Thursday, 29 September 2011

September 28, 2011

322)  Home:  Bronze Crafted Ale by the Celt Experience of Wales:  **:  malty nose;  opens quite malty but finishes with lingering notes of bitter English hops;

September 27, 2011

I imagine it is worth noting that Smashbomb Atomic IPA from the LCBO now has a front label to go with the back label.  I'll bet there is a story there but, then again, life is short.

September 26, 2011

321)  Home:  Peculiar by the Granite Brewery of Ontario:  **;  this was the other two litre growler I purchased at my last visit;  it pours a bit flat, as is usually the case with a growler;  wine-like nose with a touch of mocha;  very dark with hints of chocolate and sweet mocha;

The Granite turned twenty this year.  Last year, to celebrate turning nineteen they had a terrific special going on.  Anyone who visited on their nineteenth birthday received not only their first legal pint on the house, but they got to keep the glass and they took home a two litre growler of their choice (no deposit - a further four dollars ahead).  My son was in town from University for his nineteenth birthday last Hallowe'en so where to do lunch was an easy decision.  The best part was when they came to take his drink order.  The Granite only carries their own beers on tap so with me sitting next to him and his mother sitting across he was asked what sort of beer he usually liked to drink...

The growler he chose was the Peculiar.

September 25, 2011

319)  Home:  English Bay Pale Ale by Granville Island Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  Granville was Canada's first bottling micro-brewery, as they were called at the time;  it was bought by Creemore Springs in 2009, which in turn is owned by Molsons;  malty backbone, with biscuity nuttiness;  very mild flavours;

320)  Home:  Dubbel by Brouwerij Afflige of Belgium:  **;  this abbey ale undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle;  fruity and spicy;  I was wishing it was cooler outside as I drank this;

Sunday, 25 September 2011

September 24, 2011

Looking back, I would have to say that the highlight of Toronto Beer Week for me was discovering that the fellow sitting next to me at the Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern was none other than Stephen Beaumont.  I am proud to own his Great Canadian Beer Guide and I refer to it often. 

September 23, 2011

315)  The Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern in Toronto:  Double Dead Elephant by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  stronger with more bitterness than Dead Elephant and less butteriness;  malty nose;

316)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Fish Eye PA by Kensington Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  this was a test batch of what is to be their second offering;  prominent hop nose with flavours of gingery hoppiness;  I was reminded of Train Wreck, though I prefer the Gananoque brew;

317)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Country IPA by Barley Days of Ontario:  **;  mildly earthy nose;  finishes with a hint of chocolate followed by an earthy after-taste;

318)  Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern:  Imperial Mild by Indie Ale House;  **;  slightly wine-like nose;  sweet mocha-ish notes;

It was unlikely that I would get through Toronto Beer Week without mis-behaving but as is my wont, I should point out that there were half pints this evening.  It was fun that Brock substituted a continuous running of Bob and Doug McKenzie's "Strange Brew" (the only movie to my knowledge ever filmed in Hoserama) instead of the regular black and white westerns on the monitor.

September 22, 2011

314)  Home:  Rum Cask by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2;  aged for 57 days in a rum barrell;  prominent, but not over-powering notes of rum lend it a slightly fruity, slightly spicy taste;  at 7.4% it makes for a very warming glass;  this would be perfect in the middle of winter - I think I will buy another bottle and let it age for 6 months or so;

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

September 21, 2011

313)  Jack Astor's, Brampton:  Octoberfest by Samuel Adams Brewery of Massachusetts, USA:  **;  brewed with five varieties of malted barley;  beautiful red colour;  the malty sweetness is off-set by just a touch of hop bitterness;

September 20, 2011

311)  Caffe Volo, Toronto:  Oktoberfest by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **;  a marzen;  sweet, biscuity maltiness;  the season is beginning and I am very happy about the entire situation;

312)  Home:  The Great St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale by McAuslan Brewing of Quebec:  **1/2;  brewed with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and pumpkin;  the spices are very prominent but it's not overly sweet;  very fresh tasting;

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

September 19, 2011

310)  Home:  Best Bitter by the Granite Brewery of Ontario:  **;  tastes very fresh coming from a two litre growler;  notes of hops (the web-site says they are Fuggles hops);  mouth feel is a bit thin but it is very English, a great glass of beer;

Sunday, 18 September 2011

September 18, 2011

309)  Wychwood Barns in Toronto:  Pan Ontario Collaboration by Grand River Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  a one-off brewed in collaboration with Beau's, Great Lakes, Amsterdam and Flying Monkeys, all of Ontario;  aged on bourbon barrels;  quite a lot going on;

This was the second of the Brewery Market series that I have been able to attend.

September 17, 2011

305)  The Granite Brewery and Restaurant in Toronto:  Hopping Mad by the Granite Brewery of Ontario:  **;  on cask;  moderately strongly hopped;  notes of citrusy lemon;  very smooth;  well balanced;

306)  The Granite:  Traditional India Pale Ale (IPA) by the Granite Brewery:  *1/2;  on cask;  well hopped with sweet maltiness;

307)  The Granite:  Keefe's Irish Stout by the Granite Brewery:  *1/2;  dry and in the Irish style;

308)  The Granite:  Gin Lane Ale by the Granite Brewery:  *1/2;  a barley wine with notes of apple cider;  very much like a wine in appearance and taste;

This was the September Cask Social.  I also returned three growlers for the deposit and went home with two, which will be making their appearances in short order.  I didn't think to ask if they would give me $4.00 for that growler from Duggan's Brewery that I was stuck with when they closed for good.  It might be a collector's item some day, which experience teaches to translate as trading strictly on the bigger fool principal. 

Forgive the repetition but every time I chalk up a number like this I feel compelled to point out any place I go to sells half pints so I am not necessarily misbehaving to the degree one might think. 

September 16, 2011

304)  The 3 Brewers, Toronto:  Multi-Grain Ale by The 3 Brewers:  **;  brewed with five grains;  the nose is malty and biscuity with a hint of sweetness;  tastes very Belgian with yeasty sweetness but finishes with a touch of hops;

September 15, 2011

303)  Home:  Goliath by Wychwood Brewery of England:  **;  the nose is very malty;  tastes of sweet maltiness, balanced by Goldings and Fuggles hops;  "The beer to slay a mighty thirst";

September 14, 2011

302)  Home:  Imperial IPA by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  **;  strong (7%):  unfiltered; the label reads, in part, "intense hop bitterness with a lingering citrusy finish" - I don't know that I could say it better;

September 13, 2011

301)  Home:  Lancaster Bomber by Thwaites of England:  *;  a typical bottled English ale;  something a bit mass-produced about this one;  I found it unremarkable;

Monday, 12 September 2011

September 12, 2011

300)  Home:  Harvest Ale by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  dry hopped;  prominent hop aromas and flavours with a pleasantly bitter finish;

September 11, 2011

299)  Home:  Festivale by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  Beau's summer seasonal;  an alt or old beer, which is to say a very old style of (German) beer;  finishes with just a touch of bitterness but otherwise I found it a bit subdued;

September 10, 2011

298)  TA Bar and Grill, Brampton:  Mr. Huff Persuasion Pilsener by Hop City of Ontario:  **;  a central European style pilsener with a hint of spice (ginger);  a refreshing end of summer type of beer;

I cannot be held responsible for someone else's sense of humour.  I think the "A" stands for Aldina.  This place was closed for well over a year but now it is back with a newish name (it used to be T & A Pub Grub...) and a surprising number of former staff.  I haven't met the "T" yet but I made Aldina's acquaintance many years ago at a different joint.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

September 9, 2011

296)  Caffe Volo in Toronto:  Night Marzen by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  their Fall seasonal:  an Oktoberfest lager;  a bit yeasty with a touch of fruit;  there should be an umlaut over the "a" in Marzen;

297) Caffe Volo:  Conductor's Pale Ale by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  on cask;  brewed with five malts and five hops which makes for some complexity;  I thought I detected a hint of sweetness (almost chocolate) to the nose;  mild, complex, earthiness slightly off-set by soft dried fruit notes; 

Junction Craft brewing is a new brewery, named for the Toronto neighbourhood in which they are situated.  The Junction was "dry" from 1904 to 2000.  Their website cites re. style which suggests that Samuel Adams' Boston (Stock) Ale is of a similar style.  This can only be a Good Thing.  Boston/Stock Ale is something I haven't seen in Canada for a decade and a half but it was a favourite when I could get it.  It might be worth getting a passport for.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

September 8, 2011

295)  Home:  Dunkel Buck by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a hybrid Dunkel Weisen Bock;  this one works for me;  it's dark and unfiltered like a dunkel wheat with notes of clove and banana but with Bock-like mocha flavours;

The label has Uncle Buck's hat on it and his electric hand drill.

September 7, 2011

291) C'est What in Toronto:  Reginald Hopburn by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  very floral nose;  opens with biiter pine notes;  the finish has a touch of bittersweet chocolate, off-set by sweet fruitiness;  far and away my favourite effort from Cameron's;

292)  C'est What:  Hop Addict by County Durham Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  the tap handle is a huge syring filled with hop cones;  perfectly clear with a touch of sweetness - very unusual for an IPA - and earthy hoppiness;

293)  C'est What:  Coffee Porter brewed at C'est What of Ontario:  **;  one of the reasons I came back a second time way back in the 1980s;  pitch black with very strong black coffee aromas, strong coffee flavours;  the after-taste is like a splash of coffee grounds;  delightfully unsubtle;

294)  Home:  Miami Weiss by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  very hoppy aromas, floral grapefruit notes;  I like it even if it is not really a weiss, as the label admits;  the label goes on to describe this as an American take on a traditional wheat beer but with a different strain of yeast, hence no clove or banana flavours, and with Pacific NorthWest hops;  "What's with the name Miami Weiss?  It's just something the guys up in marketing came up with.";  I deducted a half pint glass for the deception;

September 6, 2011

Did everyone notice that of The Beer Store's Top Ten, I have consumed but one this year and if you look back at the entry, it was basically forced on me?

September 5, 2011

290)  Home:  80/- by Caledonian Brewing of Scotland:  *1/2;  from the label:  "Champion Beer of Scotland" and brewed "in the UK's last direct-fired open coppers;  very malty nose;  the taste is malty with just a touch of sweetness;  I think it is pronounced "eighty shillings";

Monday, 5 September 2011

September 4, 2011

289)  Home:  Duvel Belgian Specialty Strong Beer by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat of Belgium:  **;  it's nice enough, but it suffers in comparison to the other Belgian beers I have sampled;  there is something of a mass produced feel to this one;

September 3, 2011

You will have noticed that there have been no new beers in the past few days.  I might have suspected this but once one achieves a certain milestone, the medical profession takes a somewhat inappropriate and unwholesome interest in you. 

I will spare you the details.  Instead I will quote the title character from my favourite novel by Nabokov, (Timofey) Pnin, speaking, admittedly, of another procedure:  "It is a repulsive operation."

September 2, 2011

I suppose I need not have felt too badly for Labatts' Blue a while back.  From The Beer Store's website, these are their "Big Ten Brands", their ten most popular beers:

1)  Coors Light
2)  Molson Canadian
3)  Budweiser
4)  Labatts' Blue
5)  Carling Lager
6)  Bud Light
7)  Keith's (IPA)
8)  Lakeport Pilsener
9)  Heineken
10) Corona

The only ale on the list is Keith's, though to my mind it is a bit of a strech to call this an ale.  With all the emotion and verbiage invested in declaring the superiority of Canadian beer over American suds it is discouraging to see two American beers in the top three.

September 1, 2011

Once in a while at Tracks Brewpub I chat with an LCBO employee who works these days at Brampton's "Beer Ambassador" store which as you might guess is my first stop for new and interesting beers.  The LCBO inventory search function has saved me several trips to Toronto.  He recently expressed surprise at how well Polish beers are selling.  There are currently eleven listed though for the most part they seem to be of the golden lager variety which is of limited interest to me.  Just the same, it might be worth exploring one day.