Saturday, 9 December 2017

October 7, 2017

334/2152) Home:  Viaduct IPA by Danforth Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6%;  named for the Prince Edward (or Bloor) Viaduct which crosses the Don River and connects Bloor Street to Danforth Avenue;  fresh pine dominates the nose;  flavors are a blend of pine and citrus, the balance leaning towards pine;  I wish it was easier to find;

335/2153) Home:  Sergeant Stripes Export Stout by Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.9%;  Wild Oats series;  brewed with barley, malted and unmalted, and blackstrap molasses;  roasty nose with sweetness, but not the bourbon or oak variety, and dark, nearly burnt, coffee;  dry roasty flavours, faint alcohol;  sweetness emerges at the finish and through the aftertaste;  it has a nice sweet edge without any sort of barrel aging; 

From Beau's Fall Mixed Pack.

336/2154) Home:  White by Black Bellows Brewing Co.of Ontario:  *;  5%;   a take on a wit with malted barley, unmalted wheat and spices;  opaque;  yeasty nose;  assertive yeast, wheat flavours;  nothing special;

October 6, 2017

333/2151) C'est What:  Dry Hopped Exhibition IPA by Royal City Brewing of Ontario:  **;  4.5%, 30 ibu;  on cask;  brewed with Mosaic hops;  tropical fruit and oranges to the nose;  flavours are citrusy, orange finish with a touch of touch resin;

October 3, 2017

332/2150) Home:  35 & 118 Cream Ale by Boshkung Brewing Co. of Ontario:  *1/2;  minerally flavours, floral notes, bright finish;

October 2, 2017

331/2149) Home:  Naughty Otter Wheat Ale by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.8%;  nose of malted wheat and cloves;  tastes an odd blend of berries and cloves;  I am not sure about this one;

October 1, 2017

330/2148) Great Lakes Brewery:  CanCon Session Ale by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.3%, 28 ibu;  fresh hop leaf nose;  fresh leafy hop flavours;

This was brewed in collaboration with ACTRA, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema,
Television and Radio Artists, "to celebrate Canadian storytelling on Canada's 150th birthday".

GLB describes this as, "Beautifully crafted, full of character and delightfully refreshing as your favourite Canadian shows,"

Great Lakes Brewery has a very pleasant patio complete with picnic tables.  It is a very nice way to sample their wares.

Monday, 2 October 2017

September 30, 2017

329/2147) Home:  Melifera by Le Trou du Diable of Quebec:  *;  5%;  brewed with wheat and barley with local honey added during the boil and a lactic acid fermentation;  pours opaque;  the nose is a bit lemony, a bit funky;  tart, acidic;  only a bit of honey is revealed at the finish; 

I fear this one did not work for me.

September 26, 2017

327/2145) Home:  Hefeweizen by Kichiesippi Beer Company of Ontario:  **;  5.5%, 15 ibu; unfiltered;  mildly, and unusually, tart nose;  cloves, citrus zest, muted banana flavours;  nicely done;

328/2146) Home:  Elora Borealis by the Elora Brewing Company:  **1/2;  5.1%, 30 ibu;  Citra Pale Ale;  floral, mildly citrusy nose;  citrus, mostly grapefruit, flavors;  bold citrus finish, yet very smooth;  great name, too;

September 24, 2017

326/2144) Someone else's place:  5514 Wheat Ale by Sleeman of Ontario:  *;  4.5%;  one among many 150th anniversary beers - I learned that it is 5514 km from one coast to the other;  a grainy, lawn mower type beer;  remarkably unremarkable but nice for an uncommonly hot September day;

September 23, 2017

324/2142) Home:  Aleyards Collaboration IPA, a collaboration between Shacklands Brewing Co., Junction Craft Brewing and Rainhard Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.8%, 58 ibu;  brewed with Vermont Ale yeast, Simcoe and Mosaic hops;  sharp citrusy, resiny nose;  strong malt backdrop;  tropical fruit with a resiny finish; 

The tin features a drawing from 1936 of the Symes Road Destructor which Junction Craft will be occupying in a few months.  The Aleyards used to be known as the Ontario Stockyards and this is where all three breweries are located.

This was brewed for Toronto Beer Week 2017, which I largely missed out on.  Today is the last day.  I did pay close attention to the news Tuesday evening, the night of the beans and brews event, to see how many number 505 streetcars had to be taken out of service but of course the TTC never reports that sort of thing.

325/2143) Home:  Puppers Premium Lager by Stack Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.0%;  brewed with both barley and wheat;  a sweet, unusually rich, malty yet crisp lager for after a long day at the produce stand;

This is the Official Beer of Letterkenny.  I missed the beer launch which took place at Get Well in Toronto and featured cast members, in character.  Even though I have only seen bits on Youtube I feel a connection to Letterkenny and I would have thanked the cast members had I met them. 

It takes eighteen weeks to properly train for a marathon which means that to run Mississauga on the first Sunday of May I began working the first week of the year.  I would lie awake for a minute or two at six AM pondering my warm bed, cold house and the colder sidewalks.  The kilometres don't run themselves, however, and I would prod myself out the door saying, out loud, "Pitter patter, let's get at 'er." so I feel I owe a good part of my achievement to Letterkenny, even if I never have seen a complete episode.

September 22, 2017

The Golden Tap Awards were announced on the 20th.  A full list of winners may be found here:

It is nice that as the awards grow the spotlight continues to venture to regions other than Toronto.

September 21, 2017

323/2141) Home:  Waterfront Wit by Walkerville Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.9%;  a Belgian style wit;  brewed with barley and wheat as well as orange peel and coriander;  nose is yeast, coriander;  refreshing orange zest and coriander flavours;

September 19, 2017

322/2140) Home:  Amber 6.6 by Skeleton Park Brewery of Ontario:  **;  6.6%;  from their Heritage Series 1783-1855;  rich toasted malt nose;  rich, malty;  hides that alcohol well;

Skeleton Park is in the Kingston area.  The official name is McBurney Park and it earns its nickname by virtue of the fact that underneath lies an abandoned graveyard.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

September 18, 2017

321/2139) Home:  Double Double - Base Belgian Quad by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  12.9%;  nose is alcohol, sugar, dark fruit, balsamic;  strong alcohol and fruitiness;  it's all a bit over the top;  given the impact NC grads have had I imagine this will be recalled as a youthful indiscretion;

September 17, 2017

320/2138) BQM on Roncesvales:  One Eyed Grouse ESB by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.9%;  malty nose;  rich malty flavours;  a good example of the style;

BQM stands for Beer and Quality Meats.  We were in the area for the Polish festival and had a great meal here.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

September 16, 2017

313/2131) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  It All Gose Wrong by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 5.2%, 24 ibu Sour-Gose;  their Blonde with sumac, hibiscus, lemon and crème de cacao;  lemony nose;  opens salty and herbal;  creamy chocolate finish; 

Given that Sours and Gose beers are among my least favourite styles I was not expecting to like this one. 

Today is The 3 Brewers' Cask Festival featuring a cask from each Ontario 3 Brewers, eight in all.  This effort comes from the Ottawa location.

314/2132) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Blondes Are Just Peachy by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.2%, 24 ibu;  their blonde with peach nectar and peppermint tea;  mild peach nose;  faint peach flavours;  not really getting the mint tea; 

This is from the Kanata location. 

No charge for admission, no line-ups and a ticket good for a quarter pint of beer was a mere two dollars.  I can manage an eight dollar pint equivalent.  When you are interested in customer service and not fleecing strangers this is how it is done.

315/2133) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Gurkenweizen by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.8%, ibu n/a;  the Wheat beer with cucumber and coriander;  very refreshing on a warm day; the coriander comes through in the nose;  flavours of cucumbers with a hint of melon; 

By the Yonge Street brewmaster.  His intent was to remind people of how flavourful cucumbers can be.

316/2134) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  The Not So Blue Freezie by the 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 6.2%, 26 ibu American Amber/Red;  their Amber with hibiscus, lavender and rose hips;  remarkable blueberry like nose;  floral berry flavours, dry herbal aftertaste;  surprising; 

This is from Oakville and he makes it regularly for their cask nights.  This one created a lot of talk at the event, largely centring around how it could be possible to produce these flavours from those ingredients.

317/2135) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Summer Breeze by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 5.2%, 24 ibu Belgian blonde/golden;  their Blonde with pears, lemon zest, elderflower and golden Belgian candi sugar;  refermented with honey;  I was reminded of the Double Diamond at the Rose and Thistle what with those globules;  a bit sweet, a bit citrusy and floral with herbal notes; 

From the Adelaide Street location.

318/2136) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Radagast the Brown by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  4.8%, ibu n/a;  their Brown with peaches, cinnamon, vanilla, Jim Beam and French oak;  finished with a shake of nutmeg after pouring;  autumnal spice nose;  the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla work very nicely with the rich roasty chocolate notes of the brown;  cinnamon and nutmeg last through the finish;

This was from the Liberty Village location.  This was another one that generated a good deal of conversation.

319/2137) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Little Brewshop of Horrors - Audrey III IPA by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  6%, 60 ibu;  IPA with bergamot, lychee and basil;  first off I notice the nose, from a distance:  Asian tea and basil;  dry and floral with strong herbal basil notes and a bitter basil finish; 

From the Richmond Hill location. 

At the end of the day ballots were passed around and the vote finished

1st - The Not So Blue Freezie
2nd - The Plea of Esposito
3rd - Radagast The Brown

My ballot had 2 and 3 reversed.  The Plea of Esposito was the local contribution which I have enjoyed in the past in several versions.  Justin believed in it and it was interesting but not entirely surprising that he chose this one to represent his efforts.

This was a very well run event, I only wish more people had attended.  The last I heard it will be repeated with this year's winner hosting the festivities next year in Oakville.  Public transit to Oakville being what it is, this likely rules out my attending.

Monday, 25 September 2017

September 15, 2017

311/2129)  Home:  Sean Beer Session IPA by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.6%;   tropical nose; citrusy notes (tangerine);   very smooth drinking, nicely done;

The tin reads, "Beer and Education - a pairing that has been fermenting for generations".

312/2130) Home:  Fair Affair by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  *;  7.5% Belgian Golden Strong;  tart nose;  a blend candi sugar and funk;  not really working for me;

September 12, 2017

310/2128) Home:  Beer 101:  Strong Ale by the Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 7.5%, 24 ibu U.K. style strong ale;  I am getting just a whiff of alcohol with rich malts;  malt, toffee notes, very hearty with a hint of warming alcohol at the finish;

September 10, 2017

309/2127)  Home:  Quad by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 10.6% Belgian style quadrupel, bottle conditioned;   my favourite of the series;  nose of dark fruit, mildly yeasty;  warming alcohol, rich dark fruit,  mild spice, dark sugar, though not as sweet as many a quad

St. Arnoldus (of Soissons) is on the label.  He is said to have stopped a plague by brewing and promoting a low alcohol beer.  He is the patron saint of hop pickers and brewers and is often depicted holding a mash rake.

September 9, 2017

307/2125) Home:  Tripel by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  9%;  pours opaque, golden; soft, fluffy, persistent head; spicy, yeasty nose;  spicy and yeasty with a hint of sugar and fruit at the finish;  odd, bitter after taste

That is Saint Barbara on label.  She is the  patron saint of armourers, artillerymen, architects, mathematicians and miners.

308/2126) Home:  Session IPA by Innis and Gunn of Scotland:  **;   4.6%;  brewed with a "4 hop infusion":  Super Styrian, Cascade, Magnum and Admiral;  Innis and Gunn are not noted for their IPAs but this is another strong one;  nose of tannin with floral notes;  Asian tea, floral, resin flavours;  dry aftertaste;

September 7, 2017

306/2124) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Le Petite Derrière by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  this month's feature Milkshake IPA casked with poached pears;  the pears add a new dimension to the nose and taste, though they are somewhat less noticeable in nose than the taste;  that nose is sweet and milky with pears but the flavours are richer and pears linger through aftertaste;  It is murkier with softer flavours, lacking the crispness of the original;

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

September 5, 2017

To those who have been calling it a craft beer bubble it is worth noting that tickets for Bellwoods' Witchstock sold out in minutes.

I don't entirely get it.  Sure there is a shuttle from the subway, which is a very nice touch, and, yes, there will be one-offs and rarities from some seventeen breweries but it costs $45.00 plus taxes plus "service" fees to be admitted.  The sticker and custom glass would not, for me, take the sting away nor would the tokens good for four five ounce pours.

Further tokens are available at $3.00 each which works out to $12.00 a pint.

I can walk into C'est What, for example, any day of the week without being charged admission to find some thirty or more beers to choose from.  If hipsters wish to be fleeced I suppose someone feels the obligation to do it but I don't picture myself attending anything as costly as this.  I really don't mind what I get for free.

September 4, 2017

305/2123) Home:  Nottabottle Belgian Pale Ale by Smithaven Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%;  brewed with Abbey style yeast;  very yeasty nose;  mostly sweet yeast with a hint of dark fruit and spice;

The package reads, "It's a can!".  It seems they are known for bottle conditioned ales and this is in response to requests for cans which would make it a good choice for Labour Day mixers.

September 3, 2017

304/2122) Home:  5 Fingers Brown Ale by Nita Beer Company of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;    toasted malt nose;  rich, mild sweetness, roasted malt with a slightly burnt edge;

Continues the trend of cycling themed packaging.

September 2, 2017

303/2121) Home:  Single by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  *;   5.5%:  Brewed with brettanomyces yeast - I'm not sure why someone would do this to a Belgian style beer;  yeasty nose with a bit of funk;  yeasty flavours but where one might expect dark fruit notes there is a touch the tart cideriness one associates with "bret";  sour after taste;

There is more than one St. Christina but as she is depicted with a sword here I will guess this is St. Christina of Tyre, who was martyred by sword, on the label.

The complete set:  Single, Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel purchased in Nixon, Ontario.

September 1, 2017

It was announced today that Brick Brewing has sold their brewing facility in Formosa after letting it be known it was on the block this past January.  They had previously sold the original plant in Waterloo and now everything is concentrated in Kitchener.

What is odd, and I suspect this is a result of only a plant being sold, not the entire company, is how obscure the buyers are.  I looked up every article I could find and almost nothing is known of the buyers save that one Zhang Haoliang speaks for them.

The word is that this unknown group intends to operate the facility as a brewery but I am going to keep my eye out for a condominium announcement just the same.

August 31, 2017

It appears that Silly Season has morphed into something a little more sinister.  Recent events in Charlottesville have inspired Muddy York Brewing to donate portions of the proceeds for a recent release to a variety of activist groups.  Events in Berkeley appear to have left them un-moved.

Among these groups is one whose co-founder sent this tweet:

I still get to choose where I spend my after tax dollars and it is an easy decision to send my money elsewhere.

Monday, 4 September 2017

August 30, 2017

302/2120) Home:  Craft Lager by Muskoka Brewery of Ontario:  *;  4.8%;  unfiltered, no preservatives;  crisp refreshing malty lager with faint fruit notes;

August 29, 2017

301/2119) Home:  Collective Project:  IPA No. 3 by Collective Arts of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.1%, 80 ibu;  brewed with Crystal and Citra hops;  citrusy nose;  tropical and citrus flavours yield to piney notes at the finish;

August 27, 2017

299/2117) Home:  Brother Ian's Belgian 4 by 5 Paddles Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%;  added candi sugar;  unpasteurized, unfiltered;  there is sediment at the bottom of the bottle;  a Patersbier or, as they describe it, "the lawn-mower beers of the monks";  pours hazy gold;  yeasty nose;  mild spice with candi sugar;

This and the other bottle pictured below were purchased by a fellow named Raf in his travels from the brewery in Whitby.

I tried the Italian Backyard at C'est What a while back.  The bottle is big enough that I can pour a glass and still have enough to experiment with while baking.  I have a feeling the basil would add a little something to a beer bread recipe I ran across.

300/2118) Home:  Pale Ale Project by Beyond The Pale Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.9%, 28 ibu;  brewed with barley and wheat;  nose is tropical fruit, citrus and  peach;  juicy tropical flavours - a great IPA;

August 26, 2017

296/2114) Home:  König Ludwig Weissbier by König Ludwig Gmbh & Co. of Germany:  *1/2;  5.5%;  brewed with wheat and barley malts and "hop extract";  also released as Prinzregent Luitpold Wessbier Hell;  pours hazy;  it has the sort of nose I tend to associate with rye based beers, sharp and spiced;  flavours of cloves, gingery spices, lemon zest;

The Bavarian royal family held sole rights to brew Hefeweizens in excess of two hundred years.

297/2115) Home:  Bent Spoke by MacLean's Ales of Ontario:  *1/2;  3.9%;  a "sessionable ale" from their "low gear session series";  pours clear and golden;  herbal, lemony nose;  lemony notes with a bitter resiny finish;  a fine effort but something seems to be missing;

298/2116) Home:  Found Bikes Ride Faster by Big Rig of Ontario:  **;  a 6.0% Experimental Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with Great Lakes Brewing to mark their 30th anniversary using "an experimental hop" details of which, including its name, remain obscure;  strawberry tea-like nose;  citrusy flavours with strawberry and melon;  definitely off centre but very nice indeed;

A pair of bicycle-themed beers.

August 25, 2017

295/2113)  Home:  Wit by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  a 4.8% Belgian style ale;  brewed with Canadian wheat, orange peel, coriander and chamomile;  this was an LCBO purchase, unlike recent ones which were bought at the brewery in Nixon;  yeasty chamomile nose;  lemony, yeasty, with notes of cloves;

August 24, 2017

293/2111) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Randy's Cheap Date by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  4.7%, 17 ibu;  this week's Thursday night cask is the previous monthly feature beer, the raspberry ale, with cocoa nibs and lactose;  the nose is mostly raspberry;  flavours of raspberry sweetened by lactose which also softens the mouthfeel;  dry chocolate finish with raspberry;

294/2112) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Milkshake IPA by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  8%, 80 ibu;  the most recent feature beer, brewed with oats and wheat and apple purée;  opaque;  strong, piney, resiny nose;  bitter resiny notes and bitter citrus;  citrusy finish;  some suggest it is more along the lines of a Vermont/New England style IPA than a milkshake IPA and I haven't tried enough to comment (very much looking forward to Bellwoods' Milkshark) save to say it is uncommonly good;

August 23, 2017

291/2109) Home:  A Place To Stand Ontario Pilsner by Sawdust City of Ontario:  *1/2;  5%, 25 ibu;  brewed in Celebration of Canada 150;  brewed and packaged by Sawdust in collaboration with Great Lakes Brewing and The Griffin Gastropub;  brewed with 100% Ontario-sourced ingredients;  "a classic pilsner style lager";  bready nose with a dry, leafy bitter hop edge;  pretty much your standard pilsner;

292/2110) Home:  Big Boot Hefeweizen by Big Rig of Ontario:  **;  4.8%;  an unfiltered German style wheat beer;  murky;  sweet yeasty nose;  notes of clove and banana typical of a hefeweizen and very nicely done at that;

August 22, 2017

290/2108) Home:  On Two DIPA by Merit Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  8%;  double dry hopped with Motueka, Mosaic and Amarillo hops;  also flaked oats and wheat;  bold, earthy, citrusy nose;  citrusy resiny flavours;  dry after taste;  a terrific double IPA;

August 21, 2017

289/2107) Home:  Gösser by Brau Union International Gmbh of Austria:  *1/2;  5.2%;  the tin informs that it is "Austria's finest beer" and has been brewed since 1860;  grassy nose with sweet fruit;  sweet, fruity;

A bit of a sentimental choice perhaps.  Years ago Tracks Brewpub was positioning itself as a place to drink extremely local beer - you could see where it was brewed from your seat - and international beers and this was one of the ones I liked from that category.

August 20, 2017

287/2105) Home:  Idaho Beach House Session IPA by Merit Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.5%;  brewed with Idaho 7 hops;  nose is citrusy and tropical;  flavours are more towards earthy side of things with citrus emerging soon after and a bitter finish;  I am becoming very fond of this hop;

288/2106) Home:  360 Ale by Sleeping Giant Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 4.9%, 37 ibu pale ale;  an effort to merge the aroma of an English pale ale with the finish of a North American Pale Ale;  to my mind it lands more on English side;  rich malty English ale nose, mild hop bitterness with a dry finish;

Sunday, 3 September 2017

August 18, 2017

281/2099)  The Roost, La Salette:  Dakota Pearl Ale (DPA) by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm, Ontario:  *1/2;  14 ibu;  starts dry but there is a sweet finish;

Dakota Pearl is a variety of potato.  The story is they wash sliced potatoes in a "pre-brew" of their dry ale which not only prepares the potatoes for the fryer and it also adds another dimension to the resulting beer.

282/2100) The Roost:  Country Pilsner by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm of Ontario:  21 ibu  *1/2; brewed with a blend of hops;  dry and fruity with a dry finish;

La Salette is just north of Delhi.  This is quite an operation.  As described it is a farm with a brewery.  The Roost is on the grounds, upstairs from what might best be described as a general store featuring their aforementioned potato chips, peanuts and other home grown goodies.

283/2101) The Roost:  Unleashed IPA by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm of Ontario:  **;  48ibu;  sweet maltiness offsets mildly bitter citrus notes;

I brought a tin of this home.

284/2102)  The Roost:  Country Lager by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm of Ontario:  *1/2;  22 ibu;   crisp and malty central European style;  

Yet another flight.

285/2103) The Roost:  purebRed Red Lager by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm of Ontario:  **;  a red lager with sweet toffee notes that linger to a balanced finish;

The menu here is pretty small - mostly numerous variations on burgers and grilled cheese but I count this as a point in favour.  It is a certainty that the food will be fresh.

286/2104) The Roost:  3D Triple Chocolate Stout by Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm of Ontario:  **;  brewed with cocoa nibs;  the 3 D's are Devilishly Dark and Delicious;  rich dry mocha flavours;

August 17, 2017

269/2087) Niagara College Teaching Brewery:  Good Porter by Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.5%;  dry and roasty with a grainy finish;

Continuing the trend of this trip, it's another tasting flight.

270/2088) Niagara College Teaching Brewery:  Natter Jack Toad by Niagara Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  6.8%;  the sweet caramel notes ably disguise the alcohol;

The impact of the Niagara College Brewmasters course can been seen across Canada.  It's remarkable how many of their graduates are setting the trends and pushing the boundaries.  There is also a Teaching Winery located very nearby staffed with similarly young and enthusiastic individuals.

271/2089)  Niagara College Teaching Brewery:  Rogue 1 by Niagara College Teaching Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  this is a sweet, nearly sugary, Belgian style beer;

I was afraid to ask if there was a course in beard grooming offered but based on the evidence I am going to say there is.

272/2090)  Merchant Ale House, St. Catharines:  Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Stout by Murray Street Brewing of Ontario:  **;  4.4%, 30 ibu;  with locally roasted coffee from Block Coffee Roasters;  strong coffee ground nose;  creamy coffee flavours;

The Merchant Ale House is located on St. Paul Street in St. Catharines but be aware there is also a St. Paul Street West of which number 68 is a set of flats.

273/2091) Merchant Ale House:  Drunken Monkey Oatmeal Stout by Murray Street Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.8%, 28 ibu;  mild roastiness;

Here again, this is a tasting flight.

274/2092) Merchant Ale House:  Triple Plaid Barrel Aged Scotch Ale:  **;  6.1%, 20 ibu;  the nose is pretty much your standard scotch ale nose but the flavours a level beyond the usual:  sweet vanilla and oak feature strongly;

The story is that the name of the pub is Merchant Ale house but the license reads, "Murray Street Brewing Company", named for the street the owner grew up on in Hamilton.

275/2093) Merchant Ale House:  IPA by Murray Street Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6.4%,60 ibu;  earthy fresh picked hops, mild citrus, bitter finish;

The Merchant Ale House is a very comfortable place and it's a good spot for a late lunch.  My wife gave me a nibble of her burger and I would rank it as the best I have ever encountered.

276/2094) Merchant Ale House:  Uncharted American Pale Ale by Murray Street Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.2%, 30 ibu;  strong malt backdrop;  sweeter than most IPAs;

277/2095) New Limburg Brewery, Nixon:  Lesson 5 Table Beer by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  *;  a 3% table beer;  mildly spiced;  refreshing but non-descript;

New Limburg Brewing is housed in a former school which reminded me of Balmoral Public, later Senior Public (I attended it both ways) in lay-out.  Another beer flight.

278/2096) New Limburg Brewery:  Dubbel by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  7%;  minerally nose;  added candi syrup;  sweet, fruity, light spice; 

This is a good example of their focus on Belgian style beers.  The label on the bottled version features St. Amandus who lived in the area of France and Flanders.  St. Amandus is the patron saint of wine makers, beer brewers, merchants, inn keepers, bartenders and boy scouts.

279/2097) New Limburg Brewery:  IPA by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  8.5%;  a Belgian style IPA, brewed with local hops;  saison like yeastiness;  sweet, fruity;

Our dinner on this day was left-overs from our lunch at the Merchant Ale House which wasn't quite enough but fortunately they had a snack menu and the fresh baked bread and artisanal cheese was exactly what we needed.

280/2098) New Limburg Brewery:  Black Sheep Milk Stout by New Limburg Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  5%;   roasty and sweet from the addition of "a touch of vanilla";

They strongly suggest the derives from this being the least Belgian of their beers;.

August 16, 2017

264/2082) Oast House Brewery, Niagara On The Lake:  Russian Imperial Stout by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  9.9%;  aged six months in Tawse Cabernet Franc barrels;    raisins feature in the nose;  flavours of oak, raisins, cabernet franc with a dry coffee like finish;

Oast House is easy to spot - it is housed in a big red barn.

265/2083) Oast House Brewery:  Sunday's Best Belgian Wit by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  *;  5%;  16 ibu;  sweet nose;  honey and malt flavours;  this one didn't work for me, I found it sweeter than I prefer but on a colder day I might like it more;

These were sampler sized glasses.

266/2084) Oast House Brewery:  Cherry Berliner Weiss by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  **;  4.9%;  8 ibu;  from their Rural Route series;  uses local cherries;  cherry nose;  lactobacillus adds extra tartness to flavours;  interesting use of souring here to enhance the cherry flavours;

267/2085) Niagara Falls Brewing Company, Niagara Falls:  Cream Ale by Niagara Falls Brewing Company of Ontario:  *;  5%, 12 ibu;  very grainy nose;  forward maltiness, mild mineral notes;

It wasn't exactly a return visit - someone was handing out samples on the street in the heat.  Niagara Falls is a far different place in August than March.  What nature did to the region beats what people did to it by a long shot.  I did like the Hornblower boat tour of the bottom of the falls.

268/2086) Taps On Queen, Niagara Falls:  Spiced Session Ale by Taps Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  4%;  very gingery nose;  flavours of fresh ginger stand out among the spices;

We reached Taps On Queen after fifteen minutes of walking basically through nowhere and there it suddenly was.  The food is pretty good.  It was cheap wing night and while I didn't partake a table across from us with nine younger people had a couple hundred sent their way.

August 15, 2017

261/2079) Silversmith Brewing, Virgil:  Saison d'Etre by Silversmith Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 5.9% strawberry peppercorn saison;  strong black pepper nose, aided by freshly ground pepper added on top;  mild strawberry finish;  reminds me of the Dieu du Ciel!'s Route des Epices;

The name is a fun goof on the Maison d'Etre used to teach which French language verbs were the exceptions to the rule and use etre as an auxiliary in the passe compose tense.

262/2080) Silversmith Brewing:  Bavarian Breakfast Wheat by Silversmith Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.2%, 16 ibu;  a Bavarian style Hefeweizen;  malt bill is 43% wheat;  sweet clove nose;  flavours of clove and bananas;

Virgil borders on Niagara On The Lake.  Today's beers are part of a tasting flight.  Silversmith is very visitor friendly and there is even a small kitchen offering wings, mussels and more whimsical creations.

263/2081) Silversmith Brewing:  Hill 145 Golden Ale by Silversmith Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4%, 15 ibu;  brewed with rye which adds a bit of a snap;  mild tropical nose;

Hill 145 is the highest point on Vimy Ridge Vimy Ridge and it was captured after a bayonet charge.  This is where the monument stands.

August 14, 2017

259/2077) Olde Angel Inn, Niagara On The Lake:  IPA by Amsterdam Brewery of Ontario:  **;  it's billed as Angel Inn IPA but it is brewed by Amsterdam;  it does not remind me of any Amsterdam brew in particular so it receives its own entry;  dry nearly astringent flavours and a dry after taste;  nice to return to the Olde Angel for another meal that couldn't be beat;

260/2078) The Exchange Brewery, Niagara On The Lake:  Grapefruit IPA by The Exchange Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5.8%, 62 ibu;  brewed with Galaxy hops, as well as Cascade and Citra, and fresh grapefruit;  the nose is a lot like grapefruit juice;  refreshing citrus flavours;

Sunday, 13 August 2017

August 12, 2017

257/2075) Home:  Ruff Draught by Muskoka Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 5%, 25 ibu Tropical Blonde Ale; a collaboration with Born Ruffians, a Canadian indie band originating from Muskoka;  it was the first place winner at the Sessions Beer Festival;  malty nose;  not much tropical to speak of initially;  a standard blonde ale with an ever so mild hint of tropical citrus at the finish;

258/2076) Home:  Upside IPA by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.8%, 58 ibu;  brewed with the addition of wheat and oats;  an East Coast style IPA using Vermont style ale yeast;  hazy, gold colour;  peaches and grapefruit nose;  peachy and citrusy flavours with tropical notes;

August 10, 2017

256/2074) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Hungry Thighs by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *;  Thursday cask;  mix of their brown and their IPA with Falconer's Flight 7C's and Pilgrim hops;  reminds me of Wellington Terrestrial IBA but I prefer this hop profile;  the nose is dry with a hint of bitter citrus and lots of roasty malt;  blend of roasted malt with dry hop notes and a bitter after taste;  the chocolate notes of the brown are largely masked;

Pilgrim is an English hop while Falconer's Flight 7C's (the use of the apostrophes is theirs) is a proprietary blend of seven different hops, most, but not all, of which begin with the letter C.

August 7, 2017

255/2073) Home:  Chanan by Merit Brewing Co. of Hamilton:  *;  a 5.3% dry hopped saison with orange peel and Indian coriander;  tropical, citrusy nose with musty saison yeast;  I am not really getting the coriander;  the hops seem to take centre stage at first but the tropical and orange zest notes emerge leaving a lingering bitter finish;  not sure about this one;

August 6, 2017

253/2071)  Home:  Skull Rock Oatmeal Stout by Sleeping Giant Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5.1%, 30 ibu;  strong roasted malt nose with a hint of alcohol;  very roasty flavours - does not suffer for lacking coffee or chocolate notes of many stouts;  dare I say, a "Superior" stout?;

Sleeping Giant National Park is located near this Thunder Bay brewery but Skull Rock Narrows is a ways west and a bit north so I don't know if this is the reference or if it is a Peter Pan inspired name.

Compliments must go out to Sleeping Giant for naming a beer after one of Canada's greatest super-heroes, Mr. Canoehead.  I absolutely must try that one, posthaste.

254/2072) Home:  Piña Grande by Lake of Bays Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.2%;  a wheat ale brewed with "pure pineapple juice";  also Magnum, Perle and Belma hops;  not much pineapple to speak of;  nose is like a malty lager;  mildest of pineapple edges;  between the pineapple juice and the belma hops I was wishing for more;

Saturday, 5 August 2017

August 5, 2017

252/2070) Home:  First World Problems by Stewart Brewing of Scotland:  **;  6.2%, 80 ibu;  billed as a Belgian IPA;  brewed with rye and oats;  the recipe is by James Hardacre, winner of a home brewing competition;  the Belgian elements are revealed in the yeasty nose alongside floral hop notes;  mildly citrusy, not overpowering;  more a variation on a pale ale to my mind - it's not overly "Belgian";

An alternate set of captions from Stewart's website reads, "Forgot I was watching a recording/sat through the commercials".  I like this one better.

August 4, 2017

250/2068) Home:  Unfiltered Pils by Double Trouble Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2; 4.6%;  contract brewed at Wellington in Guelph;  brewed with added wheat flakes;  as you will imagine it is cloudy;  mildly sweet nose with grassy notes;  mild citrus flavours;  another unusual pilsner - is this going to become a trend?;

251/2069) Home:  Grapefruit IPA by Double Trouble Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.9%;  here again, they have added wheat flakes and also "natural red grapefruit flavour";  grapefruit nose;  as much a radler as anything and I still think these are best prepared fresh at home;  in spite of the "natural" grapefruit it tastes a little artificial, nearly soda-like to me;  bitter after taste;

August 1, 2017

248/2066) Home:  The Sociable Pilsner by Common Good Beer Co. of Ontario:  **;  4.7%, 26 ibu;  brewed with Citra hops;  nose is grassy with a mild hop edge;  grassy with fruity hop notes;  as pilsners go this is pretty good;  it was an inspired idea to add Citra hops, in place of Saaz;

249/2067) Home:  Stash by Collective Arts of Ontario:  *;  5% ;  fruity nose;  it's the sugary sweetness that grabs one's attention - sweeter than Sprite;  not revolting but I wouldn't risk another;

You will note we are instructed to "Drink From the Can" and I did consume nearly half this way but it didn't improve things.

July 31, 2017

247/2065) Home:  [Extra] Terrestrial Imperial IBA by Wellington Brewery of Ontario:  **;  8.2%, 90 ibu;  stands for India Brown Ale;  brewed with twice the amount of malt as the original, which I recall first tasting at the late, lamented Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern;  very roasty nose with a bit of cocoa but you cannot miss all those piney hops;  opens with sharp hop notes yielding to cocoa and roast with a dry finish;

My wife picked this up at the brewery in Guelph.

July 30, 2017

246/2064) Home:  India Pale Ale by Alexander Keith's of New Brunswick:  *;    5%;  clear pale amber;  smells of grain, adjuncts;  a bit of sweetness;  not offensive, just dull, very dull;

Here I fear I must be ungallant:  my wife bought this.  A third of a century ago, this one was just a bit edgy.  People from the maritimes referred to it as Vitamin K and the Shuffle Demons had a tune dedicated to it.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

July 27, 2017

245/2063) The 3 Brewers, Heartland:  Your Princess Is In Another Castle by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  their seasonal raspberry wheat with Cascade and Amarillo hops;  downright murky;  nose is sharp grapefruit;  tastes of  orange with mild grapefruit notes;  not excessively hoppy for those who might be put off by such;

I gather the name is a "Mario" reference.

July 25, 2017

For those who have been predicting the demise of craft beer, Goldman Sachs has downgraded Boston Beer Company and Constellation Brands due to sluggish beer sales and indications that millennials are drinking less beer (but more wine).  Then again, it has been said that economists have predicted ten of the last three recessions so the Latin cum grano salis applies.

July 24, 2017

243/2061) Home:  Honest Bucker Pale Ale by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5.9%, 41 ibu;  an American style pale ale;  brewed with Mosaic hops;  tropical citrus nose;  flavours are nice but not quite as upfront as the nose;  tropical finish;

An honest bucker is a bucking horse that bucks the same way every time.  This beer represents the Calgary brewpub.

244/2062) Home:   Walker's Blueberry Wheat by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  5%, 20 ibu;  this recipe was developed at the Toronto brewpub;  yeasty, blueberry nose;  blueberry flavours are subtle and sweet;  "A Canadian twist on a classic BEL fruit beer";  during secondary fermentation blueberries supplied by the family of a member of the Mill St. Team were added;

July 23, 2017

241/2059) Home:  Je Ne Sais Quoi by Little Known Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2; 4.2%;  Little Known is in fact a collaboration between Flying Monkeys of Ontario and the 49th Parallel Group, a distributor of British Columbia;  billed as "mysteriously obscure and beyond conventional categories;  cloudy appearance;  nose is promisingly citrusy (grapefruit) with pine;  flavours open a bit weak, almost washed out citrus and pine but things quickly turn bitter and resiny, nearly off puttingly so, in a lingering manner;  still, I would give it a second chance, especially on tap or on cask;

242/2060) Home:  Tom Green Summer Stout by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5%, 27 ibu;  a Blonde milk stout;  brewed with barley, oats, lactose, coffee and cocoa nibs;  pale and clear;  sweet, grainy chocolate notes;  sweet coffee nose with lingering coffee flavours;  without roastiness it doesn't feel like I am drinking a stout then but in the interest of full disclosure I do take my coffee black, no sugar;

July 20, 2017

240/2058) Home:  India Pale Ale by Innis & Gunn of Scotland: **1/2;  5.6%;  from their Beer Kitchen Test Series;  brewed with Cascade, Centennial and Mandarina hops;  does not appear to be barrel aged - one has certain expectations on pouring a bottle of Innis & Gunn into a branded glass but there are no notes of vanilla, oak or bourbon to be found;  instead we are treated to what might be deemed an old school hop bomb, which is to say in the fashion of a decade ago;  bitter grapefruit with hints orange and pineapple;

Lately Innis & Gunn have been unsuccessfully trying things outside their wheelhouse but this is an unqualified success.  I had been avoiding this one but I am very glad the opportunity to save a dollar on a six pack tipped me off the fence.

That ringer you are spotting is a bottle of the Spiced Rum Aged Porter I bought at the same time.  I still cannot get over the cola flavours.

July 18, 2017

238/2056) Home:  Jigger's Delight by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2:  5%, 26 ibu;  a California Common originating from their St. John's brewpub;  fermented warm, aged cool;  grainy nose with a touch of fruit;  grainy with mild lemon notes;  from the Mill St. Summer Brewpub Pack;

239/2057) Home:  Stone Mason Ale by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.8%, 35 ibu;  this recipe comes from the Ottawa brewpub which is housed in a limestone building formerly used as a mill;  and English style bitter;  rich sweet malty nose;  rich malty nutty flavours;  overall, a nice bitter;

Mill Street's latest seasonal sampler is the Summer Brewpub Sampler and it is made up of two year round beers, the Organic Lager and the West Coast IPA, and four beers designed at their brewpubs.