Monday, 14 September 2015

September 14, 2015

I have to set something straight here.  Ralph Alfonso was quoted on-line saying that Time Damage IPA would not be at the Phoenix show owing to "beer agreements already in place,".

All is forgiven, Manantler, and I can only hope you will return the favour.

I should learn a lesson here and keep my thoughts on the negotiating skills of the Phoenix's management to myself.  Or, to be fashionable I could blame a big brewery except I saw some Amsterdam there along with the macros.

September 13, 2015

215/1489) Home:  Game of Thrones:  Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison by Ommegang Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  **;  7.2%;  pours a deep, rich brown colour with a soft pillowy head;  yeast sediment at the bottom of bottle - it's your choice to pour it into the glass or leave it behind;  I drank part of the glass then I poured the yeast in;  peppery spiced nose with hints of roasted malt;    mild spice with Belgian style yeast and hints of chocolate and roasted malt;  dark peppery finish;  an interesting blend;

I have still not seen a single episode of this show, not a one.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

September 12, 2015

212/1486) Home:  Raspberry Wheat Ale by Garrison Brewing Company of Nova Scotia:  *1/2;  4.6%;  wheaty, raspberry nose;  starts sharp and wheaty and finishes with fresh raspberry;  refreshing but not my favourite raspberry beer;

This is the last of the beers I brought home from Nova Scotia.  I am sort of regretting not picking up Local One by Brooklyn, in much the same way that I regretted doing the same in Manhattan.  In both instances I was having a hard time paying so much for one bottle but I think if I have the good fortune to encounter it again I will bite the bullet.

213/1487) Home: Highland Ale by Innis and Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2;  7.4%  a Scotch ale matured over oak infused with Highland Scotch whisky for 30 days;  brewed with wheat and barley malt;  the nose is sweet and midly spiced;  tastes sweet with oaky vanilla notes;

214/1488) Home:  Hobgoblin Gold by Wychwood Brewery of England:  **;  4.5%;  brewed with 4 hops, wheat and malted barley;  mixed hop nose with pilsner-like elements and herbal notes;  hoppy in a non Pacific northwest kind of way and interesting for that;  it is a bit fruity (berries) with a bitter finish;

September 11, 2015

A bit of disappointment today,  I visited the Phoenix Concert Theatre for a performance by the Diodes and to try Time Damage IPA, named for an early Diodes tune, by Manantler Craft Brewing which was going to be "available at all shows on the tour".  No one at either of the bars inside the Phoenix had heard of it, even after vocalist Paul Robinson referred to it twice on stage.

This is not my first such experience.  In July of 2014, alerted by Canadian Beer News to check Cameron's website for the availability of Pistols At Dawn, I dropped in to the Crooked Cue on Bloor Street resulting in a similar encounter.  Fortunately, in this instance I was very close to the Monk's Kettle.

This is not to knock the Canadian Beer News site,  They have to rely on what they are told and luckily for me there are a lot of beers out there and I get to choose which ones I spend my money on.

I don't picture myself feeling a need to try anything by Mantantler any time soon.

Save for that detail (I made do with gin and tonics) it was a good evening.  Things kicked off with a half hour of performance footage from Toronto's legendary Crash and Burn club filmed by Ross McLaren which might best be summarized as young people from 1977 with minuscule chances of employment desperately trying to cause offense.  It was fun.

This was followed by a band featuring Gordie Lewis and Dave Rave of Teenage Head and at eleven the feature act appeared on stage.  Towards the end they were joined by Lucasta Ross of the B-Girls and for the very last number they called Gord back to the stage to join in on a David Bowie cover.

Ralph Alfonso, manager of the Diodes and the Crash and Burn, hosted and he had a display of photos and other items from the era on display and for sale. I was intrigued to see a single that I had paid ninety nine cents for in the late seventies or early eighties going for fifty dollars.

On my way to the Phoenix I walked through the Bay on Queen and Yonge where I saw, less than half-way into September, a Christmas display.  Honest.

September 7, 2015

I regret to report that has been increasingly less reliable of late.  In terms of regular listings it still works but with new products are added so infrequently it becomes hard to recommend.

September 6, 2015

210/1484) Home:  Cuvée Soeur'ise Inséduisable by Brouwerij De Leite of Belgium:  **';  8.5%;  an oak aged cherry sour ale brewed with the usual four ingredients plus "25% cherries", rice, oats, sugar and herbs;  in addition to aging it in oak barrels it is refermented in the bottle;  strong, tart wine/cider nose;  tastes of sour cherries with a sparkling mouth feel;

211/1485) Home:  Smoked Honey by Royal City Brewing of Ontario:  **;  4.5%;  cloudy, unfiltered;  nose is smoky, roasty and honeyed with a hint of chocolate;  tastes of honey and chocolate;  mercifully, the smoke is underplayed;  nearly too sweet but not quite;

September 5, 2015

208/1482) Home:  White Oak Wheat Beer by Innis and Gunn of Scotland:  **;  6.4%;  a German style Kristallweizen infused with dried bergamot (the French name translates as sweet lemons - good description) and blood orange and matured for forty six days over oak; there are hints of Earl Grey tea and orange zest oil to the nose;  sweet oaky flavours;

Innis and Gunn are using dark bottles now.  Hurrah!

209/1483) Home:  DAB Maibock by Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei GMBH of Germany:  *1/2; malty nose;  pilsner like hop bite with sweet maltiness and a dry finish;

September 4, 2015

207/1481) Dum Dum's in Brampton:  Belgian Moon by Molson Coors of Ontario:  *;  this is Blue Moon (and not Rickard's White - here we taste it before we review it) re-tooled for the Canadian market - cue the hysteria from the bloggers;  pours hazy with an orangey nose;  faint yeast and orange zest flavours;  there is  an artificial, off-putting sweetness;  a disappointment;

Sadly, this won't buy back my street cred.  Evidently, I need to submit a scathingly and insufferably condescending review without having gone through the exercise of trying it for that to happen.

Dum Dum's is a relatively new operation in a spot that has hosted a number of short-lived pubs.  I think we all like to say the name (I hear tell it is the proprietor's nickname).  Dum Dum's has attracted a number of individuals who feel less committed to Tracks Brewpub now that Brian is gone so I am assured a familiar face or two when I show up, which is usually for a glass of cider.

September 3, 2015

Now that it is September, Fall is approaching and I am starting to think about the proposed re-opening of the, possibly re-named, Beer Academy.  I have been by a few times of late but I haven't been able to see in.

Food Network watchers might be wondering how this can take as long as this when they regularly see places being made over in five, two even one day but I can tell you a story.

When I worked at Bloor and Islington there were four pubs across the street from us, one of which was called The Office.  It must have been handy to be able to say that you were going to be staying late at The Office.  Then they were featured on an episode of Restaurant Makeover.

The first thing that happened was that lovely square bar in the centre, from which the barmaid presided like nobility, was taken out in favour of a bar in the corner at the cost of all character the pub had.  As for the decor, the best description I heard was that it looked like a candy shop.  I did go once to investigate and I could see that small details like corners and edges betrayed the markings of someone in a hurry.

The Office is now known as The Longest Yard and through the window I could see that the bar has been returned to where it was before.

I continue to look forward to what is in store for the Beer Academy.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

September 2, 2015

206/1480) Home:  Leo's Early Breakfast IPA, a collaboration between Brasserie Dunham of Quebec and Kissmeyer of Denmark:  **;  6.2%, 54 ibu;  brewed with Earl Grey tea and guava purée;  the nose is floral hops and guava;  opens with floral hops, ceding to guava followed by a very strong tannin finish and after taste;

August 31, 2015

205/1479) Home:  All Or Nothing Hopfenweisse by Underdog Brewhouse of Ontario:  *1/2;    5.1%, 25 ibu;  brewed with four hops, three malts, malted barley and wheat;  the nose is sweet yeast and sharp hops;  the opening is sharp, dry hops with a sweet yeasty finish and a dry aftertaste;  there is a yeasty sediment at bottom and the can instructs to gently invert before pouring;

The can also describes this as "sessionable" but at 5.1% I just don't know.

August 30, 2015

204/1478) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Barnyard Rye IPA by the Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **;  6.5%, the target ibu is between eighty and ninety;   dry hop nose with a strong rye malt backbone;  bite of rye and the afore-mentioned malt backbone with a bitter after taste;  Belgian yeast is used but it is only faintly detectable;

August 29, 2015

203/1477) Home:  Nut Brown Ale by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  **;  5%;  malty, brown sugary nose;  rich, just a little bit sweet;  a fine English style brown ale;

These were purchased at the brewery.

August 27, 2015

200/1474) Home:  IPA by Lagunitis Brewing Co. of California:  **;  6.2%;  the label describes this as "homicidally hoppy";  floral and citrusy nose;  soft citrusy almost melon like notes;  a bit old school in that it's not a raging hop bomb but this is not a quibble - it is quite enjoyable;

Interestingly I saw this for the first time in the flesh, so to speak, in Nova Scotia and on returning home I am starting to see this on a number of draught lists which is good news for me.  My first thought was that this would be great on draught.

201/1475)  Home:  La Patt Porter Robuste by Brasserie Dunham of Quebec:  **;  6.0%, 51 ibu;  brewed with barley malt and wheat flakes;  roasty mocha nose;  dry mocha and roast flavours;

I couldn't find a satisfactory translation for La Patt.  It tastes nothing like Labatts Porter, with those cola notes, which I managed to find last year so I don't think this is a goof on that one.  It will remain a mystery for the time being, unless I meet their brewmaster at the Volo.

202/1476) Home:  Abbot Ale by Greene King of England:  **;  5.0%;  rich malty nose; sweet fruity flavours, vaguely reminiscent of an abbey style but with a touch of English hops;