This looks bad. Allow me to explain.
Today was the opening evening of Toronto Beer Week 2013 and C'est What's 25th Annual Festival of Craft Breweries. Save for my first drink, a pint of Texas Tea on cask (a bit thinner than I remembered it), everything here was a three ounce sample, give or take. By my calculation six or so makes a full, C'est What sized pint so go easy on me.
I had planned to do some beer shopping first, which I did, and then visit Cork's at Longo's for a cask ale event. Yes, the Longo's at Maple Leaf Square features a pub and it serves genuinely good Ontario craft beer. The atmosphere is a bit lacking, you're in a grocery store after all, but this is off-set by the mood you are sent into at the thought of imbibing where your instincts tell you that you really shouldn't be raising a glass. They have a special during the first few days of the week where a ten inch pizza and a pint go for ten dollars - quite a deal. They discourage tipping but I ignore that. People have to make a living.
Instead I went directly to C'est What which was a good decision because even though I arrived at the appointed hour for the festival to kick off, I had to wait in a bit of a line.
I met a friendly and congenial fellow named Radek who was a key player in the history of RateBeer. We found a corner to set up camp and visited the bar in turns and compared notes. It made a great night even better and so what if he walked off with my pen. I follow Miss Legge's advice given in grade nine to always carry two or three, though she was speaking the context of writing an exam.
198/846) C'est What: Bourbon Barrel Breakfast Stout by Indie Ale House of Ontario: **; 8%; dark brown, cloudy; strong bourbon nose; sweet boozy bourbon notes;
199/847) C'est What: Toronto Beer Week Belgian Quad by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario: **; 10%; dark, very carbonated, almost fizzy; very faint clove notes; sweet yeasty nose; a Quadrupel brewed to mark the 4th anniversary of Toronto Beer Week; Radek took it upon himself to ask who brewed this which is how I came to know.
200/848) C'est What: Grindstone Amber Ale by Broadhead Brewing of Ontario: *1/2; 4.8%; hazy amber; a touch of fruit to the nose; very crisp; almost dry, club soda-like;
201/849) C'est What: Honey Oat Stout by Church Key Brewing of Ontario: **1/2; 8%; pours black with a sweet honeyed nose; sweet mocha flavours with dark coffee notes; Church Key is located in Campbellford to be precise. I know a couple of people who are from the area.
202/850) C'est What: Kolvoord Hopburst by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario: **1/2; 8.6%; on cask; wonderfully strong grapefruit nose; delicious hop notes - one of my favourites of the evening; It turns out that the name is a goof on the Kolvoord Starburst which is a hazardous, forbidden manoeuver performed by light spacecraft from that other Star Trek series.
203/851) C'est What: Test Flight 7 by Bush Pilot Brewing of Ontario: **1/2; 14.0% - they like their beers strong at Bush Pilot; on cask; pours dark amber; the alcohol is very well concealed; raw sugar nose; very complex: dried fruit notes, rich, herbal, rooty; my notes read, "wow!"; I concluded that it must be barrel aged and indeed on inquiry I learned that it is an Eisbock aged in Swedish whiskey barrels; I think three ounces is probably the ideal serving size for this one.
204/852) C'est What: Distillery Ale by Mill Street Brewery of Ontario: *1/2; 6%; a grainy, old school ale; The significance of the name is that the Mill Street Brewpub is located in Toronto's Distillery District.
205/853) C'est What: Royal George Brown Ale by Barley Days Brewing of Ontario: **1/2; 4.5%abv; a grainy, bready, old school English, or North American English ale with a touch of sugar;
206/854) C'est What: Harvester by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario: **1/2; 5% abv; this one was a favourite of Radek's; grapefruit nose, mildly citrusy flavours, which only intensify during the aftertaste;
207/855) C'est What: Ginger Spiced Ale by Cheshire Valley Brewing of Ontario: **; 5% abv; hazy with a gingery nose and gingery flavours; very much a ginger beer in the traditional sense - great for summer;
208/856) C'est What: Un-filtered Pilsner by Steam Whistle Brewing of Ontario: *1/2; 5% abv; perhaps I'm stretching things to say this one is new to me and here's to Dad, by the way who worked in the roundhouse when it housed steam trains; as you might expect, it's cloudy and a lot like Steam Whistle but I think it is a bit better for being un-filtered;
209/857) C'est What: Cinnamon Spiced Porter by Cheshire Valley Brewing of Ontario: **; 5.6%abv; nose is that of a typical English porter: coffee, mocha; the spices reside in the flavours and they are particularly strong in the after taste where cinnamon is especially prominent;
210/858) C'est What: Belgian Stout by Spearhead Brewing of Ontario: **; 6% abv; pours very dark brown; a mildly yeasty stout with faint clove notes;
211/859) C'est What: Fenugreek Brown Ale by Black Oak Brewing of Ontario: **; 5.1% abv; on cask; fenugreek is a medicinal herb used for a variety of ailments; sweet maple syrupy nose; syrupy flavours with a maple after taste;
212/860) C'est What" Remarkable Light by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario: *; 3.9%abv; I ordered this out of fondness for Gananoque Brewing and their Train Wreck Ale in particular; slightly grainy nose and flavours with a bit of fruit; OK for a light beer, I suppose;
Egads, it really does look as though I mis-behaved so I feel the need to repeat that these were three ounce samples consumed slowly. It was a great bus ride home, though.