Wednesday, 26 December 2012

December 16, 2012

237/637)  Home:  Historic Beers of Canada:  1820-1829 Dray Horse Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:   **;  brewed with 100% Ontario grown ingredients;  in the era of canal building  Dray Horses pulled the barges through the canals;  very dark brown, very little carbonation;  I am reminded of the stout I helped make at Black Creek Pioner Village;  sweet mocha nose;  rich, almost creamy mocha with touch brown sugar flavours;  this is the second in a series, Rifleman's Ration being the first - I eagerly await the next installments;

238/638)  Home:  Winter Treacle Porter by Innis and Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2; brewed with molasses, oak aged, matured 39 days;  rich, fruity vanilla nose;  warming taste of dried fruit, caramel, hint of chocolate;  another winner from Innis and Gunn; 

This is part of the 2012 Connoisseur's Oak Collection (another glass to add to the collection) and it is also available on its own, unlike last year's Winter Ale.  I only wish Innis and Gunn would either put all of their beers in boxes or start using tinted glassThe beer is a beautiful colour, and I can understand why they would want to show it off, but I worry about the damage from light.

December 14, 2012

236/636)  Orwell's, Etobicoke:  Rickard's Oakhouse by Molson Coors of Ontario:  **;  warmly spiced with brown sugary notes;  another solid seasonal from the Rickard's line;  I am starting to worry that I might become unfashionable what with all these favourable reviews for beers from the big fellows;  my street cred., I fear, is in jeopardy;

I was invited to Orwell's anniversary party which took place the day before the Grey Cup game.  It was great fun and I won some accessories for a gadget I don't own - a major award!  I guess I am committed to buying an i-phone now.

December 12, 2012

What a great day.

I got the call, as promised, from the Cooper Street LCBO. They would have 120 six packs of Wesvleteren 12 but I had to show up early. It got me thinking. The Weston Road and Highway 401 store is easier for me to get to and it opens an hour earlier - maybe I would have a second chance if this didn't work out so I called and was told they would have fifteen trays or sixty cases but, again, be there before opening.

I rolled in at 7:45 and there were already people waiting. I was 15th in line. It was clear but cold - my poor feet. The lady that got there first had driven by at 3:30AM to check if there was a line and by 6:30 she couldn't stand it any more so she opened a folding chair and waited.

A few spots in front of me was a couple, the wife obviously pregnant even under her bulky coat, with two very young children. They looked reasonable enough, almost yuppyish. At least the kids were severely bundled up.

Despite our hopes, they did not open early. A couple of minutes before 9 the manager on duty stepped out and handed out tickets. We were told where to find the object of our desire and not soon enough the doors opened.

There were a couple of people who didn't seem to know what they were buying. One road worker, in his reflective vest and helmet, was clearly roped into evading the one case limit.

I was offered an extra $10.00 in the parking lot for my case but that didn't represent a good hourly rate for my time. Besides, I can't think of an amount I would have accepted after going through what I did to learn where and when to find it. It sold out in minutes here, at Cooper Street and anywhere else it was available.

At $76.85 it could be one of the more foolish things I have done but, hey, sixty cents was the deposit!


December 10, 2012

235/635)  Home:  Yanjing Beer by Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co. Ltd. of China:  *1/2;   "No. 1 Beer From China";  brewed using natural mineral water;  pale, perfectly clear;  almost soda-like finish;

December 9, 2012

234/634)  Home:  Squire Scotch Ale by Cannery Brewing Company of British Columbia:  *1/2;a  6% Scotch ale;  mildly sweet;  malty but not overly so;

December 7, 2012

232/632)  The 3 Brewers:  Holiday Ale (La Bière des Fêtes) by The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **1/2;  this is The 3 Brewers beer of the month for December;  "a festive Belgian amber brew";   very prominently spiced;  7%;  it tastes like Christmas -  I will return for this several times; 

233/633)  Sin and Redemption:  Houblon Chouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe of Belgium:  **; cloudy with a gingery, hoppy nose;  "Dobbelin IPA tripel";   hoppy in a North American way - a Belgian take on a west Coast IPA;

December 6, 2012

231/631)  Home:  Scarecrow Organic Golden Pale Ale by Wychwood Brewery of England:  *1/2;  from the Beers of Character pack;  a summer ale with English-style hoppiness and a bitter finish; 

December 5, 2012

230/630)  Home:  Pugsley's Signature Series Barley Wine by Shipyard Brewing Co. of Maine, U.S.A.:  **;  brewed with 6 malts and 3 hops (including fuggles);  sweet fruity nose;  rich, slightly fruity with burnt sugar notes and a bittersweet finish;

December 4, 2012

229/629)  Home:  Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **1/2;  brewed with cocoa nibs and vanilla which, not suprisingly, find their way into the nose;  the mouthfeel is a shade thinner than many stouts;  chocolate, vanilla and coffee notes - very nice;

December 1, 2012

228/628)  Home:  Harvest Ale Vintage 2012 by Muskoka Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;   this is the 4th year that Muskoka has offered this ale;  well balanced with a sweet caramel finish - surprising;

November 28, 2012

226/626) Home: Twice As Mad Tom Double IPA by Muskoka Brewery of Ontario: **; an 8.4% variant on Mad Tom which has become the go-to IPA for many; this is super-aggressively hopped - right up there with Ten Bitter Years or Smashbomb; more malt presence than one might anticipate based on the nose;

227/627) Home: Rickard's Dark by Molson Coors of Ontario: *1/2; my thinking was if I could try Keiths I can try Rickards; the tin describes it as a "porter brewed with maple syrup"; pours dark with a creamy head, traces of Quebec maple syrup;  of the two, I preferred the Keith's; 

November 27, 2012

224/624) The Crown and Anchor, Brampton: Alexander Keith's Dark by Alexander Keith/Labatts:  **;  pours very dark; faint notes of coffee and caramel;  I gave it two stars largely because I've a soft spot for dark beers;

225/625) Home: Chatoe Rogue First Growth Pumpkin Patch Ale by Rogue Brewery of Oregon, U.S.A.: **1/2;  brewed with roasted pumpkin, cinnamon, orange peel, cloves and nutmeg; strong pumpkin nose; delicious pumpkin pie flavours; 

November 26, 2012

223/623) Home: Saigon Export by the Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp. of Viet Nam; **;  brewed with "malt" and "rice"; remarkably well balanced; fruity, berry-like notes; this is what 1 million standard Euro-lagers could be;

November 25, 2012

222/622)  The 3 Brewers:  Harvest Ale ( La Belle Récolte) by The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **;  brewed with 100% Ontario hops;  clear, golden colour;  checks in at 5.8%;  bitter earthy hoppiness;  I think I favour this over The IPA from the summer;  I found that one suffers for drinking a second glass while the after-taste of the Harvet Ale is more pleasant;

November 22, 2012

221/621): Home: Weiss O'Lantern by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario: **;    this is number 13 in Beau's Wild Oats Series;  brewed with organic pumpkin puree, orange peel, ginger, cinammon and nutmeg; cloudy, pale orange colour;  it is a spiced wheat beer  though I don't sense as much pumpkin as spices; a bit fizzy, sparkling but quite refreshing and bracing;

November 21, 2012

220/620)  Home:  Oktoberfest by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  *1/2;  the label describes this as a marzen, amber lager;  enough maltiness to take the edge off the Euro-hops; 

November 19, 2012

219/619) Home: Doppel Pils by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario: *1/2; a 7% double (Czech) hopped Pilsner; for all that, it is reasonably well balanced; one dimensional Saaz finish and after taste;

Sunday, 2 December 2012

November 10, 2012

218/618)  Home:  Paradise IPA by Mill Street Brewery:  **;  "First brewed on a Friday the 13th at our Ottawa brewpub";  a 7.2% IPA with 5 malts and Cascade hops;  well balanced, hoppy but not to an extreme;  part of Mill Street's Celebration Sampler pack;

November 9, 2012

216/616)  Caffe Volo:  Pumpkin Ale by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a fine balance of malt, spice and pumpkin flavours;

214/617)  Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  He'Brew Genesis by Shmaltz Brewing Company of New York, U.S.A.:  **;  a 4.7% "dry Hopped Session Ale";  strongly hopped but with a sweet edge to it;  I find it interesting how the abv of "session" beers has been creeping higher in recent months;

November 8, 2012

215/615:  Home:  Royal Extra Stout by Carib Brewery of Trinidad:  **1/2;  dry coffee nose;  Carribean stouts can be cloyingly sweet rendering best suited for cooking (they make for a great chili) but this is so dark and and not overly sweet with caramel, chocolate and coffee notes;  I really was not expecting to like this one so much;

Today is International Stout Day.  I still don't know who decides such things.  I also tested Mill Street's Cobblestone Stout, now available in tins.  I don't get the same depth of flavour that the draught version has but it sure is a nice try.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

November 3, 2012

Here's one to challenge that Beef Jerky nightmare from Black Oak:  the 8th Annual Cask Days festival featured an offering from F & M flavoured with smoked meat and Brussels sprouts. 

Words fail me. 

Ticket prices were awfully high ($41.81) so I passed.

November 1, 2012

214/614)  Orwells, Etobicoke:  Rickard's Cardigan by Molson Coors of Ontario:  **;  spicy nose;  tastes of pumpkin spices:  nutmeg, ginger, cinammon, allspice;  pumpkin - not so much;  a fine beer for the Fall and from one of the biggies at that;  posters at one forum seemed to be writing their reviews in advance when news of this came out but, unfashionable though it may be, I have to give Molson Coors credit for a good beer and I hope it might serve as a gateway beer to the full-on craft beer experience for some;

It was quite a job to find this one.  I have passed two billboards extolling the virtues of this beer in my hometown but I was not able to find it at any pub, nor do my local Beer Stores and LCBOs carry it.

I used to visit Orwells regularly when I worked across the street, over a decade ago.  At least a couple of servers from those days are still there which can only be a good sign.  It's not fancy, just a casual, comfortable, friendly place and when I'm in the area I make an effort to visit, if only for one pint.

October 31, 2012

212/612)  beerbistro:  OREgasmic Ale by Rogue Brewery of Oregon, U.S.A.:  **;  a 7.5% west coast style IPA brewed with ingredients farmed by Rogue themselves;  floral hoppy nose;  hoppy and bitter with a lingering dry finish;

213/613)  beerbistro:  Jenlain Biere de Garde Ambree by Brasserie Duyck of France:  **;   as above, a  7.5% abv bottled selection;  sweet toffee, caramel notes;

One last chance to experience Octoberfest menus.  The 3 Brewers' La Munich is back which I enjoyed accompanied by a burger wih sauerkraut, slices of pepper sausage and sliced radishes.

October 28, 2012

211/611)  Home:  #9 by Magic Hat Brewing of Vermont, U.S.A.:  **;    not to be confused with Duggan's #9;  the label describes this as a "not quite pale ale" and "a performance in every glass";  clear,  pale brown, almost amber with a soft finely bubbled, persistent head;  I think the packaging is appropriate as it's just slightly off-beat;  brewed with apricots;  there is a hint of the fruit, sweet malt and I swear I could taste notes of apple; 

October 27, 2012

210/610)  Home:  La Trappe Isid'or Trappist by Bierbrouwerij Koningshoeven B.V. of the Netherlands:  *1/2;  the nose is typical of the brewery:  sweet, yeasty;  starts out slightly bitter yielding to sweetness and a fruity finish;  it suffers in comparison to other offerings by this brewer;

October 26, 2012

209/609)  Molé Stout by Half Pints Brewery of Manitoba: *1/2;  on cask and near the bottom, at that - there was a bit of "chewiness";  very dark with almost no head and a powdery surface;  peppery with notes of chocolate, possibly cinnamon;  I am reminded of the Mexican hot chocolate I have had at Toronto's Distillery district and elsewhere;  lingering hot pepper notes, chipotle, I think;  a (Mexican) meal in a glass;

The chalkboard read "Mole Stout" but I am pretty certain the accent belongs over the "e".  It's an unusual one for certain.  I hope to be able to revisit this one in the future.  I have a feeling I could come to like it.

October 22, 2012

208/608)  Home:  Post Road Pumpkin Ale by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  **;  brewed with pumpkin and spices, although the label would have you believe it is Reinheitsgebot;  another solid pumpkin ale;  perhaps a shade tilted towards spice vs. pumpkin, though not so much as St. Abroise;

Post Road, accompanied by a few friends reminding us what a great time of year this is:

October 21, 2012

207/607)  Home:  Allgäuer Hüttenbier by Der Hirschbräu of Germany:  *1/2;  matly nose;  clear golden;  nicely balanced, full bodied;

Part of the Greetings From Bavaria nixed package:

The glass is from an earlier gift pack from the same brewer.

October 20, 2012

206/606)  Home:  Yellow Snow Ale by Rogue Brewery of Oregon, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  pale, golden, cloudy;  hoppiness to the nose and the palate;  soft, foamy head;  persistent bitter after-taste; 

October 19, 2012

A few more examples of what makes October such a fine month: 

October 18, 2012

204/604)  Home:  Oktoberfest Smoked Bavarian Lager by Amsterdam of Ontario:  *;  purchased at the soon to be relocated brewery;  pours dark;  a fine, malty lager adultered with smoke; 

205/605)  Home:  Hofbräuhaus Oktoberfestbier by Staatliches Hofbräuhaus of Germany:  *; clear, golden;  one-dimensional Euro-hop bitterness;

October 15, 2012

Some reasons to love October: 

October 14, 2012

203/603)  Home:  Blackberry Porter by Cannery Brewing Company of British Columbia:  *1/2;   brewed with natural blackberry flavour;  mild blackberry to the nose;  it's a coffee/mocha porter with a strong kick of blackberry and a fruity finish;

October 13, 2012

202/602)  Sin and Redemption:  Witbier by St. Bernardus pf Belgium:  *1/2;  this bottle checks in at 5.5%;   developed with Peter Celis of Hoegaarden and Celis White fame;  bottle fermented;  flavoured with coriander and orange;  nose is yeast,  coriander and orange;  pours cloudy with mild flavours;  not as sweet as wits can be;

I actually heard this exchange, honestly:

Patron:  "Hacker?" 
Server:  "Pschorr!"

I took it as a sign it was time to leave.

October 7, 2012 has published an article listing their choice of Canda's top 24 bewpubs.  I can say that I have been to fully one third of these establishments.  The full article is here:

Agree or disagree, I think it is worth a read.

October 6, 2012

200/600)  The Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Double IPA by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **;  on cask; an 8% double IPA;  very bitter hoppiness to the nose;  very bitter rooty hop flavours;

201/601)  Don de Dieu by Unibroue of Quebec:  **;  this bottle weights in at 9%;  sparkling apple cider nose;  sparkling wine notes; 

Don de Dieu was the name of Samuel de Champlain's ship.

October 4, 2012

199/599)  Home:  Schnieder Weisse by G. Schnieder and Sohn of Germany:  *1/2;  from Bavaria's oldest brewery wheat brewery, an unfilterd wheat beer brewed according to Reinheitsgebot;  very faint (i.e. tolerable) touch of smoke and sparkling wine to nose;  faintly cidery taste and mouthfeel;

October 2, 2012

Interesting profile in last month's Citybites magazine on one of Toronto's newest joints, Bar Hop.  I mightn't have agreed with the claim, "Toronto needed a good beer parlour" but the fact is, it's getting harder to squeeze into the places we have. 

I came home on the bus from Union station recently, bemoaning the fact that I couldn't get tipsy in Toronto (which ought to be a movie title or the name of someone's biography or the like), although my wife did point out that if I would settle for Molson Canadian I might not have had such a frustrating time. 

Things started badly.  The 3 Brewers had neither their seasonal, nor their monthy brew and they were out of their bottled selections, Tripel and La Belle Province.  While  I did enjoy a pint of the brown ale I left in search of something new and although it was raining steadily, people were lined up outside any place I wanted to visit and all along the row of bars on the Esplande, which takes in a few I don't want to try.

I wish I could review Bar Hop on King Street West, but the sad fact is they were too busy for me to want to wait to be served.  However, getting back to that Citybites article, it is reported that co-owner James MacDonald successfully aimed to drink 1001 beers in one year.  Quite an achievement - I bow to James MacDonald.

That calculates to about 2.75 beers per day and where I can sympathise is the number of times he must have felt the need to pass up an old favourite in order to add to the total.

October 1, 2012

The World Beer Awards were handed out a few days ago.  Quebec beers performed very well as per the Canadian Beer News

The full list of awards can be found here:

Thursday, 8 November 2012

September 30, 2012

198/598)  Home:  County IPA, blended with Royal George Brown Ale by Barley Days of Ontario:  **;  some hop to the nose but mostly sweet maltiness;  tastes like an ideal English brown ale with a mild hop kick to it;  hoppy finish;  I can't wait to see Royal George at the LCBO;  this blend is oaked which adds another dimension of richness and smoothness;

I purchased this at the brewery in August.  As mentioned earlier, they were anticipating that Royal George would be at the LCBO any minute now.  Still no sign of it. 

September 26, 2012

196/596)  Home:  Pugsley's Signature Series:  XXXX IPA by Shipyard Brewing Company of Maine, U.S.A.:  **;  from the label:  "Extra Strength" ( 9.3%;)  "draws its name from the British brewing convention of using X's to denote style";  the name recalls Castlemain XXXX of Australia (not nearly so bold, save for the ad. campaign);  brewed with 4 varieties of hops;  grapefruit, rooty, earthy nose;  these and the taste are overpowered by the bitter force of the alcohol, thought I did detect grapefruit and floral notes;

197/597)  Home:  West Coast IPA by Green Flash of California, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  piney grapefruit nose;  pours amber;  astringent, earthy bitter hoppiness; the label indicates that this is "extravagantly hopped";  it is not the nightmare of spoilage and floating particles that others have  described but there are rumoured to hvae been two distinct batches released into LCBO stores;

September 23, 2012

About those Golden Tap Awards, the winners' list can be found here:

A great night from the Volo.  In conversation with Ralph earlier he seemed content with the knowledge that they had had their time in the sun and now it was someone else's turn to be recognised.  He must have been pleased with how things turned out.

September 23, 2012

195/595)  Home:  Rickard's White by Molson Coors of Ontario:  *1/2;  ;  brewed with orange peel and coriander;  faint notes of orange peel and coriander to the nose; said notes are a bit more prominent to the taste;  basically, a poor man's Hoegaarden;  still on a warm day on the patio with fish and chips it might work;

In the interest of full disclosure, this was not my idea.  Believe it or don't I was paid $35 to drink six bottles (in one sitting!) and report back on it.  The things I do for science.  I was allowed no more than one hour between bottles, which took much of the fun out of it.  They gathered us all back together for the purpose of entering our pen and paper questionaires into their computers.  I looked around me and wondered what it would have been like to stick around as a bunch for five hours and enter things directly into the terminals while we drank for cash.  I have a feeling it would have been something very special to write about.  At least until the riot squad arrived.

September 22, 2012

193/593)  beerbistro:  Witchshark Imperial IPA by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **;  strong earthy hop nose and flavours;

194/594)  Beerbistro:  Double Barrel Ale by Firestone Walker of California, U.S.A.:  **;  deep rich red/brown;  brown sugary nose;  notes of burnt sugar, dried fruit;  rooty, herbal finish;

I was in town on my way to a concert at Metropolitan United Church (Monteverdi's Vespers) and I happened to walk into the pre-party for the 2012 Golden Tap Awards.  I couldn't stick around, as you might imagine.

September 21, 2012

192/592)  C'est What:  Fresh Hops by County Durham of Ontario:  *1/2;  on cask;  clear straw colour;  faint nose;  sweet floral notes;   

When I commented on the contrast between the name and the mildness of what was in front of me, the barmaid said thta it was their first crack at this and tbey would up the hops with the next batch.  I wonder, though, aren't these the same people who brew Hop Addict?

Speaking of fresh hops, look what I got from my back yard!

September 19, 2012

191/591)  Home:  Pugsley's Signature Series:  Imperial Porter by Shipyard Brewing Co. of Maine, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  a 7.1% strong porter;  sweet mocha nose;  bitter expresso, date, chocolate notes;  opens bitter, caramel notes follow and finishes bitter;

September 18, 2012

189/589)  Home:  Bellhaven's Best by Belhaven Brewery of Scotland:  *;  the tin promises "Scotland's Number One Pub Ale Brand";  draught style, complete with widget;  sweet honeyed nose;  sugary notes;  nothing special;

190/590)  Home:  25th Anniversary Belgian Saison by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 6.5% strong beer brewed with wheat, coriander, pepper, grains of paradise;  nose is yeasty, malty;  peppery notes, especially in the finish; 

September 17, 2012

188/588)  Home:  The Saints' Whisky Beer by St. Peter's Brewery of England:  *;  brewed with whisky from St. George's Distillery;  very peaty, smoky nose;  opens malty with a smoky finish and after taste;

I also re-visited Snashed Pumpkin today.  I still find all that nutmeg to be a bit much.

September 15, 2012

Today was Seasonals Night at C'est What's 24 annual Festival of Craft Breweries.  Beer tickets were a dollar each and three ounce samples were available for one or two tickets, depending.  I found I was quite successful at choosing brews that cost two tickets.  My reget at passing up the painter's palette on Isle D'Orleans has prompted me to slightly alter my criteria.  Three ounces is pretty close to a half pint (especially when you experience a "friendly" pourer) and as I learned today, three ounces is more than enough to form an opinion.

181/581)  C'est What:  Moroccan Brown Ale by Spearhead Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  this was the biggest hit for me and my wife, which in itself is noteworthy - we tend to look for differenet things in a beer;  brewed with dates, figs, raisins and cinnamon;  brown sugar notes, more spice to the nose than palate but a great beer;

182/582)  C'est What:  Milk Chocolate Stout by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario: **;  milk chocolate nose and flavours;  oddly bitter finish;  like a hershey bar with a bite of alcohol;

183/583)  C'est What:  Pumpkin Ale by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **;  another great pumpkin ale - I love Autumn!;  mellow - again this is a case of more spice to the nose than the palate;

184/584)  C'est What:  Lady MacBeth Scotch Ale by Granite Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  opens sweet followed by mild notes of chocolate;

185/585)  C'est What:  Grains of Wrath by Church Key of Ontario:  **;  earthy, spicy hoppiness;  bitter after-taste;

186/586)  C'est What:  Beef Jerky Brown Ale by Black Oak of Ontario:  1/2;  I was hoping the beef jerky bit was a reference to the colour;  salty nose;  meaty notes;  tastes like fermented olive brine;  it's hard to imagine how anyone could achieve so much trauma with a mere three ounces;

187/587)  C'est What:  A Train IPA by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  I couldn't finish the night with that last one;  this beer has a piney, hoppy nose with floral, pleasantly bitter notes;

They were handing out sheets to record impressions and I was envious of their rating system.  It went from zero to ten where zero means, "I'd rather drink out of the Don River", one to two is "Might be okay if stuck on a desert island", three to four, "Okay, fair, middling, alright", five to six,, "A decent effort", seven and eight, "Good stuff.  Where can I buy some?" and finally nine to ten signify, "Liquid Heaven.  Please take my car keys!".

The final results of the scoring can be found at this link:

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

September 14, 2012

179/579)  The 3 Brewers:  Red Cream Ale brewed at The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  *1/2;  malty nose with a touch of yeast;  mild is the key word - it opens faintly sweet with a mildly bitter finish;  I sensed mineral notes - like Sleeman's Cream Ale;  they are going for an English style by the way it is marketed though I had the idea cream ales were a North Amercan creation;

180/580)  The 3 Brewers:  Eat My Schwartz brewed at The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **;  a German style black lager with malty coffee notes;  brewed specially for Toronto Beer Week;

This year's Toronto Beer Week has been very well attended, though I find the website to be less helpful this year than last.

September 12, 2012

177/577)  Home:  Super Bock by Unicer-Uniao Cerevejeira of Portugal:  *; the label boasts, "Sabor Autenico", "since 1927" and  "28 consecutive golds";  it's not a Bock at all rather a very pale straw/golden coloured sweet malty Euro-lager;  my sample might have experienced some heat along the way - it's in a brown bottle but there were signs of skunkiness;

178/578)  Home:  Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier by Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan of Germany:  *;   a 5.4% wheat beer brewed at "The World's Oldest Brewery";  pours cloudy;  nose is smoke and yeast;  smoky finish;  smoked beers do not work for me and as a result they will tend to get low scores;

September 10, 2012

176/576)  Home:  India Pale Ale by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  "Strong beer" 6.5%;   piney floral nose;  floral taste with a bitter hop finish;  unfashionable though it might be to say this is one of the better West coast IPAs going;

This was purchased at Beer Academy, in the building that formerly housed Growlers and later Duggan's Brewery.  Their website would benefit from more frequent updating, in terms of what's available.  This is a craft brewery, tasting bar, retail store and museum under a single roof.  It starts with a couple of points against, in the minds of some, because it is owned by the Big Guys but I felt I was rewarded by approaching it with an open mind.

The label indicates which glass to use which is nice to know.  It may seem a bit silly but not so long ago I was at a tasting hosted by Stratus, who make Tollgate on the one end and Wildass on the other, and part of the presentation employed a row of different glasses, each containing the same wine.  We were invited to sniff each differently shaped glass and I wouldn't have believed the difference it made had I not tried the experiment myself.

September 7, 2012

176/576)  Home:   Nasty Habit IPA by Mount Begbie Bewing Co. of British Columbia:  **1/2;  earthy grapefruit nose;  strongly hopped but not crazily so;

September 5, 2012

173/573)  Home:  Benedict Arnold by Frampton Brasse of Quebec:  **; pours quite foamy;  opens with floral notes;  the finish is pleasantly bitter;  a 6% IPA;

174/5740  Home:  Titanic by Les Brasseurs RJ of Quebec:  **;  "Strong beer on yeas";  pours deep brown with a malty, yeasty nose and biscuity yeasty flavours;

These were the last of the bottles I brought back from Quebec.

September 3, 2012

172/571)  Home:  Coup de Canon by Le Bilboquet of Quebec: **1/2;  "Biére noir au café";  dark as night with a thick fluffy head;  the nose is bitter coffee grounds;  I am reminded of Peche Mortel;  dark rich bitter coffee notes;  quite remarkable;

September 2, 2012

170/570)  Sarah's Café & Bar:  Petrus Oud Bruin by Brouwerij Bavik of Belgium:  *;  matured for twenty months in oak;  pours dark brown;  the  nose is sweet apple and stewed fruit;  notes of sparkling cider;  this was a bottled choice;

171/571)  The 3 Brewers:  Amber brewed at The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  *1/2; malty;  yeastier than the brown, which is my usual go-to at The 3 Brewers;

Sarah's has a terrific selection of beers on draught, and an outstanding collection of bottled beers from Belgium.  I'm not really the brunch type but my daughter is and she always likes Sarah's crepe of the day from the chalkboard.

September 1, 2012

167/567)  C'est What:  St. Ambroise Pale Ale by McAuslan of Quebec:  **;  nicely balanced;  hoppier than the English style but otherwise pretty close;  closes with a bitter finish and after taste;

168/568)  C'est What:  Hopper Car by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **; on cask;  the taste is floral hoppiness;  there is a sweetness and soft mouth feel to this effort;

169/569)  beerbistro:  Union Jack IPA by Firestone Walker of California, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  this was from their bottled selection;  it is a British styleIPA using only all Noble hops;  at 7.5%, it is a bit strong;  hoppy with notes of raisins, dates, currents;  not exactly what I was expecting from an IPA from the west coast - a very pleasant surprise, indeed; 

August 31, 2012

165/565)  Caffe Volo:  Calm Before The Storm Mild by Amsterdam of Ontario:  **; this was one half of a side by side tasting with Tempest Imperial Stout (reviewed some time ago);  they use the same wort but different hops and different yeast;  the Tempest was bottled, the Calm was on tap;  both were very dark;  Calm had mellow, soft mocha notes, mildly tart finish while the Tempest had more assertive expresso and wine notes;  a fun experiment - this sort of thing is why I have said in the past that the Volo is a lot like beer festival on a very small scale;

166/566)  Caffe Volo:  Schieve Tabarnak by Le Trou Du Diable of Quebec:  *1/2;   a Belgian style pale ale, brewed with rye;  sweet yeasty;  mildy hoppy nose;  golden;  hops assert themselves at the finish;  the name derives from an ancient tale of a crooked architect in Brussells whose legacy was to render the word architect an insult (schieven architekt);  you have to do your reading to properly enjoy a beer these days;

August 29, 2012

164/561)  Home:  MacKroken Flower by Le Bilboquet of Quebec:  **1/2;  a strong (10.8%) Scotch ale brewed with wild flower honey;  the nose reminds me of port;  boozy fruit cake notes; dark, rich and flavourful;

This was also purchased at the cheese shop mentioned earlier.  A Bilboquet is a child's toy or game.  This link explains it better than I could.  I am familiar with it, I just didn't know its name, or if it even had one.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

August 28, 2012

Great news!  Dead Elephant Ale, one of my favourite IPAs, is available in growlers at Railway City's soon-to-be-expanded brewery in St. Thomas.  I find that there is more hoppy bitterness from the growler than the sorely missed bottle and new can.  It might be a function of freshness.

August 27, 2012

163/563)  Coup de Grisou by Les Brasseurs RJ of Quebec:  **;  another cheese shop purchase;  brewed with buckwheat and coriander;  bottle re-fermented;  bold, yeasty nose in the Belgian style;  very smooth - yeasty and spicy;

Coup de Grisou translates as gas explosion.

August 26, 2012

161/561)  Home:  Trappistes Rochforte 8 by Abbay St-Remy of Belgium:  **1/2;  rich, mahogany colour;  yeasty, fruity nose, touch of alcohol;  rich, malty yeasty flavours;  a top shelf abbey ale;  purchased at SAQ with a bottle of Delirium Tremens for about $8 in total;

162/562)  Home:  Boréale Noir by Les Brasseurs du Nord of Quebec: ** ;   purchased in Quebec City, first street parallel to main drag in what looked like a variety store, except it only carried beer, some 400 plus brands, almost eclusively from Quebec;  very dark "natural stout";   roasty, malty nose;  coffee-like notes;  more in the oatmeal style as opposed to the Irish style;

In addition, here is the can I saved from the local brew at Levis, and, beneath, an all-time favourite:

August 24, 2012

158/558)  Clocktower Brewpub, Byward Market, Ottawa:  Bytown Brown brewed at the Clocktower Brewpub, Ontario:  **1/2;  a rich, dark ale with mocha notes;

159/559)  Clocktower Brewpub, Byward Market, Ottawa:  August Pale Ale (APA) brewed at the Clocktower Brewpub, Ontario:  **;  citrusy (grapefruit, orange) floral nose;  quite strongly hopped;

160/560)  The Rochester, Ottawa:  Uncle Mark's Hopfenweisse by Kichesippi Beer Company of Ontario:  a hoppy wheat beer;

The Clocktower is another great place, with several Ottawa locations.

The Rochester is an ultra-casual local.  The bartender doubled as chef so only poutine and wings were available when we were there.  In addition, he wasn't shy about his opinions.  He didn't care much for St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, likening it to diesel fuel.  He managed to look after diners and drinkers alike and he was a very nice young fellow to boot.

August 23, 2012

157/557)  Pub Italia, Ottawa:  Heller High Water by Kichesippi Beer Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  pale, malty, biscuity with a touch of citrus;

As I have said before, when in Ottawa a visit to Pub Italia is a necessity.

August 22, 2012

154/554)  Brasserie Berthilda Vandoren, St-Pierre-de-L'Isle-D'Orleans, Quebec:  Boswell by Brasserie Berthilda of Quebec:  **1/2;  strong (7%) brown abbey ale with a winey nose;  tart with notes of raisin, white wine;  I wish I had tried more of their offerings;

155/555)  Pub Le Matin, Sainte-Famille, Isle D'Orleans, Quebec:  (Joseph) Bellarmin by Microbrasserie de L'Ile D'Orleans:  **;  an 8.5% double IPA;  nose is earthy hop notes against a background of sweet maltiness;  biscuity with dry bitter hop notes;  this was served in a bottle;

156/556) Les Fromages De L'Ile D'Orleans, Quebec:  Biere d'Épinette by Les Fromages de L'Ile D'Orleans:  *1/2;  alcohol free, brewed from spruce as was, possibly, the first beer brewed in New France;  smells like Vicks;  candy like sweetness;  you want pine notes? -  the finish here is pine needles with a vengeance;

It is absurdly easy to over-look Isle D'Orleans but it is a must visit for cheese, chocolate, cassis, beer and wine.  One lingering effect of this trip is that I can no longer tolerate ordinary cheddar cheese.  What's more, the scenery is tough to beat.

This is the Palette du Peintre at Brasserie Berthilda Vandoren, which I would have ordered had I been thinking properly:

August 21, 2012

150/550)  D'Orsay, Quebec City:  Boréale India Pale Ale by Les Brasseurs du Nord, Quebec:  **;  earthy hop nose;  tastes of earthy hop bitterness;

151/551)  La Barberie, Quebec City:  Stout Au Café brewed at La Barberie, Quebec:  **;  dark as night with a rich creamy, persistent head;  dry mocha notes;

152/552)  L'Entrecote Saint-Jean, Quebec City:  Cheval Blanc by Brasseurs RJ of Quebec:  **; cloudy straw colour;  yeasty in a Belgian manner;  a touch citrusy;

153/553)  Back at the room, Quality Inn & Suites, Levis:  Loyalist Lager by Barley Days Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2; bitter, malty nose;  a well balanced lager ;

La Barberie is a terrific brew-pub with the day's offering on a chalkboard just like in my dreams. 

The steak is terrific at L'Entrecote.  We first went in 1986, I think it was, and we always return.

We picked up the Loyalist in at the brewery in Picton.  I was really hoping to find Royal George but they didn't have it, at least not exactly.  I picked up a blend which will be described later.  They also said that they expected to have it at the LCBO "any day now" and had been for some time.

For a summary of the flight of the Royal George, check this link:

August 20, 2012

148/548)  Côtes A Côtes, Quebec City:  Griffon Rousse by McAuslan of Quebec:  sweet malty nose;  a scotch ale with caramel notes;

149/549)  Our room at the Quality Inn & Suites, Levis: Galère by Corsaire Microbrasserie of Quebec:  *1/2;   brewed in Levis;  sweet malty nose;  pale golden colour with hoppy bite (Euro-hop);

The Galère was purchased by the can at the front desk.  Levis is across the river, only a brief ferry ride from Quebec City.  This really is the way to go if you are travelling by automobile as Quebec City, particularly the old part which is where you want to be, is decidedly car-unfriendly.

I'm not sure you can get anything less than a stellar meal in the old part of Quebec City.

August 19, 2012

147/547)  Our (very posh) room at Square Phillips, Montreal:  Boréale Blanche by Les Brasseurs du Nord of Quebec:  **;  a 4.2% wheat beer;  cloudy straw colour;  sweet oaty nose with hints of citrus and ginger; 

This, along with a couple of others was purchased at a cheese shop at a farmers' market we ducked into when we couldn’t reach our hotel owing to a parade of some description.  It was a great start to our regrettably brief visit to Montreal. 

August 18, 2012

142/543)  The Inn, Lake On The Mountain:  IPA by Lake On The Mountain of Ontario: **;  brewed on site;  bitter hop nose;  hoppy bitterness to the palate;

144/544)  The Inn, Lake On The Mountain:  Cream Ale by Lake On The Mountain, Ontario:  *1/2; smooth and malty;

145/545)  Kingston Brewing Company, Kingston:  Aardvark Dark Ale by the Kingston Brewing Company of Ontario:  **; nose is wine, raisins;  winey edge is more faint to the taste;  coffee notes;

146/546)  Kingston Brewing Company:  Dragon Real Ale by the Kingston Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  as opposed to their Dragoon Pale Ale, also brewed and available on site;  dark brown with wine notes which suggests similar derviation to above;  also a winey edge to the taste of this one;

Lake On The Mountain is near Picton.  Said lake appears to have no reason to exist - no rivers empty into it - and at one time local legend had it that it was bottomless.  More recently it was determined that underground streams empty into it.  The Inn is in a wonderful setting with great surroundings, great food and great beer - highly recommended

Kingston Brewing Company is a must visit when in Kingston (a must visit on its own).  It's very casual with a beautiful, private patio and, as above, great beer brewed on site.

August 13, 2012

142/542)  Home:  Estrella Damm by CC Damm (Barcelona) of Spain:  *1/2;  very pale, clear straw colour;  grainy nose;  not bad for an Euro-lager;  grainy with a fruity (berry) finish and after-taste;

August 10, 2012

141/541)  Home:  Baltika 7 by Baltika Breweries of Russia:  *;  clear, straw coloured, grainy nose:  standard blond Euro-lager;

August 9, 2012

140/540)  Home:  Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale by Rogue Brewery of Oregon:  *;  a collaboration with a chain of doughnut shoops, believe it or don't;  nose is sweet doughnutty maple;  very smoky finish;  opens with sweet maple yielding to smokiness;  I am glad to have tried it - it's  not the nightmare many have declared it to be but at the same time, I'm not likely to re-purchase (assuming that is even possible);  It took some work to find this one - I'm pretty sure I got the last bottle in Toronto;

Monday, 5 November 2012

August 8, 2012

139/539)  Barley Works at Huether's Hotel, Waterloo:  Raspberry Lager by Lion Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  yeasty, malty nose;  raspberry doesn't kick in until the finish andafter-taste;  cloudy appearance;

The Barley Works is upstairs from the Lion Brewery restaurant.  It is perhaps a bit sportier but appearance-wise there's not a lot to choose from.  I think I prefer the Lion Brewery room.  It seems cozier and I prefer their food menu.  The beer list is identical, as you might guess.

August 7, 2012

138/538)  My parents' cottage, Port Franks:  Waterloo Dark by Brick Brewery (or Waterloo) of Ontario:  **;  a dark lager;  creamy head;  notes of roasted malt and sweet caramel/mocha;  odd that I haven't listed this one before - Tracks would pour this in place of Old Mill when it was out of stock; 

August 5, 2012

136/536)  Jack Astor's, Brampton:  Lawn Chair Weiss by Hop City of Ontario:  *1/2;    pale, cloudy with notes of sweet coriander;

August 4, 2012

134/534)  Home:  Okocim Mocne by Okocim Brewers of Poland:  *1/2;  "Traditional Polish taste"  7%;  pours clear amber;  sweet bready, malty nose;  pleasant tasting - my favourite Polish lager so far;  nicley balanced;  hint caramel, malt;  Mocne translates as 'strong';  the Polish lady sitting near me advises that it is prounounced o-co-chim;

135/535)  Home:  La Chouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe (gesundheit) of Belgium:  **;    another candidate for sharing:  750ml, 8.5%;  a blond beer;  sweet Belgian yeastiness with peppery notes;

August 3, 2012

133/533)  Home:  Karlovačko by Karlovačko Pivovara of Croatia:  *;  straw colour with a grainy nose;  mildly sweet maltiness with an off-putting after taste;

August 2, 2012

I am accumulating a number of editions of Fuller's Vintage Ale, going back as far as 2005.  Opinions vary in how long these should be allowed to age before enjoying, and I suppose I should be buying two or more bottles so I can drink one right away before allowing the others to sit.

I decided to go directly to the source and I was rewarded with this delightfully imprecise reply from one of Fuller's brewing managers: 

"Thank you for your e mail and we are pleased to hear that you have a bottle of our 2005 Vintage which you are looking forward to trying. As to when is best to enjoy this beer is to some extent down to personal preference. As all of our Vintages age they take on and emphasis different facets of their complex flavour. The older Vintages acquire deeper almost sherry like notes they also become a deeper colour. The 2005 when I last tried it had certainly developed these and had almost dark cherry chocolate finish.

"Last October we held a vertical tasting here at the brewery inviting a number of beer writers and experts to comment on the 15 years of Vintage to date some of their comments can be found on their web and blog sites.

"My own personal preference is for the slightly younger Vintages and I am particulary enjoying the 2010 and the 2011 but a number of my colleagues and those at the tasting above prefer the more complex older ones. My slightly tongue in cheek advice is to try your 2005 now at a suitable occasion if you feel that you would prefer a little older I believe that we still have some 2005 available from our shop then you should be able to acquire another." 
Of course it wouldn't be fair to expect marching orders but on the other hand, I'm still not sure what to do.  I hear tell I could flog that 2005, not to mention my 2007, for a pretty penny.

August 1, 2012

131/531)  Home:  Zywiec by Zywiec Brewery of Poland:  *1/2;  only ever brewed at Archduke's brewery in Zywiec;  golden lager malty with Euro-hop notes;  my Polish cube-mate tells me it is pronounced "je-viets" or similar;

132/532)  Home:  Robson Street Hefeweizen by Granville Island Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  an unfiltered wheat ale;  lemony, malty nose;  pleasantly lemony finish, with just a hint of smoke;  a great fish & chips beer;

July 29, 2012

129/529)  The Granite Brewery and Restaurant:  Galactic Pale Ale brewed at the Granite Brewery, Toronto:  **;  mild floral, piney nose;  mellow earthy with a nutty, bitter after taste;

130/530)  The Granite:  Best Bitter Special brewed at the Granite:  **1/2;  very much in the English style;  mild session beer with notes of chocolate;  this is a dry-hopped verion of the Best Bitter;

This was a Cask Social event - both offerings were on cask.  I had a pleasant time chatting with a gentleman and his wife about a variety of things.  I wish I could recall his name so I could give him credit for the idea that the push-back against hop bombs may be further away than I imagine.  He forecasts that they will be around long enough to become our kids' Dads' beers.

July 28, 2012

128/528)  Home:  Panil Barriquée Sour by Birrificio Torrechiara of Italy:  *1/2; triple fermented 8% abv in a 750ml bottle;  sparkling wine and  cider notes with a tart dry finish; 

Ralph Morana of the Volo has been quoted predicting that sour beers could be the next big thing.  There are a number out there.  I am going to have to try a few more before I decide if they really work for me or not.

July 26, 2012

127/527)  Home:  Tiger by Asia Pacific Breweries of Singapore: *1/2;  very pale straw colour - almost clear;  the tin indicates that this is a"World acclaimed lager beer";  sweet, bready nose;  malty sweetness; 

Asia Pacific Breweries is currently the focus of a take-over battle.

July 23, 2012

126/526)  Home:  Efes Pilsener by Efes Brewery of Turkey:  *1/2;  brewed with barley & rice;  pours golden;  nose reminiscent of central Europen lagers;  nice balance of sweetness and bitterness;

July 22, 2012

125/525)  Home: Mein Nelson Sauvin by Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH of Germany:  **;  a 7.3% bottle-fermented wheat beer brewed in 2011 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ABT Cafés in Holland;  come in a 750ml bottle so we are close to sharing territory here;  yeasty, winey nose; spiced flavours with a fruity finish;

July 21, 2012

I had the opportunity to check out the Rex Hotel on Queen Street in Toronto.  I had been apprehensive about going in because from the outside it looks a bit rough but it is pretty much The go-to place for live jazz in Toronto and an acquaintance (who I learned very recently is a bit of a beer geek himself) has been know to go and he is nowhere close to rough.  I'm a tough guy, compared to him.

On entering, it is easy to imagine that in the day it must have been something.  It is basically a slightly gentrified old school tap-room.  The two entrances are still there, formerly one for "Ladies and Escorts" and the second for the rest of us.  It is pretty clear which area was for which crowd.  What it has retained is the concept of nothing breakable beyond the glassware.  As Nicholas Pashley points out, the idea is that no matter what goes at night on the owner need only hose the place down and they're ready for business the next morning.

There is a nod to craft brewing with a couple of Mill Street selections and one by Amsterdam.  What I especially appreciated was the sheer number of servers.  You're not likely to stay thirsty for long.

I think there is a cover after 9:30 or so for the big act but while I was there enjoying the Worst Pop Band Ever they passed the hat around.  Dig deep - they aren't paid otherwise.

It was fun to see people there with children enjoying live jazz.  I will absolutely return.

July 20, 2012

123/523)  The 3 Brewers:  Raspberry Red brewed at The 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **;  not surprisingly this is a bold red in colour;  nose is malt and raspberry;  a framboise;  fresh raspberry flavours;  not quite as bold as Amsterdam's; there is a touch of sweet fruitiness; The 3 Brewers' current seasonal offering;

124/524)  The 3 Brewers:  Cervesa del Sol brewed at the 3 Brewers, Ontario:  **;  here they use avagado nectar as the source of sugar for the yeast;  served with slice lime which enhances the citrus flavours nicely;  mild citrus nose;  hint of bitterness;  tequiliaish mid-taste;  very unusual; 

July 19, 2012

122/522)  Home:  Black India Pale Ale by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **1/2;  nose is a blend of mild earthy hops and faint current notes;  hop finish;  astringent notes of coffee, dried fruit, raisins;  as black IPAs go, this is the best so far;

July 18, 2012

121/521)  Home:  Brockton IPA by Granville Island Brewing of British Columbia:  **;   it is brewed on the West coast but British in style - there is hoppiness but it is mild;

July 16, 2012

120/520)  Home:  Švyturys Ekstra by Švyturio Alaus Darykla of Lithuania:  **;  malty nose with ever so slight lemony notes;  lemony finish; Euro-hoppy after taste;  this one surprised me - I was ready for a bland Euro-lager;

July 14, 2012

119/519)  Home:  Ginger Beer by Phillips Brewing Company of British Columbia:  *1/2;  more like a dry ginger ale than Crabbie's effort, and here I'm thinking of Canada Dry ginger ale;  I can confrim, as the label says, that it goes very well with sushi;  a refreshing drink for a hot day;

Sunday, 4 November 2012

July 8, 2012

117/517)  Home:  Frelser Tripplebock by Mikkeller of Denmark:  **1/2;    another one for sharing -  a 750ml bottle at 11%;  the nose is dates and figs with a hint of wine;  dry expresso with fruitcake notes;

118/518)  Home:  Negra Modelo by Cerveceria Modelo of Mexico:  *1/2;  malty nose with a hint sparkling wine;  opens with a sweet maltiness;  my wife likes it more than I do;

Mikkeller is a Danish brewery but Frelser Tripplebock is brewed at Brauwerei Lochristi-thijfte in Belgium - East Flanders to be precise.  Mikkeller does not own a brewery, rather they contract out to a number of countries.

July 4, 2012

116/516)  Home:  Iron Duke Strong Ale by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;  sweet, malty nose;  very hearty with a touch of sweet fruit;

July 3, 2012

115/515)  Home:  Tsingtao by Tsingtao Brewing of China:  *1/2;  a standard lager;  tastes a bit grassy; 

A former colleague once explained that the Germans chose Tsingtao as a port on the Chinese coast owing to the presence of a spring nearby.  It was a book about the history of herion, of all things, where I found the most concise summary of the scramble for colonial ports in China, not to mention a great precis on the Opium Wars.

July 1, 2012

114/514)  Home:  Canada Day 2021 by Innis and Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2;  to celebrate Canada Day 2012;  matured 49 days in oak;  7.7%;  sweet, fruity nose;  sweet, malty, oakey; 

Canada is one of Innis and Gunn's larger export markets.  I find it an act of great kindness that they would commemorate Canada Day like this.

June 30, 2012

113/513)  Home:  Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus by Microbrasserie Charlevoix of Quebec:  **;  at 10% and in a 750ml bottle, this is definitely one for sharing;  the label reads, "a canticle to Humulus Lupulus, our hoppy beer diety";  brewed with Amarillo, Simcoe, Saaz hops;  unfiltered appearance;  yeasty in a Belgian way, nose with a touch of  champagne; bitter after-taste;  it does have bitter, somewhat hoppy taste but we are far from the West Coast;

June 28, 2012

112/512)  Home:  Traditional IPA by Waterloo (or Brick) of Ontario:  **; very aptly named;  more in the English tradition than the West Coast variant;  is this the beginning of the hop madness push-back?;  deep amber colour;

June 27, 2012

111/511)  Home:  Kristal Weissbier by Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan of Germany:  *;  the world's oldest brewery;  personal bias:  I find smokey beers most off-putting so it just barely rates the one pint;

June 26, 2012

110/510)  Duke of York:  Hogtown Pale Ale by Hogtown Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  mild hop presence, otherwise unremarkable;

I managed to get a pair of free tickets to see Peter Appleyard, with the Sophisticated Ladies - a great night's entertainment.

June 25, 2012

109/509)  Home:  Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer by John Crabbie and Co. of Scotland:  **;  smells and tastes exactly like slightly sweet ginger ale;  very refreshing;  sort of like I would imagine a pre-made Shandy to taste like;

June 24, 2012

107/507)  Home:  Premium Lager by Gold Crown Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  pours a beautiful clear and golden;  a pleasant enough lager; 

108/508)  Home:  New Morning (Nuova Mattina) by Birrificio del Ducato of Italy:  **;  unpasteurized, unfiltered;  brewed with barley, wheat, rye malts and spices;  natural yeast sediment;  spiced orangey nose;  tastes citrusy, spiced, yeasty;

Gold Crown used to make a variety of beers, Jester's Ale being a favourite, but these days there are only a couple of selections.  They do offer to brew Jester's Ale and the others at the attached brew-your-own.  Both are located next door to Huether's Hotel in Waterloo.

June 22, 2012

104/504)  beerbistro:  Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada of California, U.S.A.: I was most struck by the fruity bitterness which gives way to a smoother, still hoppy, taste;  nose is hoppy in a West Coast sort of way;  5.6%;

105/505)  Corks at Longos, Toronto:  Smashbomb Atomic IPA with Warrior Hops by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  the change of hops adds a lingering bitterness and I am not certain that the beer benefits;  to me, it tastes different enough to give it its own entry;

106/506)  Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  Farmhouse Saison, a collaboration between Great Lakes and Amsterdam, both of Ontario:  *1/2;  was most struck by the up front pepperiness;  saisons are very much in vogue of late;  I am not convinced they work for me but I will give it a couple more tries;

The event at Corks at Longo's was a very hastily organized Cask Social.  I found out quite by accident the afternoon of the session.

June 21, 2012

102/502)  Home:  Hopfen Weisse by G. Schneider & Sohn of Germany:  *1/2; an 8.2% dry-hopped weissebock, the product of a collaboration with Brooklyn Brewery of New York;  it's unfiltered so it pours cloudy;  the nose is a blend of almost Belgian style style sweetness and hops;  tastes like a hoppy wheat beer;  opens with banana and cloves typical of a weiss and the finish has a muted hop edge with faint notes of alcohol;  as hybrids go not so bad;  ferments in the bottle - one wonders how accurate that 8.2% figure can be; 

103/503)  Home:  Pabst Blue Ribbon by Stroh's Canada which may be the same as Sleemans of Ontario:  *1/2;  it's on the list of 1001 beers I "must" try so I wanted to document it;  I tried it before in 1983 on a Bud Run to Buffalo and also in Indianapolis that same summer so maybe there's a bit of sentiment to this - my closest friend at the time used to think this was pretty special;  PBR was selected America's best in 1893;  one can seee why US trendies go for this beer;  it's very unchallenging, very easy drinking;  I think I can smell the corn they used to brew it;

June 20, 2012

101/501)  Home:  Cobra Premium Lager by Cobra Beer Partnership Ltd. of Ireland:  *;  originally from India;  brewed under licence and distributed by Molson Coors;  very decorative bottle - it made me wish the beer was better and for all I know the version available in India may be much better;  the website promises a "curry locator" but it doesn't seem to be active;  pale golden colour;  slightly sweet with grainy, grassy notes;  rather dull;  to my chagrin, the bottle does not photograph well;

June 19, 2012

100/500)  Home:  Rifleman's Ration by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;    in recognition of the beer ration provided the British garrison;  sweet chocolatey nose;  rich sweet notes of chocolate;

The War of 1812 began two hundred years ago yesterday.

June 18, 2012

99/499)  Home:  Michelob Ultra by Labatts of Ontario:  *;  brewed under license - originally from Anheuser Busch;   4% alcohol, 473ml tin, 95 calories per 341ml 'serving';  clear, VERY pale gold - ginger ale has more colour;  almost flavourless;  yes, I would finish this, after a race or for the sake of science like I did today;  there is no ingredient list - one wonders if like Bud they use corn;  this was the one I was given free of charge at the Mississauga Marathon Runners' Expo;  it was worth every penny;

June 14, 2012

98/498)  Home:  Captivator Doppelbock by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  pours deep rich brown with minimal head;  the nose is sweet with notes of hazelnut;  flavours of caramel;  even though it is 8%, the alcohol not particularly present until the finish;

June 8, 2012

95/495)  The 3 Brewers:  The IPA brewed at the 3 Brewers, Ontario:  there is a sweetness to the nose but mostly it's a bitter earthy hops;  very rich, earthy hop forward flavours - from a French brewpub?  Differs from last year's which I reported as floral and citrusy;  6% abv;

96/496)  Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  Red Fife Wheat by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  one of many War of 1812 inspired brews to come;  pours red, slightly sweet, grainy;  a bit non-descipt

97/497)  Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern:  Rye Pale Ale (or RyePA) by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  very earthy floral nose;  very hoppy, earthy, bitter;

At the Burger Bar and Tequila Tavern, a barmaid whose shift had finished served me my second pint while the bar maid on duty was busy on the patio.  I've said it before:  the service here cannot be beat.

June 7, 2012

94/494)  Home:  Hefeweizen by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  a wheat ale;  malty, smoky nose;  no word of a lie, it sort of tastes like ham;  mild citrusy notes develop over time;

June 6, 2012

93/493)  Home:  Raspberry Porter by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  unpasteurized, no preservatives;  this works because raspberry goes so well with the chocolate notes of the porter;  nose is like dessert with coffee;  a great after dinner drink;

June 4, 2012

91/491)  Home:  Hop Head IPA by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **; pours amber with a very soft creamy head;  strong bitter hop nose offset slightly by hint of sweet maltiness;  taste is almost entirely hops;  malty finish with a bitter after taste

92/492)  Home:  Organic Honey Dew by Fuller's of England:  *1/2;  malty nose with a touch of honey;  only 4 ingredients are listed but there are definite honey flavours; mild hop presence with a malty back drop;

June 3, 2012

90/490)  Home:  Smashed Blueberry by Shipyard Brewing of U.S.A.:  **;  label describes this as a porter/Scotch Ale hybrid and as a blueberry flavoured extra strong ale;  blueberry nose with faint chocolate notes;  blueberry flavours compete with chocolate and coffee in this most unusual beer;  it's one to consider for after dinnner;

June 2, 2012

90/490)  Sarah's Café & Bar, Toronto:  Achel Blonde 8° by Brouwerij der Trappistenabdij De Achelse Kluis of Belgium:  **;   re-fermented in bottle;  champagne like mouth feel;  fruity, sugary nose with subtle sweet fruitiness;

June 1, 2012

88/488)  Caffe Volo:  Lake Effect IPA by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario: **;   an American style IPA with a floral, citrusy nose;  hop forward with a lingering bitter after taste;

May 31, 2012

87/487)  Home:  Punk IPA by Brewdog of Scotland:  **1/2;  when I first had this a while back it was bottled;  now it is in a can (at least for export);  checks in at 5.6%;  it's a very hop forward West Coast style IPA;  very floral;

May 30, 2012

86/486)  Home:  Vår Tripel by Nørrebro Bryghus of Denmark:  **;  brewed with barley and wheat malt;  also honey, sugar, lemon zest and lemon grass;  lemon grass is very present in the nose;  sweet with a  hint of spice followed by a bitter finish;

May 27, 2012

85/485)  Home:  Kipling South Pacific Ale by Thornbridge Brewery of England:  **1/2;  unpasteurized, unfiltered; Thornbridge was the first English brewery to use Nelson Sauvin hops;  nose is tropical fruit (pineapple);  pineapple finish with a pleasantly bitter after taste;

May 26, 2012

83/483)  C'est What:  Kilty Bastard by Hogsback Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  not as sweet as a typical Scotch Ale;  here, the sweetness is largely confined to the malty nose;  still, nice to sip mid-way through Doors Open weekend in Toronto;

84/484)  Home:  Gulden Draak by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **1/2;  translates as Golden Dragon;  named for golden statue at top of belfry in Ghent;  striking white bottle;  10.5% - Belgians can do a strong beer, there's no disputing that;  pours dark red;  sugary toffee nose with a hint of alcohol;  complex tastes of burnt sugar, dried fruit, cherries, brandy; 

May 25, 2012

81/481)  Caffe Volo:  The Devil Made Me Dry Hop It by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  basically, it's a souped-up version of Devil's Pale ale;  sweet, floral nose, up front hoppiness against a sweet, malty backdrop;

82/482)  Caffe Volo:  25th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  this one was on cask;  nose is dark coffee and alcohol;  strong expresso notes and up front alcohol;  thinnish mouth feel;  another in what is evidently going to be a series of beers to celebrate 25 years of brewing (and why not?);

May 24, 2012

80/480)  Home:  Piraat by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **;  another strong Belgian offering - this one is 10.5%;  pours amber with a lingering head of fine bubbles;  warming and spicy with a slightly bitter finish and after taste;

May 23, 2012

79/479)  Weihenstephaner Vitus by Bayerische Staatsbrauerie Weihenstephan of Germany:  *1/2;  a Reinheitsgebot compliant weizenbock;  malty, bready nose with lemony notes;  flavours of sweet cloves and lemon;

May 20, 2012

77/477) Home:  Black IPA by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  **; basically a hop forward stout;  hoppy nose and flavours;  hops give an earthiness slightly offset by a creamy backdrop (a distant background at that - the stout is largely overwhelmed);  so far one of the more successful hybrids but why should stouts, porters etc. have to compete with hops in the same glass?

78/478)  Home:  Irish Whiskey Cask by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **1/2;  oak aged beer;  Scottish stout matured in oak barrels which once housed triple distilled Irish whiskey;  nose is vanilla, mocha and alcohol;  a rich chocolatey stout with notes of lightly spiced whiskey and oak;  this is the new product my new beer-buying best friend was describing at Sine & Redemption a few days back;

Saturday, 3 November 2012

May 19, 2012

75/475)  Home:  (Czech Deutsch Scotian) PiLs by Garrison Brewing of Nova Scotia:  *1/2;  brewed with Czech hops, German yeast and "Bluenose spirit";  distinctive Czech hops aromas and flavours;  for all that it is a typical, albeit top shelf, pilsner;  the label proclaims, "Nazdravi!  Prosit!  Sociable!"

76/476)  Home:  Westmalle Trappist Tripel by Brouwerij der Trappist van Wesstmalle of Belgium:  **1/2;    another heavy hitter:  9.5%;  my wife declared it is "almost like wine";  it has a sweet yeasty nose with a touch of champagne;  finishes sweet with a sweet after taste;

May 18, 2012

Yesterday the 2012 Ontario Brewing Awards were announced.  A panel of Beer Judge Certification Program certified judges chose gold and silver in a variety of categories while hoi polloi chose the Peoples' Choice award in each section.

More good news for Labatt who took silver in the North American Light Lager and the North American Lager categories.

The Beer of the Year was Mill Street Coffee Porter.

Full results can be found here:

What might set me apart from other beer geeks is that I have a particle of respect for the big breweries.  They still account for an overwhelming majority of the beer sold in Canada and elsewhere so clearly they are doing something right, even if I don't fully appreciate much of it.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

May 16, 2012

74/474): Home: Skjálfti by Ölvishot Brugghús of Iceland: *1/2; Skjálfti translates as earthquake; brewery is located in Iceland's most geologically active area and in 2000 there was an earthquake at this site measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale; brewed with Icelandic water; malty nose with a hint of bitterness; some see ale elements in this lager as a result; taste is malty, biscuity with a tart finish; not bad as lagers go;

May 15, 2012

73/473)  Sin and Redemption: Tripel by St. Bernardus of Belgium (bottle):  **;  weights in at 8%;  yeasty nose; champagne like mouth feel;  sweet and yeasty with a hint of fruit;

Barmaid Carron says Sin and Redemption is getting as many as 8 or 9 new taps in addition to their already remarkable selection - I can hardly wait.  The menu is starting to resemble that of the Town Crier/Halfway Beer House - same owner as S&R and the Village Idiot Pub, next door.

It was a nice way to prolong the glow of an afternoon spent at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the company of Picasso, the Group of Seven and Ken Thomson's scale boat collection. 

May 11, 2012

73/473)  The 3 Brewers:  Rebellion Rice brewed at The 3 Brewers in Ontario:  **;  a spiced rice malt beer;  presumably named for the student uprising of May 1968 in Paris under Dany Le Rouge;  seeing;  the malty nose does not prepare one for the boldy spiced experience that follows with notes of vanilla, cinnaom and nutmeg;  very unusual but very good;

It made me want to re-watch Milou en Mai (released in North American as May Fools) from 1990, starring one my favourite actresses of the era, Miou-Miou (born Sylvette Herry).

May 10, 2012

72/472)  Home:  Augustijn Grand Cru by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **1/2;  in the tradition of the Augustin Fathers;  as with the others in the six-pack it referments in the bottle;  this one checks in at 9%;  very rich and fruity sweet nose;  taste is fruity with sweet yeast and a touch of alcohol;  my favourite of the 6 so far;

May 9, 2012

69/469)  Home:  Augustijn Brune by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **1/2:  sweetish nose;  dark and rich tasting;

70/470)  Home:  Jaipur India Pale Ale by Thornbridge Brewery of England:  **1/2;  a 5.9%  ale, unpasteurized, unfiltered;  it is a bright, almost neon blonde;  nose has a hint of West Coast with a touch of citrus (lemon) against an almost biscuity, bready back-drop;  opens slightly citrusy with a bitter, earthy finish and after-taste;  a top flight British IPA;

May 7, 2012

68/468)  Home:  Augustijn Blonde by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **;  this 7% beer was first brewed in 1295;  a monastic beer with a sweet, faintly fruity, yeasty nose;  pours cloudy;  touch of sweetness, hints of fruit (dried) with a brown sugary finish;

May 6, 2012

The winners were announced yesterday in the 2012 World Beer Cup in San Diego.  A full list of winner can be found at <> but I will mention my highlights below.

I take perhaps a bit too much pleasure in this but Labatt's 50 took silver among fourty-six entries in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.

Others that stood out for me were Amsterdam's Framboise which took bronze among twenty-eight entries in the Fruit Wheat Beer category;  King Dark Lager took silver among thirty-four in the European Style Dark/Munchner Dunkel stakes;  Cameron's Dark 266 won bronze in the German-Style Schwartzbier competition against fourty-three competitors;

I always have a chuckle when I see 50 win something like this.  Unexpected things happen in a blind tasting and beer fanciers have had several moments to compare with the notorious tasting, in the 1970s I think, where California wines scored higher than French wines.  I can think of two movies inspired by this event. 

It is entirely possible that we are little more than poseurs.  I look forward to the day when, alongside figures for abv and ibu we have something to tell us how much street cred we gain (or lose) being seen drinking a particular beer.

Monday, 29 October 2012

May 5, 2012

There I was minding my own business at the Runners' Expo for the 2012 Mississauga Marathon when I heard a young lady's voice from behind asking me if I had received a free beer yet.  I didn't need to be asked twice.

It turns out that they were handing out tins of low calorie Michelob Ultra.  After stamping my hand I made off with a free beer.  It really couldn't get much better so I left.  I imagine I will be saying, "Shame about the beer, though." as some point but you find your pleasure where you can.

Not that I am running anything in May but I reason that those vendors pay good money for their booths and whether or not I am running something major that weekend I am a customer with cash in hand.

May 4, 2012

65/465)  Caffe Volo:  Night Train, a House Ales/Amsterdam collaboration, both of Ontario:  **1/2;  this is a Belgian-style brown ale aged in wine barrels -  Wildass Red by Stratus to be specific;  I have a couple of bottles of Wildass Red at home, as well as a bottle of Tollgate and a Vigonier so I know this winery well;  wine is most prominent in the nose;  mild sweet chocolate notes with sharp wine finish;

66/466)  Caffe Volo:  25th Anniversary Robust Porter by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  thick rich foamy head;  rich and chocolatey;  dry after taste with just a touch of hops;

67/467)  Caffe Volo:  Naughty Neighbour by Nickel Brook Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  an American Pale Ale;  very piney nose with delicious pine notes; originally ** but on reflection that ** was more a reflection of how tired I am getting of this hops, HOPS, HOPS! mentality than of what was in the glass; sorry about that;

House Ales is the Volo's nano-brewery, which as I understand it is little more than a corner of their kitchen.

It's good to take a minute to congratulate Great Lakes on achieving 25 years and to thank them for all the pleasureful sips.

May 2, 2012

64/464)  Home:  Dark Horse Stout by Broadhead Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  this came in a 1.89 litre growler picked up by my wife when she was in Ottawa;  pours very dark brown with a soft creamy head;  nose is mocha;  rich tasting with notes of sweet chocolate;  "almost like a meal" quoth my wife; 

These new breweries just keep popping up.  This is a great time to be a beer fancier.  I have been saying that for a number of years and things continue to get better.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

April 30, 2012

63/463)  Home:  Native Storm Crafted Ale by The Celt Experience of Wales:  **;  named in memory of the armed uprising which began September 16, 1400 under Owain Glyn Dwr which lasted over 15 years;  this would put it in the time of English Kings Henry IV (parts one and two) and Henry V;  biscuity, warm nose with mild hoppiness;  biscuity flavours with a mild hop finish;  I can only hope to see their Bleddyn 1075 Ale in my travels one day- this one sounds special;

April 28, 2012

62/462)  Home:  The Legendary Spring Oddity by Muskoka Cottage Brewery of Ontario:  **;  brewed with heather (not Heather) tips, juniper berries, sweet orange peel shavings, North American malts, Noble hops, Belgian yeast and Belgian candi sugar;  pours golden brown;  the nose is Belgian yeast, smoke and juniper;  tastes yeasty, smoky with a hint of bitter orange oil;   I found the orange is more up front than the juniper;

April 27, 2012

61/461)  Home:  Leute Bokbier by Brouwerij van Steenberge of Belgium:  **;  7.5% abv;  has a sweet, fruity nose;  tastes of dried fruit, hint of chocolate touch of yeastiness; intended to be served in a special tumbler with a wooden stand - another reason for a trip to Belgium;

From this gift pack:

April 26, 2012

60/460)  Home:  Schloss Eggenberg Doppelbock Dunkel by Eggenberg Stoehr of Austria:  **;  malty nose;   biscuity with a hint of coffee;  rich and creamy with mocha notes;

April 25, 2012

59/459)  Home:  Pale Ale by Highlander Brew Co. of Ontario:  **;  from South River, a locale I have not had the pleasure of visiting to date;  nose is sweet and malty;  pours clear dark brown (not so pale, in other words);  a hearty Scottish ale

April 24, 2012

On the 4th of this month, the topic of The Beer Store came up in John Doyle's television column.  You can read it here:  but for today's purposes the part I would draw your attention to is this quotation:  "at least one Beer Store, located where condos for rich young things have mushroomed, will not accept empty bottle returns. The impoverished, with their bags of bottles and their dilapidated appearance, aren’t there. Don’t want to lower the tone, one supposes." 

This bit of "news" has since been repeated elsewhere, including Ian Bowering's column in the Great Lakes Brewing News.

The state of the Globe and Mail's fact-checking being what it is, I did my own research which involved going directly to the source and I received this reply from the customer service department of The Beer Store:  "Thank you for your recent email to The Beer Store's Customer Service Department. The only Beer Store locations that do not accept empties are our Beer Boutiques located in the Distillery District and Liberty Village as they are not equipped for them. All other locations will accept empties from any customer."

A bit more digging reveals a description of The Beer Store's  "Boutique Store format in urban centers where the beer is displayed in smaller pack sizes with increased beer education and tastings. No bottle returns."

Not precisely the impression Mr. Doyle was aiming for, one supposes.