Friday, 30 August 2013

August 27, 2013

Good news:  Rickard's Cardigan is set to return this fall.  It may already be available if the Beer Store's website is to be trusted, and in single cans to boot.  I was getting concerned because after Oakhouse, I don't recall seeing any further seasonals but it could be that I wasn't paying attention.  At any rate, I am hoping it will be more readily available than last year.  With fall, concert season returns and I am looking forward to more glasses of Cardigan at Orwell's.   

August 26, 2013

186/834)  Home:  Hoptimum by Sierra Nevada of California, U.S.A.:  **;  at 10.4% abv and 100 ibu this is a genuine hop bomb;  the label reads:  "Aggressively hopped, dry-hoped AND torpedoed";  described as a whole cone Imperial IPA;  strong hop nose;  very intense hop flavours;

187/835)  Home:  Indian Brown Ale by Dogfishhead of Delaware, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  7.2%:  described as "A clean, well hopped brown ale brewed with caramelized sugar and hopped liberally and often";  has a stout-like nose;  there is a hop bite to the taste but it is well balanced by sweet caramel notes;  bitter hop after taste;  this is perhaps the very best Indian brown I have tried so far;

Thursday, 29 August 2013

August 25, 2013

185/833)  Home:  Blue Moon by Blue Moon Brewing of Colorado, U.S.A.:  *1/2;  5.4%;  a Belgian style wheat ale brewed with coriander and orange peel;  mild citrus nose;  very mild, subdued; 

I have heard of Blue Moon but I have never tried it until now.  I don't think it is particularly fashionable, perhaps owing to its popularity.

August 24, 2013

It is time to vote on the Golden Tap Awards: 


Voting closes at 11:59PM on Tuesday, September 10th and the awards will be presented on Wednesday the 18th at the beerbistro.

August 23, 2013

184/832)  Home:  Chocolate Truffle Stout by Thomas Hooker Brewing Company of Connecticut, U.S.A.:  **;  7.1%;  "malt beverage brewed with cocoa";   a collaboration with Munson's Chocolate;  nose is sweet chocolate with a touch of alcohol;  it really does taste like a carbonated truffle though perhaps not quite so sweet;  Thomas Hooker founded the colony of Connecticut in the seventeenth century; 

August 22, 2013

183/831) Home:  Samuel Adams White Lantern by Boston Brewing Company of Massachusetts, U.S.A.:  *1/2;   a Belgian style white ale brewed with tangerine and orange peel, coriander and Grains of Paradise;  pours cloudy, honey coloured;  spiced nose;  mild tasting - a good summer beer;  lightly spiced flavours with a citrusy finish;

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

August 21, 2013

182/830)  Biergarten, LaGuardia Airport, Terminal C:  Red Rocket Ale by Bear Republic of California, U.S.A.:  **;  has a  rooty, bitter, hop nose;  earthy, bitter hop flavours;  quite strong tasting; 

It's farewell to Manhattan. 

I have never offered cash and had it turned down but at the Biergarten is credit or debit only.  It is worth noting that there is no duty free shop in LaGuardia, at least not in Terminal C.  Other than that, LaGuardia is not nearly as bad as I kept hearing.  It's not fancy but it is certainly not unpleasant.  I do have one regret.  With ten minutes to go before boarding I spotted Sierra Nevada Torpedo on tap at the Victory Grill but didn't think I should chance it.  I think I can get it at the beerbistro in a bottle and I probably will unless someone brings one home for me next week.

If memory serves, this is where Dorothy Parker, and others, held the Round Table sessions:

August 20, 2013

178/826)  Heartland Brewery Chophouse, Times Square West 43rd Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue, Manhattan:  Indiana Pale Ale by Heartland Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  **;  pleasantly hopped but not overly so;

179/827)  Virgil's Real Barbecue, West 44th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue, Manhattan:  Harpoon IPA by Harpoon Brewing of Massachusetts, U.S.A.:  **;  a very refreshing American style IPA;  hops are balanced by a strong malt backbone;

180/828)  Virgil's:  Sixty Minute IPA by Dogfish Head of Delaware, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  6% abv;  this was in a bottle reading, "The Continually Hopped India Pale Ale";  up front hoppiness, went really well with dinner;

Virgil's is a great place and our waiter, David, took really good care of us.  No one left hungry.

181/829)  Our room at the Double Tree:  Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale by Blue Moon Brewing of Colorado, U.S.A.:  5.6% abv   *1/2;  a blond wheat ale brewed with agave nectar;  instead of the coriander or banana notes that I am accustomed to from a Belgian style wheat beer there is a honeyed sweetness courtesy the agave;

My wife picked these up for me but I am not sure exactly where:

She also took some snaps inside the Heartland:

August 19, 2013

173/821) Shake Shack in Manhattan's Theatre district, East 44th Street at 8th Avenue:  Old Brown Dog Ale by Smuttynose Brewing of New Hampshire, U.S.A.:  **;  this was in a bottle;  pours chestnut;  nutty mocha flavours;  my wife was crazy about this one;

174/822) Shake Shack, Manhattan:  ShackMeister Ale by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  *1/2;  a grainy, English style mild ale with a sweet finish; 

The SmokeShack burger might be the best hamburger I have ever eaten.

175/823)  Beecher's Handmade Cheese, East 20th Street near Broadway in the Flatiron district of Manhattan:  Finestkind IPA by Smuttynose Brewing of New Hampshire, U.S.A.:  *1/2:;  this was served in a bottle;  dry, bitter, herbal, with rooty hop notes;

Beecher's makes about as good a grilled cheese sandwich as I have experienced.  Their macaroni and cheese comes highly recommended, though I cannot personally attest to it. 

Would you believe they do not recycle glass in New York City?  I would never have imagined had I not been told twice in one day to just throw it in the garbage.

Speaking of cheese, I happened across a place called the Vintner Café on 9th Avenue between East 46th and 47 Streets.  They had a cooler at the front with a terrific selection of beer, and an incredible selection of cheese at the back.  It is just a tiny little place.  It is easy to see why people love New York.  Here are four reasons:

176/824) McSorley's Old Ale House, East 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue:  Draft Ale by McSorley's Ale House, U.S.A.:  **;  sweet maltiness; an old school English style ale;

177/825)  McSorley's Old Ale House:  Draft Porter by McSorley's Old Ale House, U.S.A.:  **;  mocha-ish sweetness;  like the above it's not overly complex and, yes, I am probably adding an extra half star to both in deference to my surroundings;

Visiting McSorley's was at the top of my list when I knew we were going to New York City.  McSorley's was established in 1854 meaning it has endured the Civil War, the depression and prohibition.  Women were not allowed inside until a law suit in the 1970s or so and even then the fine print didn't say they had to build a second loo so for a number of years they didn't.  I gather things were rather informal for a time.  My wife couldn't imagine why a woman would want to visit but she was a good sport about the whole evening.

NYU is nearby and the place was packed with tables of boisterous students singing loudly.  Our waiter came by and offered us a table closer to the front but we declined.  It was a kind gesture, though. 

They only have the dark and the pale and $5.50 gets you two glasses.

McSorley's is smaller than I had imagined but the interior did not disappoint.  The floors were covered with sawdust and it would not surprise me to learn that the bar and furnishings were originals.  I didn't chance the gent's room but it couldn't have been worse than Jack's a couple of nights ago.

Of course the lighting was not great but my wife did get a few snaps:

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

August 18, 2013

170/818)  The Long Room, Manhattan:  Stone Ruination by Stone Brewing of California, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  strong, piney nose;  forward, earthy hop flavours;  bitter lingering after taste;

171/819) The Long Room, Manhattan:  Arrogant Bastard by Stone Brewing of California, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  nose is hoppy with sweet overtones;  dry astringent hoppiness;  the website is a chuckle, have a read;

The Long Room's menu invited diners to ask what was on cask so I did.  It was Hoptical Illusion!  I flew to New York City to encounter beer brewed in Barrie but good on Flying Monkeys for getting their product so widely distributed.  We had a great meal there.  I recommend it.

172/820) Our room at the Double Tree Suites by Hilton, Times Square, East 47th Street at 7th Avenue:  Storm King Imperial Stout by Victory Brewing of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  the nose is mocha and alcohol;  dark coffee notes, touch of alcohol and a hint of mocha sweetness;

Believe it or don't, this was draught beer poured from a tap into a jar at the Beer Table Pantry in Grand Central Station, one of six taps they had (but you can't drink it there).  The Beer Table Pantry is an incredible store.  It is the size of a walk in closet but they have everything you can imagine and then some.  I wish I could remember who suggested it to me.  It is a must visit when in NYC.

These are my other Beer Table purchases.  What a day!

August 17, 2013

We are in Manhattan for the next few days.  I am equipped with bubble wrap and zip lock baggies for the journey home - I intend to do some beer shopping.

Had a great pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale today at Jack's Pizzeria near Times Square, established in 1929.  Just to show how things always seem to work out, I was a bit put out at first that no one came by to offer me another glass but after a visit to the tiny loo I was grateful.  It was worse than the one at the Kipling subway station.  I know what I would be thinking now but it was an open kitchen and the pizza was pretty good. 

August 16, 2013

Good news!  Central City reports that their $75,000 fund-raising goal for autism has been achieved.  That's a lot of Imperial IPA.  Good on Central City.

August 15, 2013

I had to laugh while I was tidying my in-box.  I found an invitation to a Cask Pub Crawl scheduled for April.  To quote:  "Each pub on the route is located in Toronto’s West End...". 

Let's run down the list:  Bellwoods, Get Well, the Monarch Tavern and the Victory Café.  I've never ben to the Monarch but the others are fine establishments and by association I would wager that the Monarch is as well.  Besides, I think that is where Zane Caplansky of Caplansky's Deli got started. 

What sets me off, though, is the fact that the crawl doesn't wander more than a few steps west of Ossington Avenue.  Hardly the edge of the earth unless you are a downtowner.

For those of you who might suggest that I can only score on my serve, I have to confess that save for the Monk's Kettle I cannot suggest much in the way of cask ale in what I imagine to be the west end.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

August 11, 2013

168/816) Home:  Audrey Hopburn by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  a 6.2% "Belgian IPA" from their Project X line - in particular the Tank Ten series wherein said tank is reserved for experiments;  very strong grapefruit-like hop nose;  sweet Belgian yeastiness balances the citrusy hop bitterness;

169/817)  Home:  De Wallen by Amsterdam Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.5%; aged a full year in Niagara Pinot Noir barrels then "purposely soured";  named for a red light district in Amsterdam;  funky raspberry nose;  tart cidery raspberry flavours;

August 10, 2013

167/815) Home:  Scaldis Blonde Tripel by Brasserie Dubuisson Freres of Belgium:  **;  referments in the bottle;  made with water drawn from beneath the brewery;  sugar added;  tart, cidery nose;  sweet sparkling wine flavours;  tart cidery finish;

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

August 9, 2013

163/811) The 3 Brewers:  Chocolate Blueberry by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  or La Choco-Bluet in the original French;  5.5%, 30ibu;  berries make up much of the nose;  nothing is overpowering, it's all very subtle;  tastes of blueberries at start with some graininess;  this is a very unusual beer but it's quite nice;  it reminds me a bit of chocolate covered blueberries;  finish is mildly sweet chocolate;

164/812) Caffe Volo:  Taras Boulba by Brasserie de la Sienne of Belgium:  *1/2:  this was a 5 ounce glass poured from a bottle at their tasting bar - another  great idea from the Volo, by the way;  the nose is grainy with a touch of cider and a touch of hop;  grainy at first with a dry, bitter hop after-taste;  not as sweet as Belgians often are; 

165/813) Caffe Volo:  East India Pale by Brooklyn Brewery of New York, U.S.A.:  **;  a 7% English IPA;  astringent, bitter caffeine like finish and after taste;  the English style comes across in the sweet nose and well-balanced flavours;

166/814) Caffe Volo:  MacTavish by La Trou du Diable of Quebec:  **;  a 6.5% American Pale Ale;  nose has notes of apple;  sweet apple flavours with a mild hop presence;

August 8, 2013

162/810) Home:  La Devine St. Landelin by Brasseurs de Gayant of France:  **:    8.5%;  brewed with wheat, dextrose and "antioxidants";  sweet nose with the slightest touch of smoke and grain;  up front sweetness and dried fruitiness; 

August 5, 2013

Should the Toronto Blue Jays do like the Montreal Expos and leave town I have a new favourite baseball team waiting in the on deck circle:  the Hillsboro Hops play of the NorthWest League.

Get this:  their mascot is named Barley.  This could only be better if they were part of the Milwaukee Brewers organization but they are actually a farm team for the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

They are also reputed to serve good, local (Oregon) beer at Hillsboro ballpark.   What's not to like?

August 4, 2013

161/809) Jack Astor's, Brampton:  Boundary Ale by Moosehead Breweries of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  brewed with 7 malts and 4 hops - 2 from the U.K and  2 from the U.S.A.;  grainy, earthy hop nose;  hop forward flavours with earthy bitterness lingering through the  finish to the after taste;

Jack Astor's has not a bad beer selection, including a rotating Sam Adams tap, but I still marginally favour Fionn MacCool's when I'm in Brampton and, what's more, Fionn MacCool's is a bit less expensive.

August 3, 2013

This month's installment of places I miss is a bit out of the ordinary in that a pub still stands where the Sticky Wicket used to be.  A number of events were held here while I was at University but I didn't visit the Sticky Wicket until years after I graduated. 

I only stepped in out of curiosity - to see what I had missed.  The World House's third location (after Queen Street West, then Bloor Street West but before College Street and its unfortunate demise) was on Spadina, south of Bloor.  The Sticky Wicket was steps south of Bloor and steps north of the World House.

This was where I first encountered Upper Canada Rebellion on draught and quite an encounter it was.  They also had some great bar staff.  I always enjoyed a visit after shopping for boardgames at the World House.

It has been two, maybe three soul-less chain type pubs since and I just don't feel the same when I step through the door.  I am sure it is a small crowd who wish they drank more beer at university but at the time it was just another item on the menu, so to speak.

August 2, 2013

I fear we did not ingratiate ourselves to the servers at Tracks Brewpub this evening.  It might have been clever had we planned it but this was not the case.  A group of us was on the patio, beneath the oversized umbrellas when the sky opened up.  Did we go inside?  Of course not - we simply pulled our chairs closer to the table.

I think the one server tired of being soaked every time beer was ordered because by the time I was ready to check out it was Brian who was looking after us.  For the most part, I think we tipped extra but for a bartender of his calibre you really can't over-tip.

August 1, 2013

The first of August is International IPA Day.  At least it is this year:  like International Stout Day it has been known to roam around the calendar a bit.

I marked the occasion with Dead Elephant by the recently relocated (but still in St. Thomas) Railway City Brewery and a Belgian brewed Houblon Chouffe Dobbelin IPA Tripel.  Cheers.

No luck finding an International Porter Day.  It is severely needed.

Monday, 12 August 2013

July 29, 2013

160/808) Home:  Honey Bee'Lixir by Railway City Brewing on Ontario:  *1/2;  "Step right up!  Woodworth and Edwards Travelling Revival Tour presents…" a 5%, 29 ibu potion  brewed with locally sourced honey;  pours dark brown;  honeyed grainy nose; more grain than honey in flavours but it's mostly honey at finish;

July 28, 2013

158/806) Home:  Gouden Carolus Tripel by Brouwerij Het Anker of Belgium:  **;  9%;  undergoes secondary fermentation in bottle;  like St. Feuillien Grand Cru and others, sugar is added during brewing;  retro-candy necklace type of sweet nose;  opens quite unusually sweet but not cloyingly so;  a touch of (dried) fruitiness kicks in and hops make their presence know towards finish; 

159/807) Home:  Maverick & Gose a collaboration between Amsterdam and Great Lakes Brewery both of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.9%;  "a rare German brew of medieval origin made of a mostly malted wheat base";  brewed Sept 2012 with spices and pink Himalayan salt;  very wheaty nose;  wheaty, cidery with a hint of salt in the finish and after taste ;  might make for an expensive but successful marinade;  not as off-putting as I had anticipated, though my wife liked it a lot more than I did;

A few Belgians.

July 25, 2013

157/805) Home:  Sunny & Share Citrus Saison by Mad and Noisy Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2:  4.5%;  flavoured with orange and lemon peel;  nose is citrus and wheat;  lemon and orange notes with a yeasty wheat finish;  a fine summer time patio beer, and as I often say, pairs nicely with fish and chips;

Sunday, 11 August 2013

July 22, 2013

A pub is little more than a bit of geography.  What makes a Good Pub is the sum of one's experiences therein and this is why I miss DJ's so much.  It was at the north end of Hydro Place at University Avenue and College Street in Toronto.  In general, university was a happy time for me and I had some great evenings at DJ's.

In spite of the reputation of university students I really wasn't much of a beer drinker in those days, though I had been dragged to the legendary Brunswick House on a couple of occasions.

Draught at DJ's was ninety nine cents for a glass and the university newspapers always had coupons for their $1.99 dinner which consisted of all the salad you could heap on a plate, leg of beef and what they called Boulangere potatoes.  The great thing was that the people slicing the beef and spooning the potatoes took their cue from how much salad you had on your plate and as a result I never left hungry.

As I said, this was during university and I was always in the very merriest of company while I was at DJ's. In those days I didn't sup alone unless it was fast food. 

We did go once on a Saturday night and even though it was early days they managed to slip in some New Wave and, while I never saw them, a highly reputed band called the Grottybeats played there regularly.  For the most part DJ's served as a place to go at the end of a day of university and I treasured it.  I feel badly for U of T students today when I survey the row of soulless, largely franchise, joints they have to choose from.   

July 21, 2013

155/803) Home:  Stormy Monday by Bush Pilot Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  an 11% barley wine  brewed at Niagara College's teaching brewery and Nickel Brook's brewery;  it is aged in Calvados barrels - Calvados is a particularly strong liquor brewed from apples that I first encountered in Normandy;  pours the colour of dark red wine; brewed with seven malts, five hops, dried quince, dried apple, maple syrup, dried bitter orange peel, cardamom, cloves, vanilla, cocoa, raisins, dried figs, juniper berries and coffee;  very complex nose;  definite notes of Calvados, dried fruit, apple, spice;   sweetness hits right away;  Calvados finish;  in between it is incredibly complex;  it's one to sip and to savour;

156/804) Home:  Canny Man by Radical Road Brewing Company of Ontario:  *;  9.1%;  matured 71 days in Speyside Scotch whisky casks;  brewed with molasses, oats; peaty nose with a smoky finish;  I wanted to like this one but it just didn't work for me;  this is brewed at Black Oak in Etobicoke;  like the one above it is designed for sharing though I couldn't find anyone to share it with - the Bush Pilot was a lot more popular;

As evidenced below, neither spares expense when it comes to packaging and design.  Someone is getting a present wrapped in that Radical Road/Canny Man paper this Christmas.

July 20, 2013

153/801) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Green Man by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  an India Pale Lager;  my receipt read Little Green Man but the chalkboard read Green Man and that is what the bartender called it;  floral nose;  sweet, gingerly floral hoppiness with a bitter aftertaste; 

154/802) Monk's Kettle, Etobiocke:  Barn Raiser by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  an American Pale Ale;  floral hoppiness;  not so hoppy to the taste, in fact it is rather sweet;

I was in need of a drink at this point.  I had attended a recital at a Catholic church in the west end of Parkdale, which is to say the as yet un-gentrified part.  The priests and deacons were out in full force to enjoy the music and I have to say they were some pretty rough looking fellows.  It was intimidating to see a group of men resembling prize fighters, clad in white collars and long black robes standing on the steps of a church smoking.  They looked quite menacing.

July 18, 2013

151/799) Home:  Old Style Pilsner by Molson Coors of Ontario:  *1/2;  I first tried this in British Columbia in the late 1980s - it is a distinctive can and I hung on to it:  it indicates that even then it was a Molson product;  it is new to Ontario, however;  it is sweet and malty with absolutely no hint of hops save for a touch of bitterness to the nose;  since pilsners usually employ Saaz hops, I don't particularly miss the hops here;

152/800) Twisted Spruce by Highlander Brew Co. of Ontario:  *1/2;    6%;  brewed with spruce tips;  not quite so spruced as the Spruce beer I tried on Isle D'Orleans or Garrison's effort;  there is a balance of malt and spruce, with spruce substituting for hops;  Highlander is located in South River;


July 17, 2013

150/798) Home:  Cervesia by Brasserie Dupont of Belgium:  *1/2;  8%;  bottle fermented;  another in a series of beers I have sampled lately brewed with malted barley, malted wheat and sugar;  vaguely muted cidery nose;  there is a touch of tartness but otherwise I found this one a bit dull;

July 15, 2013

149/797) Home:  4th D 2012 Old Ale By Kuhnhenn Brewing Company of Michigan, U.S.A.:  **1/2;  a 13.5% "Extra Strong Beer", aged for nine months prior to release;  brewed with malted barley and malted wheat;  the nose is like sherry or fortified wine;  thin, persistent head; soft mouth feel;  I am reminded of Sam Adams Triple Bock; strong intense flavours;    alcohol forms the background of a very complex brew;  this is one for sipping;

July 13, 2013

148/796) Dundas Square, Toronto:  Bamboo Beer by Bamboo Beer Ltd. of Ontario:  *1/2;  served in a tin - I didn't ask for a glass, only partly owing to the fact that I didn't see any available;  this tent and product launch were part of the Filipino Making Waves Festival;  it is a 5% lager brewed with hops, malted barley and bamboo;  it's a tiny bit sweet. otherwise not so different from any number of lagers, but it was refreshing on this Saturday in July;

Reading later about the Bamboo Beer launch I realized that I narrowly avoided rubbing shoulders with Boy Trudeau who arrived a bit earlier than I did.

Further north, they were giving away a tinned Vodka soda of some description.  Oddly enough, there was no riot going on as a result of the news and, yes, I was "carded" but they might have been doing that to everyone.  I chose to take it home for my wife instead of drinking it, though people were doing so on the street.  I am not convinced it is legal in Toronto to walk around the streets drinking Vodka coolers but perhaps it is punishment enough when, say, the Volo is so close by.

Yes, I pinched the tin.

July 12, 2013

145/793) Home:  Moinette Brune by Brasserie Dupont of Belgium:  **1/2;  8.5%;  bottle fermented;  sugar added * I am seeing this often with Belgian brews;  nose of dried fruit, dark sugar and yeast;  notes of sweet burnt sugar with a touch of fruitiness;  Very nice, indeed;

146/794) Home:  Monk's Stout by Brasserie Dupont of Belgium:  *1/2;  5.2%;  also brewed with sugar;  nose is coffee;  mild coffee notes;  somewhat non-descript beyond that;

147/795)  The Philippine Pavillion at Carabram:  Red Horse by San Miguel Brewery Inc. of the Philippines:  *1/2;   7%;  elsewhere on the label it is credited to the Polo Brewery which I take to be a Creemore/Molson sort of arrangement;  I thought I detected notes of sugar cane;  almost candy like herbal, rooty notes;  I have seen this described as a malt liquor;  my wife liked it more than I did;

The LCBO's Brasserie Dupont feature

July 11, 2013

144/792) Home:  Hops and Bolts India Pale Lager by Mad and Noisy Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.3%;  this was originally only available on draught at select locations;  Mad and Noisy is really Creemore, which I suppose is really Molson Coors:  the Mad and Noisy Rivers met at the town of Creemore;  "Not for the faint of hops";  there is an herbal hoppiness to nose;  it's a decent lager;  it is grainy but at the same time it is quite hoppy for a lager;

July 8, 2013

143/791)  Home:  Scottish Pale Ale by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **;  7%;  matured in oak for 41 days;  the combination of a clear glass bottle and a brightly lit store seems to have damaged this one;  I had to let it air for a long time;  oaked, honeyed notes with a touch of hoppiness;

July 7, 2013

142/790) Home:  Red Racer Pale Ale by Central City Brewing of British Columbia:  **1/2;  5%;    they had to know people would compare this with the IPA and that is exactly what I did;  very floral,  hoppy nose;  beautiful floral flavours;  the is the gem of this 6 pack;  side by side, I found this one to be sweeter than the IPA;

July 6, 2013

140/788) Home:  Red Racer Craft White Ale by Central City Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  a 5% wheat beer;    pours a cloudy, golden shade;  unfiltered;  brewed with coriander seed, dried orange peel;  nose is orange peel;  flavours of orange and coriander with a sugary aftertaste;

141/789) Home:  Imperial IPA For Autism by Central City Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  9%, 90 ibu;  $5 per bottle goes to autism research;  nose is very bitter and herbal, almost musty;  spicy bitter hop notes;

July 4, 2013

139/787) Red Racer Pilsner by Central City Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  5%;  pours a clear golden colour;  bready nose with a bite of German hops;  bready taste with distinct Euro-hop notes and finish;

The IPA was not a part of the mixed pack but it's a great beer just the same.

July 3, 2013

138/786) Home:  Shawinigan Handshake by La Trou Du Diable of Quebec:  *1/2;  a 6.5%;  "Pugnacious Strong Ale";   "A proof is a proof" quoth the label;  brewed with  German yeast,  Chinook hops, malted barley and malted wheat;  more from the label:  "Bottled with the approval of the Little Guy from Shawinigan" and "this beer reflects the sharp sense of humour of this legendary political figure";  smoky piney nose;  sweet banana notes, spruce, mild smoke with a hoppy finish; 

I am not sure how Mr. Cretien not only gets away with assaulting dissenters, but having it celebrated.  Then there is his insensitivity to the manner in which APEC protesters were treated under his watch.  I don't picture our current Prime Minister being given a free pass to joke about such things on the CBC.  It must be that sharp sense of humour.

July 1, 2013

136/784) Home:  Cherrywood Canadian Finish by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **;  8.3%;  brewed with maple syrup and matured 49 days over Canadian black cherrywood, infused with bourbon;  sweet notes of bourbon to the nose;  flavours of bourbon, sweet dried fruit, caramel;

137/785)  Home:  The Canadian Dream by Mikkeller of Denmark:  **;  underneath that blacked out spot it reads 4.6% while a  sticker on back indicates 5.5% - LCBO lab testing at work;  brewed under contract in Belgium, Mikkeller is strictly a contract brewer;  resiny, piney nose;  resiny floral notes;

For a number of years, Innis and Gunn has expressed their appreciation for the way Canadians have taken to their beers by celebrating Canada Day in this manner.  I find it a touching gesture and I am happy to see Mikkeller following suit.

June 30, 2013

I really hate to be that Wisenheimer sitting at the bar but there is at least one place I can name that offers a "Drink's Menu"  As one who admires this establishment and what it stands for this is something I wish were not so but in their defense it is remotely conceivable that one Mr. Drink does have ownership of said menu so I keep quiet.  One should only provoke bar staff sparingly and judiciously.  It solves few problems, unless you consider over-pouring to be a problem.  The same goes for barbers, particularly when you opt for a shave with your haircut.

June 29, 2013

134/782)  Fionn MacCool's, Brampton:  Ephemere Cherry White Ale by Unibroue of Quebec:  **;  5.5%;  faint cherry nose;  fresh cherry, spice flavours;  a great ale for summer time;

135/783)  Home:  Perfection English Style Pale by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **;  5%;  this was the last of the LCBO's Renaissance brewery focus to hit the shelves, leading to numerous search for Perfection type jokes;  brewed with 4 malts, London ale yeast;  resiny, hoppy nose;  typical English style pale ale but with a hop bite at the finish;

June 28, 2013

133/781)  Home:  M.P.A. Imperial Pale Ale by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **1/2;  8.5%;  described on the label as "An explosion of Rakau hops", M.P.A. stands for  Marlborough Pale Ale;  New Zealand hops lend a nose and flavours of white wine - it's quite a surprise the first time one encounters these;  there is a sharp hop bite at the close;

June 27, 2013

132/780) Home:  Voyager India Pale Ale by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **;  6%;  clear golden colour;  the nose is malty with a bitter hop bite;  a blend of hops is used and this tastes of it:  locally grown hops and fuggles hops all bring something different to the party, and a party it is;  there is a malty back-drop throughout, but astringent, almost caffeine-like, bitterness increasingly asserts itself;

June 26, 2013

131/779) Home:  Discovery American Style Pale Ale by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **;  4.5%;  cloudy blondish colour;  floral hop nose;  opens quite malty - I wondered where the hops were but they emerge soon enough, lingering through the finish;  I can't wait for the next entry from this LCBO feature;

June 24, 2013

130/778) Home:  Melville's Ginger Beer by Innis & Gunn of Scotland:  **;  brewed with real ginger, "never from concentrate";  from nose you know this is adult ginger ale;  I thought I detected a touch of touch lucozade, believe it or don't;  very refreshing,  there's a tinge of gingery alcohol at finish; 

Seeing as how it is St. Jean Baptiste Day I also had a bottle of Terrible by Unibroue which, sadly does not photograph well for me.  That's it next to another favourite from Quebec.

June 23, 2013

129/777)  Home:  Wheat by Molson Coors of Ontario:  *;   Disclosure:  my wife bought it, not me;  pours a cloudy straw colour;  citrusy (orange) sort of nose;  grainy with a touch of citrus;  perhaps this could serve as an entry point for proper wheat beers?

I learned that we had this when my 18 year old son called upstairs, with grave concern in his voice, "What's a Molson beer doing in the fridge?"

June 22, 2013

128/776) Home:  Obsidian Imperial Porter Rum Barrel by Cameron's of Ontario:  **;  from their Oak Aged series;  9.2%;  unfiltered;  aged 7 months in Caribbean Rum barrels;  nose is roasty with mocha notes;  roasty and chocolaty with a bite of sweet rum at the finish;

June 21, 2013

122/770) Sarah's Café and Bar:  Shangri La IPA by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;   earthy hop nose;  dry, lingering bitter hoppiness;

123/771) Caffe Volo:  Robo Hop by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  a 9% American double IPA;    strong grapefruit nose;  bitter, rooty flavours;  lingering dry after taste;

124/772)  Caffe Volo:  Mash Pipe by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **;  a smoked Berliner brewed with rhubarb;  rhubarb supplies tartness, which is a clever touch;  smokiness (finally) done right, which is to say extremely subtlety;  cidery;  nose is grain, fresh rhubarb; 

125/773) Caffe Volo: It's Bigger In Texas by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  a Texas Brown, reminding me of  a beer I had at a marvellous place called BeNeLux in Montreal.  very dark brown;  sweet mocha nose;  flavours are brown sugar, mocha;

126/774)  Caffe Volo:  Le Sang D'Encre by Trou du Diable of Quebec:  **;  billed as an Epic Stout, which I could not resist;  6.2%;  nose is mocha;  smooth mouth feel, almost too thin;  subtle mocha flavours;   translations:  sang is blood, encre is ink;

127/775)  Caffe Volo:  Red Tape Stout brewed at the Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **;  a 9.5%  Imperial Stout;  nose is dark coffee and alcohol;  there is a hint dark brown sugar to the nose;  sweet mocha flavours;

Sarah's was holding a Wellington tasting as part of Ontario Craft Brewers week.  A representative was handing out samples of their Arkell Bitter and the Russian Imperial Stout.  Sarah's is a fun place to have a beer.  The staff are uncommonly enthusiastic.  They regularly ask what I am drinking and how I like it.  I enjoy being served beer by beer fanciers.

This looks pretty bad but the glasses were small, as small as 150ml.  Even so, I find my notes becoming increasingly hard to decipher as they go on.

In a break from tradition, they were playing vintage/retro music tonight at the Volo instead of the usual background techno/house.  At least I think that is the term.  The sound is as if only one of two speakers is on so you hear bass and rhythm.  It works increasingly well as an evening progresses.  

To my delight, Ken Woods of Black Oak showed up and shook my hand.  It is great to be recognised by the very face of the Ontario craft brewing scene himself.

While I was enjoying my glass of Red Tape Stout I was musing about how much I like this trend of being able to find brewpubs' wares at other brewpubs.  It is one of the more enjoyable developments of late.

June 20, 2013

121/769) Home:  Hallertauer Hop Ale by Alexander Keith's of Ontario:  **;  I did a side by side tasting today with Keith's Cascade Hop Ale;  I found the Hallertauer milder, less aggressive;  floral sweetness with a surprising degree maltiness to nose;

June 18, 2013

120/768) Home:  Chimay Bleu by S.A. Bieres de Chimay of Belgium:  **1/2;  it's 9% but as it is a bottle of a reasonable size this can be downed by one individual without remorse;  brewed at Scourmont Abbey, a Trappist monastery;  fruity floral nose;  notes of dried fruit and malt;

June 17, 2013

This month's installment of pubs I miss is the Down Under Pub.  There were two locations, one in Yorkville and one on Wellington Street.  I spent several evenings at the Yorkville location.  It was close enough to the fringes that it attracted more of a Yonge Street crowd than a Yorkville crowd.

The beer selection was, for its time, very good and the service was excellent.

I visited the Wellington Street location only once, on Juan Garcia Esquivel's eightieth birthday, where I was served the finest martini that I didn't make myself.

I still feel a bit wistful when I'm in Yorkville as I haven't found another pub in the area, save for the Pilot, where I feel entirely comfortable.

June 16, 2013

119/767)  Home:  BIA IPA by Birrificio del Ducato of Italy:  **;  Birra Italiana Artigianale;  a cloudy 6.5% IPA;  nose is a blend of sweet malt and sharp hop bite;  sweeter than I would have expected;  the sweetness lingers to the finish, where it is off-set by hops at end; 

June 10, 2013

118/766) Home:  Sophie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale by Goose Island of Illinois, U.S.A.:  **;   similar nose as Matilda;  tart,  cidery with black pepper noes, not so much yeast as Matilda however;

June 9, 2013

117/765)  Home:  Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale By Goose Island of Illinois, U.S.A.:  **1/2;
tart cidery nose;  an interesting blend of tartness and sweet Belgian yeast - contains live yeast;  bonus points for being so unusual;

June 8, 2013

116/764) Home:  Montgomery's Courage by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario: **;  a 5% rye ale;  this is the third of Black Creek's Historic Beers of Canada series:  1830-1839 Era of Rebellion;  this my favourite rye ale so far;  sweet maltiness to the nose;  there is a bit of hop to this along with black peppery notes;

The Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 began at Montgomery's Tavern.  No relation between this Montgomery and the proprietor of  Montgomery's Inn which, unlike Montgomery's Tavern, still exists in its original location.  It's a good place to visit for one of their seasonal teas.  It is also where the Early Music Fair is held every year.

The Upper Canada Rebellion was led former Toronto mayor William Lyon Mackenzie.  Like Toronto's current mayor, he learned that it is not easy standing up to entrenched minds and vested interests.

Back in the day, Upper Canada Brewing sold a beer called Upper Canada Rebellion which was a favourite of mine.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

June 6, 2013

115/763)  Home:  Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale by Parallel 49 Brewing Company:  **;  6.0%;  pours red;  citrusy nose (grapefruit);  opens malty and rich with a hoppy finish;  all of the beers in the Unparalleled  Sixpack are winners as far as I am concerned;

June 3, 2013

114/762) Home:  The Matador by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **1/2;  their 8th anniversary ale;  an Imperial IPA;  10%, 88 ibu;  aged on a bed of Spanish cedar "commonly used in sweet smelling cigar boxes"  sharp spicy, woody perfumed nose; peppery notes, touch alcohol, citrus;

June 2, 2013

112/760) Home:  Hoparazzi by Parallel 49 Brewing Company of British Columbia:  **;    pours with a fluffy persistent head;  a hoppy pale lager;  rich malty nose with a sharp hop edge;  earthy hop bitterness balanced by maltiness;  I wish more lagers were this good.

113/761)  Old Boy by Parallel 49 Brewing Company of British Columbia:  **1/2;  a "classic ale"  pours deep brown;  caramel, chocolate notes;  very nice;

May 31, 2013

111/759) Fionn MacCool's, Brampton:  La Seigneuriale by Unibroue of Quebec:  **;   7.5%;  yeasty Belgian nose;  tastes fresh and yeasty;

May 29, 2013

110/758) Triple Karmeliet by Brouwery Bosteels of Belgium:  **;  8.4%;  a 3 grain beer (wheat, oat and barley);  brewed according to a 17th century recipe from the old Carmelite monastery at Dendermonde;  final fermentation takes place in the  in bottle;  sweet Belgian yeast with a whiff of grain to nose;  not as complex as some triples;  sweet Belgian yeastiness with a touch of caramel;

May 28, 2013

109/757) Home:  Framboise 2013 by Amsterdam Brewing of Ontario:  **;  6.5%;  pours a deep, rich, ruby red;  brewed with Canadian raspberries and Belgian wheat malt;  these days it is brewed once a year;  the nose is a combination of raspberry and wheat;  strong fresh raspberry flavours;

This used to be available in bottles year round at the Amsterdam outlet on Bathurst Street and, if you wish to go back even further, on tap at the old Amsterdam brewpub on John Street and in the sister brewpub, Rotterdam on King Street.  It is a great year-round drink to my way of thinking.  It's a shame to have to be searching for this.

May 27, 2013

108/756) Home:  Dogstalker April Bock by Grand River Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  6%;  bottled April 25th;  pours a rich amber colour;  bready nose; a bit thin for my liking - there's not as much going on as I would wish for in a bock but maybe this is better on draught;

May 24, 2013

106/754) Caffe Volo:  Monogamy Simcoe American Pale Ale by Bellwoods Brewery of Ontario:  **;  6.5%;  cloudy, yellowy straw colour;  pine nose/flavours;

107/755) Caffe Volo:  L'Esprit D'Escalier American IPA, a Shacklands/Radical Road collaboration, both of Ontario:  **;  6.5%;  aroma of pine;  pleasant pine flavours with a touch of sweetness;

I'm not sure precisely how many beers comprise Bellwoods' Monogamy Series but so far they are all winners.


May23, 2013

105/753)  Home:  Spring Imp Spring Bock by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario:  **;    7%;  beautiful clear amber;  malty, bready nose;  sweet with some richness;  am very fond of bocks in general and this is a good example;

May 22, 2013

104/752)  Home:  Saison Dupont by Brasserie Dupont of Belgium:  **;   6.5%;  "a classic Belgian farmhouse ale";  unfiltered, hazy golden colour;  spicy, peppery nose;  dry peppery notes, lemon zest;  the label is right:  it is very refreshing; 

I don't quite get this saison/farmhouse trend but I do like this one.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

May 20, 2013

103/751) Home:  Amber Ale by Six Pints Specialty Beer Company (Beer Academy) of Ontario:  **;  5.4%;  pours dark brown with a creamy persistent head;  this was Recipe 01/Batch01;  malty biscuity nose;  faint chocolate notes, mildly bitter hop finish;

May 19, 2013

102/750)  Home:  Bridge Burner by Lakeport Brewing of Wisconsin:  **1/2;  8.5%;  brewed in Milwaukee;  pours dark brown with a frothy head;  hop presence in nose;  notes of dark sugar, sweet dried fruit;  an interesting blend of hop notes and fruitiness with an almost Belgian sweetness'

There is a great story on back label as well.