Tuesday, 29 November 2011

November 29, 2011

366)  Home:  Honey Brown Mild by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a 3.3% session ale;  the nose is honeyed caramel;  tastes of sweet honey and caramel with hints of mocha;  the honey comes from a local apiary;

Another seasonal from Railway City, supplied by my brother.  This is my answer to anyone who might suggest I took it easy on myself by not doing this in a leap year. 

I can hardly wait until it is time again for their Sham-Bock seasonal.

November 28, 2011

365(!)  Home:  Roundhaus Pilsner by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  pours a clear, pale straw colour with a soft, scanty head;  grassy, a little bit sweet with a hint of ginger;

This is a seasonal beer and a tip of the hat goes out to my brother, Peter for supplying me with beer number 365.  It has been quite a journey and the journey is not over yet.

November 27, 2011

I am working my way through the first growler of "my" beer brewed at Black Creek Pioneer Village.  I think I could make a case for counting this as a "new" beer, distinct from the product available at the LCBO.  For starters it is brewed at a different location and using a different process, not to mention differently sourced ingredients.

The final product is quite a bit different.  I don't mind the lack of carbonation but it did put my wife off.

November 26, 2011

I did make it out to C'est What tonight but I did not arrive until after 10PM so I missed the Toronto Beer Bloggers Social entirely.  This means I didn't get the chance to collect opinions on where to take this next year or how to add some sparkle to this site.  I received two invitations, one when I requested a spot and a second as a reminder, yesterday.  One indicated a 7PM start while the other gave a 6PM start so I guess the positive side to this is that had anyone been around, I would have been interacting with people who had been drinking beer for three or four hours, depending.

Since I was there, I stuck around for a bit and I was delighted to see Train Wreck Ale from Gananoque.  It is great to think that this one might be catching on.

The bartender mentioned that whenever he sees C'est What written up in a blog, the blogger is always complaining so I hope he comes across my site because I have only good things to say about C'est What.

November 25, 2011

One feature of my day as the brewer's apprentice at Black Creek Pioneer village that I didn't mention was that Ed led me out back to where they had some hop vines planted and he dug up three rhizomes for me.  I have planted these in my back yard where they can climb and I am waiting to see how they fare.

The next step is to plant some barley, if things go according to plan.

November 24, 2011

Beer lovers across the Greater Toronto Area have breathed a sigh of relief as Smokeless Joe's has re-opened at a new location on College Street.  I haven't been yet but it can only be roomier than the John Street location.  The old spot was crowded with a dozen people inside. 

In the day, it was a distinguishing feature not to permit smoking but of course no one allows smoking indoors these days.  It was also known for the owner's collection of jazz music and his insistance that coats were to go on hangers and not on the backs of chairs.  That would be the "original" Joe.  He has since sold the establishment to another fellow named Joe and you can leave your coat where you choose.  Many of the records stayed behind, though.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

November 23, 2011

It has been on haitus for a while, too long really, but I am happy to report that http://definitionale.com/ is back.  I never did delete that bookmark and I was in the habit of checking now and again, just in case, and I have been vindicated.  It is as good as ever.  Top marks, as per usual, for his "epic blind tasting' of fourteen Belgian Quadrupels.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

November 22, 2011

Great news!  Gananoque Train Wreck Ale was on the chalkboard at the Volo!  It was only there for a day and long gone by the time I would be able to get there but it is good news just the same.  I can only hope to see this more often.  Otherwise, I am seriously considering a visit to my East.

Monday, 21 November 2011

November 21, 2011

I had in mind to achieve my goal tomorrow in honour of my father's birthday but I have suddenly been offered a Plan B.  There is the possibility of a special beer to come my way and if this is the case it won't arrive for a few days so there may be a few "ah"s before the final "ah-choo!".

November 20, 2011

364)  Home:  India Pale Ale by Fullers of England:  **;  the nose features mild English dry hops with a hint of toffee;  tastes of those same mildly dry hops with a touch of soft caramel sweetness;

November 19, 2011

I have snagged an invitation to the Toronto Beer Blogger Social to be held one week from today at C'est What in Toronto.  I expect to show up late but with luck I will meet a few people and get some ideas as to where to take this in the new year.  I also hope for some pointers to add a bit of sparkle to what is admittedly a rather plain looking effort.

November 18, 2011

A great day today.  Samuel Adams Utopias became available today at 9AM, phone orders only.  The LCBO brought in seventy bottles last year which were sold off by way of a draw.  This year it was first come first served for a shipment of two hundred bottles.  I watched CP24 until the time read 9:00:00AM and I was off.  After two busy signals and learning that hitting re-dial gave me my brother-in-law's number, my third dial struck paydirt.

I got though at 9:02 and remained on hold, listening to some acutely annoying music repeating every fifteen seconds, for some nineteen minutes but thanks to (Amazing) Grace, I have secured a bottle to be delivered to my local LCBO.

The catch is it won't arrive for four or five weeks.  The worst case scenario puts the arrival date to the Friday before Christmas.  Normally I am very well stocked prior to this date to avoid having to visit during the rush but I will make an exception.  The other catch is that it will set me back $114.95 for a 710ml bottle.  I think the phrase is "more money than brains" and I am not particularly flush.

Watch this space for a full report.

November 17, 2011

Looking for some of those hard to find Quebec craft brews?  Try visiting <http://keep6imports.com/privateordering>.    Keep Six is operated by the fine people at Caffe Volo and serves as a conduit for ordering a select few brands at any given time.  The drawback from where I sit is that the minimum order is twenty-four bottles but if you know someone willing to go halfsies it's the next best thing to driving to La Belle Province.

November 16, 2011

363)  E.S.B. by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  Extra Special Bitter;   malty nose with notes of caramel and a hint of chocolate;  this and the Franconian Bock are from the Mill Street Seasonal Sampler six-pack;  I don't recall seeing either of these in bottles before, only on draught;

November 15, 2011

361)  Home:  1715 by Lvivska Brewery of the Ukraine:  *1/2;  a typical East-central European lager;  the nose is grassy, grainy;  taste is malty with a slight hint of ginger;  the significance of the name is that 1715 was the year Lvivske began brewing;

362)  Home:  Franconian Bock by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  the nose is sweet dried fruit with notes of fruit and caramel in the taste;  very nice - darker than the Bock I had last month at the Mill Street Brewpub;  of the two, I think I prefer this one;

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

November 14, 2011

360)  Home:  Bacchus Flemish Old Brown by Brouwerij Van Honsebrouk of Belgium:  **;  a "sour" beer, of the variety that Volo proprieter Ralph Morana has been quoted as saying is the next big thing, once extreme IPAs have run their course;  the nose is bitter sparkling wine;  tastes is tart and champagne-like;  very thirst-quenching;  the packaging is unusual - the bottle is wrrapped in paper which is twisted at the top:  a keeper for sure;

Monday, 14 November 2011

November 13, 2011

I dropped by the Black Creek Historic Brewery today to return my growlers.  When I learned that the stout I had brewed two weeks back was available I picked up a couple.  I think I would be a hit at the next office potluck if I could present a jug of beer that I had participated in the creation of .  I had best give it a taste first, though.  I cannot promise I will be able to resist the temptation to finish both bottles waiting for a potluck to be scheduled.

November 12, 2011

I am so confident that I will reach my goal that before and after the evening's concert instead of scouring the beer list for something new I had a Spearhead Hawiian Style Ale.  It is most unusual for me to drink the same beer twice in a row, unless I am at Tracks Brewpub, but I decided I would go absolutely mad today.

November 11, 2011

359)  Town Crier Pub and Halfway Beer House in Toronto:  Grimbergen Dubbel by Brouwerij Alken-Maes of Belgium:  **;  dark with a sweet, yesty nose;  friuty and sweet with notes of bubblegum;

Locals may recall that the site of the Town Crier Pub and Halfway Beer House used to house The Fat Belgian.  It is just a couple of doors down from where Smokeless Joe's used to be until very recently. 

This is another installment of what just might become an empire -  the same individual owns The Village Idiot Pub and, right next door to the the VIP, Sin and Redemption, which is still one of my favourite places.  On this day I had intended to dine at Sin and Redemption after an afternoon spent at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Marc Chagall exhibit) and prior to a concert by Tafelmusik but I couldn't even find a seat along the bar.  The place was packed.

The Town Crier and Halfway Beer House has a beer list and menu very similar to Sin and Redemption's - almost identical in fact, but not quite.

November 10, 2011

358)  Home:  1845 by Fuller's of England:  **;  bottle conditioned;  aged 100 days;  rich and malty with a dry English hop finish;  the nose has hints of chocolate and faint, bitter alcohol notes;

1845 is the year in which Fuller, Smith and Turner began brewing.  This beer was originally conceived to mark the 150th anniversary but it proved popular enough to keep brewing.

November 9, 2011

I have hit a very exciting milestone.  Beer number 365 is sitting in my mini-fridge.  I haven't officially decided which one it will be - there are a couple of candidates in the running.  Even if I don't get out for the balance of the year - a long-shot, that - I can still achieve my goal, God willing.

November 8, 2011

357)  Home:  Sinha Stout by Lion Brewery of Sri Lanka:  *1/2;  like many stouts from warmer climes, this is very sweet, but not cloyingly so;  still, Sinha is very nearly syrupy and this is only slightly off-set by coffee notes;

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

November 7, 2011

I am starting to see the annual beer gift packs at the LCBO.  There are a number on my list.  Even though I am acculumating a sizable collection of glasses, I will keep seeking out several of them as this is the only time of year, and the only manner in which I can find some of these beers.

I don't get tired of saying that certain beer gift packs make for splendid Christmas presents and if you are lucky enough to be born in the first month of the year there are still a good number available when your birthday rolls around.

November 6, 2011

356)  Home:  Brown Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario: **;  an unfiltered session ale;  the second growler I brought home with me the day I was the brewer's apprentice;  light, smooth with mocha notes;  this was brewed in-site:  the bottles available in the LCBO are brewed under contract in Barrie, by the folks at Flying Monkeys;

I didn't think it would be right to count the growler of Porter I have spent the past couple of days enjoying as a "new" beer even though it was brewed at a different location, and to a different standard. 

November 5, 2011

There are stirrings about that the LCBO will soon be featuring Winter beers.  There is something special about Winter beers, and to an extent Fall beers as well.  When you aren't so concerned about cooling down or replacing fluids and electrolytes you can really savour a beer.  To quote Curley Howard, "I can hardly wait!"

November 4, 2011

I am pinching this from the label of one of the growlers I left the Black Creek Historic Brewery with as I couldn't have said it better myself.

What to expect:
1) This beer has a richer flavour than what you may be used to.
2) This beer has cloudiness due to little filtration.
3) This beer may seem flat compared to modern beer, as 1860s method uses less carbonation.

November 3, 2011

I have learned that this is International Stout Day and was invited to "celebrate the malty goodness that is stout".  To mark the occasion I consumed a second bottle of Ghosttown and I am still not certain that I get it but I am resolved to buy a bottle of absinthe before my birthday and see how it goes.

Details can be found at http://www.stoutday.com/. 

A search for International Porter Day came up empty.  Shame, that.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

November 2, 2011

355)  Home:  Porter Baltique by Les Trois Mousquetaires of Quebec:  **1/2;  a very warming 10% octane;  the nose is roasty with coffee scents;  flavours of coffee with a tart cherry finish;  very nice, indeed;

November 1, 2011

353)  Home:  Hobgoblin by Wychwood Brewery of England:  **;  the nose is sweet, malty and fruity, just a hint of berries;  the fruity flavours are muted with a dry bitter finish;  From the label:  "Traditionally crafted legendary ruby beer"

354)  Home:  King Goblin by Wychwood Brewery of England:  **;  this is the smoother of the two;  less malty with more berry notes and sweetness;  just a hint of alcohol (6.6%);  "Special reserve";  the label informs that this is only brewed under a full moon;

Another face-off, for All Saints' Day.  Of the two I prefer King Goblin, by the smallest of margins.

October 31, 2011

352)  Home:  Wychcraft Blonde Beer by Wychwood Brewery of England:  *1/2;  yeasty, malty nose with just a touch of hoppy bitterness;  malty flavours with a dry English hop finish;  brewed with three hops and tree malts;