Tuesday, 30 December 2014

December 18, 2014

Regrettably, I ought to have been able to predict my final installment of the twelve beers I miss series.  When the 3 Brewers switched from rotating seasonal beers to a "Neighbourhood Beer", unique to each outlet I might have suspected that my favourite of the lot, their Winter Warmer might be in jeopardy.

I am hoping to be able to compare my memories to this month's feature, Festive Amber Ale, but the Yonge Street location was out and Adelaide Street was still on November's beer.  With luck I will have another opportunity for a visit.

Monday, 29 December 2014

December 17, 2014

An interesting story, courtesy my alma mater, the University of Toronto:

No small beer: how lager conquered the world

December 16, 2014

Some sad news today.  The Beer Academy is closing its doors at the end of the year.  One of the possibilities being discussed is re-opening as a Creemore Brewpub but it has been emphasized that nothing has been decided for certain save that the re-opening will take place in the Fall of 2015.

I know it is unfashionable, the Beer Academy is a craft beer front for Molson-Coors after all, and it will cost me whatever craft beer street cred I might have but I always liked this place and the beers they created. I will have fond memories of the Baltic Porter among others

It seems to me that the Beer Academy suffered from much the same set of circumstances as the previous tenant,  Duggan's Brewery, even more so.  Besides the smallish pub/tasting room/retail outlet there was a space for private parties and an events space downstairs.  Neither was used all that often and the rent, rumoured to be rather high, was due just the same.  Back in the day when Second City performed nearby there was a lot more foot traffic in the area.  I still say that the very best use of this particular space was back when Denison's (fine dining) was upstairs and Growler's Brewpub was downstairs.  The snacks coming out of their common kitchen were certainly upscale and it seemed to work for a while.

I am going to miss the Beer Academy.  I don't know if I can bring myself to visit one last time or not.

December 15, 2014

280/1261) Home:  Winter Warmer by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.5%;  brewed and purchased at Black Creek Pioneer Village;  brewed with coriander and orange peel;  un-carbonated;   the nose is fresh citrus;  notes of roast, spice, (mild) orange;  bitter oil of citrus after taste;  a great cold weather brew;

December 13, 2014

278/1259) beerbistro:  Old Time Gingerbread Porter by Oast House Brewers of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.5%;  full-on gingerbread nose;  tastes of spice, primarily ginger;  the traditional roasty chocolate notes one associates with porters hold off until the finish;

279/1260) Beer Academy:  Holiday Dubbel by Six Pints Specialty Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.5%, 18 ibu;  rich, herbal, nearly medicinal nose;  rich, spiced fruitcake taste;

I purchased one of 280 wax dipped bottles to take home.  It is lined up alongside some other delights of the season.

And another reason to love this time of year:

December 12, 2014

277/1258) Rotary Glen, Brampton:  Old Vienna by Molson-Coors of Ontario:  *1/2;  O.V. was brewed by Carling O'Keefe back in the day;  an old school lager;  grainy with a hint of hops;  for old times' sake - a retro choice;

The occasion was the office Christmas party.

December 11, 2014

276/1257) Home:  Allgäuer Oka Bier by Privatbrauereu Höss of Germany:  *1/2;  5.2%;  straw colour;  sweet fruity malty nose;  hint of fruit with grainy malt;

From this rather fun multi-pack:

December 9, 2014

I am advised that I should be outraged.

While I cannot support secret deals sponsored by an accountable government, the concept of a negotiated border between The Beer Store and the LCBO is not causing me to wet my bed, though I cannot speak for other beer bloggers.  I suppose for a paper that would put a video of a dieting politician visiting a KFC outlet at the very top of their on-line edition this makes for Big News but it is hardly Woodward and Bernstein in the real world.

I have written here before that I explicitly do not want the LCBO to be carrying twelve or twenty-four packs.  I am sufficiently annoyed by the preponderance of sixes.  The LCBO is a zero sum game.  Those facings people want devoted to large beer packages are going to push other items off the shelf.  The Beer Store has the room, let them have that corner of the business.  Instead of allowing this to distract us, I think we would do better to focus on ways to improve the methods of beer distribution in Ontario for the smaller brewers.  Let's call it the right decision for the wrong reason and condemn the process, but not necessarily the result.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

December 7, 2014

275/1256) Home:  Jaw Gate by Buxton Brewery of England:  **;  5.6%;  an American style IPA;  "created and named to celebrate a recent 'slight altercation", the details of which remain obscure;  piney nose;  soft piney notes;

December 5, 2014

273/1254) Tracks Brewpub:  Tracks (New) Light by Tracks Brewpub of Ontario:  *1/2;  berry-like nose;  it is quite minerally, almost metallic - it's sort of like a cream ale;  it really is not as bad as the regulars are making out but I fear management has lost confidence with this brew - they are rather aggressively promoting Black and Tans, a mixture of Tracks Light and their Old Mill, as a means of using it up;

A random Tracks thought:  Is Melodie wearing those clear, non-prescription glasses to scare off the wolves?  It's not working.

Oh, yes, and I was mocked mercilessly for sniffing my glass and recording tasting notes.  A Rat Pack style sense of humour is useful if you sit at the bar at Tracks.

274/1255) Home:  Black Wych by Wychwood Brewery of England:  **;  a "spellbinding porter";  5%;  brewed with barley and oats;  grainy roasty nose;  flavours of grain, roast with chocolate notes;

December 4, 2014

272/1253) Home:  Warlock by Southern Tier of New York. U.S.A.:  **;  from Southern Tier's Blackwater series, an imperial stout brewed "to counterpoint our Imperial Pumking";  it weighs in at 8.6%,  which is the same as Pumking;  brewed with spices but no pumpkin as opposed to Pumking which uses both;  for fun I tasted these side by side:  Pumking is clear and the presence of pumpkin and spices is reflected in the nose;  Warlock is dark and opaque and while it lacks pumpkin it tastes of pumpkin pie spices;  flavours associated with stouts like roasty malt makes its presence known at finish with mild chocolate notes;

December 3, 2014

271/1252)  Home:  Pumpkin Ale by Steamworks Brewing Co. of British Columbia:  **1/2;  6.5%, 25 ibu;  brewed with pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves;  clear, very low carbonation;  perhaps a bit spice heavy but only a bit;  tastes like Mom's pumpkin pie which is to say, outstanding;

December 2, 2014

269/1250)  Home:  Kürbis-Bombe Märzen  by Six Pints Specialty Brewing Company of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.5%, 16 ibu;  purchased at the Beer Academy;  brewed with forty Fairytale Pie pumpkins (roasted) and added to the mash, spices added to the boil;  fresh pumpkin nose with spices;  flavours are an ideal blend of pumpkin and spices;

270/1251)  Home:  Eureka Cream Ale by Bell City Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  5.8%;  a pre-prohibition style cream ale brewed with four malts and four hops;  malty nose with a mild hop edge;  tastes a bit sweet with a mildly hoppy finish;

December 1, 2014

267/1248) Home:  Fat Jack Double Pumpkin by Boston Brewing Company of Massachusetts, U.S.A.:   **;   8.5%;  brewed with pumpkin - 28 pounds per barrel - , cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice; spiced nose - there is pumpkin but it is largely over-shadowed;  after letting it sit for a bit, the pumpkin becomes more present in the nose;  flavours of alcohol and a blend of pumpkin and spice with the spice winning out; spiced after taste;

268/1249)  Home:  Downhill Pale Ale by Collingwood Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5.4%;  nose is fresh, floral, earthy hops;  similar flavours;  I've had the same sort of thing, much more aggressively hopped, and this is a welcome alternative;

Some more seasonal beers:

Some tinned beers:

Sunday, 7 December 2014

November 30, 2014

266/1247) Home:  Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  *;  10%;  brewed with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, roasted pumpkins;  very strongly spiced nose;  tastes over-overpoweringly spiced;  maybe aging would take the edge off but for now it is scarcely drinkable;

November 28, 2014

264/1245) Home:  Monster Mash by Barn Door Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  7.5%;  deep chestnut colour;  creamy head;  dark sugary nose;  dark burnt sugar notes;  hints of root beer, even chocolate;  surprisingly complex;

265/1246) Home:  Saphir Hop Ale by Alexander Keith's of Ontario:  **;  5.5%;  clear; nose like Chinese tea;  hints of tannins, citrusy notes;  black tea notes;

November 27, 2014

262/1243)  C'est What:  Perry Loved Mary by Old Flame Brewing Co. .of Ontario:  **;  6.3%, 81 ibu;  very floral hoppy nose;  sweet, herbal, floral, almost gingery hop notes;  there is an underlying sweetness in spite of the high ibu figure;

263/1244) C'est What:  Cuckoo For Cocoa Husks by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **1/2;  on cask;  a porter brewed with cocoa husks added directly to the mash;  very thin mouthfeel;  persistent beige head;  mild mocha nose with milk chocolaty mocha flavours;

I drove an hour to Guelph to buy this, and then I turned around and headed back home but I hadn't had a chance to try it yet and when I saw it on cask I had to taste it that way.  It was necessary to call up a Youtube video from 1974 in order for my son to appreciate, if not get, the joke.

November 26, 2014

261/1242) Home:  Jumpin' Jack India Pumpkin Ale by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  6.5%, 65 ibu;  nose is sharp, earthy hops - the spices are almost entirely over-shadowed; opens with spice but hops quickly rush to the front throughout the finish and after taste with just a touch of spice remaining;

November 25, 2014

260/1241) Home:  Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  2014 Reserve St. Ambrose Russian Imperial Stout by McAuslan of Quebec:  ***;  9.2%;   rather than using chocolate malt, the barley was roasted;  there is so much going on in both the nose and the flavours but  what I took most from this was how warming it was and how long the flavours lingered - one of the longest finishes I can recall;  the nose is wine and coffee;  flavours of sharp red wine, molasses, raisins, figs, chocolate, vanilla;  it was quite an experience;

In recent years, the LCBO has alternated on an annual basis between carrying McAuslan's Vintage Ale and their Russian Imperial Stout.  Last year McAuslan came up with a work-around and released three vintages in one package.  This year, the year of the 25th anniversary of their Russian Imperial Stout, it is not listed at the LCBO.  McAuslan responded by shipping twenty-five kegs of the Russian Imperial Stout to twenty-five Ontario pubs and set a time of 8:25 at which the kegs will be tapped.  I was expecting a count-down like New Year's Eve but it was all very subdued.  Best of all, I managed to get the very first glass.  Quite a number of samples were handed out but that's the sort of place the Monk's Kettle is.

This very nearly did not happen.  The previous night an unusually heavy thunderstorm knocked out power in Etobicoke and the Monk's Kettle was without refrigeration. They set three kegs on ice, including this one.  It made for sparse selection for those not drinking the RIS.

November 23, 2014

259/1240) Home:  The Witty Traveller by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.2%, 15 ibu;  brewed with malted barley and wheat, orange peel zest, coriander, white pepper;  the tin reads, "The Witty Traveller has finally arrived!  With spices from the East, the fruits of the South and yeasts of the North enveloped in tastes and aromas of far flung places"  clear pale colour; coriander, peppery nose;  tastes of spice with a touch of smoke;  I suspect this would be even better to cook with than to drink;

November 21, 2014

256/1237) Beer Academy:  Imperial Stout by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  9.07%. 50 ibu;  aged for 6 months;  their suggested pairing is "cold nights and great friends"  nose is bitter dark chocolate and mocha; notes of alcohol, mocha, roast, rich and smooth;

This became available today - I had been hearing about it for quite a while.  This is the draught version but I also took a bottle home.

257/1238)  Thirsty and Miserable:  Weendigo Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout by Forked River Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2; nose is dark roasted coffee, wine, bourbon, oak;  flavours of deep, dark, rich espresso, oak;

258/1239)  Thirsty and Miserable:  Saison du Gilligan, a collaboration between Great Lakes Brewing and Bar Hop, both of Ontario:  **1/2;  a cloudy saison brewed with guava;  the aspects I do not care for in saisons are ably masked by the addition of guava;  fresh tropical fruit nose;  delicious guava flavours with a bit of a hop bite at the finish;

I was thinking at the time, and clearly it's a two-beer plus idea, but as I am more likely at this point in my life to be blessed with grand-children than with children, if I put a twenty dollar bill in an envelope every time I am paid, in a couple of years I will have one thousand dollars in cash with which I can reward the first child of mine who presents us with a grand-child named Gilligan.  I will accept it as a middle name.

The above is a good representation of the sort of mood that Thirsty and Miserable puts me in.  Katie's latest chalkboard entries read, "please be advised we do not provide lemons, limes or straws", "stuff that is not beer - if it is not listed here we do not have it" and "we do (not) serve pitchers".  I have been trying for several months without success to tout a family or work event there.

November 20, 2014

255/1236)  Home:  Dial "Z" For Zwickel by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.7%; Wild Oats Series No. 44;  the German Beer Institute defines Zwickelbiers as "essentially an effervescent form of a Bavarian Kellerbier but generally brewed slightly weaker and less hop-accented";  I dare say, I like this more than most Kellerbiers I have tried;  the nose is pretty much a equal blend of hops and malt;  almost pilsner like flavours;  Euro hops are blunted by malt, followed by a bitter after taste;

Thursday, 20 November 2014

November 19, 2014

In terms of "audience" in the past week, France has leaped ahead of Germany into third place.

I asked after the new, renewed even, Tracks home brew (which was set to debut on Sunday) but it is not available yet.  A couple of people have tried it.  The individual I spoke with - he is a lawyer and that is about all I am going to say about him  - was not a fan but that could mean so many things.  Few people are fans of my favourite beers but then again, no one likes a spoiled beer either.  If I don't go for this one there isn't much in the way of alternatives at Tracks though my attorney acquaintance has spent a lot of time trying to convert people into whiskey sour drinkers.

Maybe I will visit Dum Dum's more often, if only because I like saying the name.

November 18, 2014

254/1235) Fionn MacCool's, Brampton:  Schmucker Meister Pils by Privat-Brauerei Schmucker of Germany:  *1/2;  malty, notes of berries, with a subdued hop edge and a mild, Saaz-like after taste;  it was served a bit too cold for my liking and I am seldom one to say that;

If truth be told I was feeling a bit of a schmuck at the time.  It turns out that when a fund-raiser is going on at a Chapters those books marked at $20.00 sell for $29.95 if you tell the cashier you are participating.  I was under the impression that I was only donating my Plum card points.  At any rate, I returned a day later and they made things right (I had purchased several copies) and the next time I am harangued at a Chapters I will demur.

November 17, 2014

253/1234) Home:  Dark Helmüt Imperious Schwartzbier by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **;  7.3%;  Wild Oats Series No. 23; not surprisingly, it is very dark;  soft, fine perisitent head;  grainy, chocolatey nose with wine-like notes;  faint chocolate notes;  an ever so slightly off beat dark ale;  from Beau's Oktoberfest four-pack;

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

November 15, 2014

252/1233) Home:  Porter by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  ** ;  this was a growler brewed on site at the historical brewery as opposed to the product available at the LCBO;    as per usual there is no head, no carbonation;  the nose is mocha and strong coffee;  notes of roasted coffee, chocolate;

I recall that when I was participating as the "brewers apprentice" the ground barley had bits of wheat in it.  In the nineteenth century the brewer was not necessarily the miller's top priority and the wheat was ground first.  Some would be left behind, mixed in with the final product when he got around to milling the barley- authenticity with a vengeance.

I had promised that I would return the to Adelaide Street location of The 3 Brewers and I had also broadly hinted to my daughter that we would go there soon so I took care of both commitments today.  It was very quiet in there.  Perhaps it was because we were eating an unusually early dinner.  We were told that the place was packed the previous night.  I wonder if that is how this is going to play out.  It is very much in a Monday to Friday part of town.

November 13, 2014

251/1232)  Home:  Rickard's Lederhosen by Molson Coors of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 6.5% Oktoberfest style lager;  copper coloured;  fruity maltiness with a  lingering Saaz hop bite;

A pair of Oktoberfest beers:

November 12, 2014

The latest idea for improving beer distribution is an odd one.  The Powers That Be are pondering allowing the LCBO to carry twelve-packs.  I have been thinking that all those six packs take up way too much room as it is.  I hate to think what allowing larger packaging will do to the amount of space available and by extension the variety of beer that can be stocked.

November 11, 2014

250/1231)  The 3 Brewers, Adelaide Richmond Centre:  Bear Street Stout by The 3 Brewers, Ontario: **1/2;   5.5%, 32 ibu;  this is their Neighbourhood Beer, so named because Bay Street was at one time called Bear Street on account of the fact that bears were known to roam it;  it is a nitrogen tap which lends a creamy mouthfeel; oats add their own richness and smoothness to the blend;  the nose is a mix of coffee and chocolate;  similarly there is a mix of the two in the taste with a light body and a creamy head;  the finish is surprisingly sweet with a touch of fruit;

The new Adelaide Street location does have a good street visibility and it can be reached by way of the underground which makes it conveniently accessible from such far flung locations as Union Station and the St. Andrew subway station, even the Toronto Eaton Centre, provided The Bay is open.  Mind, if you are at the Eaton Centre you are across the street from the Toronto's first 3 Brewers.

It was the middle of the afternoon and things were slow so they had time to give me the Royal treatment.  I was shown all around and I even met the brewmaster.  It backs on to a square between office towers which lends a nice setting in which to dine and there is only one flight of stairs to the loo, not the journey required at the Yonge Street location.  I should caution that even without the benefit of a couple of beers on board the images on the ladies' and the gents' room are distressingly similar so until this is improved upon do please be careful.

I suppose this makes me an example of why declaring Remembrance Day a statutory holiday might not be a good idea.  In my defense I was off because we were on skeleton staff, firm-wide, and I did attend the Service of Remembrance in front of the Soldiers' Tower at the University of Toronto that morning and even though we were warned we all jumped out of our shoes when the cannons at Queen's Park were fired.

Monday, 10 November 2014

November 10, 2014

249/1230) Home:  Gryphon Gold Lager by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **; 4.5%;  brewed in Guelph to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the University of Guelph; pours blonde;  brewed with Saaz hops, which is not always a plus where I am concerned;  a refreshing lager/pilsner hybrid of sorts;  the Saaz hops are under-stated; it's like an edgy lager with a mildly sweet after-taste;

My first post-procedure beer was brewed in honour of my second son's University (not only that, he tracked it down and brought it here to me as well) and drank from a University of Waterloo Engineering glass given to me by my first son.  Those two stars may owe a bit to sentiment.

Speaking of anniversaries, today is the thirtieth anniversary of the Mississauga train derailment and I had the best view possible.  I was at a University of Toronto party at the top of the CN Tower.  The whole sky lit up.  It was quite something.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

November 8, 2014

Well this is a revolting development.

Today is International Stout Day, I had a couple of choices lined up but I cannot partake. Two days ago I visited an endodontist for a root canal and left after experiencing an extraction.  On the bright side, it is/was a back molar, the tooth I am least likely to miss, the decision that the infection was too severe for the tooth to be saved came quickly and an extraction cost me, or more accurately two insurance companies, one thousand dollars less than the root canal would have.  I should also be happy that the swelling is mostly gone and I only took two of the pain tablets I was prescribed and I'm not certain I really needed the second one.

The sad part is that I was sent home with a long list of instructions which include avoiding not only spicy foods, which is mostly what I eat, but solids in general until the wound heals.  I cannot smoke for five to seven days (and I was seriously considering taking up smoking this weekend - I tried it once and I cannot believe these people who say it is hard to quit:  I could scarcely start.) and worst of all I am to avoid alcohol for three days which turn out to be Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I would have thought the alcohol would sterilize the area but they say it would weaken the clot that is forming.

So I am not a whole lot of fun until Monday.  Sorry.

November 7, 2014

I hear tell that The 3 Brewers Adelaide Street location is finally open, nearly a year overdue.  I am looking forward to a visit to experience the atmosphere and to try their neighbourhood beer - a stout, which sounds like it might be pretty good.

November 5, 2014

248/1229) Home:  Happy Pilsner by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.3%; Wild Oats No. 07;  a Bohemian pilsner;  the Euro-hops are not overly prominent in the nose and taste;  otherwise it's a typical pilsner, just easier on the sharp hops than many;  from Beau's Oktoberfest four-pack;

November 2, 2014

This will no doubt mark me as unsophisticated but I have to admit that I miss Watney's Red Barrel.  I gather that this was the beer that was the last straw in the eyes of the founders of CAMRA, the Campaign For Real Ale but back when there was an Elephant & Castle in the Eaton Centre I regularly enjoyed this beer, undoubtedly because of its prominent and frequent mention in Monty Pythons's travel agent sketch.  I used to order John Smith's Yorkshire Bitters as well.

It may not have been "good" beer but it was distinct from what was more readily available and it was another step on the road in my infatuation with craft beer.

November 1, 2014

247/1228) The Iron Duke Room at Wellington Country Brewery:  Farmers' Market Carved Out Pumpkin Ale by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.6%;  sweet spiced nose;  pumpkin spice flavours;  brewed with 100 locally grown pumpkins, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger;

The last time I was here was in 2000 for the Ale Trail.  We met the old fellow who started the venture and I fondly remember the bowls of chocolate chips he had set out to accompany their Porter.  It was a fine porter but sadly this was discontinued not long after.

October 30, 2014

A few favourites have returned to the shelves for the season:

October 29, 2014

In spite of the fact that I have a connection at Fanshaw I had to learn of this through the always informative Mom and Hops website:


Saturday, 8 November 2014

October 28, 2014

A few reasons I did not attend Cask Days, in spite of the plethora of exciting beers available:

First off, it costs between $35 and $65 depending on how many sessions one chooses to attend.

Tokens are $2.50 each.  A five ounce pour is one token and for imports it costs two tokens.  This works out to $20.00 for a pint of an imported beer.

It's all to rich for me but I gather the place is packed (another reason against in my view) so they are managing very well without me and my wish for Cask Days is that it continues to flourish.

October 27, 2014

245/1226) Home:  Oktober Fest Bier by Barn Door Brewing Co. of Ontario:  *1/2;  6.5%;  bready nose;  muted Saaz hops add an edge to the sweet finish;

246/1227) Home:  Pale Ale by Side Launch Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  5.3%, 35 ibu;  formerly known as Denison's;  tin reads 44⁰ 29' 55" N 80⁰14' 52" W which I suspect are the co-ordinates of their Collingwood location or maybe the Collingwood ship yards; floral hop nose;  floral, herbal notes with a dry bitter finish and a sweet malty after taste;

October 26, 2014

244/1225) Home:  Pumpkin Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery at Black Creek Pioneer Village:  **;   5%;  brewed authentically, with no carbonation and unfiltered hence there is a bit of yeast sediment on bottom;  brewed Oct 17;  subtle pumpkin nose with spice;  full sweet pumpkin flavours; purchased in a two litre growler;

I tried this side by side with the "mass produced" version, brewed by Trafalgar in Oakville and the version available at the LCBO is more one dimensional - it is spiced, but there is not so much pumpkin as the one I bought on site.  What pumpkin there is doesn't taste as fresh and there is an artificial sweetness to it as well.

I have listed this as new since brewed at Black Creek Pioneer Village and not contracted out.

October 25, 2014

243/1224) beerbistro:  La Résolution by Unibroue of Quebec:  **1/2;  10%;  the nose reminds me of Christmas with its blend of spices;  notes of ginger, cinnamon, star anise; it may not have exactly suited the mood created by watching Toronto's Zombie Walk but I anticipate several more warming glasses of this in the coming cold weather;

October 24, 2014

241/1222) Caffe Volo:  Victory at Sea (with Cacao and Peppers) by Ballast Point of California:  **;   a 10% coffee vanilla imperial porter;  on cask;  hot pepper spices;  coffee vanilla nose;  very hot and spicy throughout with dark coffee notes;  I am reminded of Mexican hot chocolate;

I usually drink beer to deal with the sensations I was experiencing.  Mercifully, the barmaid had warned me and had counselled me to go with less than a pint.  It might have been fatal otherwise.  This was a Cask Days one-off, brewed with cacao nibs and Bhut Jolakia ghost peppers, which can be quite pungent, as my late mother-in-law would say. I would absolutely try this one again and I look forward to encountering the original, un-peppered version as well.

242/1223) Caffe Volo:  Northern Hemisphere Fresh Hopped Harvest Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada of California:  *1/2;  a 6.7% wet hopped IPA;  on cask;  the promise given by the strong floral hop nose is not filled by the mellow flavours - a disappointment;

It was uncommonly bright in the Volo.  They appear to have installed some light fixtures which to my mind hurts the atmosphere of the place but I might be saying this because I look more handsome in the dark.

October 20, 2014

I made the trip into Orwell's with the express purpose of ordering a stein of Steam Whistle.  For $16.00 you get to keep the stein.  I couldn't resist.  It is a very fine stein indeed and best of all the keg had just been changed.  Steam Whistle gets a lot of abuse from a certain crowd but at its freshest it is a very fine beer.  It does suffer, more than a good many beers, from sitting around a while and uncleaned draught lines.

October 18, 2014

239/1220) Home:  La Saison du Tracteur by Le Trou du Diable of Quebec:  *1/2; a 6% Farmer's Strong Ale, brewed with barley, wheat and rye;  thick head of very fine bubbles; hazy;   yeasty, spiced nose;  peppery spiced notes;  bitter dry after taste;  as saisons go this is pretty nice;

240/1221) Home:  Rauchstack by Beau's All Natrual Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 6.9% smoked Dunkel from Beaus' Okoberfest pack;  wild Oats #43;  pours as dark as a stout; grainy chocolate nose;  like a standard dunkel with added notes of chocolate and subtle smokiness at finish and after taste;  I like Dunkels but don't care much for smokiness - here the smokiness is nicely under-played;

Thursday, 6 November 2014

October 16, 2014

If truth be told, it has been a while since Tracks Brewpub has truly been a brewpub.  The brewing had been contracted out and it made for a more consistent product.  The thing was, the equipment is still occupying space where a couple of tables, or even a pool table, could be.  This is about to change.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Brian again.  He had been called in on a one-off basis to get things set up again.  At one time way back he was looking after the brewing at Tracks.  The plan is to create an Extra Special Bitter in the style of Fuller's ESB, using Saaz but mostly Fuggles hops.

There will not likely be beer to taste until the middle of November but I can hardly wait.

October 13, 2014

238) Home:  Scotch Silly by Brasserie de Silly of Belgium:  **1/2;  8%;  dark brown, almost black;  nose is alcohol,  dark sugar;  rich taste of sweet, dark, raw burnt sugar with a sugary finish;   a slow sipper;  I couldn't resist the name but I would buy it in an instant for the taste;

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

October 12, 2014

237/1218) Home:  Pilsner by Steamworks Brewing Co. of British Columbia:  *1/2;  5%, 30 ibu; straw colour;  Steamworks is located in the Gastown area of Vancouver; the steam line that powers the famous Gastown steam clock runs past the brewery and powers their mash tun and brew kettle as well;  grassy nose;  a farily standard pilnser with a great story behind it;

October 11, 2014

236/1217) Home:  Obscur Désir Stout Impériale by Brasseurs du Temps of Quebec:  **1/2;  9%;  alcohol is the most prminent feature of the nose along with bitter espresso;  very strong flavours of bitter dark roasted coffee and alcohol;

Friday, 24 October 2014

October 10, 2014

On the occasion of my 1000th post I thought it would be interesting to take a look up at the audience.

Not surprisingly, Canadians are the most frequent viewers followed by Americans. Germany comes in third place.  Russia is fourth followed closely by France.  Sweden sits comfortably in sixth with the United Kingdom in seventh.  The final three spots of the top ten are a race between Turkey, Poland and Malaysia.

In terms of browsers, Internet Explorer is in first place but with less than 50% of the page views attributed to it.  Just over a quarter of views are on Chrome and 18% are on Firefox.  Seven other browsers make up the remaining seven percent.

In terms of operating systems, Windows reigns supreme at 72% of views with Linux at 13%, Macintosh at nine percent and seven other systems at one percent or less.

October 9, 2014

Still no sign of the Richmond Adelaide Centre 3 Brewers but I did learn a couple of things today, beyond the fact that this year there is no special Oktoberfest menu.

First off, the bottles are gone.  I did like La Belle Province and while the others were on my list I never did try them and my reason may be a pointer towards why they stopped making them. , These were 750ml bottles and they were uniformly of higher than usual alcohol content so either they were the only drink of the lunch or you needed to be accompanied by someone of similar taste to share a bottle with.

Further, the seasonal selection has been replaced by the neighbourhood beer, different for each location.  Readers will recall that I favoured Oakville's over Toronto's Yonge and Dundas brew.

October 7, 2014

235/1216) C'est What:  Mild Mannered Reporter by Forked River Brewing of Ontario:  **; a 3.8% English mild with a sweet, bready nose;  malty with a touch of fruity hops;

This is brewed in London, Ontario.

October 6, 2014

234/1215) Home:  Scottish Ale by Highlander Brew Co. of Ontario:  **; 5.4%;  sweet and malty with a grainy finish and a sweet after taste;

October 4, 2014

233/1214) C'est What:  French Press Stout by Double Trouble Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.8%, 30 ibu;  sweet mocha nose;  rich delicious mocha flavours with a sweet finish;

Thursday, 23 October 2014

October 3, 2014

OK, we really are little more than poseurs.  Yet again, the media has pretty accurately summed up our crowd.


October 2, 2014

232/1213) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Red Racer ESB by Central City Brewing of British Columbia:  **;  5.5%;  very hoppy for an ESB;  strongly hopped nose, flavours and after taste;  if truth be told, it's more of an IPA than an ESB in my humble opinion;

October 1, 2014

Another beer I miss, again from Niagara Falls Brewery, is Olde Jack Strong Ale.  It was described as a strong bitter and with the large bottle size and the high octane content it was another good one to share.  It's funny how long some of these have been gone but I still remember them fondly.

September 30, 2014

In spite of myself, and at great risk to my beer geek street cred, I am on the verge of warming to The Beer Store.  They are now carrying Delirium Tremens, the beer the LCBO would not carry.

September 27, 2014

230/1211) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Pumpkin Porter by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  6%; nose is sweet mocha;  pumpkin is most prominent at finish and after taste and it is pumpkin, not simply pumpkin spices, as is often the case;

231/1212) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Bad Seed by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  **;  5.2%;  an unfiltered wheat beer, brewed with pomegranate juice;  light, airy tropical nose;  cidery mouth feel;  fresh pomegranate flavours;

September 23, 2014

Another ludicrously successful hop harvest.

September 22, 2014

Oh, dear.  I have been exposed.


September 21, 2014

228/1209) Home:  Saison by Four Winds Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  6.5%, 30 ibu;  hazy;  spiced yeasty nose;  peppery spice with a hopped edge;

229/1210) Home:  DeuS Brut des Flanders by Brouwerij Bosteels of Belgium:  *1/2;   the label on the bottle reads 11.5%,however the sticker the LCBO slapped on indicates 9.7% abv;  the nose is yeasty with a touch of cider and peppery spice; towards finish cidery bubbliness makes its presence known;   it's a bit like a saison but very floral, with herbal, botanical notes;

There is a bit of a story behind this beer.  It is brewed, fermented and matured in Belgium.  Then it is shipped to France where it is re-fermented in the bottles and the traditional"remuage" and "dégorgement" procedures commonly associated with champagne take place.

This is another one that was a bit of work to find.  The first time it came to Ontario a mere 240 bottles were available and I had no luck at all finding it, even at the price.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

September 20, 2014

226/1207) Home:  Black Watch Brune by Brasseur de Montreal of Quebec:  **1/2;  a 4.7%, 25 ibu; Scottish ale;  nose is sweet, malty, dark sugary;  rich, roasty sweet malt flavours; another superior British style beer brewed in Quebec;

227/1208) Home:  Swiss Mountain Appenzeller Bier by Brasseur Locher of Switzerland *;  4.8%; clear pale straw colour;  Euro-hop bite;  bready nose; a bit one note;

When we were in Switzerland we saw Calanda Brau everywhere.  Eventually I learned to like it.

September 18, 2014

222/1203) C'est What:  Admiral Tiberius Pale Ale by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  4%, 40 ibu;  nose is tropical fruit;  dry earthy hop flavours with a bitter finish;

I was pretty happy to finally find this one after coming so close a few weeks ago.

223/1204) C'est What:  Werner Stengel IPA by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  6.2%, 59 ibu;  Werner Stengel is a German roll-coaster designer/engineer; he designed the first roller-coaster loop;  fresh fruity herbal nose;  floral, fruity hops with a sharp edge;

224/1205) C'est What:  Italian Backyard Pale Ale by 5 Paddles Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.2%, 35 ibu;  the first thing I noticed was that nose of basil;  it's your standard pale ale flavours with a basil finish;  it would be great to cook with;  "reminiscent of a long summer days picking and peeling tomatoes in Nonna's Backyard";

225/2106) C'est What:  Uncle Kev's Milk Stout by 5 Paddles Brewing of Ontario:  **; 6.5%, 18 ibu;  nose is sweet milk chocolate, mocha;  very sweet mocha flavours; usual four ingredients plus corn;  the bartender suggested it was a great dessert;  the website opines,  "as memorable as one of Uncle Kev's stories"

Sunday, 12 October 2014

September 17, 2014

221/1202) Home:  Uber Berliner Style Weisse by Nickel Brook of Ontario: *1/2;  "Das People's (sic) Bier";  3.8%, 31 ibu;  cidery nose;  as tart as an aspirin tablet;  a one note beer but it is a reasonably good note at that;

September 14, 2014

220/1201) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Dunkel by Oast House Brewrey of Ontario:  **;  5.4%;  very dark; grainy, chocolate nose;  chocolate notes but not overly sweet with a mildly dry finish;

September 13, 0214

219/1200) Home:  Duvel Tripel Hop by Duvel Moortgat of Belgium:  **;  a 9.5% Belgian golden ale with extra hops;  Duvel is traditionally brewed with two varieties of hops; Duvel tripel Hop is brewed with a third that changes regularly;  the two constant hop varieties are Saaz and Golding and the third is Mosaic;  the nose is earthy, almost musty;  sweet opening followed by sharp hopiness and a fruity finish;

September 12, 2014

218/1199) The 3 Brewers, Oakville:  The Neighbourhood Beer - The Chate Trick by the 3 Brewers of Ontario:  **;  6.5%, 35 ibu;  our server described this to me as half way between a cream ale and a stout;  amber colour with a fresh yeast nose;  sweet minerally notes against roasty flavours;  the website describes this as a pre-prohibition style cream ale but a tip of the hat goes to the server because there are definitely stout elements to this beer;

Chate Trick is explained as Oakville slang for an unfair deal.

The 3 Brewers have been up to quite a bit of late.  The Adelaide-Richmond Centre location, promised for the end of 2013 is now scheduled to open in a couple of months. It will certainly be an interesting venture.  This is very much a jacket and tie, nine to five, part of town so the crowd will be very different than the crowd at Yonge and Dundas.  I only hope they find that they can stay busy enough in the evenings but if they have enough of a streetfront presence, as opposed to an indoors shopping mall frontage, it might work. For me, it is much closer to Union Station so it might be my first choice come the cold months when I hope to see their Winter Warmer return.

In addition, the 3 Brewers has announced plans to open a location in Liberty Village at 99 Atlantic Avenue, which is very close to where Big Rock has announced that it will open a Big Rock Urban Brewery and Eatery.

As if this wasn't a lot, the menu promises new locations on Yonge Street, between Sheppard and Finch, in North York and in Mississauga where Baton Rouge used to be (I think) all due "end 2014".

September 11, 2014

MADD Canada has partnered with the Niagara College Teaching Brewery and others to create and market an alcohol free lager to be sold at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobey's and Metro stores in Canada.

Garrison Keillor once opined that, "The man who invented near-beer was a damn poor judge of distance" but if this is actually drinkable, and experience compels me to fear otherwise, anyone who says they drink for the taste and not the alcohol will be presented with a challenge.

September 10, 2014

The province has announced that it intends to sell the Queen's Quay LCBO outlet and warehouse.  Prospective buyers, which is to say condominium developers, will be on the hook to provide a new head office location and LCBO store in the area and it is a safe bet that the historical boards will have things to say about preserving features of the buildings in question.

This notion has been floated before so I am not especially worried but I would miss the Queen's Quay LCBO as they tended to carry all of the off beat releases and they were only a marginally ambitious walk from the GO train and GO bus terminals.  Just the same, one should never underestimate Toronto's lust to stain its waterfront with ever more condominiums.  And they dare to mock the 905 area.

September 9, 2014

Sort of a sad day what with the news that Mr. Greenjeans has closed after thirty four years at Toronto's Eaton's Centre.  Their beer selection didn't get much wilder than Tankhouse but I was reminded of other places I used to like from that era.  Growlers, as I have mentioned far too many times, is gone and missed but I had the opportunity to visit the Red Tomato a while back, downstairs from Fred's Not Here.  It looked tired.  It hadn't really changed much, design-wise, since the 1980s and what was downright bizarre was the fact that there were different menus depending on where you sat.  There was one menu for the tables but if you fancied something on the bar menu you had to get up and move no more than a couple of steps and sit at the bar.  I used to like this place a lot back in the day but I cannot picture myself going out of my way to visit again.

September 8, 2014

217/1198) Home:  Midnight Sun Espresso Stout by Yukon Brewing Company of Yukon Territory: **1/2;  6.1%;  "beer worth freezing for";  brewed with ground coffee;  the nose reminds me of C'est What's Coffee Porter was like some years ago with very strong coffee ground aromas;  strong dark coffee notes with sweet roastiness, very nearly mocha flavours;

To date, I have made notes on beers from all of the provinces, save for Newfoundland (and Nicholas Pashley has written compellingly on Newfoundland's brewing scene so I know it is only a matter of time) and two of the territories.

This was purchased with a number of others at an SAQ steps away from our hotel in Gatineaux.  The SAQ is Quebec's equivalent of Ontario's LCBO.  It seems to exist aside numerous other beer outlets. Whether by chance or design, the smaller stores seem to focus on Quebec beers - I don;t know if I saw any local beers at the SAQ - while the SAQ carried a number of very fine imported beers.  The SAQ did feature a number of local wines, however.

September 7, 2014

216/1197) Home;  McChouffe by Brasserie d'Achouffe of Belgium:  **1/2;  8%;  an Ardennes strong beer;  chestnut colour;  sweet, dark sugar nose; rich, warming burnt sugar, dried fruit flavours with a hint of alcohol at the finish;

Having enjoyed their other beers, I had been looking forward to this one for a long time. According to legend this came about as a Belgian's idea of what must have kept Scotsmen warm on cold winter nights in their stone castles.

September 6, 2014

215/1196) Home:  Bear Paw Honey Lager by Whistler Brewing Company of British Columbia:  *1/2;  5%;  brewed with BC honey;  "…be careful where you put your bottle down - we don't want to bring some 'friends' out of hibernation";  amber colour;  fresh honey nose;  tastes like slightly malty honey;  very sweet;  among honey beers this is the strongest honey flavoured so far;  it is very nearly a mead;

I have heard tell that meads are catching on in California so here's hoping the trend reaches Ontario soon.

From a mixed pack.  I have already written up more than one.

September 5, 2014

214/1195) Home:  le Stout café + vanille by Brasseur de Montreal of Quebec:  **1/2; 6.6%;  " CO2 neutral", I suppose until someone burps;  vanilla, chocolate, coffee nose; thick mouthfeel;  delicious sweet vanilla flavours, slightly dry after taste;  another excellent stout from Quebec;

Brasseur de Montreal is located in the Griffintown area of the city.

September 4, 2014

212/1193) Home:  le Seingeur Noir by Brasseurs du Monde of Quebec:  ***;  an 11.5% Imperial Stout;  the mouth feel is tiny bit fizzy;  surprising nose of port, coffee, alcohol.;  roasted coffee notes, sweet dried fruit with a bitter alcohol bite at the finish;  an outstanding stout, quite astonishingly good;

213/1194) Home:  Tailgate Pilsner by Grand River Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.5%;  pours cloudy;   grainy, grassy with mild hoppiness;  overall,  a fairly ordinary pilsner;

September 2, 2014

Staying with Niagara Falls Brewing Company, their Eisbock was consistently outstanding.  Each year's vintage was different so people with too much time on their hands were able to debate the merits of one over the other.  This was my first encounter with the style and it remains one of the best examples.  It was strong and it came in a large bottle so it was definitely one for sharing.

September 1, 2014

211/1192) Home:  La Vache Folle Porter Chicorée (edition Limitée) by Microbrasserie Charlevoix of Quebec:  **;  6.5%, 24 ibu;  brewed with sugar, fuggles hops and chicory, which is frequently employed as a substitute for coffee;   the nose is chicory scented; coffee flavours with a chocolate edge and a sugary finish;

While it is not precisely a porter it is a pretty good variation thereon, and ever so slightly off beat.  It's this sort of thing that makes exploring Quebec's beers so very much fun.

Purchased at a foodie/kitchenware/chocolate/cheese/lunch-counter/cafe sort of place in Gatineaux.

August 31, 2014

210/1191) Home:  Sir Johns A's Honey Wheat Ale by PEI Brewing Company of Prince Edward Island:  *1/2;  4.5%;  brewed with Prince Edward Island honey;  hazy, pale;  nose of fresh honey;  opens with rich honey, followed by sweet malt and a mildly hoppy finish;

August 30, 2014

208/1189) Home:  Cascade Simple Malt India Pale Ale Américaine by Brasseurs illimités of Quebec:  *1/2;  6.4%, 66 ibu;  maltiness very nearly over-shadows the hop nose; sweet maltiness with a dry hoppy finish;

209/1190) Home:  Elsinore by Phillips Brewing Company of British Columbia: *1/2; "authentically brewed and cold fermented";  grainy nose;  moderate hop notes;  pretty ordinary considering the brewer;

Thursday, 9 October 2014

August 29, 2014

206/1187) Home:  IIPA/IPA Imperiale by Frampton Brasse of Quebec:  **1/2;  fresh piney hop nose;  surprising malt presence but by the finish it is all about the hops;

207/1188) Home:  Raven Cream Ale by R & B Brewing Company of British Columbia:  *1/2;  4.8%  unpasteurized;  it is darker than most cream ales;  very minerally, almost metallic nose;  minerally bite with mild hop notes;  there are features unusal for a cream ale, yet it is undoubtedly of the variety;

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

August 28, 2014

204/1185) Home:  Porter by Labatts of Quebec:  *1/2;  I had no idea this was still made; it is only available in Quebec, which causes me to wonder why I shouldn't be able to get this in Ontario;  there is limited, which is to say no, information about this one on Labatts' website;  one could be forgiven for not identifying this as a porter;  it features unusually sweet notes of chocolate and coffee, even cola flavours;  I would say that it's OK, for a Labatts product it's very good but by no means is this my favourite porter;

Now I wonder if I will find Labatts IPA any time soon.

205/1186) Home:  The Bold - Belgian Pale Ale by Dead Frog of British Columbia:  **;  5%, 27 ibu;  unfiltered;  bitter, hoppy nose;  there is a bitterness, courtesy Cascade and Columbus hops that lingers into the after taste; towards the close, fruitiness and spices characteristic of Belgian beers come in to play;

August 26, 2014

203/1184) Home:  Double IPA by Brasserie McAuslan of Quebec:  *1/2;  8%;  soft finely bubbled head;  strong, sharp, piney nose;  bitter piney hop flavours but also a strong malt backdrop;  bitter finish;

Purchased at Broue Ha Ha in Gatineaux.  Broue Ha Ha can only be rivaled by the Beer Table at Grand Central Station in New York City.  They also carry chocolate, hot sauces and cheese.

August 25, 2014

202/1183) Home:  Let The Gruit Times Roll by Railway City Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2; 5.3%;  brewed using four 4 varieties of malted barley in addition to sage, rosemary, and black cumin;  spiced, herbed nose;  my first thought was that it was like liquid stuffing; my second thought was that this would be great to cook with which is what I did with the rest of the bottle - it added a whole new dimension to dinner;

This bottle is courtesy of my bother who has a skill for finding beers that are, basically, unavailable, witness his ability to come up with Black Coal Stout - one of my favourites.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

August 23, 2014

199/1180) Gananoque Brewing Company, Gananoque:  Cooper's Hawk by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;  named for a hawk startled in the ceiling during renovations;  an old school ale with sweet citrus notes;

200/1181) Gananoque Brewing Company, Gananoque:  Rhubarb Witbier by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2; the rhubarb is faint in the nose but much more prominent in the fruity flavours;

201/1182) Gananoque Brewing Company, Gananoque:  Black Bear Bock by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  very malty nose;  notes of roast, chocolate;  it is very nearly a stout;

Their new location is in an industrial bell tower.

August 21, 2014

198/1179) Brasseurs du Temps, Gatineaux:  Dumduminator by Brasseurs du Temps of Quebec:  *1/2;  8%;  a chestnut coloured Doppelweizenbock  named for their master brewer Dominique "Dumdum" Gosselin;  nose is banana and spice;  malty, slightly roasty,with notes of  banana;

August 20, 2014

193/1174) Stonewater Pub, Gananoque:  Stonewater Ale by Church Key Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  strictly speaking it is made with "help and guidance of the brewmaster at Churchkey Brewing";  I am reminded of Northumberland Ale;  it's a very old school ale;

The Stonewater Pub is a must visit for me whenever I am near Gananoque.

194/1175) Brasseurs du Temps, Gatineaux:  Carpe Diem by Brasseurs du Temps of Quebec:  *1/2;  6.5%;  a dry hopped Belgian IPA;  Belgian yeast with a  hop bite to the nose;  sweet yeastiness with a dry hop finish;  

195/1176) Brasseurs du Temps, Gatineaux:  L'Allumante by Brasseurs du Temps of Quebec:  **;  a 5.5% nut brown ale;  a tribute to Hull's match girls of last century;  a touch of nutty caramel with biscuit to nose;  malty and rich with a dry hoppy finish;

196/1177) Brasseurs du Temps, Gatineaux:  Au Pied Du Courant by Brasseurs du Temps of Quebec: **1/2;     a 6.5% dry hopped American IPA;  citrusy, piney nose;  very dry astringent finish;  full flavoured rich hoppiness;

197/1178) Brasseurs du Temps, Gatineaux:  La Nuit des Temps by Brasseurs du Temps of Quebec:  **1/2;  5.5% stout;  the nose features coffee, mocha, dark chocolate;  roasty flavours;

I continue to marvel at how so very many good stouts come from Quebec brewers.

Brasseurs du Temps is not far across the river from Ottawa - highly recommended.

August 19, 2014

192/1173) Harper's Burger Bar, Kingston:  Origin Wheat by MacKinnon Brothers Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  unfiltered;  honey coloured;  bananas and cloves to the nose;  sweet and yeasty in the Belgian style;

MacKinnon Brother Brewing opened in May of this year in Bath, Ontario.

Today we ate from two places featured on You Gotta Eat Here - lunch was from MLTDWN.

August 18, 2014

187/1168) Stone City Ales, Kingston:  12 Star Session Ale by Stone City Ales of Ontario:  **;  4.8%, 35 ibu;  citrusy nose;  bitter hop notes;

188/1169) Stone City Ales, Kingston:  Arabella Super Saison by Stone City Ales of Ontario:  *1/2;  7.5%, 25 ibu;  sweet yeasty nose;  peppery, spicy with a sweet finish;

189/1170) Stone City Ales, Kingston:  Yew-Es-Eh! by Stone City Ales of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.5%, 45 ibu;  an American Pale Ale;  grapefruity nose; delicious hop flavours;  dry, astringent finish;

190/1171) Kingston Brewing Company, Kingston:  Dragon's Breath Pale Ale by Kingston Brewing Company of Ontario:  *1/2;    an English style IPA;  mild British type hop nose; malty flavours;

This is distinct from their Dragon's Breath Real Ale, and for anyone who remembers, I think it is also distinct from Dragon's Breath Pale Ale by Hart Brewing but I could be wrong about that.  I hear tell it is brewed by McAuslan of Quebec which would explain the British feel to it.  I long for KBC's peanut pasta between visits.  I hope no one reading is allergic.

191/1172) Kingston Brewing Company, Kingston:  Dunkelnacht by Kingston Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  roasty nose;  flavours of chocolate and bananas;  banana notes are especially present in the finish;

We missed Nicholas Pashley by a day at Stone City, according to his Twitter messages.  The bar snacks were complimentary.  How can you beat that?  Absolutely worth several return visits.

They had announced that they would be closed the next day in order to catch up on beer production.  I can only hope that they are ready for the return of the students to Queen's University.

Flights are a great idea.

If you think it couldn't get better, the music is supplied by a turntable.  They had Brian Eno's Another Green World in perfect condition.

August 16, 2014

186/1167)  Home:  Jake the Snake by Lake of Bays of Ontario:  *1/2;  7.5%;  an  Imperial Pilsner aged in white oak barrels;  from the NHL Alumni series, Masked Men edition III; named for the first goaltender to don a mask, Jacques Plante;   pours a clear, straw colour;  unusually strongly hopped for a pilsner, with Columbus and Chinook hops;  the alcohol notes are prominent but for all this the backbone is the pilsner style, which is a style I hadn't imagined could be tinkered with to any degree;

August 14, 2014

184/1165) Home:  Colonel John Hamilton Gray Brown Ale by Prince Edward Island Brewing Company of Prince Edward Island:  **;  6.5%;  roasted malt nose;  rich, roasty flavours with note of unsweetened chocolate;  thin mouthfeel reminiscent of cask ale;

There were two (unrelated) Fathers of Confederation named Colonel John Hamilton Grey.  The drawing on this packaging is of the PEI Colonel Gray, and it dates from about the time of the Charlottetown Conference.  He served with the British Cavalry and was strongly in favour of confederation in 1864.  The other Colonel Gray was from New Brunswick and his career was with the local militia.

Our Colonel Gray boasted that he had a daughter born in each quadrant of the globe: the Red Sea, South Africa, Kent and Charlottetown.

185/1166) Home:  Premier George Coles Cream Ale by Prince Edward Island Brewing Company of Prince Edward Island:  *1/2;  5%;  a golden ale with a sweet nose and sweet minerally flavours;

George Coles was the first premier of PEI.  He was also a brewer and a distiller.

These are from the Gahan Series.  The packaging reads, "Dream big.  Work hard.  Drink Beer."  The Gahan House is a terrific brewpub in Charlottetown, PEI with fine beers and excellent fish and chips.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

August 11, 2014

183/1164) Home:  Aventinus Weizen Esibok 2013 Limited Edition by Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH of Germany:  *1/2;  12%; strong, plummy nose with alcohol notes;  flavours of cloves, bananas, plums, alcohol;  a bit too strong for my liking -  almost over the top;  a slow sipper for certain;

August 10, 2014

181/1162) Home:  1864 Blueberry Ale by Prince Edward Island Brewing Company of Prince Edward Island;  **;    4.5%;  from the Fathers four pack, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference ("Cheers to Confederation");   an unfiltered white ale brewed with Prince Edward Island wild blueberries;  there is some sediment at bottom of the bottle ; mild blueberry nose with a hint of wheat;  the blueberry is prominent but not overly so;  a good beer for the summer;

182/1163) Home:  Organic Apricot Ale by Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) of England:  **;  5.2%;  nose is like apricot cider;  sparkling sweet apricot;  fizzy, cidery;

August 9, 2014

180/1161) Home:  Rogue Farms 19 Original Colonies Mead by Rogue Brewery of Oregon:  **;   the label listing the ingredients reads 5.2% abv but the one applied by the LCBO indicates 6.6%;     19 Colonies refers to their 19 colonies of bees;  brewed with wild flower honey, jasmine green tea leaves and champagne yeast;  clear with a sweet honeyed nose;  fruity candy like sweetness to start;  tart and cidery with champagne like notes;

The bees that produce Rogue Farms Hop Farm honey feed on blackberries, raspberries, cherries, lavender, pumpkin, corn, woodruff, rye and all seven varieties of Rogue hops.

August 8, 2014

176/1157) C'est What:  Bell Ringer IPA by Gananoque Brewing Company of Ontario:  **;  6.5%, 60 ibu;  earthy hop nose;  bitter, rooty hop flavours with a lingering bitter after taste;  it's no Train Wreck but it is good;  in fact it is a re-tooled Train Wreck with a less insensitive name given recent events and more in line with their new home in an historic building in Gananoque;

177/1158) C'est What:  Island Hopper by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  4.8%, 45 ibu;  on  cask, gravity feed;  a perfectly clear pale ale;  mildly gingery nose, watery mouth feel;  eminently quaffable;  largely washed out taste with a pleasant mild hoppiness;  a very upscale patio/lawn mower beer;  brewed with locally grown bee balm leaves;

178/1159) C'est What:  Ooh Mommy Cremini Mushroom Ale by Church Key of Omtario:  1/2;  7.0%;  mouldy, fungusy nose. like a booze -soaked mushroom;  mouldy, fungusy flavours with a touch of melon which makes no sense at all and a bizarre after taste;  I could barely finish it;    it took a Smashbomb to re-set my palate and my being in general after this tauma;

179/1160) The 3 Brewers:  Anthos by The 3 Brewers of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.3%, 20 ibu;  an unfiltered wheat beer brewed with rosemary;  spiced rosemary nose;  tastes of spices with a sweet finish and herbal bitter after taste;  

Anthos is the Greek/Latin word for rosemary.

August 7, 2014

175/1156) Home:  Hopbot IPA by Hop City of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.1%, 70 ibu;  citra, centennial, mosaic, summit and wllamette hops were used along with wheat and barley; fragrant floral nose with an earthy edge;  delicious hops, bright mildly citrusy;  a solid IPA for International IPA Day;

August 6, 2014

174/1155) Home:  Imperial Compass by Southern Tier of New York;  **1/2; 9%;   a bottle conditioned sparkling ale brewed with rose hips;  citrusy nose - lemon, grapefruit; refreshing citrusy hops, not over the top;

August 3, 2014

173/1154) Home:  Thirsty Beaver by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  a medium bodied amber ale with a sweet malty nose;  vaguely in the English style but leaning more towards the sweet and malty side;

Monday, 29 September 2014

August 2, 2014

171/1152) Home:  The Matador Version 2.1 El Toro Bravo by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;   a 10.1%  Imperial Dark Rye Ale aged on a bed of Spanish cedar;  the inside of the crown reads. "Be nice or leave - gossip responsibly";  very strong cedar nose;    sharp and peppery with sweet toffee notes; cedar and cigar smoke finish; my wife was crazy about it which inflated my score just a bit;

172/1153) Home:  Split Personalité, a collaboration between the Indie Ale House of Ontario and Brasseurs du Monde of Quebec:  **;  7%;  a Belgian dubble style wit brewed with candi sugar and Belgian yeast;  deep rich brown colour;  hint of cocoa to the nose; there is a touch of dark fruit and oak;  not as sweet as most abbeys;

August 1, 2014

Another beer I miss is Gritstone Premium Ale by the Niagara Falls Brewing Company.  I can remember when this was on tap at the Pilot in Toronto.  The Niagara Falls Brewing Company was bought by Moosehead and re-named the Niagara Brewing Company but most of its memorable beers are gone.

July 31, 2014

170/1151) Hoperation Tripel Cross Belgian IPA by Phillips Brewing Company of British Columbia:  **1/2;  7.3%;  "You can almost hear the sirens as you pop the cap on this bomber.";  very strong hop nose with the edge only mildly rounded with citrusy fruitiness;  there is a touch of sweet citrus along side the hops and at the finish but this is undoubtedly an IPA first;

July 29, 2014

169/1150) Home:  Nebuchadnezzar Imperial India Pale Ale by Omnipollo of Sweden:  **1/2;  8.5%;  grapefruit nose;  fresh citrusy flavours;  dry finish, sweet aftertaste; a delicious IIPA;

July 28, 2014

168/1149) Home:  Cock Puncher by Indie Ale House of Ontario:  **1/2;  11% IIPA;  "Ultra Rare", brewed four times a year;  "Some beers should come with a warning label - this one does;";  pours opaque;  rich hopped nose with notes of citrus;  full hop flavours, earthy, citrusy;

Sunday, 28 September 2014

July 20, 2014

166/1147) Home:  Framboise Lambic by Brouwerij Lindemans of Belgium:  **1/2;  2.5%; spontaneously fermented, which always sounds chancey to me;  in addition to the regular ingredients they used wheat, raspberry juice and sugar;  the hops are aged and the yeast is wild, hence spontaneously fermented;  wheaty, raspberry nose;  cidery mouthfeel;  very strong, tart raspberry flavour;  delicious;

167/1148) Home:  Vedette Extra White by Duvel Moortgat of Belgium:  *1/2;  4.7%;  nose is lemon with yeast and wheat notes;  the most prominent feature is sweet yeastiness;  a bit watery;  it does not live up to the promise of that nose but it would still be nice on a patio with a salad or fish and chips;

July 19, 2014

165/1146) Home:  Chocolate Milk Stout by Wellington County Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  7.2%;     brewed with flaked oats, lactose, cocoa, roasted malts;  very sweet chocolately nose;  flavours are very sweet, quite nearly overly so, chocolate with a bitter alcohol finish;  I am reminded of Southern Tier Choklat but this is not so extreme at either end of the scale;  it is a refinement, but not an improvement, of an offering from earlier in the year at C'est What, which was tried out under another variation of the name a couple of years earlier;

July 18, 2014

164/1145) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Darkside by Granite Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  a 6.75% dark IPA on cask;  hops are less prominent than might be expected - the bartender attributes this to the cask;  grainy nose with a hint of chocolate;  mild mocha, gentle hop notes;

Incidentally, July 18 is the feast of St Arnulf (Arnold) of Metz, the patron saint of brewers.  In terms of this sort of thing there is more than one saint per avocation.  For example, one St. Augustin is also credited as a patron saint of brewers.

July 17, 2014

163/1144) Home:  Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen by Tree Brewing of British Columbia:  *1/2;  5.0%, 20 ibu;  unpasteurized, no preservatives;  pineapple nose with a  mild hint smoke and an unexpected sweetness;  I take the pineapple flavours as a play on the hoppiness that is sometimes seen in this variety of beers but there is an off-putting, artificial sweetness as well;

July 15, 2014

161/1142)  BierMarkt, Mississauga:  Trappistes Rochefort 6 by Abbay St-Remy of Belgium:  **1/2;  7.5%;  this was a bottled selection;  sweet dried fruit nose;  dried fruit, caramel;  delicious and complex;

162/11430) BierMarkt, Mississauga:  7 Hop IPA by Rogue Brewery of Oregon:  **1/2;  6.6%;  piney hop nose;  strong, dry, bitter hop flavours;  a terific west coast IPA with a variety of layered flavours from the 7 hops;

It has to be said, the Biermarket is expensive.  Unless I see something I won't see anywhere else (refer back to how elastic the term 'exclusive' can be) I don't picture myself returning very often.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

July 14, 2014

160/1141)  Amnesiac Double IPA by Phillips Brewing Company of British Columbia:  **1/2;  8.5%;  very piney nose;  sharp hop bite;  dry after taste;

July 13, 2014

158/1139) Home:  Chiron American Pale by Thornbridge Brewery of England:  **1/2;  5.0%;  citrusy nose with an earthy edge;  grapefruit and spice notes; with an astringent caffeine like finish;  a refreshing APA;

159/1140) Home:  Calabanza Blanca Artisan White Ale by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales of Michigan:  *1/2;    4.8%;  barrel aged, bottle conditioned;  spiced with orange peel and coriander; not lacking for carbonation; - no matter how carefully I poured my glass quickly filled with foam;  cloudy appearance;  nose is yeasty, zesty, lemony;  sharp citrus bite against a sweet yeast backdrop;  appealing tartness;  great for summertime;

Calabanza Blanca translates as white pumpkin.

July 10, 2014

155/1136) Beer Academy:  Beta by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:**1/2;  6.2%, 52 ibu;  pale; grapefruity nose;  strong citrusy flavours;  very dry after taste, somewhat astringent;

156/1137) Beer Academy:  Alpha by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **;  6% 60 ibu;  darker than beta;  nose features caramel, mild citrus;  hops are present but milder and with a sweeter (or less bitter) finish;

157/1138) Beer Academy:  Summer Harvest by Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. of Ontario:  **1/2;  5.8% 51 ibu;  brewed with cascade hops and pink grapefruit;  extremely citrusy, grapefruit nose;  refreshing citrus notes with a citrusy finish;

The Beer Academy was featuring an Alpha Vs. Beta IPA Face Off to determine which would be its new core IPA  - "loser hangs up its hops forever".  I'm not sure why I was served Beta first, and alone instead of side by side, but clearly I did favour this one.  My one proviso was that while there are a lot of west coast IPAs out there we see fewer English hybrid IPAs and the Alpha may fare better in a smaller  pond.

I ended up bringing home some Summer Harvest along with a couple of other ales from the LCBO.

July 7, 2014

154/1135) Home:  Columbian Exposition by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  4.0%, 54 ibu;  from their hop series;  brewed with Columbia hops;  like yesterday's beer, this was purchased at Junction Craft Brewery;  dry, earthy nose;  malty back drop;  not over the top flavorus;  bitter bite at the finish;

July 6, 2014

153/1134) Home:  Brakeman's Session Ale by Junction Craft Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.5%; 48 ibu;  richly malty with a snappy hop finish;

Friday, 26 September 2014

July 5, 2014

152/1133) Home:  Lemon Balm Ale by Black Creek Historic Brewery of Ontario:  **;  brewed with fresh lemon balm herb;  the nose is surprisingly bready with notes of lemon and zest;  a refreshing beer with a lemony after taste;

July 4, 2014

148/1129) Junction Craft Brewing:  Malloy's Golden Phoenix by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  a 3% , 34 ibu golden ale, on cask;  Golden Promise malt and Phoenix hops;  mildly citrusy nose;  fresh mildly dry hop flavours;

149/1130) Junction Craft Brewing:  Hopfenstopfer by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.9%, 52 ibu;  on cask;  a dry hopped pale ale;  piney nose;  strong astringent bitter flavours;  lingering bitterness at the finish

150/1131) Junction Craft Brewing:  Imperial Stout by Shacklands of Ontario:  **1/2;  7.0%, 50 ibu;  very sweet mocha nose - I was reminded of a Coffee Crisp bar;  the sweetness is mainly in the nose;  dry coffee notes;

151/1132) Indie Ale House:  Camp Out S'more Stout, an Indie Ale House collaboration:  5%;  sweet mocha nose;  full rich mocha flavours;  there is a touch of marshmallow to nose;  brewed with marshmallow, graham crackers and chocolate;

The Indie Ale House website credits this as a collaboration with Karate Garage Home Brew but the chalkboard, and various other sources, credit Sawdust City as the collaborator.  

I was at Junction for a Mirella Amato book signing (the book was severely over-priced at this venue compared to what I would have paid anywhere else) but it was a nice affair with cheeses from local shop and I did spend a fair bit of time chatting with Mirella.  I am not accustomed to getting off the subway at Keele and because I was day-dreaming I went past my stop had to turn back.  I felt this acutely when the person in line ahead of me got the last glass of Admiral Tiberius.

The book is called Beerology.  I have since learned that she s a former opera singer so we have even more to talk about should we meet again.

As per usual, I did some shopping at the Indie Ale House.

July 3, 2014

147/1128) Home:  Warthog English Style Mild Ale by Big rock Brewing of Alberta: **;  4.5%;  very English;  a rich, sweet, malty, biscuity ale;

July 1, 2014

On Canada Day, along with so many others, I am missing Upper Canada's Colonial Stout.  It was a pretty good example of the style and I made use of the current phenomenon of the Mix Six at the Beer Store to take home a couple whenever I dropped in.  It's a shame they did away with that but the manager at the store I would go to explained that it wasn't his idea.  He felt it was his job to sell beer and his customers wanted to buy it that way but the higher ups thought they ought to buy it differently.  I was always reluctant to commit to six or more of something unknown and this changed my buying patterns.

June 26, 2014

145/1126) Home:  Sunshine APA by Cameron's Brewing of Ontario:  **;  5.1%;  brewed with three varieties of American hops;  bright citrusy nose with a mild earthy, musty bite; grapefruit notes with dry bite at the finish

146/1127) Home:  Tribute Barley Wine Vintage 2012 by Renaissance Brewing Company of New Zealand:  **1/2;  10.8%;  pours dark murky brown;  uncarbonated;  very rich, complex mix of raisins, berries;

Thursday, 25 September 2014

June 25, 2014

Great Lakes Brewery's Crazy Canuck has been re-branded as Canuck Pale Ale.  The official word is that the beer remains the same but this has not prevented people from detecting differences.

June 24, 2014

144/1125;  Caplanski's Deli, Toronto:  Deli King by Barley Days of Ontario:  **;  a collaboration with Zane Caplanski;  a dark, spiced rye and barley Dunkel flavoured with the house made dry rub Caplanski's uses on its brisket;  it was served with a pickle -  a very nice touch;  rich rye nose;  interesting, mildly spicy with a bite of rye;  spiced peppery finish;

I was really in Toronto to mark St. Jean Baptiste Day by drinking beers brewed in Quebec, which I found at the unspeakably wonderful Thirsty and Miserable in nearby Kensington Market..  Best of all, the chalkboard outside the door read, "no soccer". Hurrah!

June 23, 2014

143/1124) Home:  Outburst Imperial IPA by Pyramid Brewing of Oregon:  **1/2;  8.5%; imported by Brick Brewing of Kitchener;  a dry hopped India Pale ale;  the nose is tropical citrus;   rich tropical flavours with earthy, rooty bitterness at the finish;

June 22, 2014

I suppose it was unfair to simply leave it that the beers in the Beau's four-pack that were recently listed were inspired by Mesopotamia so I have pinched some elaborations from Beau's website.

Sargon is a legendary warrior-king whose dynasty ruled Mesopotamia for over a century.  If I recall correctly, it was also the name of a very early days computer program that would beat you at chess.

Gilgamesh was a legendary king of Mesopotamia and the central character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving works of literature.

Siduri, the alewife, was a sage female divinity associated with fermentation.  She also appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) composed an oratorio based on the legend.  My version was a give-away disc from BBC Music magazine narrated by Jack Shepherd, who is perhaps best known as the low-key title character in the British police detective series Wycliffe, and a very enjoyable disc it is

June 21, 2014

142/1123) C'est What:  Black Prince Dark Ale by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  4.8%, 40 ibu;  on cask;  rich, sweet, malty nose;  very much in the English style; rich flavours with notes of mocha;

Black Prince is also a winery in Picton, Ontario.  In spite of the fact that I pointed out this error in person at said winery a couple of years ago, their website continues to assert that the Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III, was the father of King Richard III. His son was, in fact, Richard II, another unfairly maligned monarch.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

June 20, 2014

138/1119) Monk's Kettle. Etobicoke:  Genius of Suburbia by Flying Monkeys of Ontario:  **;  a 3.8% session IPA;  fresh grapefruit nose;  pleasant hop flavours

139/1120) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Equilibrium ESB by Nickel Brook of Ontario:  **; this was on cask, in fact, mine was the first glass poured from said cask;  low carbonation as might be expected;  rich malty nose;  very much an English bitter;  very fresh tasting and malty;

140/1121) Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  RPA by Junction Craft Brewing of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.3%  it's OK as RPAs go;  rye nose;  sharp rye flavours;

141/1122) Caffe Volo:  Zinnebir by Brasserie de la Senne of Belgium:  *1/2;  5.8% (Brussells People Beer);  cloudy;  grassy nose;  sweet opening with a very bitter finish;  mostly grainy, musty;  this was a bit of a disappointment given the build up it had received;

June 12, 2014

137/1118) Home:  Game of Thrones Fire and Blood Red Ale by Brewery Ommegang of New York:  *1/2;  6.8%;  brewed with barley malt, dextrose, flaked rye, wheat malt, spelt malt, hops and ancho chili;  the hops are most prominent in nose along with some chili heat;  the ancho builds to a zesty finish;

I still have not seen a minute of this series.