Tuesday, 26 April 2011

April 26, 2011

157)  Home:  Holy Smoke Scotch Ale by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  Purchased in a two litre growler by a very nice lady I know who goes to Campbellford fairly regularly;  brewed with peat smoked barley malt;  strong smoky aromas but not quite so strong to the taste as the glass I had a couple of years back on cask (at Smokeless Joe's in Toronto!);  malty;  I find I cannot drink more than one glass of any smoked beer and as a result the rating does not fully reflect how much I like this one;

April 25, 2011

156)  Home:  Guinness Foreign Extra by Guinness of Jamaica:  **1/2;  this bottle was brewed, bottled and purchased in Jamaica;  nothing like the Guinness I can find here;  it's lighter, thinner with less head;  It's less of a meal than my local Guinness and much more refreshing with strong roast notes, muted hops;  overall, it is far superior to my local Guinness - I had no idea Guinness could taste this good;

It's Easter Monday and the feast of St. Robert of Syracuse.

Monday, 25 April 2011

April 24, 2011

155)  Home:  Julebryg by Norrebro Bryghus of Denmark:  **:  brewed with barley, wheat and rye;  also ginger and cloves both of which are prominent in the nose;  the taste, also, along with brown sugar notes;

It is Easter and also the feast of St.Egbert.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

April 23, 2011

154)  Brydens in Milton:  Tartan Ale by Alexander Keiths (which is to say Labatts - forgive me) of Ontario:  **;  Yes, I tried a beer from a biggie but they had me when I learned it was available for a limited time only (unless it is a big seller, I am going to guess);  I found it quite nice:  dark and malty with a hint of sweetness and I think I detected a touch of hops;  I would have liked this no matter who made it so my apologies are probably insincere - if offered, I would order another with my head held high;  one of the better Scotch ales I have tasted; 

It turns out that Brydens of Milton is not in any way associated with Brydens on Bloor Street in Toronto.

Today is the feast of St. George.

April 22, 2011

Sad news to report today.  It looks like Duggan's Brewery has closed for good.  The landlord placed a notice on the door on the 19th and, at the time, there seemed to be hope that this was a misunderstanding and the lawyers would resolve things but the news soon came that it was not to be.


It was oh-so-fashionable on a certain site to knock Duggan's and their beers which made it nice to see the #9 IPA take the first Ontario Cask IPA Challenge in a series of blind tastings.

The food was good and given the portions and posh-quotent the prices were good too.  The beer was very competitively priced - with tax a pint would set you back $5.22.

Back in the day, this location featured Denison's (fine dining) on street level and you had to go downstairs for Growlers brewpub.  The fun ended in 2003 and when Duggan's took over in 2009 the first thing they did was to remove the bar from downstairs, along with that long couch snaking along the outer wall that created so many intimate nooks and crannies.  You could also contain a young one in one of the many corners and with the sampler sized menu items Growlers was an ideal place to take a youngster - we did it all the time.  Those munchies were pretty upscale, what with the fine dining kitchen upstairs.

The basement space was turned into an events room and this may have sown the seeds of their demise.  It was often empty and the rent is due just the same whether or not the space is being put to good use.

They also had a license to sell beer to go on site.  I guess I am out the $4.00 deposit on that growler of Porter.  What made it fun is that once you had purchased your beer you had to leave out the Lombard Street exit and not the door that you had entered by.  The person who served me was mortified to have to tell me this but I found it charming.  Perhaps it was a hold-over from prohibition or maybe it is a law from the days when they tried, with little success, to take as much fun as possible from the act of drinking.  It is the same sort of thinking that causes the Lion Brewery brewpub, Gold Crown Brewery and the attached brew-your-own (all on the same site in Waterloo) to have different owners, though all three owners share the surname Adlys.

The location was less than ideal.  It is one street East of Yonge in a not particularly busy area that is even less so after quitting time which reduces the number of spontaneous visits.

The #9 IPA is brewed and bottled under contract by Cool Brewing in Etobicoke so we will still be able to get that at the LCBO and there is rumoured to be a second beer available in the near future.

The end result is that now I have two reasons to feel sad when I am in the vicinity of Adelaide and Victoria in Toronto.

Friday, 22 April 2011

April 21, 2011

153)  Home:  Spring Bock by Amsterdam of Ontario:  **1/2;  this is what a Bock should be:  beautiful colour, thick, rich and flavourful;

Today is the feast of St. Maximian of Constantinope.

April 20, 2011

I don't know if anyone has visited the "One Year, One Thousand Beers" site but David Ewalt makes mention of an even wilder quest:  one Dan Freeman set out in 2006 to drink in 1000 (!) bars in a single year. 


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

April 19, 2011

152)  Home:  Bitter & Twisted Blond Beer by Harviestoun of Scotland:  **1/2;  the nose is lemony and the taste is earthy, mildly citrusy;  beautiful golden colour, a delight to drink;

Today is the feast of St.Timon

Monday, 18 April 2011

April 18, 2011

151)  Home:  Dead Guy Ale, By Rogue Brewery of Oregon, USA:  **1/2;  The tale behind this is that it is an Oregon-based brewer's take on a German Mai-bock, which would make it one of the better Mai-bocks I have experienced if this is the case.  Not crazy over-hopped, nice malty flavours;  I used to be able to buy this in a tall bottle with a glow in the dark label;

Today is the feast of St. Apollnius the Apologist.

April 17, 2011

I thought I had set myself an arduous task but have a look at what David Ewalt is up to:


To mark the anniversary of the repeal of prohibition, Mr. Ewalt has undertaken to taste 1000 beers in one year.  He began April 7th, the 78th anniversary of the Cullen-Harrison Act becoming law.  In the interest of self-preservation, he emphasizes the word "taste" - to count he need only drink enough to form an opinion.

He does agree with me in that while he won't count the same beer twice he will count different years where it makes a difference.  He uses the example of Anchor Steam Christmas Ale.  Me, I have both the 2005 and the 2007 editions of Fuller's Vintage Ale in my "beer fridge" which I was saving for an occasion that never happened.  I may or may not break one or both open in 2011.  Their website opines that the 2005 Vintage Ale is good enough to drink today but it may be even better three or four years from now.  I haven't decided if I should pull the trigger or not.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

April 16, 2011

150)  Home:  Iron Spike Blonde Ale by Railway City of Ontario:  **;  somewhat grassy nose, hints of lemon and I also thought I got a hint of sweet banana flavour;  another one courtesy of Peter;  all three Iron Spike Ales are worth trying - my favourite turned out to be the Copper Ale;  in general, my favourite Railway City brews are the Dead Elephant (by extension this encompasses Double Dead Elephant Double IPA when it is available) and whatever dark beer they happen to have on hand.  I enjoyed the Sham-Bock and when they make a Porter, it is worth seeking out.

Today is the feast of St. Bernadette.

Friday, 15 April 2011

April 15, 2011

149)  Home:  Affligem Blond by Brouwerij Affligem of Belgium:  **;  established in 1074;  undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle;  the nose is yeast amd fruit;  a lightly hopped abbey ale;

Today is the feast of St. Paternus.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

April 14, 2011

148)  Home:  Iron Spike Copper Ale by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  **;  this quaffable ale is very well balanced with hints of sweetness and fruit;  reminds me of an English ale;  this one also courtesy of Peter

Today is the feast of St. Lydwine

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

April 13, 2011

147)  Home:  Doppel-Hirsch Doppelbock by Hirschbrau of Germany:  **;  sweet, slightly fruity nose;  rich and malty flavours with a hint of sweetness;  one of my favourite double bocks;

Today is the feast of Pope St. Martin I

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

April 12, 2011

146)  Home:  Iron Spike Amber Ale by Railway City of Ontario:  **;  nice balance of hop and malt - they are both prominent but neither is over-powering;

This and the next two Railway City offerings come courtesy my brother Peter who was also thoughtful enough to include a couple Dead Elephant.

Today is the feast of St. Wibgert.

Monday, 11 April 2011

April 11, 2011

145)  Home:  Hop Head Double IPA by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **1/2;  Prominent but not overwhelming hop aromas and flavours;  8.3% - very nice;

Today is the feast day of Canada's first and, to the best of my knowledge, only saint, Marguerite d'Youville.  It should be pointed out that Brother Ambroise is, to date, not a saint, McAuslan Brewery's puffery aside.  Brother Ambroise may or may not have been the first individual to brew beer in Canada which makes for a strong case. 

In Brew North, Ian Coutts credits Louis Hebert, who I believe was also Canada's first apothecary, and his wife as the first to brew beer in Canada, though it was not a commercial enterprise - it seems to have been for their own use.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

April 10, 2011

144)  Home:  Gemini Imperial Blended Ale by Southern Tier Brewing of New York. USA:  **1/2;  This is a blend of two Southern Tier Ales, Unearthly Imperial IPA and unfiltered Hoppe Extra Pale Ale;  because I could, I drank this head to head (forgive me) with Southern Tier's IPA, reviewed earlier:  I found the Gemini had a more pronounced hop aroma and more to the taste, though not quite so much more;  the Gemini is also stronger at 9.1%;  very much in the West Coast style which is strongly in favour these days;

I am 100 days into my quest and while I have a good pace going I remain apprehensive, knowing I will have fewer reasons to venture to Toronto come summer.

Today is the feast of St. Apollonuis (d. 250 AD) and St. Apollonius (d. 305 AD), not to mention St. Terence.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

April 9, 2011

142)  Home:  Curmudgeon IPA by Grand River Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  an out of the ordinary IPA;  deep copper colour;  unusual hop profile - more earthy and not at all floral/citrusy/piney but still very strong with a degree of bitterness;  Grand River is a brewery to keep an eye on and I look forward to trying their next effort;

143)  Home:  La Granja Stout by Norrebro Bryghus of Denmark:  **1/2;  a special batch brewed with Ontario maple syrup;  pours with almost no head;  nose is coffee with just a hint of sweetness;  the maple syrup is more prominent in the finish;  not excessively sweet;  nice maple and coffee notes;  my wife liked it;  I should point out that the "o" in Norrebro should have a slash through it;

Today is the feast of St. Demetrius.

April 8, 2011

140)  Tracks Brewpub, Brampton:  Becks (can) by Brauerei Beck & Co.of Germany:  *1/2;  pale, golden in colour;  grainy, very continental;

141)  Home:  Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 by Harviestoun of Scotland:  **1/2;  aged in oak casks that had been used to mature Highland Park's 12 year old single malt Scotch;  dark, ever so slightly fruity;  roasty with hints of coffee and chocolate;  this is one to savour;

Today is the feast of St. Dionysius of Corinth

Thursday, 7 April 2011

April 7, 2011

139)  Home:  Old Empire India Pale Ale by Marston's Beer Company of England:   *1/2;  an English style IPA;  more subtle than the North American variety;  I deducted a half star for the clear bottle - this one definitely suffered from not being protected from light and it didn't occur while it was in my possession;  unfair perhaps, but I have to review the beer I drank and not the one I wish I had consumed;

This was consumed on the feast day of St. Henry Walpole.

April 6, 2011

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.”. 

I was reminded of this when I visited the Great Canadian Beer Blog a few days back.  There is a feature on one Matt Caldwell who undertook to drink a new beer every day for a year.  The bitter irony is that I introduced myself to him at the very pub crawl at which the idea for this blog was given to me.  Had I known, I would have made sure he was aware that I knew that he did it first, and he did it better – not just different beers but new beers.

No matter:  I remain committed to this quest.

April 5, 2011

No new beer today.  I’ve just been feeling too miserable.  I tested out something suggested by Nicholas Pashley in Notes On A Beermat and consumed a tin of Headstrong Pale Ale Monday night to see if all those hops would help me fight off an on-coming cold.  No luck. 

Speaking of miserable, let’s talk about investing in beer.  Warren Buffett says, “Buy what you know.”, so I thought I might do pretty well. 

Before I go on any further, disclaimer, disclaimer, your mileage may vary, past performance does not guarantee future results, etc., etc.  What follows is strictly cocktail party talk, and in no way shape or form should any part of this be construed as a recommendation.  Anyone who says different is itchin' for a fight.

About a decade ago, I noticed that Brick Brewing Ltd. (BRB) seemed to trade between forty and sixty cents, which was about my price range at the time.  I got into the habit of buying it at forty.  It would usually go lower but no worry.  I would sell at sixty and sometimes it would go higher.  Then it ran away from me and never returned to forty.  We will get back to this one later.

It wasn’t a particularly proud moment but I had a “stink bid” on the table the morning of September 11, 2001 for Unibroue (UBE) which was picked up in the panic before the Toronto Stock Exchange decided to close for the rest of the day (and then some, as I recall).  I sold this for a decent profit but nothing like the sixty or sixty five times earnings that Sleeman paid for it a couple of years later.

Speaking of Sleeman (ALE) I did reasonably well with that one.  I traded in and out and I made a good profit when it was bought up by Sapporo.

Much the same happened with the buck-a-brew folks at Lakeport Brewing (TFR.UN) when they were purchased by Labatts.  This was a nice one.  They paid monthly income, with numerous bonus pay-outs.  That I didn’t like the beer is of no importance.  I trade like a mercenary.  I have no interest in who is right or who is wrong, who is good or who is bad.  I just want to be on the side that is winning.

For a long time I held Big Rock Brewing (BR.UN).  Again this paid a nice distribution and like Lakeport this was raised a few times.  Good beer, too.  After the legislation concerning Income Trusts was tabled I dropped this one, again for a profit.

I used some of the proceeds from the Sleeman buy-out to get back into Brick which dropped precipitously soon after.  It is currently worth about half what I paid.

Another less than stellar trade was Fort Garry Brewing (FGA).  This was trading at forty cents but there was a bid from Russell Breweries (RB) to buy it out by way of a straight share exchange.  RB was trading at sixty cents.  It seemed like free money.  Of course, once all the approvals had been received, RB promptly dropped to forty cents.  Not long after the share exchange I managed to get out of Russell with a thin profit which was a bit of luck as it is trading much lower when I last looked.

Monday, 4 April 2011

April 4, 2011

138)  Home:  Kingfisher Premium Lager by United Breweries Ltd., Bangalore;  brewed in the UK under license:  *1/2;  strong, fresh grassy notes;  cooling, cleasing taste works well with Indian food;

Today is the feast of St. Isadore of Seville.

April 3, 2011

Just heard the news that Smashbomb Atomic IPA will not be available at the LCBO.  It was spiked by the Social Responsibility Panel.  Partly due to the name, which is alleged to be an acronym for single malt, and single hop (although the Ontario Craft Brewers site lists two malts) and partly due to the illicit drug ("420") imagery on the package.  According to a post on bartowel.com, the owner had been making posts on the subject.  If this is true we might be just as disappointed at a brewery that puts being a Wisenheimer ahead of getting their product on the shelves.

Incidentally, I learned from a Woody Allen film that 4/20 is Adolph Hitler's birthday.  Exactly what are the pot-heads celebrating?

April 2, 2011

133)  John Street Roundhouse in Toronto:  Steam Whistle by Steam Whistle Brewing of Ontario:  **;  This is where Steam Whistle is brewed, in the historic roundhouse;  the location has a special connection for me - my Dad worked there in 1948 (the last year the Cleveland Indians won the World Series);  Steam Whistle is crisp, clean and cooling;

134)  Caffe Volo in Toronto:  The Great Gatsbeer by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  a most unusual nose, reminiscent of cheese;  the taste is soft, smooth and lightly fruity;  yes, I did order it partly on account of the name but also because of the brewer - no one has quite the number of wildcards in their line-up as Church Key.

135)  Twisted Kilt in Toronto:  Nut Brown Ale by Black Oak Brewery of Ontario:  **;  locals will remember the location as the old site of the Bow & Arrow;  on cask (this was the April Cask Social);  hearty with a slight mocha after taste;

136)  Twisted Kilt:  IPA by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  subdued hop nose gets stronger as the drink goes on but very pronounced hop taste;  on cask;

137)  Duggans Brewery, Toronto:  Bock by Duggan's Brewery of Ontario:  **;  not as dark as previous versions but rich taste;  I took a chance that they would have this one;

Here's to the pourer who came up with the idea of half pints and to St. Mary of Egypt and St. Polycarp of Alexandria whose feast days are today;

Friday, 1 April 2011

April 1, 2011

131)  The Govnor's Pub in Brampton:  Harp Lager by Guinness Ltd. of Ireland:  *1/2;  years ago, this was pretty out there but these days it seems just a bit ordinary, but after a trip to the YMCA and a 7km run it went down very nicely, indeed;  it ought to come as no surprise that what is perhaps Brampton's best British pub is owned and operated by a family from India;  they are reputed to be able to pour the clover on top of the foam of the Guinness but I didn't stick around;

132)  Up Yer Kilt! in Brampton:  Smithwick's Ale by Guinness Ltd. of Ireland:  *1/2;  I could say much the same as above;  as you might guess, this is a Scottish pub and I don't get tired of bellowing that name;  not much in the way of Scottish beers on tap, though;

No fooling, today is the feast of St. Hugh of Grenoble and St. Macarius the Wonder-Worker.