Sunday, 5 March 2017

February 24, 2017

67/1885) Home:  Trooper Red 'N' Black Porter by Robinson's Brewery of England:  **;  6.8%;  like The Charge of the Light Brigade from a number of months ago, this was created by Iron Maiden;  they took for inspiration an original Robinson's recipe from the 1850s;  pours dark brown, not quite black;  notes of honey in the  nose;  sweeter than many porters,  the sweetness over shadows roasty notes;  still, very old school;

68/1886) Home:  4 X 4 Quad by Stack Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  10.5%;  sugary, mildly fruity nose;  lacks much of the depth and complexity I seek in a quad but is was a brave attempt;

February 23, 2017

65/1883) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Fern, But Gentle by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **; cask night;  this is their Double IPA beer of the month with Citra and Mosaic hops; pours opaque with minimal carbonation; the extra hops certainly add sparkle and both feature on the nose;  smoother taste than the base and it lacks the sweet edge;

Named for Fern, winner of the draw following the Cask Battle.

66/1884) Home:  Rodenbach Vintage 2014 Limited Edition by Brouwerij Rodenbach of Belgium:  **;  7%;  matured two years From Foeder no. 192 (you may recall the 2013 edition used number 149);  tart, funky, sour nose;  tart, dry flavors;

February 21, 2017

64/1882) C'est What:  Café Del Bastardo by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **1/2;  11.5%, 30 ibu;  strong dark coffee nose;  bitter coffee and oak notes; nearly 3 stars;

February 20, 2017

63/1881) Home:  18 Hands Rustic Pale Ale by Amsterdam Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  6%;  bottle conditioned;  one of Amsterdam's Adventure Brews, Farmhouse series;  pours cloudy;  yeasty, musty nose;  strong, musty, fruity bitter flavours;

18 hands is typical measure of a Belgian farm horse.

February 18, 2017

61/1879) Home:  The Starter Session IPA by Four Fathers Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  4.8%;   brewed with  Galaxy hops;  fresh hoppy nose;  mildly hopped, perhaps a bit watery but it achieves what it set out to do;  a fine session IPA;

62/1880) Home:  Aurora Heart Chocolate Raspberry Stout by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  7.1%;  brewed with cocoa and late season red raspberries;  raspberry truffle nose;  my son says it tastes like a Big Turk bar (a favourite of mine) and I think he is right;  a wonderful blend of chocolate and raspberry flavours;

This was originally intended for the 14th but my wife had her heart set on a Riesling with dinner which worked out very well.

February 13, 2017

60/1878) Home:  Through the Quad Belgian Quadrupel by Block Three Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  10%;  sweet dark, candi sugar nose with a faint touch of alcohol;  dark sugar, mildly yeasty flavours with fruit emerging towards the finish;   a serviceable Quadrupel;

Saturday, 4 March 2017

February 11, 2017

59/1877) Great Lakes Brewery:  Swamp Juice No. 33 by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;   a blend of Lake Effect and Canuck;  fresh citrus nose;  another interesting blend of hops from GLB;  citrusy, resinous dry finish;

February 9, 2017

57/1875) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Elmo Doesn't Love You! by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  a Thursday night  cask;  their Strawberry Saison with basil, cucumber and Ekuanot hops;  basil is very prominent in the nose;  I needn't have been so worried about this one - it tastes like a fresh, carbonated summer salad;  very soda like;  the cucumber accentuates the fruitiness of the saison while the basil plays off the spiciness and herbal aspects;  I found it refreshing;  yet another example of what I imagine to be a patio beer being served in the middle of the winter;

58/1876)  The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Double IPA:  **1/2;  7.8%, 75 ibu;  brewed with Simcoe, Centennial and Mosaic hops;  a bit like their usual IPA but amped up;  more piney, earthy and citrusy notes;  very nice indeed;

February 6, 2017

56/1874) Home:  Luck and Charm Oatmeal Stout by MacLean's Ales of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.6%;  coffee like nose;  soft mouthfeel;  flavours of coffee with hints of sweetness and a coffee after taste;  just a great stout;

The tin reads, "Listen.  You're not going to get through life on good looks alone. You need a special something.".  Good advice.

February 5, 2017

I saw the news today that Sextant Craft Brewing has been purchased by Lost Craft.  Since both are contract brewers a better way to put this might be that the assets, trademarks, recipes and, very importantly, what is listed on balance sheets as “good will” were purchased.

I have no idea why certain of the cognoscenti look down on contract brewers the way they do.  An individual from Halo, whose wares I have yet to experience, certainly has no time for them but I don’t know how his assertion that Halo publishes their recipes on their web site could form part of his argument.  I do have a pretty fair idea, though, how he might react if I were to go from bar to bar peddling generic versions of his beers at a discount to the proprietors.

I wonder if class enters into this.  It seems if your trust fund can afford the space and brewing equipment you can sit in the high school cafeteria with the cool kids but if all you have is a recipe that you take from brewery to brewery it is a different story entirely.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

February 4, 2017

54/1872) Home: Baltic Porter by Smuttynose Brewing of New Hampshire, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  9%;  nose of mocha;  flavours of coffee and raisins with a warming alcohol finish;

55/1873) Home:  Reynard the Fox by Descendants Beer & Beverage Co. of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 5% "golden wry ale";  brewed with malted barley and rye;  pours hazy with a malty nose pierced by sharp rye notes;  rye and fresh hop notes;

February 3, 2017

Wendel Clark's Classic Bar and Grill has opened its doors in downtown Brampton,  Things seem pretty busy and maybe it is what the Four Corners needed but the real test will be how crowded it is come Fall.  For now, however, they have Lagunitas IPA which earns Wendel Clark's the title of Best Tap in Brampton.  Anticipating the inevitable, I am trying hard not to imagine this a put up or shut up moment for craft beer in Canada's ninth most populous municipality.

He still has the best wrist shot I have ever seen.  The hockey panel described it only a few weeks ago as "violent".

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February 2, 2017

53/1871) Mill Street Beer Hall:  Imperial Coffee Porter by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **;  8.5%, 28 ibu;  coffee nose, even stronger flavours of coffee as well as alcohol;  the coffee is particularly strong at the finish;  

February 1, 2017

52/1870) Home:  Barrel No. 1 by S & E Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6.5%, 49 ibu;  they are also known as Shed Brewing Company or Shawn and Ed Brewing;  based in the town of Dundas;  aged in wine barrels;  pours ruby;  malty, oaky nose - I thought I caught a whiff of cherries;  notes of coffee, oak and vanilla;

Saturday, 25 February 2017

January 31, 2017

50/1868) Home:  The Crimson Bird by Naparbier of Spain:  **;  a 6.1% saison brewed with raspberries;  nose is grain, mild spice and raspberry;  very strong fresh raspberry flavours, with a hint of yeast and spice;  another example of a saison made tolerable by adulteration;

51/1869) Home:  Sauerkirsche Stout, a collaboration between Cervesa de Montgeny of Spain and Evil Twin Brewing:  **1/2;  brewed at Montgeny by Evil Twin;  a 10% imperial stout with sour cherries;  dry roasty nose ; flavours of alcohol, chocolate, cherries;  warm alcohol finish;  a wonderful blend of chocolate, dark coffee and above all else, cherries;

January 30, 2017

48/1866) Home:  Pukki by Browar Wąsosz of Poland in collaboration with Humalov Brewing of Finland:  *;  3%;  brewed in Poland;  the label notes that this is a "Beer Advent Calendar Special" a "smoked beer in 'grodziskie style'" and an "historical Polish beer style with a Finnish twist";  brewed with smoked wheat malt in place of barley as well as spruce shoots;  pours clear, nearly colourless;  the nose is mild spruce overwhelmed by dark smoke - it smells like a fire at the Christmas tree lot;  spruce notes early on with a smokey finish;

49/1867) Home:  Deep Space Foreign Extra Stout by Fabyrka Piwa of Poland:  **;  6.5%, 50 ibu;  brewed with 8 malts;  scarcely any head to speak of, even after pouring directly onto the bottom of the glass;  dry roasty nose with coffee notes;  dry with coffee flavours and a coffee finish;

January 29, 2017

46/1864) Home:  Gno More Gnomes a collaboration between Brewski of Sweden and Evil Twin Brewing:  **1/2;  brewed in Sweden;  while the Evil Twin head office is in Brooklyn, e-mails go to Denmark addresses;  10%;  dark, chestnut brown;  an American style barley wine brewed with figs;  nose is dark fruit with warming alcohol;  dark fruit, caramel, mild spice flavours with warming alcohol at the finish;  a perfect slow sipper for a cold day;  at one point I thought the Estonian beer was the "star" of the Advent calendar but now I'm wavering;

I picked Sweden out of turn to mark NHL All-Star weekend and meeting the great Borje Salming at the Hockey Hall of Fame a week ago;

47/1865) Home:  Préaris Quadrocinno by Vliegende Paard Brouwers of Belgium:  **;  "coffee infused";  the original label reads 8.5% but a label slapped on by the LCBO reads 9.5%;  coffee is only subtly present in nose and coffee notes are subdued until the finish;

January 28, 2017

42/1860) Home:  2017 Helles Golden Lager by Amsterdam Brewery:  *1/2;  5.2%, 17 ibu; released to mark their 30th anniversary;  brewed in the style of one of the first beers produced at the original brewpub on John St. which I used to go to when it was mostly warehouses in the area - long before it became the "Entertainment District";  I missed drinking this on New Year's Day so I'm marking Chinese New Year;  malty, grassy nose;  the almost pilsner like flavours take us to central Europe;

43/1861) Home:  Rascal London Porter by The Inveralmond Brewery of Scotland:  **1/2;  5.6%;  Inspiration Series #3;  "inspired by the mighty brewing styles of 18th century London";  certainly a hearty brew;  spiced nose with a touch of alcohol;  rich, very dry mocha flavours with notes of roasted grain;

44/1862) Home:  Farm Style Vienna Lager by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.7%;  dry Eurohop nose with soft edges;  very much a blend of the styles;  dry finish;

45/1863) Home:  Kentucky Cow by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **;  Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate milk stout;  7.5%, 18 ibu;  brewed with flaked oats, lactose and cocoa;  oaky nose; flavours of vanilla, bourbon; alcohol is quite prominent at first;  the wax seal suggests it is a candidate for aging;

This looks bad but my son was home for the weekend and there was sharing going on.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

January 27, 2017

Yet another revolting development:  the Victory Café, in Mirvish Village is closing at the end of the month.  This one received four pint glasses of a possible five from my favourite pub review site:

Quite plainly, Toronto does not have nearly enough condominiums.

January 26, 2017

41/1859) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The King Under The Mash Tun by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  this cask is their feature beer, The Blizzard, with added Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops;  the Citra hops are very prominent in the nose;  the blend of hops gives pineapple notes and it looks like a glass of pineapple juice as well;  sweet butterscotch notes;  the hops turn out to be a good counter to the aggressive sugariness of The Blizzard;

January 25, 2017

39/1857) Home:  De Mons Belgian Abbey by The Inveralmond Brewery of Scotland:  *;  brewed with barley and wheat;  from their Inspiration Series, #2;  this is their take on a Trappist beer;  it's vaguely like a Trappist with a faintly yeasty, fruity nose;  bland taste, hints of fruit and malt;

I am taking Scotland out of turn in my journey through the 2016 Beer Advent Calendar today in honour of Robbie Burns Day.  Sure, I am a mongrel, and my children moreso, but my father's mother was a McCordick and my mother was an Armstrong.

40/1858) Home:  Clootie Dumpling by The Orkney Brewery of Scotland:  **1/2;  named for the traditional Scottish spiced pudding and the cloth (cloot) it is wrapped in;  brewed with wheat and barley as well as cinnamon, sugar, allspice;  dark brown;  the nose features all three spices;  delicious gingerbread like flavors but not sweet;

No fooling, I am going to seek out a Scottish bakery and bring home a few Clootie Dumplings.

Lang may yer lum reek.

January 24, 2017

37/1855) Home:  Winter Saison by Brouwerij De Molen of the Netherlands:  *1/2;  6.1%;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus timut and Szechuan peppers, mustard seed and juniper;  unpasteurized;  yeasty nose;  mild pepperiness but not excessive;  mildly warmly spiced after taste;

38/1856) Home:  Adventurous Brown by Nøgne Ø of Norway:  **;  10%;  "a celebration of Advent"; aged on oak and cypress;  brewed with wheat and barley malt and muscovado sugar;  pours very dark brown;  sweet nose;  notes of dark sugar, mild roast;

January 23, 2017

34/1852) Home:  APA by Birrificio del Doge of Italy:  **;  4.8%;  the label speaks of "hope notes" and "grate harmony";  pours hazy straw;  mild citrus nose with a malty back drop;  warm citrus flavours, faintly bitter with a dry hoppy finish;

35/1853) Home:  Molotov by Birrificio del Ducato of Italy:  **;  7.0%;  unpasteurized;  brewed with sugar and spices;  "proudly brewed with wasabi and appetite for destruction";  smoked, in a good way,  spiced nose;  gentle heat from the wasabi, mild fruitiness, and a warm finish;

36/1854) Home:  December Flower Winter Seasonal Ale 2016 by White Pony of Italy:  **1/2;  11.8%;  bottled and brewed for them by Het Nest Brouwerij of Belgium;  dry hopped;   brewed with sugar, orange peel, coriander and champagne yeast;  orangey red according to my daughter - I can't see either colour;  the nose is dominated by alcohol with a sweet fruity sugariness emerging slowly;  this may be one to age;  the alcohol is a bit hot but it yields to burnt sugary notes;

Stephen Beaumont has been saying for some time now how Italy is an emerging force in the craft beer world and here is our proof.

January 22, 2017

32/1850) Home:  Black Alligator by Monyo Brewing Company of Hungary:  *1/2;  9%, 19.5 ibu;  a black Saison;  nose is roasty;  mild black pepper with grainy notes and lingering black pepper and spice after taste;  brewed in Budapest - this is the first Hungarian beer to make the list;

33/1851) Home:  Reserve Brune by Brasserie St-Feuillien S.A. of Belgium:  **1/2;  8.5%;  fruitiness to the nose with dark burnt sugar and an alcohol edge;  a surprising candi, almost bubblegum, like sweetness along with dark sugar and fruitiness;  an unusual and surprising Abbey ale;

This selection is not from the Advent calendar.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

January 21, 2017

31/1849)  C'est What:  Wine Barrel Imperial Stout by Inocente Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  11.5%, 60 ibu;  strong oaky red wine nose;  wine overshadows all else, mild vanilla notes;

January 19, 2017

29/1847) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Level 20 Ogre Mage by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **; billed as a sour IPA;  it is their IPA with lactic acid, Nelson Sauvin hops, Chardonnay soaked oak chips, and honey;  nose is strongly California Sauvignon;  tastes at first of oaky wine flavours followed by a dry, bitter after taste;  I was not expecting to like this but save for that aftertaste it is a winner;

30/1848) Home:  Bavarian Winter by Camba Bavaris of Germany:  **1/2;   5.8%;  styles itself an IPA;  floral green tea nose;  musty green tea flavours;

January 18, 2017

28/1846) Home:  Cognac Barrel by La Debauche of France:  **1/2;  a 9.5% amber ale "worked with oak wood and cognac";  warm oaky nose with alcohol yielding to cognac;  very strong cognac flavours, oaky and very warming;

January 17, 2017

26/1844) Home:  LaiskaJaakko (Lazy Jack) by Teerenpeli Brewery and Distillery of Finland:  **;  a 4.5% dark lager;  nose features malt and sweet mocha;  sort of like a sparkling stout with sweet mocha notes

27/1845) Home:  Põhjala ÖÖ by Ŏllekunsti Oü of Estonia:  **1/2;  a 10.5% Imperial Baltic Porter brewed in Tallinn, where I recall my units holding out bravely last time I played The Russian Campaign;  "as dark as the Estonian Winter nights";  perfect for the end of a day of freezing rain - I am lucky - it is very easy for me to take the bus to work but my wife is not so lucky;  a true Baltic Porter (if one is to overlook that the style originated in England);  alcohol is very prominent in nose with a sharp mocha edge;  flavours of alcohol and dark coffee;  outstanding;

January 16, 2017

24/1842) Home:  Rose Wheat Beer by The Ticketybrew Company of England:  **1/2;  4.5%;  in addition to the usual four ingredients, this is brewed with wheat and rose water;  nose of sparkling cider and roses;  refreshing taste with a strong presence of rose petals - very nice;

25/1843) Home:  Shepherd's Watch Canadian Edition 2016 by Wold Top Brewery of England:  **;  6%;  brewed in Yorkshire to be exact so consider this a tip of the hat to my high school friend who was born in Whitby and a thank you to Wold Top for commemorating the Canadian war effort;  "ideal for keeping the chill of winter at bay";  brewed with wheat; dark sugar nose; very rich and malty with a touch of fruit and dark sugar;

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

January 15, 2017

22/1840) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Pistols At Dawn by Redline Brewhouse of Ontario:  **; 5.1%, 30 ibu ("theoretical");  a Latte Stout brewed with oat flakes and lactose;  Kenayn Marimira coffee is added after fermentation;  dry mocha like nose;  mildly sweet coffee notes but not sweet in the manner of many milk stouts;  does taste a bit like a mildly carbonated latte;

23/1841) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Hail Mary IPA by Brimstone Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  perfectly clear;  faint citrus (lemon) nose;  nearly washed out dry citrus flavours; pleasant and refreshing;

Brimstone lists this as 4.5% and 45 ibu and seeing as how they dub it a session ale I am inclined to bet on their statistics in this case.

January 14, 2017

19/1837) Home:  Oud Bruin Hip Hops by Brouwerij 'T Verzet of Belgium:  **;  6%;  in the southwest Flanders style;  a blend of young and over 1 year old beers matured in barrels of varying sorts of wood;  matured a further six months in the bottle;  the nose is tart and cidery with apple notes;  shart apple cider bite;  very tart, dry and cidery

20/1838) Home:  Bersalis Sour Blend by Oud Beersel Brewery of Belgium:  *1/2;  a 6% Blond Sour Ale;  the label reads, "Blond beer of mixed fermentation;  contains lambic aged in wooden barrels;  referments in bottle"; the usual four ingredients plus wheat;  milder than the beer above;  there is a faint tartness to the nose;  faint cidery notes overall;  a bit washed out in comparison to the previous beer;  

21/1839) Home:  Equinox Triple IPA by Biir Brewery of Belgium:  **;  9.4%, 100 ibu;  "Inspired by the Californian Triple IPAs";  brewed with Equinox hops;  the nose is rich and malty with pine notes;  sharp piney flavours overshadow citrus notes;  bitter after taste;

January 12, 2017

17/1835)  The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The Plea of Esposito 2.0 by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  the brewmaster was going for an Oud Bruin but couldn't source the yeast;  this is their brown ale with balsamic vinegar, French and American oak;  since last time, which I missed out on, the American oak is new, they dropped the Cherry extract and reduced the balsamic hence the 2.0;  the strong balsamic nose throws one;  mild fruity grape (replaces sugar notes of the brown which I tried for comparison);  soft balsamic finish; I was not expecting to like this one;

The name of today's cask refers to this moment in Canadian history:  The Plea of Esposito

18/1836) Home:  Saison Du Japon by Kiuchi Brewery of Japan  *1/2;  6%;  brewed with koji (malted rice) which is also used to make sake, for Heaven's sake;  also brewed with wheat and yuzo;  fresh mango-like nose;  fresh fruitiness with a saison-like finish;

January 11, 2017

16/1834) Home:  Lagunitas Sucks by Lagunitas Brewing Co. of California and Illinois, U.S.A.:  **; 8%, 63.2 ibu;  described as a Brown Shugga' Substitute;  the story is they couldn't make said beer and this is what they came up with instead;  green tea nose and flavours with a dry finish;

January 10, 2017

14/1832) Home:  Silver Bottle Beer by Schloss Eggenberg of Austria:  *;  4.9%;  this is the first of the Advent Calendar beers which, being as late as I am to receive them (or at least most of them), I have decided to consume alphabetically by nation;  the words on the front of the bottle read,"urban poems/reality spirit/fashion love/earth glamour/liquid music/freedom art;  very well carbonated;  clear straw colour;  hopped with hops and hop extract;  malty nose;  tastes mostly of malt with a restrained Euro-hop snap;

15/1833) Home:  Lord of the Lupulin by Pint Pursuits Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **; 5.4%, 52 ibu;  brewed with Vermont ale yeast;  mildly resiny nose with notes of citrus, soft warm citrus flavours;

Monday, 6 February 2017

January 9, 2017

13/1831) Home:  Golden Beach Ale by Sawdust City of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.5%, 25 ibu;  "our hoppy session ale";  pours hazy;  nose of tropical fruit, especially mangoes;  tropical flavours;  dry finish; surprising;

January 8, 2017

10/1828) Home:  Secret Saison by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  *1/2;  brewed with spices and botanicals;   nose is a bit fruity, a bit peppery;  tastes very herbal, slightly medicinal with a citrus zest finish;  not bad, just not exactly their strength;  Innis & Gunn works better for me when they are setting the trends, not following them;  I now live in fear that they will hear that sours are fashionable;

11/1829) Home:  Vertical Epic by Stone Brewing of California:  *;  7.5%;  marking 20 years of brewing, from Stone's 20th Anniversary Encore series;  the full name is Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale;  brewed with orange peel, spices, wheat, coriander and black pepper;  bottle conditioned;  pepper overshadows all else in the nose;  reminds me of a saison more than anything; lingering black pepper flavours obscure all else;

12/1830) Home:  Finest Kind IPA by Smuttynose Brewing of New Hampshire:  **1/2;  6.9% 75 ibu;  green tea nose;  touch citrus and some resin to nose;  resiny green tea notes;

January 7, 2017

8/1826) Home:  Go To IPA by Stone Brewing of  California:  **1/2;   4.8%;  "a vibrant hop-bursted session IPA";  "The hop-heavy IPA for the everyday";  juicy, citrusy, tropical nose;  citrusy tropical flavours;  a great IPA if not precisely my definition of "session";

9/1827) Home: Ten Fidy by Oskar Blues Brewery of Colorado, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  10.5%, 65 ibu;  pours dark as night;  "this dog'll hurt";  I don't think this was barrel aged but it is complex enough to be;  roasty nose with alcohol notes;  roasty flavours with notes of wine, dark coffee and alcohol;


January 6, 2017

5/1823) Home:  Lager Beer by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  *1/2;  4.2%;  "brewed with naked golden oats:;  inspired by German Helles style beers;  brewed with the usual four ingredients plus wheat and oats;  I don't know that this is barrel aged;  clear and golden;  a Euro style lager;  tart, bready nose;  sweet citrus flavours;  it's OK for a lager, but a bit of a disappointment considering the source;

6/1824) Home:  Imperial IPA by Collective Arts of Ontario:  **1/2;  8.5%;  pours orangey;  citrus and peach nose;  fresh citrusy flavours, resiny hop notes alongside peaches and mangos;

7/1825) Home:  Bons Vœux by Brasserie Dupont of Belgium:  *1/2;  9.5%;  bottle fermented;  sugar is added to the mix;  opaque;  persistent fine white head;  tart, musty, nearly bitter nose;  my wife called it "tangy";  very dry after taste but a sweet fruitiness prior;

January 5, 2017

3/1821) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Smurfette's Dirty Laundry by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  a Thursday cask;  version 2.0;  their white ale with blueberry extract (instead of blueberry juice which was used in their first version), Belma hops and hibiscus;  strong blueberry nose;  it is the colour of pink lemonade from the hibiscus, which also adds a sharp snap to the blueberry and other fruit flavours;

4/1822) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The Blizzard by the 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  8%, 28 ibu;  an English style barley wine;  sweet, sugary nose;  tastes of stone fruit and alcohol but mostly sugar;  this one is good but it is also a tiny bit of a mess - it would almost certainly benefit from aging;

Sunday, 8 January 2017

January 4, 2017

2/1820) Home:  Bourbon Cask Dark Ale by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2;  7.4%;  this is distinct from the previously cited Bourbon Dark Ale by virtue of the fact that it is matured in bourbon casks and not over bourbon infused oak chips for thirty days;  sweet nose of vanilla with a touch of citrus zest;  sweet bourbon notes;  the alcohol is very well hidden, yet it is still a warming beer for the season;  very mild citrus notes;  vanilla flavours are there but they are uncommonly faint for the style;

From a seasonal gift pack:

I gave one to my brother, the one who drinks, so it was great fun to receive one for Christmas from my wife.  My other brother doesn't drink but I still trust him.

January 3, 2017

1/1819) Home:  Ghost Orchid by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6%;  a pale ale brewed with Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe hops as well as oats;  hazy in appearance;  citrusy, orangey nose;  tropical fruit and orange notes;

To my dismay, Bellwoods' new revamped website does not function on my work computer which means when I am dashing to the GO bus on a Friday at quitting time I do it without being entirely certain to what degree going out of my way to visit their Ossington Street bottle shop will be rewarded.

December 31, 2016

That's it for another year.  Looking forward, it is appearing that it may be more difficult to achieve large numbers of new beers owing to little more than the fact that I have fewer reasons to visit Toronto.

For example, there is no Volo for the New Year's Eve experience.  Sure, there is Birreria Volo but that is a bit out of my way and sours never were my thing.  I will wait for the new Volo to open a block to the East of the old one.

There was no Early Music Fair in Toronto this year.  Old buddy Frank had been having some health concerns but I met him earlier in December at a recital and to my relief he is fine and it was little more than a confluence of unfortunate circumstances.  Incidentally, you can see Frank in the latest Shreddies commercial.  He is sitting at the very left of the large breakfast table.

Musicians In Ordinary is still performing but much less frequently (no New Year's Day concert for 2017), Sine Nomine appears to be defunct and the Poculi Ludique Societas is "on hiatus" which meant no Medieval Christmas pageant.  Perhaps it serves me right for suggesting I go to St. Thomas' to check on the progression of certain bald spots and threadbare pull-overs.

Maybe it's a sign that I should slow down but I don't think so.

December 20, 2016

It's never all bad news.  Beau's Rwandan craft brewery Kickstarter project was an overwhelming success:

It was my second participation in a  Kickstarter project, coming after Palate Deck, which I still think ought to have worked.

Not that I will ever be in the area of Rwanda to give their beer a try.  I am reminded of one of those books detailing the 1000 experiences one "must" have before their demise which lists the Nigerian Foreign Export version of Guinness as one of the beers I must try lest my life be incomplete.  Last I checked, I am approaching two hundred of their one thousand so I guess I have only lived twenty percent of a life to date.

December 19, 2016

This particular adventure started back in October with an item on the Canadian Beer News site concerning a Craft Beer Advent calendar.  I got in touch with the importer, completed a requisition form, returned it and left it there.

In early December I was hearing comments from people who had picked theirs up part way into the month so I reconnected with the importer who put me in touch with the LCBO who told me that they did indeed have one for me.  I gave my credit card information and waited to hear from my local LCBO.

A few days later I checked in with them and, yes, they did have it in the store waiting for me to come by and I picked it up that day.  As you can see, a couple of compartments were opened to use as handles.

Still, pretty cool, right?  Twenty four European beers to try out.

When my wife got home she asked if Big Al had been by.  Alan noticed my shelf of bottles with fun looking labels and he has been known to drop off interesting looking empties for me.  Here is the reason:

The first bottle she pulled out to look at was empty!  No cap, bone dry and no odour.  Plainly it had never contained beer.  This led to a hasty emptying of the calendar.  Luckily, this was the only example of an empty bottle.

Where is sits now is that the distribution centre agreed my VISA card should be refunded for the cost of one bottle but it is the store where I picked it up that should do it and they will be in touch if they need anything from me.  Still waiting for a call or a refund of $5.85 or so.

This really has been a year of empty promises.  For example, what's-his-name at the Wholenote magazine has spent six months in a state of being about to send a disc I had "won" in their regular Music's Children contest.

I will give it a bit more time.  In the mean time I will hold off on sampling these until I can fit all of them in the beer fridge.  Then I will decide what order to drink them in.