty notes;

54/1035) Caffe Volo:  Hoppercar APA by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  mellow, hoppy nose;  5%;  mild grapefruit notes to nose;  refreshing fresh grapefruit flavours;

 Today is pi day, (3.14).

Friday, 12 September 2014

March 2, 2014

When it was announced that Utopias 2013 would become available last November I let it pass.  I still have some of the 2011 batch and I have an unopened 10th anniversary blend from 2012 that I am aging.  My thinking was that I was pretty lucky to have what I have and it was time to let someone else have the opportunity to spend $114.95 on a bottle of beer.

My lucky streak continues.  I had occasion to look back on the press release and the 2013 batch marks the introduction of Kosmic Mother Funk or KMF to the blend.  Given my lukewarm reaction to their barrel series, which to my mind would have been far better off without the KMF, it would have made for an expensive disappointment.

March 1, 2014

50/1031) C'est What:  Maris* Pale Ale by Left Field Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  hoppy nose, resiny, delicious hop flavours;  not up to the level of 6-4-3 (which is hard to find owing to a shortage of a particular variety of hop) but very good;

Today was a Cask Social - I came more for the social than the cask.  Besides, the Tallis Choir was recreating a Requiem Mass for King Richard III as it might have been performed in 1499 and I guessed correctly that there would be members of the Richard III Society of Canada present and that I might need to be suave and sophisticated this evening.

Yes, that is Maris with an asterisk...

February 26, 2014

Well, it's happened and I ought to have expected that it might.  Someone got upset at Tracks Brewpub and declared that Tracks had gone quickly downhill since Brian left.  I shan't name names because this was someone I otherwise have a bit of respect for, though I am leaning towards believing that he should bear the brunt of the blame.  It's none of my concern save for the fact that it upset the server and she's a lovely young girl and this sort of thing shouldn't happen.

February 25, 2014

Another beer I really miss is Grizzly Beer by Amstel, "a roaring good beer".  Amstel was a Dutch owned brewer located in Hamilton.  Grizzly Beer (you can't just say "grizzly", you have to say the whole name) was a lager with a premium taste to it.  It could be hard to find at times but I recall a joint called the Running Pump on Danforth near Greenwood that kept it.  That place is long gone along with its terrific nachos.

It started out in tall bottles, then cans, then it returned as a stubby and then it was gone.

I don't mind saying that the packaging was great and so were the bus shelter ads and especially the radio spots.  If you visit <http://www.spiritofradio.ca/Sounds.asp> and enter grizzly into their search function you will find a fine example.

Amstel's Grizzly Beer has nothing at all to do with or in common with Bellwoods' Grizzly Beer.  I wonder if they think they came up with the name.

February 24, 2014

Just thought I should mention that today being the birthday of Emperor Charles V it is an appropriate time for a bottle of Gouden Carolus Cuvee van de Keizer,

Thursday, 11 September 2014

February 23, 2014

49/1030) Lion Brewery Restaurant at Huether's Hotel in Kitchener:  Earl Grey Porter by the Lion Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  it's a bit of a goof on coffee porter;  chocolate nose with tannins;  notes of chocolate and coffee;  finish is dark coffee and tannins;  very nice, very unusual;

February 22, 2014

48/1029)  The 3 Brewers:  The Neighbourhood Beer:  T.W. Ale by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *;   a 4%, 35 ibu pale ale with a mildly fruity nose;  dry, almost astringent tasting with bitter malt and a touch of floral earthy hops at the finish;

Like the Master Brewers challenge, there is a different beer brewed at each location for the Neighbourhood beer feature.  This beer is named for William Horace Temple.  "Temperance Willie" was a member of Provincial Parliament and a socialist temperance crusader.  His efforts led to victories in anti-drinking referendums in three consecutive decades.  In 1966, 1972 and 1984 the no alcohol side carried the day.  Temple died in 1988 but  prohibition lasted until 2000 in Toronto's  High Park/Junction area.  The beer named for him is described as a prohibition era light blonde ale. I wish I liked the beer half as much as I liked the story.

February 21, 2014

46/1027) C'est What  Sputnik Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  8%;, 42 ibu;  gravity feed cask;  pours very dark with low carbonation; dark coffee nose;  malty, warming alcohol and dark coffee with a touch of sweet dried fruit;  there is a hint of sweet vanilla to the nose and palate;

47/1028) C'est What:  Sochi Imperial Stout by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  9.2%;  on cask;  it seemed appropriate to be drinking this with the 2014 Winter Olympics on TV;  citrusy, funky tart nose;  the funk over-powers the stout flavours;

I was asked by the fellow net to me at the bar what I was writing.  Maybe it's time to switch to the i-pod?

February 18, 2014

45/1026) Fionn MacCool's, Brampton:  Galaxy Hop Ale by Alexander Keith's of Ontario:  **;  sweet, hoppy, mildly citrusy nose;  almost gingery flavours and a refreshing hop bite;  if I wanted to be fussy I could mention that it was served too cold;

February 13, 2014

42/1023) C'est What:  Santa Rosa Special by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5%, 50 ibu;  on cask;  fresh, earthy hop nose;  sweet grapefruity notes with a dry finish;

43/1024) C'est What:  Bloody Long Voyage by Sawdust City of Ontario:  **;  9%, 50 ibu;  on cask;  the full name is Bloody Long Dark Voyage to Uranus;  it's our old favourite with raspberries;   deep red colour;  nose is berries and grain;  notes of raspberry, coffee, and a hint of chocolate;

44/1025) C'est What:  Triple Chocolate Cherry Stout by Black Oak Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.2%, 50 ibu;  cherry and chocolate nose;  cherry flavours are especially strong at the finish;

Today is C'est What's 26th anniversary.  the first 100 or so diners received a free glass.  I guess it is my fault.  After enjoying 23, 24, 25% off on their 23rd, 24th, 25th anniversaries I had to blow it by saying that I was so  there come their 100th anniversary.

February 10, 2014

41/1022) Home:  Breakfast Stout by Founders Brewing Company of Michigan:  **;  8.3%, 60 ibu;  a  Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout or, "flavoured strong beer";  I was expecting to be hugely disappointed given the build-up:  there was talk of Westvlteren-style line ups and hoarding;  it took more than one try to find this; it was certainly nothing remotely close to the billing it received but it is a very good stout;  coffee nose;  flavours of coffee, hint mocha;  very dry;  not my favourite stout but still a good one;

Then there's that label and case:


Wednesday, 10 September 2014

February 9, 2014

40/1021) Home:  Backwoods Bastard by Founders Brewing Company of Michigan:  **1/2;  10.2%, 50 ibu;  aged in oak bourbon barrels;  pours a rich, dark brown colour;  oaky, the bourbon is very strong to the nose;  there are very strong bourbon notes with a sweet finish;

That's Grand Rapids, Michigan to be precise.

February 8, 2014

39/1020) Home:  Dirty Bastard by Founders Brewing Company of Michigan:  *;  8.5%, 50 ibu;  a Scotch style ale;  the nose is sweet and malty;  taste is big and bold with bitter notes and an hint of alcohol but the peaty bitterness off-sets the sweetness one often finds in Scotch ales and is rather off-putting;  it's the weakest of the set so far;

February 7, 2014

38/1019) Sin and Redemption:  Hennepin Farmhouse Saison by Ommegang Brewery of New York:  *1/2;    7.7%;  peppery, champagne-like flavours;  another one that is wildly over-rated on certain chat sites;  there is a somewhat redeeming bitterness, particularly at the finish;

February 6, 2014

37/1018) Home:  Dry Hopped Pale Ale by Founders Brewing Company of Michigan:  **;   5.4%, 35 ibu;  nose is malty with a hoppy edge;  hops are prominent especially in the dry, almost astringent finish;  well balanced by very forward rich maltiness;

February 5, 2014

36/1017) Home:  Porter by Founders Brewing Company of Michigan:  **;  6.5%, 45 ibu;  mocha nose;  rich, creamy mocha flavours;

From the LCBO's Founders Brewery feature.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

February 4, 2014

My final bit of reminiscing and analyzing for a while:  my audience consists of viewers from a number of nations and here are the top ten in terms of number of visits:

1) Canada
2) United States
3) Germany
4) Russia
5) Sweden
6) United Kingdom
7) France
8) Malaysia
9) Poland
10) Ukraine

A couple of surprises there.

February 3, 2014

35/1016) Home:  Samuel Adams Tetravus Belgian Quad by the Boston Brewing Company of Massachusetts:  **1/2;  10% according to LCBO, 10.2% according to the bottle;  may favourite of the set;  rich nose featuring dried fruit;  only the barest hint of funk at the finish;  spiced sweetness, dried fruit;

February 2, 2014

I have tasted beer from some forty countries.  Over 60% were Canadian and a further 10% were from the U.S.A.  The top ten countries are:

1) Canada
2) U.S.A.
3) Belgium
4) England
5) Scotland
6) Germany
7) Netherlands
8) New Zealand
9) Denmark
10) Ireland

If I was to roll England, Scotland and Wales' totals into a single entry for the United Kingdom it would place third. 

More beers came from Ontario than any other province, state or nation with Quebec and British Columbia rounding out the top three provinces.

The top three states were New York, California and Oregon.


February 1, 2014

32/1013) Caffe Volo:  Muskoka Detour by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 5.3% American pale ale;  floral nose with hints of pine and grapefruit;  delightful hop forward flavours;  very floral;  

33/1014) Caffe Volo:  Mortalité by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec:  **1/2;  a 7% American IPA;  cut from much the same cloth as Muskoka Detour above with a very floral nose and bright floral flavours;

34/1015) Caffe Volo:  Grande Noirceur by Dieu du Ciel! of Quebec:  **1/2;  a 9% Imperial Stout; the nose is notes of dark, bitter coffee;  flavours of dark coffee, alcohol and astringent espresso;

My notes read " Wow. What a night" and what a night it was with three great new beers.  As is regularly the case the music at the Volo seems to fit the vibe.  My notes also comment on how dark it is inside the Volo.  It is not very well lit and I am not convinced that they have/use air conditioning in the summer which is why I am a bit scarce during certain months.

Oh, and I repaid the Volo for all the fun evenings by undoing some yo-yo's juvenile prank of stuffing the drain and turning on the hot water in the loo, singeing my hand in the process.  You'e welcome.

January 31, 2014

31/1012) Home:  Samuel Adams New World by the Boston Brewing Company of Massachusetts:  *1/2;  a 10% golden tripel aged in oak;  the nose is blend of funk and clove notes from the Belgian yeast;  sweet Belgian yeast flavours and thankfully the clove notes over power that funk;

Monday, 8 September 2014

January 30, 2014

Over the course of one thousand beers, I have consumed beer from just shy of two hundred brewers.  My top ten list is:

1) Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario
2) The 3 Brewers of Ontario
3) Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario
4) Mill Street of Ontario
5T) Rogue of Oregon
5T) Amsterdam Brewing of Ontario
7) Flying Monkeys of Ontario
8T) Innis and Gunn of Scotland
8T) Railway City of Ontario
10) Wellington County Brewing of Ontario

January 29, 2014

29/1010)  Home:  Oatmeal Brown Ale by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. (Beer Academy) of Ontario:  **;  6.28%, 34  ibu;  nose features a touch of mocha and roasty grain;  the label mentions cookie flavours and by George, there are cookie-like notes at that,  w/ith grainy, roasty, chocolaty flavours;

30/1011) Home:  Samuel Adams' Thirteenth Hour by the Boston Brewing Company of Massachusetts:  *1/2;  from the Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection 3-pack;  a 9% Belgian style stout;  contains 13 ingredients including dextrose and brown sugar;  tart, citrusy nose;  the "Kosmik Mother Funk" ™ over shadows the chocolate and coffee notes;  it may well have been much better without it;  at the finish a hint of chocolate emerges from the shadows;

From Samuel Adams' Barrel Room Collection



January 28, 2014

28/1009) Home:  Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout by Ommegang Brewery of New York:  **; 7%;  brewed with star anise, licorice root, dextrose, wheat and barley malts as well as the usual 3 others;  strong blend of anise and alcohol in the nose and dark, dark coffee;  very strong flavours; bold, rooty, with a touch of vanilla;  it is the sort of thing I would not be surprised to stumble upon at the Volo

January 27, 2014

Thinking about the loss of Train Wreck Strong Ale makes me think I could come up with twelve beers that I miss, much the same way as I listed twelve pubs I missed last year.

We may as well start with the one that out the thought in my mind.  I am going to miss Train Wreck by Gananoque.  I was lucky enough to consume it at its freshest in Kingston and Gananoque and will fondly remember its bold hoppiness and gingery flavours.

January 26, 2014

Rolling over a significant number on the odometer always presents an opportunity to look back.  I have analysed the first thousand entries and here is what I have found:

Far and away my top location for drinking new beers is at home and for that I owe thanks to the LCBO, as unfashionable as that may be, and to a lesser extent the Beer Store. My list of top ten locations looks like this:

1) Home
2) Caffe Volo
3) C'est What
4) The 3 Brewers
5) the Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern, which is quite a trick given how long they have been closed
6) the beerbistro
7) the Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke
8) Sin and Redemption
9) Jack Astor's, Brampton
10) Sarah's Cafe, Fionn MacCool's, the Granite Pub and "someone else's home" in a four way tie

In subsequent entries I will share my breakdown of brewers and countries.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

January 25, 2014

25/1006) Caffe Volo:  Scrimshaw Oyster Stout by Barley Days Brewery of Ontario:  **; on cask;  mild mocha nose;  sweet mocha flavours;  soft mouth feel;  a bit subdued;  the cool thing is, it really is made with oysters

26/1007)  Caffe Volo:  Pitchfork Porter by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.3%; robust English Porter;  there is a bit of a tangyness to this one;  muted coffee flavours; overall it's just a tad bland

27/1008) Caffe Volo:  Half Nelson by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 6.5% American IPA;  strong citrusy hop nose;  citrusy, tropical up front hop flavours;

January 24, 2014

23/1004) Home:  Back in Black by 21st Amendment Brewery of California:  **;   a 6.5% black, American IPA;  brewed with dark malts;  surprising hop nose - piney, almost menthol, with a touch of sweet roasty malt;  roasty flaours, with a touch of menthol and a hint of coffee;  It was a bit confusing but I would try another just for the chance to spend some more time getting to know it better and figure it out;

24/1005) Home:  Classique by Stillwater Artisinal Brewing of Connecticut:  **;  4.5;  nose is grainy, sweet, almost sugary;  crisp with refreshing citrusy notes;

January 23, 2014

22/1003) Home:  Game of Thrones Blonde Ale by Ommegang Brewery of New York:  *1/2;  6.5%;  brewed with barley, wheat, dextrose, lemon peel, spice, and grains of paradise;  an official HBO licensed product;  cloudy with a lemony nose;  mildly peaty with hints of lemon, malt, grains of paradise but overall it is a bit nondescript;

I have heard of the TV series but I have not seen a minute of it.


January 22, 2014

20/1001) Home:  China Wall by Lake of Bays Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a 7% Vienna Dark Lager;  from their NHL Alumni series:  Masked Men - Edition 1;  named for Johnny Bower, who was minding the nets for the Toronto Maple Leafs when they won the Stanley Cup in 1967;  brewed with barley and wheat;   sweet, mildly burnt caramel nose; mild roast flavours with a touch of caramel; if I am going to have a lager I would choose this one;

After suffering in excess of 200 stitches, Johnny Bower did indeed don a mask - for seventeen games.

21/1002) Home:  Brew Free Or Die IPA by 21st Amendment Brewery of California:  **; 7%;  pleasant hop nose;  soft floral hop flavours;


January 21, 2014

18/999) Home:  Top Shelf Classic Lager by Lake of Bays Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%, all natural;  the official beer of NHL Alumni Association;  proceeds help support the activities if NHAA,"Hockey's greatest family";  your standard lager, very crisp, it is what I have called in the past a lawnmower beer;  sweet grassy nose;  a touch of fruity sweetness;  first in a proposed series;

19/1000) Home:  The Wayward Son by Radical Road Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  7.5%;  "Fuel for a revolution";  a Belgian style golden ale matured in Ontario Pinot Noir barrels;  the usual 4 ingredients plus Belgian candi sugar and oats;  brewed under contract at Black Oak in Etobicoke;  the nose is oak, red wine, tart cherry and malt; there is a tartness with candi sugar at the finish but I found the other flavours muted, almost washed out; this is another example of a beer that wife likes it more than I do;



Saturday, 6 September 2014

January 20, 2014

17/998)  The 3 Brewers:  Freya's Tears by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  6%;  malty, coffee-like nose;  tastes malty with just a hint of citris at the close;  part of The 3 Brewers's Master Brewer Challenge;  it's their take on a Baltic Porter;  Freya is the Nordic Goddess of love and beauty;

January 19, 2014

15/996) Home:  Cranberry Festive Lager by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.5%, 26 ibu;  the first time I encountered this one it was a pilsner, now it is a lager;  malty, cranberry nose;  the  cranberries are more up front then I recall from the old recipe;  would go great with Christmas dinner;

16/997) Home:  Honey Elixir by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  **;  another one from Railway City that has been re-tooled;  at one time this was 5.0%, now it is 5.5% abv;  29 ibu;  slightly richer;  not so over powering as before - the subtlety works in its favour;

January 18, 2014

13/994)  Home:  Black Magic Woman by Hornbeer of Denmark:  *;  10%;  brewed with roasted malt, peat smoked malt, birch smoked malt, caramel and ale malts; the nose is sweet and chocolaty with smoke;  not nearly as revolting as the Sunturnbrew of a couple of days ago, which tasted as I imagine the ash trays did at end of night in the (un-missed) days when one could smoke indoors;  peaty, chocolate notes with a finish like a cigarette butt;  I was, however, able to finish this one but just the same it's one and done for this beer;

14/995)  Home:  Hipster Ale by Eviltwin Brewing of Connecticut:  *1/2;  a 5.5% APA;  "an homage to you - the global hipster"; citrusy, pleasantly hopped nose;  to my hop-scarred palate it tastes a bit washed out;  it's certainly not over the top just modestly bitter;

My eldest son has accused me of being a hipster so I appreciated the joke as much as the gesture when he presented me with this.

January 17, 2014

For my second installment of service industry people misbehaving I was interested to note that there was a surcharge when paying with plastic for the couple next to me but none for me at the joint I attended last night.  Perhaps this was because instead of asking in advance I waited for my bill before revealing my method of payment. They opted to pay cash which suggests a variety of motivations on the part of the individual behind the bar, or possibly only the one.

January 16,, 2014

11/992) Home:  Sunturnbrew by Nøgne Ø of Norway:  1/2;  11%;  very dark;  brewed with malted barley, rye and wheat;  brewed every December 21st, the day Norwegians traditionally believe the sun changes direction;  peaty, smokey nose;  burnt peat taste with a touch of sweetness;  I found it absolutely awful - I couldn't finish it:  this seldom  happens;

12/993) Home:  Midvinterblot by Sigtuna Bryghus of Sweden:  **;  8%;  bottle is entirely in Swedish but it seemed to sneak past the bilingualism police;  perhaps they were busy harassing the purveyors of British sweets as is their wont;  at any rate, I was able learn very little before tasting and maybe it is a Good Thing to go into these things "blind"; roasty, grainy nose;  I thought I detected a hint of smoke maybe I'm still traumatized after that last one;  sweet coffee notes, rich pleasant bitter chocolaty finish;

A few dark beers:


Friday, 5 September 2014

January 13, 2014

10/991) Home:  Baltic Porter by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. (Beer Academy) of Ontario:  **1/2; coffee and chocolate to the nose;  opens with sweet chocolate, coffee notes throughout and a touch of alcohol at the finish;;  warming and deceptively strong but absolutely lovely;

January 12, 2014

9/990) Hime:  Belgian Tripel by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. (Beer Academy) of Ontario:  **1/2; 9.3%;  features both fruitiness (dried) and spice with Belgian style sweetness lurking in the background;


January 11, 2014

8/989) Home:  (Old) Kentucky Bastard by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **1/2;  the word "Old" appears on the LCBO site and elsewhere but not on the bottle itself;  ar 10.0% this is slightly lower than what I tried at Cest What hence the new rating;  it's Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout aged in Kentucky Bourbon barrels;  warning bourbon nose;  notes of oak, coffee, a hint of vanilla and warming alcohol


January 9. 2014

6/987) Home:  Hogtown Ale by Hogtown Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  "Toronto's Neighbourhood Beer";  a 5% Kolsch style ale;  sweet malty nose with a touch of Euro-hops; pleasant soft mouth-feel; bitter after taste;

7/988)  Home:  Pilsner by Kelso Beer Co. of New York:  *1/2;  brewed in Brooklyn;  my son likes their brown ale but he couldn't find it when the time came;  grainy nose;  named for Kelly and Sonia, a husband and wife team;  a classic pilsner;  not quite the usual Euru-hop bite;

January 7, 2014

4/985) Home:  Deviator Doppelbock - Oak Aged by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  8.6%; aged for six months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels;  I enjoyed this version much more than the non-oaked variety I had on tap at C'est What;  the nose features alcohol and bourbon;  there are notes of oak and vanilla;

5/986) Home:  Signature Ale by County Durham Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  6%;  nose is malty with a mild hop edge; very English;  said hop edge is more pronounced in the tasting, and particularly so in the after taste in which becomes a bit much after a while;


Thursday, 4 September 2014

January 6, 2014

3/984) Home:  Genesis He'Brew by Shmaltz Brewing Company of New York:  *1/2;  a Dry Hopped Session Ale;  re-born in 2013 with a new recipe;  I had commented back when I tried the earlier version at the Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern how, at 4.7%, "session" abv's are increasing;  now it is 5.5%;  malty nose with a bitter hop edge;  muted, earthy, rooty hop notes;  I am not certain that this is an improvement over the original;

This is part of my Christmas gift from my eldest son who has been living in Brooklyn while on a work term in Manhattan.


January 5, 2014

A bit off-topic but sometimes people are hungry after beer and if you need another reason not to buy sushi at a train station on Friday I observed an individual in a Sushi Shop uniform, complete with a showy chef's hat, blow past the sinks in the Union Station loo without so much as slowing down.

Yes, I am giving the late night sushi a pass.  I wonder if a health inspector would do the same.

January 4, 2014

2/983) Home:  Red On Red, a collaboration between Flying Monkeys of Ontario and Central City of British Columbia:*1/2;  9.3%, 80 ibu;  the prize for the top one-off at the Toronto Session Beer Festival was the chance to collaborate with Central City;  the result could scarcely be called sessionable, however;  mosaic hops give this beer an earthy, piney nose;  the flavours are, herbal with citrusy notes;  there are  tropical fruit notes but these, and any other nuances, are over-powered by earthy pine;  it's a bit much in the end;