Thursday, 29 January 2015

December 31, 2014

290/1271) Caffe Volo:  Mezze Note Espresso Milk Stout by House Ales of Ontario:  **;  very strong (we're talking Starbucks strong) dark coffee flavours and aromas;  any contribution from the lactose is over-powered but it didn't concern me particularly - this was quite an experience and it was a great way to start the evening;  Mezze Note translates as middle or mid night.

291/1272) Caffe Volo:  Lambic Gueze 2014 by Cantillion Brewery of Belgium:  **;  5%;  tart, funky cidery nose;  tart, cidery. delicious;  I gather they had been hanging on to this one for the occasion.  They were quite proud to be able to offer it and rightfully so.

292/1273)  Caffe Volo:  Yakima IPA by Le Castor Brewing Co. of Quebec:  **;  five ounces from a bottle;  an American style IPA;  sweet tropical fruit nose;  fruity, surprisingly sweet with a dry, hoppy finish;

293/1274) Caffe Volo:  25th Anniversary Barley Wine by House Ales of Ontario:  **;  9% abv;  bourbon barrel aged;  dark sugar nose;  flavours of dark sugar, dried fruit with a bite from the alcohol lurking;

New Years Eve at the Volo is always special.  As in previous years a bell would ring on the hour as bottles emerged from the cellar.  I wish I could have stayed later but New Years Eve is a bit of an irritant to me.  One tends to encounter a lot of people who have not tied one on since St. Patrick's Day (forever ruined for me after 2011) and I cannot overlook the fact that it is an entirely manufactured celebration.  Returning to the positive, I ended the evening with five ounces of Omnipollo Hypnopompa.  Ludicrously expensive but worth it.

December 28, 2014

287/1268) Home:  Winter Ale by St. Peter's Brewery of England:  **;  deep ruby red;  malty, spiced nose;  sort of like I would imagine a mulled beer to be, with a Kentish hop finish;

288/1269) Home:  Mission Accomplished by Beau's All Natural Brewing of Ontario:  **1/2;  Wild Oats Series No. 35;  a 6.7%, 65 ibu American IPA brewed with a blend of American and New Zealand hops;  hazy appearance;  citrus and pine notes to the nose;  tangerine, tropical fruit, bitter pine flavours - an excellent AIPA;  from the Best of Beau's mixed pack;  

289/1270)  Home:  Aporkalypse Now by Hogsback Brewing Co. of Ontario:  **;  a 5.4% oatmeal bacon stout, brewed with, yes, bacon;  the nose has notes of raspberry which I found unusual;  salty, bacon flavours with faint chocolate notes;

The Best of Beau's mixed pack is like the All-star game - the beers are chosen by ballots.  For the second year in a row, Burnt Rock made the team.

December 25, 2014

It has been a great Christmas for me and I hope it was for you.  Here is one highlight:

This way-cool glass was until recently a beer bottle, "upcycled" in a glass-blowing studio in Tory Hill, Ontario.

New to the book shelf are Ontario Beer, by Alan McLeod and Jordan St. John and Lost Breweries of Toronto, by Mr. St. John on his own.  I am reading this one with a pad of paper at my side.  There are commercially available tours of Toronto's brewing history but constructing my own tour is cheaper and fits my haphazard schedule better.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

December 24, 2014

286/1267) Tracks Brewpub:  "New" Old Mill brewed at Tracks Brewpub, Ontario:  **;  they still refer to it as the dark though it isn't, except perhaps in comparison to their light beer;  this one is neither light nor pale but full-on flavourful;  they got much closer to Fullers this time out;  brown sugary, hoppy nose;  dark sugar finish;  rather nice;

I went around the corner of the bar to make my notes free of ribbing.  Today was the now-traditional regulars' Christmas Eve bash - great fun as always.  Being at Tracks is a lot like I imagine visiting Toots Shor's some sixty years ago might have been, but without the celebrities, the athletes, the neck ties and so forth.  It's basically a bunch of grown men horsing around.

Monday, 12 January 2015

December 20, 2014

283/1264)  Monk's Kettle, Etobicoke:  Nox Aeterna Stout by Black Oak of Ontario:  **;  a "naturally smoked" breakfast stout brewed with hand roasted coffee;  mildly smoky alcohol edge to nose with coffee notes;  mercifully, the smoke is not over-powering - it is very subtle;  grainy chocolate flavours with a dark coffee finish;

284/1265)  Caffe Volo:  Stenhouse Porter by Amsterdam Brewery of Ontario:  **;  6%;  an "Old World Porter";  sweet, grainy, malty nose;  mild hop bite;  root beer notes with a touch of mocha;

285/1266) Caffe Volo:  Harry Porter by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  *1/2;  5.5%;  I found this one  a bit lackluster in compariosn with the vanilla bean and bourbon variant;  roasty nose and flavours;

December 19, 2014

281/1262)  C'est What:  Citradiction by Great Lakes Brewery of Ontario:  **;  4.4%, 40 ibu;  strong piney hop nose;  earthy hopped flavours;

This was Mark Hutchison's last night at C'est What before joining Black Oak.  I couldn't let the day pass without stopping in to tender my congratulations and my thanks.  Black Oak are getting a good man.

282/1263) beerbistro:  Hypnopompa Imperial Stout by Omnipollo of Sweden:  ***/2;  11%;  this is their second batch of this brew and only 1000 cases exist worldwide;  aged in bourbon barrels;  brewed with 100 pounds of marshmallows and Tahitian vanilla beans "the size of cigars";  very low carbonation - almost no foam to speak of;   soft, syrupy mouthfeel;  the nose is a complex blend of herbal notes, dates, raisins, figs, dried fruit, oak and bourbon;  on sitting, the vanilla begins to emerge in the nose and the oak becomes stronger;  no hint of  the marshmallow;  almost medicinal flavours with a biting alcohol finish;  not as sweet as I had expected;  a slow and warming sipper;  there is a hint of coffee at finish;  the marshmallow seems to contribute to the mouthfeel more than anything;

This has been in the beerbistro's "Beer Bible" since October.  As I arrived and was looking for a seat I felt a hand on my back and heard the words. "We've got it!" and soon after another server came by to share the news.  I suppose I have been making a pest of myself.  Both servers came by later to exchange thoughts on this fascinating beer.

This was a bottled selection.