Tuesday, 29 December 2015

December 22, 2015

303/1577) C'est What:  Where's My Wood? by Forked River Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  9%, 50 ibu;  a Russian Imperial Stout;  the nose is licorice with a strong alcohol presence;  flavours of roast malt, alcohol, licorice, oak, bourbon;  a good choice to follow the first skate in Toronto (Harbourfront) of the season and a labyrinth walk to mark the solstice, accompanied by Michael Franklin on various ancient instruments;

A number of Forked River's beer names make reference to London's status as Forest City or that it was once proposed as capital of Upper Canada but I wonder if it might be a goof on Great Lakes' RIS, "Dude, where's My Czar?"

304/1578) C'est What:  St. Ambroise Oak Aged Pale Ale by McAuslan of Quebec:  **1/2;   6%, 40 ibu;  brewed with toasted wheat and chocolate malt;  nose is malty with vanilla and oak;  flavours of vanilla (not so strong as to be thin icing as the fellow net to me said), oak;

This was my real reason for coming to C'est What today.  McAuslan had supplied a limited number of kegs to select Ontario pubs with the idea that they were to be tapped at 4:44PM, the moment of sunset on the first day of winter.  I may have received my glass a shade early but I waited for the appropriate moment.

I only ever use the ATM a block south of my desk but C'est What's ATM does not charge fees which goes to show that it can be done.

Fall ended last night at 23:50.  When the Beer Academy closed its doors on December 31st the idea was that they would return, in an undisclosed form, in Fall of 2015.  Precisely thirteen hours after Fall ended I walked past the location and there was no sign of anything about to open.  I am not going to read all that much into it, but the website is down as well.  There appears to be something going on behind the glass - I just can't say what that is.

December 21, 2015

This was another Friday destination.  Bellwoods announced that Bring Out Your Dead would be released at 11AM.  I hear tell it was sold out by Saturday afternoon.  They were lined up out the door when I got there.

December 20, 2015

302/1576) Home:  2015: A Spice Odyssey by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 7% chai latte from the Queens of Craft series, brewed by an all woman brewing team;  '  brewed with lactose, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black tea leaves;  it really  does smell like milky chai; cardamon is especially present; flavours of cardamon, cloves, mocha;  a very unusual beer;

Purchased at the brewery.

December 19, 2015

I have a few comments left over from yesterday.  What with it being several months since the previous concert for the ensemble I saw last night, as is my wont I used the first concert of the season to check on the progress of several bald spots which makes me a very Bad Man.

I was thinking if I am going to pester people for reviews I would love to see an opinion of the Dock Ellis Sports Bar which I visited recently.

Dock Ellis is memorable on several counts.  He started for the National League in the 1971 All-Star game, played in Detroit.  That was the one where Reggie Jackson hit that monstrous homerun off the lighting tower.

In 1974 Dock Ellis hit the first three batters he faced, intentionally, in order to boost his team's morale.  He had said before the game that he planned to hit all nine batters.  After Tony Perez got out of the way of four pitches directed his way and Johnny Bench dodged two his manager had seen enough and he was taken out of the game.

However, he is undoubtedly best remembered for tossing a no-hitter in 1970, while strung out on LSD.  He also had amphetamines in his system.  The documentary "No No" tells the tale.  He walked eight and hit a batter with a pitch but no runs scored and no one got a hit off him.

After leaving baseball, Dock Ellis became an addiction counselor.

At any rate, the draught list is small but effective with a number of local stand-out beers and while I couldn't stay long enough to eat I thought the menu was quirky and whimsical.  Oddest of all, I was the only person in the room who could possibly be old enough to have seen Dock Ellis pitch.  I was not expecting that.

But perhaps I should leave it to the experts to review pubs.

Monday, 28 December 2015

December 18, 2015

298/1572) Thirsty and Miserable:  Life Sentence, a collaboration between Great Lakes Brewing and Amsterdam, both of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 10% triple IPA;  tropical fruit nose;  tropical fruit notes with an astringent resiny edge;  Katie stopped by to ask my opinion - she is a fan of this one;

I found this later at the GLB retail Store.

299/1573) Thirsty and Miserable:  2013 Brewer's Reserve Winter Ale by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **;  8.5% spiced copper ale;  sweet, gently spiced nose;  wintery spices, honeyed flavours;

This one ran out in mid-pour but it was enough to form an opinion, about three-quarters of a pint.  Just the same, Katie said she was calling it a two dollar glass.

300/1574) Thirsty and Miserable:  Christmas Eve At A New York CIty Hotel Room by Eviltwin Brewing of Connecticut, U.S.A.:  **1/2;    10% Imperial Stout;  pours very dark;  a slow sipper - it makes me wish it had been colder outside (the outdoor rink near my office opened only today):  very warming;  the nose features strong alcohol notes, chocolate and mocha are present throughout with bitter coffee;  wonderfully complex;

This was a tin from the fridge.  Her bottle and can selection befits a much larger joint and lately I have been reading both lists when I visit, not just the draught list.

301/1575) Thirsty and Miserable:  Roasted Chestnut Brown Ale by Oast House of Ontario:  **;  5.3%;  chestnuts add a sweetness and you can detect their flavour in this beer along with milds spices and nuttiness;  very uncommon;

This was another half pint as I had to scram but I must say Katie was in fine form tonight.  I suspect her good mood was at least party due to no one ordering anything but beer.  It pains me to report, however, that I did spot a television screen but it was not turned on and the truth is, I have no way of knowing if it actually works.  There was a notice of some sort taped on it anyway.

I don't know if my favourite pub site takes requests but the combination of this blogger's droll and sophisticated wit and these surroundings would make for a review I would want to read at <https://torontopubs.wordpress.com/>.  My wish would be that Katie is working that night in order to have the full-on experience recorded.

It bears repeating that it is cash only at Thirsty and Miserable.

December 17, 2015

297/1571) Home:  Bourbon Dark Ale by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **;  7.4%;  matured over oak infused with American Bourbon for thirty days;  sweet caramel nose with bourbon flavours;

I have heard comments that infused oak is replacing barrels and less time is spent maturing of late. This and yesterday's selection are from a four-pack.

December 16, 2015

296/1570) Home:  Rum Finish by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **;  6.8%;  matured 57 days over rum-infused oak;  nose is sweet, oaky;  flavours of sweet toffee and notes of rum are prominent;

December 15, 2015

295/1569) Home:  Waterloo Spiced Dunkel by Brick Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.1%;  brewed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves;  there is both a maltiness and spice to the nose;  spicy and flavourful with a strong malt presence;  very nice;

Sunday, 27 December 2015

December 14, 2015

294/1568) Home:  Thomas Benson's Strong Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.1%;  brewed with star anise, molasses and cayenne pepper;  notes of licorice to the nose with a touch of heat;  strong notes of malt, licorice and enough cayenne to be warming;

Thomas Benson was the first mayor of Peterborough and this is a modern day interpretation of a recipe of his.

December 13, 2015

292/1566) Home:  Norfolk County Baked Apple Mead by Trafalgar Ales and Meads of Ontario:  **;    8.5%; brewed with wildflower honey, apple, cinnamon and raisins;  this is the 4th installment of their "Mead Terroir" series;  both the honey and the apples are from Norfolk County;  the nose is like hot apple cider;  fresh apple, honey and cinnamon flavours;  that 8.5% abv. is very well hidden;

293/1567) Home:  Hurry Hard Amber Lager by Triple Bogey Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2; 5%;  it seemed right to consume this while curling was on TV;  sweet malty, biscuity nose;  mildly sweet and malty;

This is another beer that a forum I won't name reviewed in advance of tasting.

December 12, 2015

290/1564) Home:  Monty's Golden Ryed Ale by Old Tomorrow of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  nose is citrusy with a sharp rye edge and honey;  flavours of rye and oak with the rye being most prominent towards the finish;  sweet after taste;

Named for Jon Montgomery, gold medalist from the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.  He is remembered for being spotted in the street and handed a pitcher of beer, which he downed with some enthusiasm on live television.

291/1565) Home:  Red Racer Gingerhead Gingerbread Stout by Central City Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  6%;  chocolatey nose with a strong cinnamon and gingerbread aroma;  strong fresh gingerbread flavours, nearly too sweet but not quite;

December 11, 2015

289/1563) The 3 Brewers, Adelaide:  Chestnut Ale by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  7.2%, 26 ibu;  brewed with honey, coriander, orange peel, cumin and Hallertau hops;  honey and sweet yeast nose;  honey and spice dominate but the chestnut adds a richness;  yeasty finish;

December 10, 2015

288/1562) Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout by Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) of England:  **1/2;  7%;  fermented in "stone Yorkshire squares";  originally for export to Imperial Russia;  bitter chocolate and alcohol nose;  roasty with a sharp alcohol bite;

December 9, 2015

287/1561) Home:  Oktoberfest-Marzen by Ayinger Privatbrauerei of Germany:  **;  5.8%;  brewed in compliance with Reinheitsgebot;  an authentic Bavarian festival lager;  malty nose with berries;  rich and malty with sweet berries at the finish;

This was the last of the Oktoberfest beer release to hit the LCBO shelves.

December 6, 2015

286/1560) Home:  Superchief by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5%, 66 ibu;  from their Hop Series;  pours straw coloured and cloudy;  musty floral hop nose;  dry floral notes with a bitter edge and a bitter finish;

December 2, 2015

285/1559) Home:  Trainhopper by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.5%, 54 ibu;  the mildly piney nose does not prepare one for the experience of tasting this robustly hopped, earthy, piney ale with fruity notes;  yet another winning ale from Junction Craft;

December 1, 2015

284/1558) Home:  Harvester's Ale by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.2%, 50 ibu;  pours a deep rich brown colour;  sweet sugary nose with a hoppy edge;  tastes of grain, burnt sugar and dry hoppiness with a dry finish;

It is entirely possible that this is a revision of a similarly named beer from the C'est What Festival of Craft Brewers.  It is common for brewers to present things at events like this or Cask Socials and solicit comments that they will take back to the brewery to ponder.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

November 30, 2015

283/1557) Home:  Carved Out 2015 Pumpkin Ale By Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **;  re-tooled to 5.4% for 2015;  fresh pumpkin nose;  flavours of pumpkin and spices;  the spice is more prominent, especially at the finish;

November 29, 2015

282/1556) Home:  Pigskin Pilsner by Lake of Bays Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5%;  brewed in association with the CFL Players' Association;  a traditional pilsner brewed with toasted wheat and Hallertau hops, not Saaz which is always a plus for me;  fresh, grainy nose;  a refreshing pilsner, well suited for the big ball game;

It seemed appropriate to save this one for the day of the Grey Cup game.  The bottle advises that the growler is, "not to be used for snaps, passes, punts, field goals, long bombs, touchdowns, safeties, conversions, spikes or elaborate end zone celebrations".

November 27, 2015

278/1552) C'est What:  Draft Pumpk by Brothers' Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.5%, 25 ibu;  a Belgian style dubbel brewed inside an 853lb. pumpkin (see the video link);  brewed with pumpkin pie spice;  fresh pumpkin flavours with a spiced bite;  maybe I did give this an extra half point for the story but it is a great story;

Take note, U. of Guelph students, twin brothers Asa and Cotton Proveau intend to open an ale house in Guelph, perhaps in the spring, on Wyndham Street.


279/1553) C'est What:  Charcoal Porter by Innocente Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  5.7%, 21 ibu;  gravity feed;  sweet mocha nose;  mildly sweet with flavours of mocha;  surprisingly dry after taste;

I managed to find this in an LCBO later:

280/1554) C'est What:  #55 English Bitter by Duggan's Brewery of Ontario:  **; 5.0%, 21 ibu;  a surprisingly hoppy nose for an English style bitter;  very piney;  I think it is best viewed not as an English bitter but rather as a hoppy goof on the style;  piney hop notes and a strong malt back drop;

281/1555) C'est What:  Alpha Bomb by Big Rig Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.6%, 87 ibu;  fresh citrusy piney nose;  piney resiny citrus flavours;

November 26, 2015

277/1551) Home:  Maddaddamites Noobroo Gruit Ale by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.2%, :ibu:  N/A";  brewed in collaboration with Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson;  Wild Oats Series No. 42;  brewed with honey, hibiscus, red clover flower, rose hips, elderberry, burdock root, maqui berry and wild cherry bark;  dry, tart cherry nose;  not exactly cidery but sort of like a lemony liquid SweeTarts candy;  a surprising gruit;

November 25, 2015

276/1550) Home:  Coffee Fig Imperial Stout 2015 by Epic Brewing Company Limited of New Zealand:  **1/2;  8%;  brewed with Turkish Lerdia Figs and matured on coffee from the Nyeri region of Kenya that was roasted in Wellington;  conditioned on toasted coconut from the Philippines;  the bottles suggests that one might wish to pour this on vanilla ice cream;  dark, bitter roasted coffee bean nose;  I don't detect a lot of coconut, just a touch;  the figs lend a certain degree of sweetness;  finishes with bitter coffee;  this is another fascinating beer - I could spend a lot of time getting to know this one;

November 24, 2015

275/1549) Home:  Behind the Wavy Wall Imperial Stout by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  11.9%, 60 ibu;  from Great Lakes' Tank Ten series;  the nose features alcohol and dark coffee;  while there is no oak to speak of, there is a boozy sweetness with a long, bitter finish;  very complex and warming;  almost certainly a candidate for aging;

While we all go mad for Great Lakes' IPAs, this serves as a reminder that when they brew a stout or a porter you can count on it being terrific.

November 23, 2015

274/1548) Home:  Radler by Kichesippi Beer Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  3.0%;  brewed with "grapefruit soda";  Radlers trace from Deissenhofen, Germany in 1922 and are a favourite of cyclists;  ideally one mixes one's own radler;  I would have preferred fresh grapefruit juice (I admit I am a few months late on this count);  there is an artificial sweetness from the soda which I find off-putting;

November 22, 2015

272/1546) Home:  Dry-Hopped Tripel by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.5%;  earthy hop nose with white wine notes;  a blend of banana and cloves ceding to rooty hop notes with wine flavours at the finish;  far and away the highlight of this mixed pack;

273/1547) Home:  Mathilda Soleil by G. Schneider & Sohn of Germany:  **;  Tap X 7.0% Weizenbock;  brewed with wheat malt and barley malt;  unpasteurized, unfiltered, no preservatives;  absolutely opaque;  grainy, wheaty nose with an edge of very dry (brut) champagne;  dry, sparkling wine flavours;  sparkling wine mouthfeel;

November 21, 2015

270/1544) Home:  Wellington 30th Anniversary Ale by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  8.2%, 40 ibu;  brewed with heather tips and elderberries;  a blend of two beers, an ale brewed with elderberries and aged for three months in Kentucky bourbon barrels and a dry-hopped imperial golden ale infused with heather tips;  nose of berries, oak;  flavours of berries, bourbon, vanilla, oak and alcohol;  the alcohol is particularly strong at the finish;  very complex with an elderberry and hop finish;

Happy anniversary, Wellington!

271/1545) Home:  Vintage Ale 2015 Harvest Ale  by Collingwood Brewery of Ontario:  **;  6.9%, 35 ibu;  brewed with wildflower honey and fresh hops from Meaford;  unfiltered and as a result there is a sediment at the bottom of the bottle;  the hop head in me asks, why add honey?;  nose is sweet honeyed malt;  hops are largely offset by honey;  still, a dry after taste;

November 20, 2015

269/1543) Home:  Rickard's Red by Molson Coors of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.2% Irish style ale;  used to be, possibly still is, as good as one finds in Brampton, outside of Tracks;  "Proud partner of Movember";  malty nose;  mostly malt, a bit sweet;  not so "coppery" as I recall but still a bit dull;  the score is at least partially based on sentiment;

November 19, 2015

268/1542) Home: Guinness Blonde American Lager by Guinness Brewing Company of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.:  *1/2;  5%;  The Brewers Series No. 1;  drinkvine suggests this is unnecessary;  perfectly clear and golden (but not Golden, for Molson fans of a certain era);  lightly fruity nose;  biscuity fruity flavours;  not as bad as I had feared and not so bad for a lager, either;

November 18, 2015

267/1541) Home:  Pub House Ale by Publican House Brewery of Ontario:  *;  4.8%;  their "Flagship brand";  styled after a German Kölsch;  biscuity sweet fruity nose;  bitter Euro hops with a touch of berry like sweetness;

November 16, 2015

266/1540) Home:  Six Boroughs Bourbon Barrel Aged Rye Porter by Amsterdam Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  10%;  the Official Beer of Toronto Beer Week, specially brewed for the 6th anniversary of TBW;  unpasteurized;  the nose features hints of red wine and strong oaky bourbon;  the alcohol is quite strong to the palate with bourbon, cherries and oak;  the finish is bourbon;  a fitting tribute to a great week;

Monday, 21 December 2015

November 15, 2015

265/1539)  Indie Ale House:  House of Windsor English Brown Ale by the Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  nose is sweet and malty with a faint earthy hop edge;  rich full maltiness;

I also bought some beer to take home.

While I was there I visited Junction Craft Brewery which is very close by.  I can't visit one without dropping in on the other.  

November 14, 2015

264/1538) Great Lakes Brewery:  Swamp Juice #18 by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  a blend of Canuck Pale ale and Maniacal Hop Shop;  tropical, citrusy sweet nose;  in contrast, the flavours are quite bitter;

This was consumed while visiting the brewery to buy a few things.  They are quite close to the Pie Commission which is a great place to buy dinner style pies.

I also visited Wellington today.

While I was here, what with the weather being quick to change at this time of year, I thought I had left the door open behind me and suddenly snow was blowing in but a stream of beer on the floor led me to the observation that someone buying a case had clipped a stack of cans with the dolly, cutting at least one open, and foam was wildly spraying in great clumps in the air.

I am reminded of another comical thing I have seen while buying beer, this time at the LCBO in the Royal Bank Plaza downtown.  Someone dropped a can and it hit the floor at the perfect angle, opening just a crack and it took off down the aisle like a rocket, covering the poor fellow in beer scented exhaust.

November 13, 2015

260/1534)  Caffe Volo:  Delicious IPA by Stone Brewing of California, U.S.A.:  **;  7.7%;  an American IPA with a sharp, resiny nose;  strong resiny, herbal flavours;

261/1535) Caffe Volo:  Uncharted IPA by Stone City Ales of Ontario:  **;  a 7% American IPA;  nose is piney;  resiny notes with a touch of citrus and tropical fruit;

262/1536) Caffe Volo:  L'Amère Indienne bby Le Trou du Diable of Quebec:  *1/2;  6.5%;  a saison IPA;  nose is smoky and cidery;  tastes cidery and peppery;

Perhaps I ought to have read the chalkboard more carefully on this (otherwise) night of American style IPAs.

263/1537) Caffe Volo:  Dry Hopped APA by Microbrasserie du Lac Saint-Jean of Quebec:  **;  7.3%;  very tropical nose;  fruity, citrusy flavours;

November 12, 2015

259/1533) Home:  Viking Chili Stout (Megagrisk) by Hornbeer of Denmark:  **1/2;  10%;  brewed with dark chocolate, licorice, cocoa, vanilla, chili, sigar;  licorice is prominent in nose, along with alcohol;  the heat comes into play at the finish and lingers;  unusual and interesting;

We are approaching the time of year when it is safe to buy too much beer as it can be stored in the garage and stay cool-ish.  This is a Good Thing as the Christmas beers and packages are appearing and they sell rather briskly so I don't like to wait for there to be room in the fridge.  About of third of what is in there are bottles I am aging so it is entirely my fault that space is at a premium.

November 4, 2015

258/1532) Home:  Sundby Stout by Amager Bryghus of Denmark:  **;  6.2%;  hoppy, roasty nose;  flavours of roasted malt;

November 2, 2015

257/1531) Home:  Old School Stout by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  5.5%;  aptly named;  roasty, chocolate nose;  dry chocolate notes;

November 1, 2015

256/1530) Home:  Cauld Reekie by Stewart Brewing of Scotland:  **;   6.2%; brewed with barley and wheat;   dry nose with a hint chocolate and wine;  dry with mocha notes;

The name translates as a combination of Cauld (cold) and auld (Old) Smoky, an affectionate name for the marvelous city of Edinburgh.

This was an adventure to find and the LCBO website was not the least bit helpful.

International Stout day falls this week (the same day as Guy Fawkes Day) but I will make this international stout week.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

October 29, 2015

255/1529) Home:  Resurrection Roggenbier by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.2%;  brewed with rye which caused this style to run afoul of Reinheitsgebot and declared illegal;  as you might imagine, this only added to the appeal;  unfiltered;  label instructs to "gently agitate";  brewed with rye malt and Hefeweizen yeast;  sharp black pepper nose;  there is a sharp pepperiness typical of rye beers but with a sweet yeastiness at the finish to off-set;

From a mixed pack.

October 27, 2015

254/1528) Home:  Bitter Waitress by Shillow Beer Co. of Ontario:  **;  6.5%;  nose is chocolate with a whiff of hops;  chocolate and licorice notes with hops coming to the front in the finish;  bitter after taste;  a well-balanced, convincing Black IPA;

Brewed in nearby Oakville.

October 26, 2015

253/1527) Home:  Rogue Rooster Sauce, Sriracha HOT Stout beer by Rogue Ales and Spirits of Oregon, U.S.A.:  **;  5.7%, 55 ibu;  the bottle advises, "Don't Shake";  ingredients include red chile peppers, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar;  I drank it now because after this weekend things couldn't get worse (still they always do);  nose has notes of mocha and hot chile pepper;   chocolate and mocha flavours with a hot spiced finish;  not nearly so bad as I had feared;   it was a smart choice to use a bold stout for a base;

October 25, 2105

252/1526) The 3 Brewers, Mississauga:  Pumkpin Ale by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  6.5%, 25 ibu;   brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger;  nose is spice and typical 3 Brewers yeast;   a blend of spice and pumpkin;  spiced finish and after taste;

October 23, 2015

248/1522) C'est What:  Hibernaut by Stonehammer of Ontario:  **;  8.6%, 55 ibu; very dark brown;  mild tasting considering the ibu;  slightly rooty with a touch of bitterness;  mellow, mildly bitter finish;  an odd one I would like to get to know better;

249/1523) C'est What:  Queen's Ranger DIPA by Forked River Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  9.1%, 100 ibu;  beautifully clear with a strong, piney nose;  dry astringent, bitter hoppiness;  bitterness overshadows hints of citrus but it still gets a high rating from me;

250/1524) C'est What:  Common Loon by Bobcaygeon Brewing Company of Ontario:  *;  4.4%, 43 ibu;  very pale with a malty nose and malty flavours;  rather "common";

I also had a half glass of  St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale which is is even spicier than the bottled version.

It was supposed to end here but there was no Handel concert at St. Paul's on Bloor Street East - naughty Wholenote magazine.  I was one of several people waiting outside when the janitor came to the door and said he was not aware of what we were asking about.  And it sounded like such an appealing concert but it was perhaps an elaborate practical joke.  I will try not to learn a lesson here because things got a whole lot better in a hurry.  Read on.

251/1525) Caffe Volo:  Bring Out Your Dead by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  ***;  a 12.2% Imperial stout aged in cognac barrels;   wonderful oaky nose with hints of red wine and cognac;  thick, heavy mouthfeel;  medicinal notes, strong claret notes, oaky red wine notes;  wonderful, wonderful, wonderful;

The dance floor is pretty small so to speak so I went out to the patio to spend some time alone with this one and would you believe they offered to turn on heat lamps on patio for me.  I was born in Montreal in the winter so a chill in the air is my ideal temperature.

October 22, 2015

247/1521) Home:  Armchair Scotch Ale by MacLean's Ales of Ontario:  *1/2;  7.5%;  sweet, malty, sugary nose;  sweet and biscuity;

October 21, 2015

246/1520) Home:  India Pale Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **;  cloudy, downright murky colour;  citrusy, mildly herbal nose;  earthy flavours, rooty, herbal almost gingery finish;  dry after taste;

This was a growler purchased at Black Creek Historic Village.

October 20, 2015

244/1518) Caffe Volo:  Maniacal Hop Shop American IPA by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.4%, 70 ibu;  nose is sweet and citrusy, reminds me of Octopus Wants To Fight;  citrusy, a touch of Juicy Fruit gum flavour to boot;

245/1519) Caffe Volo:  Punch Buggy Raspberry Ale by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  *1/2;  5%; strong raspberry nose, nearly cidery mouthfeel;  fresh raspberry flavours but no wheat to off-set this like recent choices;  there is a tartness to this - it is nowhere near a sour but it is present just the same;

These were consumed in the after-glow of a concert by Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band at Massey Hall.  What a night!

October 19, 2015

243/1517) Home:  Full City Coffee Porter by Forked River Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;    5.6%;  unpasteurized, unfiltered;  dark, sweet coffee nose - it reminds me of my mother's chocolate icing, where she adds instant coffee to take the edge of the sweetness;  dark, strong coffee flavours with notes of sweet mocha;

Brewed in London, Ontario.  I have said it before:  places like London and Sarnia are much less populous than my home town so why don't we have a brewery of the calibre of Forked River or Refined Fool?

October 17, 2015

I spotted Liberal candidate Colin Vaughan shaking hands in front of the LCBO at King and Spadina today.  What this reveals of his impression of his constituents I cannot say.

Incidentally, with the Toronto Blue Jays in the post-season, I am reminded that one positive thing about living near a city of underachieving sports teams is that you can go out most evenings to your usual spot without finding it packed with people you have never seen before (and who are alleged to stay longer and leave smaller tips than the regulars being crowded out).  The individual behind my favourite pub site, <https://torontopubs.wordpress.com/> seems to favour places that have no television sets and I was thinking of just this as I dined prior to a performance by the Tallis Choir at Sin and Redemption, where they have no TV sets.  The place gets pretty noisy as it is.

October 16, 2015

241/1515) Home:  Enlightenment by Brimstone Brewing Co. of Ontario:  1/2;  a 5.5% blonde ale;   EuroHop nose, more a Czech style pilsner than an ale;  disappointing;

Like Church Key, this is brewed in a re-purposed church.

242/1516) Home:  Oktoberfest by Creemore Springs of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.4%, 28 ibu;  malty nose with a mild hop presence;  malty at first with a Euro hop finish and lingering after taste;

Monday, 14 December 2015

October 15, 2015

239/1513)  Home:  Coast to Coastal Imperial ESB, a collaboration between Phillips Brewing, Flying Monkeys, Trou du Diable and Garrison Brewing of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia respectively:  **;  7.8% a "quadlaboration" brewed for Canada Day, hitting the shelves much later (spotted by me even later than that);  the nose is biscuity, slightly fruity;  astringent, strong hop, strong malt presence;  very nearly over the top;  tannin-dry after taste;  sharp alcohol. bite;

The inside of cap reads, "In Heaven there is no beer, so drink some while you are here", which prompts me to ask if it would it really be Heaven in the absence of beer.

On that note, I will point out that my daughter attended St. Brigid elementary school and now she attends a secondary school named for St. Augustine, who is the patron saint of brewers.  Among the miracles attributed to St. Brigid of Ireland, she turned her bath water into beer to supply a leper colony and, on other occasions, for visiting clerics.  She also provided a single barrel of beer which quenched the thirst of some eighteen churches for the entire season of Easter.  So don't tell me there is no beer in Heaven.

240/1514)  Home:  Scaldis Amber by Brasserie Duboisson Freres of Belgium:  **;  11.8%;  the bottle reads, "The Strongest Belgian Beer" which seems unlikely;  brewed with water drawn from beneath the brewery;  added sugar;  unpasteurized;  nose is dried fruit with a touch of alcohol;  quite remarkably sweet;  alcohol returns with a bite at the finish;

October 14, 2015

237/1511)  Home:  Short Pier, Long Walk Double IPA by Refined Fool Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  8.4%, "100+ ibu";  nose is peach, citrus;  not nearly so bitter as the IBU level might suggest;  delicious and citrusy with a bitter finish;

This is brewed in the wonderful town of Sarnia.

238/1512)  Home:  Lenoir Belgian Style Ale by Bell City Brewing of Ontario:  *;  6.5%;  brewed with Belgian candi sugar;  named for Jean J Lenoir, a Belgian engineer credited with inventing the internal combustion engine in 1858 (thusly, not le noir…);  yeast overshadows fruitiness on the nose, there is even a touch smoke;  yeast overpowers all else on palate;  mostly tastes of sugar and yeast;  disappointing;

October 13, 2015

236/1510) Home:  Tankenstein IPA by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.5% 60 ibu;  described as the "monstrous big brother of our famous Tankhouse";  mine was bottled Sept 28;  brewed with cascade and nugget hops;  strong piney, resiny nose;  powerful citrusy pine notes;  similar in colour to Tankhouse, familiar malt backdrop but that is where the similarities end;  it is a full-bore American IPA, and it would not be out of place at the Volo;

That second bottle is a bit of a story.  I simply entered "pumpkin" on drinkvine.com and this is one of the entries that came up.  Once I figured out what was going on - it took longer than it should have - I couldn't resist buying a bottle.  I did not drink it by the pint glass.

October 9, 2015

A couple of bombshells today.  Mill Street has been bought by Labatts.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of their brewpub and Beer Hall.  It could turn into something analogous to the Beer Academy.  A number of people have weighed in to instruct me how I should conduct myself in light of the news.  I had no idea I could save all the time I spend reading beer menus by simply allowing hipsters sitting behind computers tell me what to order.

Maybe distribution will be wider but maybe beer will spend more time in transit due to centralization and not arrive as fresh as before.  I will wait and see.  I sure hope the seasonal beers continue.

On the same day I learned that Great Lakes Brewery is discontinuing their Devil's Pale Ale.  At one time this was considered the flagship of their "alternate" line.  It is entirely possible that "rent" beers like their Red Leaf lager pay the bills that let them play Bunsen Honeydew with their IPAs and other Tank Ten delights.  It could be that it has become over-shadowed by their other beers or maybe it has had its day in the sun.  It was considered somewhat out there at the time it was introduced.

October 8, 2015

235/1509)  The 3 Brewers, Adelaide Street:  White by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.7%, 18 ibu;  cloudy;  typical 3 Brewers yeastiness seems to over power all else;  lemony notes;

This is the only of their regular brews that I had not sampled.  The Brown remains my favourite of their year-round beers.

October 6, 2015

234/1508)  Home:  504 Pale Ale by Liberty Village Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  5.3%;    dry-hopped;  nose features peaches;  soft citrusy hop flavours;

I think the significance of the number 504 is that the 504 streetcar route runs along King Street in Toronto which is where newly gentrified Liberty Village lies.

October 5, 2015

233/1507)  C'est What:  Polar Pumpkin by Barnstormer Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.1%, 31 ibu;  forward spiced nose, heavy on the pumpkin;  tastes of pumpkin, vanilla and warming spices - plenty of "Ginger" (at this point my tasting notes mention that I prefer Maryann - this was not the first drink of the day);  spicy after taste;

I fall into the group of beer drinkers who like pumpkin beers.  It is a matter of some controversy.

Today I noticed that the former Spotted Dick is now the Firkin on Bloor.  That chain is buying up everything in sight.  I did not step inside and now I regret it.  I wonder how much of the personality remains.  They had some good NTN Trivia players back in the day but what I always enjoyed was the sheer variety of people that frequented this joint, from bankers to inebriates to y-people to students, it was quite a mix and it made a night out a whole lot of fun.  Interestingly, the same individual who introduced me to the Spotted Dick also acquainted me with the Hop and Grape, which sadly is no more.

October 3, 2015

231/1505) C'est What:  Red Eye Coffee IPA by Black Oak of Ontario:  **;  7%,  80 ibu;  a blend of hops and coffee to nose;  strong coffee flavours and after taste;  the hops are largely obscured;  very unusual;

232/1506)  C'est What:  Iron Lion Rum Barrel Aged Stout by Stone City Ales of Ontario:  **1/2;  55 ibu, 8.7%;  strong, sweet boozy coffee nose;  flavours of root beer, cola, oak;  soda like mouth feel

This was the night of Nuit Blanche.  As per usual I pulled a Cinderella.  Large crowds typically attract great numbers of drunk young people who are ever so keen to let everyone see and (especially) hear how drunk they are.  This sort of thing lost its charm quite some time ago.

I hear tell there was some hooliganism after I was safely on my way out of the downtown and it was later announced that a decision had been made by the Scotiabank Group in February to reduce the funding for this event.

It pains me to say that the experience has been in decline over the years.  At one time, guide books were made available at Scotiabank branches well ahead of the event which allowed for many hours of pleasureful planning.  Then the book was only available on the night in question at one of three locations and this year it was a mere flyer.  A participant had little idea which exhibits would be of interest in advance and with no "must-sees" I just ended up wandering about.  I did make a point of visiting the installations that remained open during subsequent days and in future I could well limit my participation to no more than this.  But it was great fun when it was at its peak.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

September 29, 2015

229/1503) Home:  Tap 6 Aventinus Wheat Doppelbock by Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH of Germany:  **;  8.2%;  Reinheitsgebot compliant;  bottle fermented;  the first fermentation takes place in open vessels, the old school way;  sweet nose with a hint of yeast;  warm, dark sugary flavours;

230/1504) Home:  Hofbräu Dunkel by Hofbräuhaus München of Germany:  **;  5.5%;  again, brewed according to Reinheitsgebot;  sweet nose with almost sherry-like notes;  a hearty Munich style dunkel;

September 27, 2015

228/1502) Home:  Pengo Pally by the Bush Pilot Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.5%, which is mild by Bush Pilot's standards;  a saison with Arctic herbs brewed "in co-operation with Nickel Brook Brewery";  brewed with barley, wheat flakes and hops as well as crowberry and Labrador Tea which are wild herbs, hand picked in Nunavik;  cloudy, fluffy persistent head;  mildly spiced, peppery  nose typical of a saison but with strong herbed notes;  citrusy, vegetal, almost bitter after taste;  interesting and unusual;

This beer was inspired by Johnny May, a Canadian legend and Inuk bush pilot.  Pengo Pally in Inuktitat means, "I miss you" and was written on the side of his plane.  Suggested viewing is "The Wings of Johnny May".