Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

OCB Announces Ontario Craft Beer Week

Over the last month there have been a number of people in the beer industry meeting to discuss the possibility of organizing an event that would see a slew of beer related events take place throughout the city of Toronto at various good beer bars and pubs.  We're still working on it, but good news coming from the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) today in the following press release about their own Ontario Craft Beer Week that will span the entire province.

There will be more information to post on shortly, but for now, please read the entire press release.

A Week-long Festival Celebrating Ontario’s Small & Independent Breweries
TORONTO, ON – (March 31, 2010) ONTARIO CRAFT BEER WEEK LAUNCHES ON FATHER’S DAY -- The Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) are pleased to announce the establishment of an annual ‘Ontario Craft Beer Week’, a celebration of our province’s thriving, locally-based craft beer industry. The inaugural week will run from June 20 – 26, 2010, throughout the province of Ontario. OCB is the association representing 25 small, independent craft brewers in Ontario.

The week-long festival will feature a series of special events designed to expose consumers to the craft beer experience through tasting events, brewery tours, cooking demonstrations, food pairings, beer dinners, and much more.   Ontario Craft Beer Week will kick off on Father’s Day with special events at breweries and restaurants.

Ontario Craft Beer Week co-chairs, Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s Brewery in Van Kleek Hill, ON and Jason Ellesmere of Cameron’s Brewing Company of Oakville are both jazzed about this monumental event. “This is a very exciting opportunity for Ontario’s craft beer industry and for our province,” says Steve Beauchesne. “It’s a groundbreaking moment for craft beer in Ontario and a great way to kick off the summer.”

The Ontario Craft Beer Week organizing committee is in the process of setting up a formal procedure for securing partnerships and endorsing events and will release more information as it becomes available. Any interested parties with ideas or suggestions should contact their local brewery or send an email to with “Ontario Craft Beer Week” in the subject line. New details, when they are available, will be posted on the OCB’s new website for Craft Beer Week,

“Our industry has been wanting to do this for a long time,” says Jason Ellesmere. “There are many reasons why Ontario needs a Craft Beer Week and we look forward to building this initiative into an excellent, annual adventure.”

The reasons include:

BEER CULTURE: Ontario has a thriving craft beer industry featuring over 25 independent craft brewers producing fresh, top quality beer. More consumers are choosing to support their local breweries and experiment with the incredible range of beer styles and tastes available.

BEER TASTING: Fresh, Ontario craft beer is produced in small batches with lots of care and attention to detail. Using the brew master’s own authentic special recipes, craft beer is brewed using all natural, pure ingredients, and no additives or preservatives. Ontario Craft Beer Week will give consumers an opportunity to discover the world of Ontario Craft Beer through guided tastings, educational events, etc.

BEER AND FOOD: Craft beer has a wonderful, complex flavour profile and is becoming increasingly popular in culinary circles as a recipe ingredient or food match. Chefs and restaurants will have an opportunity to entice customers by experimenting with tasting menus and specialty dishes.

BEER TOURISM: With its rich brewing history and culture, Ontario is becoming an increasingly popular tourism destination for those interested in discovering craft beer, visiting local breweries, experiencing beer cuisine, etc.

Ontario Craft Brewers: Discover the Difference.
The Ontario Craft Brewers is an association of more than 25 small brewers dedicated to making great tasting, high quality beer in Ontario. The 25 members of the Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally using fresh, all natural ingredients in communities throughout Ontario – from the Ottawa Valley to Waterloo and Niagara to Muskoka. Handcrafting over 150 premium beers, Ontario Craft Brewers employ about 600 people in Ontario, accounting for over 20 per cent of the overall brewing employment in the province.  Ontario’s Craft Brewers’ share has more than doubled since 2002, going from slightly less than two per cent to approximately five per cent of the beer volume sold in Ontario and continues to be the fastest growing segment within the LCBO’s beer category. The OCB’s long term vision is to make Ontario a North American Centre of Excellence for Craft Brewing. Please discover responsibly.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Fresh Start...A Fresh Beer

Today was my last official day working for the provincial government.  I resigned from my position three weeks ago and I carted away the last of the junk that graced my desk this afternoon. 

I am assuming a new role in the beer industry starting April 6th (I'll share the info with you in a few days), and to help celebrate this change I decided to indulge in a couple of Central City Red Racer IPA's.  Awesome stuff.  I had the chance to review the beer for the Spring issue of TAPS, which will be hitting store shelves next week.

Labatt Closing Hamilton Lakeport Brewery

According to the Hamilton Spectator, and picked up by the Toronto Star, Labatt Breweries of Canada will be shutting down the Lakeport Brewery in Hamilton, ON on April 30th affecting 143 employees.

Labatt purchased the brewery (which is best known for their buck-a-beer brands) back in 2007 from Teresa Cascioli for $43.5 million. Labatt now says that the cost to operate the Hamilton brewery is too high and the production of the Lakeport brands will be moved to the London plant.

The paper states that some of the workers feel that the move has to do with Labatt trying to get out of the buck-a-beer market.  The province of Ontario raised the minimum price of a 24 pack of beer in December of 2008 to $25.60 yet there are still numerous brands flooding that piece of the market and Labatt already has more than a handful in their ever expanding portfolio.   I guess we'll see in due time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Great Lakes April Fool's Project X

A bunch of the Great Lakes Brewery folks will be in Chicago for the Craft Brewers Conference next week, throwing a wrench into their monthly Project X night (they always take place on the second Thursday of the month).  Instead of canceling the event for the month of April the brewery bumped up the date to this Thursday, April 1st, and they'll be doing it up big, calling it Fools Day Fiasco.

From the Great Lakes Blog:
Calling all beer lovers! This month's Project X is bursting with BIG beers! And games!

Join us on Thursday, April 1 (special date) from 6:30 on as we tap 4, count em 4, cask ales. From the mad minds of Great Lakes staff, we bring you the following beers:

Miami Weisse - 4.5%, 50 BU
Wimpy Impy Stout - 6.5%, 80 BU
My Bitterer Wife Double IPA - 8%, 90BU
Triple Trouble Barleywine - 9%, 70BU (and aged for 6 months!)
IBU's, IBU's, IBU's.  Nothing less than 50!  *Sidenote - don't drink then drive....  The Barleywine is one cask that everyone is looking forward to trying, judging by comments overheard at the other cask nights, and I've heard that it turned out nicely. 

In addition to all the casks, Bryden's Pub will be on hand serving food from their establishment, and like all Project X nights there will be 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Granite Brewery (TO) 19th Anniversary Package

While the Granite Brewery in Halifax is currently operating in their 25th year, the Toronto location (operated by Ron Keefe, brother to founder Kevin Keefe who operates the Halifax location) is in its 19th year and Ron has put together a promotion for all the kids out there celebrating a 19th birthday this year.

If you or someone you know is turning 19 this year simply head to the Granite (Toronto), show valid id, and ask for the 19th Anniversary pack, which includes your first pint on the house, a growler, and a free pint glass.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Castro's Lounge Spring Cleaning

A local Toronto pub (Castro's Lounge) is having a garage sale this weekend, selling beer related items that may be of interest to those who collect glassware, posters, tap handles and other beery items.

Chris Schryer, the man behind the Toronto Beer Blog and who also works at Castro's, let me know in an email that the garage sale will include some branded glassware, including some nice Belgian ones, certain tap handles, tap lights, and old beer posters that hung from the walls in the basement.  He did say that there isn't a huge amount of beer stuff, so the early bird may get the worm.  There will also be other 'pub' items for up for sale.

He also mentioned that there will be bar service during the garage sale, offering bargain browsers the opportunity to knock back a couple of local beers like Flying Monkey's Hoptical Illusion, Duggan's No.9 IPA, Beau's Lug Tread LageredAle and more. 

The garage sale will take place on Sunday March 28th, starting at 12pm and running until 3pm.  Sales items can only be purchased via cash.

Toronto, ON

Church Key Brewery 10th Annual Spring Revival - May 1st

Church Key Brewery owner, John Graham (second from left), has announced the date for his annual Spring Revival through a recent Facebook message.

Saturday May 1st will be the date for the 10th annual festival held at the brewery.  Individuals can expect good beer, bbq'd food, solid music, and good company. 

Mark it on your calendar today.

Garrison Imperial IPA Makes Its Toronto Debut Tonight

The second shipment of beer from Halifax's Garrison Brewing Co. finally arrived in Ontario last week and the beer has been released to all those who ordered cases.  Toronto's barVolo was one establishment to get in on the order, and tonight they'll have their share available to purchase - Imperial IPA and Hopyard Pale Ale.  So if you're in the city tonight, and you didn't get in on the order, head over to Volo to indulge in some of the best from the east coast.

These two Nova Scotia beauties will also be part of Volo's new bottle menu, which I got a glimpse of first hand yesterday during an afternoon session.  The new menu is chalk full of terrific beer from all over Canada and includes beers of all styles from (in alphabetical order) Alley Kat, Central City, , Dieu Du Ciel!, Driftwood, Half Pints, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Paddock Wood, and Phillips.

There are also some awesome beers from well known international breweries like Brooklyn, Flying Dog, Meantime, Moylans, Panil, Rogue, St. Bernardus, Stone, and Southern Tier.

barVolo opens at 4pm. *Please note the beer will not be on tap, bottles only.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mondial de la Biere 2010

The 17th edition of the Mondial de la Biere will take place between June 2nd and 6th 2010 at the Windsor Station & Courtyard in Montreal, and as usual, should attract beer lovers from all over North America. 

In a recent  organizers have provided a preliminary list of breweries/brewpubs that will have their product available for sampling, along with other information about this years edition.

From the press release:
On the tasting program: Canadian, American, German, Italian and Brazilian beers!  Exclusively at the Petit Pubs, there are nearly 180 registered beers to this day, 86 of which have never been presented at the festival before! Belgium stands out with its 39 beers (37 new additions) coming from the following breweries:
Brasserie Brunehaut: (Abbaye de Saint Martin Blonde, Abbaye de Saint Martin Dark, Abbaye de Saint, Amand Blonde, Mont St-Aubert Blonde, Abbaye Saint Martin Noël)
Brasserie Jandrain-Jandrenouille: (IV Saison, V Cense)
Brouwerij Contreras: (Valeir Blond, Valeir Divers, Valeir Extra)
Brouwerij de Dochter Van De Korenaar: (Noblesse, Bravoure, Embrasse, L'Enfant Terrible, Courage)
Brouwerij De Vlier: (Kessel Blond, Kessel 69, Kessel X-mas)
Brouwerij Smisje: (Smisje Dubbel, Smisje Tripel, Guido, Wostyntje, Special)
Brouwerij T'Gaverhopke: ('T Gaverhopke Extra, 'T Gaverhopke Singing Blond)
Guldenboot: (Witte Spelt, Wilde Vruchten, Boekweit Bruin, Broekweit Blond)
Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus: (Sint Canarus Tripel, Potteloereke)
Microbrouwerij Achilles: (Serafijn Blond, Serafijn Donker, Serafijn Tripel, Serafijn Grand Cru, Celtic Angel, Serafijn Heksemiebier)
*More after the jump

Muskoka Cottage Brewery Introduces New Mixer Five Pack

Bracebridge's Muskoka Cottage Brewery is set to launch another new packaging concept to the Ontario market as they're getting ready to roll out a new Mixer 5 Pack, which will feature their four core brands plus their newest creation - Light Pilsner.

The new Mixer 5 Pack will be heading to LCBO stores in the next few weeks and will retail for $12.45.  As you can see, the attractive pack includes Muskoka's Premium Lager, Hefe-Weissbier, Cream Ale, Dark Ale, and as I mentioned, the new Light Pilsner, all 473ml.

Mike Laba, Muskoka's Marketing Manager, states that he's pretty stoked about the new pack and thinks they'll be popular with people looking to experience the Muskoka brand; and try the new Light Pilsner for the first time, which is described as clean, refreshing, and flavourful for a lower alcohol (4%) pilsner.  It would also be a good item to bring along to a beer tasting as it includes a variety of different beer styles and flavours.

Muskoka also wants people to know that their Light Pilsner is brewed to original gravity, meaning it hasn't been watered down or diluted to achieve its lower alcohol content.

This new mixer will be great for the cottage this spring.  Look for it in stores soon.

*Also, stay tuned for more news about things taking shape at Muskoka in the near future.*

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

List of Pubs Featured in the Seven Part Toronto Pub Crawl Series

Ok, I had some fun with the seven day Toronto Pub Crawl series I put together, and I look forward to hitting the streets and recreating them in the near future (when the patio weather arrives again). 

I received a good amount of emails from readers stating everything from their agreeiance with the lists to those that disagree with some of the places mentioned.  It has be nice to hear from so many people.  But one thing I didn't receive over the last seven days was a list of crawls that other people have put together.  If there are more out there, please feel free to leave a comment or send me with your recommendations.  Spreading the good word about quality pubs benefits everyone.

One thing I was asked for was to post a full list of pubs mentioned along with their links.  Ask and you shall receive.  *Note, some places don't have their own website and the pubs are listed in no particular order.

Cam's Place -
Twisted Kilt -
The Longest Yard -
Granite Brewery -
Highway 61 -
C'est What -
beerbistro -
more after the jump....

Toronto Pub Crawl Part 7 - Dundas West/Kensington/College

Part 7 - Dundas West/Kensington/College

This is it, the final installment of the Toronto Pub Crawl series.  We have explored Toronto East, the Danforth, Leaside, Downtown, Yonge Street, stops along the Bloor TTC subway line, and now we will venture off to the Dundas West/Kensington/College area of Toronto. 

Before I being, though, I know I'll probably take some heat for not including a crawl along Queen West or along the Ossington Strip, but I felt that the way I set the criteria I couldn't put together a solid list.  I wanted to include The Rhino and The Acedemy of Spherical Arts, but it didn't work out that way.  Go visit them regardless, they're both great spots to have a pint.
Now, back to the final crawl.  The first stop belongs to Sin & Redemption on McCaul Street, just north of Dundas W.  Here you'll find numerous imports on tap, some that are hard to find like Delirium Tremens and Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weiss.

When you're done your pint head to D'Arcy Street and walk west for 12 minutes to Spadina and then head north to Baldwin and south on Augusta.  Head into the Kensingston area and grab a pint of King Pilsner or a McAuslan product at The Embassy Bar, a comfy spot that caters to mostly young urbanites.

The third stop belongs to Ronnie's Local 069, a true local with a mean Grilled Cheese.  To get there from The Embassy Bar walk north on Augusta Ave to Nassau St and the pub is right there on the corner.  Grab a pint of craft beer (Great Lakes, Cameron's, Stratford) and head out to the large street-side patio.  This unpretentious pub is a great spot to relax with friends, but beware, the hours go by quickly at this pub. 

The Kensington area is a nice place to go for a stroll, so continue north on Augusta from Ronnie's Local 069 to College Street and turn west on College.  On the north side of the street you'll come across The Cloak & Dagger, a pub with many Ontario beers on tap.  There was a time I didn't care for the Cloak, but I've since come around to appreciate their uniqueness.  Also, it's only one of a handful of places in Toronto where you can get a pint from Northumberland's Church Key Brewery, including their Holy Smoke.

And the last stop on the last crawl belongs to Magpie Cafe, a small pub on Dundas West, just east of Euclid Street.  Magpie hasn't been around that long, but they have a healthy following and have shown their committment to serving local craft beers from breweries in and around the GTA.  They're also part of Toronto's Cask Ale trail, which seems to be growing all the time.  Local art graces the wall along with a handful of knick-knacks that were probably once destined for trash, but together the mis-mash creates a cool vibe.

So there you have it - over 30 pubs in seven different areas of the city.  What are you doing this weekend? 

*Sin & Redemption -
*The Embassy Bar -
*Ronnie's Local -
*Cloak & Dagger -
*Magpie -

Monday, March 22, 2010

Toronto Pub Crawl - Stops Along the Bloor Subway Route

Part 6 - Stops Along the Bloor Subway Route
Part 6 of the Toronto Pub Crawl involves riding the red rocket, so a day pass will be in order.  Each pub listed is right near a stop along the Bloor subway route and there isn't a whole lot of walking to be done.
We'll start the crawl at the famous Madison Avenue Pub.   Take the Bloor train to Spadina, get off, and walk east to Madison and then proceed to walk north to the huge seven floor establishment.  I put this first on the list because I recommend getting there early before the large crowds show up.  Sit at the bar on the second floor or in one of the cozy booths and have a pint or two.  There is some local beers on tap, but most belong to the big boys.
Head back to the Spadina subway station and get back on the west-bound train to Bathurst Street.  The next stop on the list belongs to Kilgours Bar Meets Grill, a Montreal Canadians supporter's bar right on Bloor street, just east of Bathurst.  Sit out on the patio during the nice weather or take a seat inside and enjoy a solid pint of Black Oak's Pale Ale.
The next stop does not involve using the subway, as our third stop takes us back west on Bloor to Markham Street and down to the Victory Cafe in Mirvish Village.  The Victory features a number of local craft beers, cask ale, and a solid food menu that will completely satisfy your hunger.  I recommend a pint of cask with the Victory's pulled pork sandwich.  They also have a great street side wrap-around patio with a fair bit of shade to ward off the heat from the sun.
Back to the Bathurst subway station and head west for a number of stops until Dundas West.  Get off and walk west on Bloor until you get to the Irish pub, Whelan's Gate.  Head upstairs to the bar and order a McAuslan Pale Ale and mingle with people who call the Whelan's Gate their local.  This pub caters to all societies of drinkers, young and old, white collar - blue collar, which makes for a good drinking environment.
And the last stop - Bryden's at Jane and Bloor.  Take the subway from Dundas West to Jane and Bryden's is right there on the corner.  The draught menu has gone through major changes in the last year as they've taken off the bland lagers and national products in favour of local beers like Duggan's No.9 IPA, Denison's Weissbier, Great Lakes Devil's Pale Ale, and more.  Bryden's owner has also recently welcomed real ale into his pub, tapping a new cask each Thursday.  And try the quesadill-EH.  Fantastic.
*The Madison House -
*Kilgours Bar Meets Grill -
*Victory Cafe -
*Whelan's Gate -
*Bryden's -

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Toronto Pub Crawl - Leaside

Part 5 - Leaside (Bayview/Eglinton/Davisville):

This pub crawl involves walking and a TTC day pass, so I suggest starting in the early afternoon in order to get around to each place I recommend.

The Leaside area isn't known for good beer establishments, other than the Granite Brewery, a Toronto landmark, but things are slowly starting to evolve - just enough that a pub crawl could happen in this part of town.

The first stop of the Leaside pub crawl would be Cam's Place up at reet.  Take the subway to either Lawrence and walk south from the station or get off at the Eglinton subway station and walk north.  Cam's Place is new to the Toronto pub scene and offers a number of local beer on draught along with a number of imports that can be enjoyed at their comforting bar on the first floor.

Back to the TTC and head to the Davisville station for the second stop on the crawl - The Twisted Kilt, just north of the station and situated in the same building as the now defunct Bow & Arrow pub that served as a craft beer haven for years (until going downhill in recent years).  The Kilt opened back in October of '09 with has done a pretty decent job of keeping beer drinkers happy with their selections, which include a number of Ontario produced beers, Unibroue beers (including a rotating Unibroue tap line) and a number of imports like Fuller's, Marston's, and Warsteiner.

Get back out to Yonge Street and head north to Belsize Drive.  Walk for 0.8 kms east on Belsize to Mt. Pleasant and you'll find the third stop on the crawl - The Longest Yard.  This addition to the list may surprise some of you, what with the lack of beer from small local producers, but the Longest Yard offers a good spot for a pint after walking from The Twisted Kilt.  There is Guinness, Leffe, Steam Whistle, and Creemore on tap, so that should tie you over until the fourth location.

The Granite Brewery is the fourth stop on the list and the one place you may not wish to leave after downing a pint of Ron Keefe's Best Bitter Special (BBS) on cask.  Simply delicious.  So is his Hopping Mad and Peculiar.  In fact, all of Keefe's beers are terrific.  The Granite has been a hotspot for beer lovers since 1996 and 19 years later its still going strong.  To get there from The Longest Yard walk north on Mt. Pleasant for 0.7 km to Eglinton Ave.  The Granite is right there on the corner.

If you can tear yourself away from the Granite to head to the final stop on the Leaside crawl, you won't be disappointed once you get there.  The final stop - Highway 61 Southern Barbeque on Bayview Avenue.  Grab a bus from the Granite and head east on Eglinton till you hit Bayview.  Get off and walk south on Bayview and Highway 61 will be found on the west side of the road.  If in doubt, let your nose lead you to the front door as the smell of BBQ fills the air around the newer establishment.  You will only find beers produced by members of the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) on tap and the food is very good (imo).

*Cam's Place -
*Twisted Kilt -
*The Longest Yard -
*Granite Brewery -
*Highway 61 -

Tomorrow -  Subway Crawl

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spitfire Arms Introduces Rotating Guest Tap

The Spitfire Arms in is already well known for the attention they give to local craft brewers with a number of draught lines dedicated to them.  You can find Garrison, Propeller, GraniteMcAuslan, and more on tap, sharing space with imports from the AB In/Bev and Molson-Coors portfolio, and now publican, Troy Kirkby, is making space for a new rotating guest tap at his charming establishment, which will be celebrating their 10th anniversary this June.

Here in Ontario we're used to seeing about certain beer pubs changing their line-up regularly, but it is pretty rare in Nova Scotia (as far as I can remember and from what I'm still told), so this is good news for fans of good beer in the small Windsor town.  Kirkby estimates that 90% of the beer he'll bring in for the guest line will have never been served at the Spitfire before, and the new guest tap will also be good for the different seasonals that the handful of Nova Scotia breweries are currently pumping out.

"Propeller IPA was first keg to be tapped, and it is selling very well.  Out of all the beer I short listed, the IPA had been requested by many customers.  The brewery list for future Guest Beers will include Big Rock, Pump House, Sea Level Brewing, Sleeman's, Garrison, McAuslan, and a few of the big boys for their Imported selections," wrote Kirkby in an email.

So next time you find yourself in Windsor, NS, pop into the Spitfire Arms, pull a stool up to the bar and ask for a pint of the guest beer.

Toronto Pub Crawl - Yonge Street

Part 4 - Yonge Street:

This could be the easiest pub crawl on the list. Make your way to Elm street for the first stop (just west of Yonge and north of Dundas) before staying right on Yonge street for the rest of the way.

There are also a couple of changes you could make to this list. Like starting at C'est What before hitting up beerbistro and the 3 Brewers before the Queen and Beaver. But I've used those in the downtown crawl, so here is my list for Yonge St.

Like I said, make your way to Elm Street and walk up the small flight of stairs to the Queen and Beaver, a true British style pub owned and operated by Jamieson Kerr.  Grab a seat on one of the many comfortable couches in the upstairs room and sup a pint of cask ale from Wellington or indulge in a glorious pint of Dension's Weissbier.  The Q&B has some great food and the atmosphere is nice and laid back; very relaxing.

barVolo is about a ten minute walk from the Q&B, north on Yonge.  There is really no need to talk about this place in greater detail as every beer lover I've met has experienced Volo.  What's great about adding Volo to this list is you never know exactly what will be featured on tap as it's always rotating.  You have the opportunity to choose from between a number of quality Ontario produced beers or well recognized imports, and the bottle selection is outstanding.

Back out to Yonge street and head north once again (this crawl goes north all the way) and head to the Pilot Tavern.  A well known drinking establishment just north of Bloor and west of Yonge, you'll be able to order an Amsterdam product or a Mill Street product (Cobblestone on tap) or Steam Whistle or Creemore and take it up to the Flight Deck, which was named the best rooftop patio in the city by the Globe and Mail.

Again, back out to Yonge and north to the Rebel House, a nice little two floor pub with a decent selection of local craft beer and a hell of a meatloaf.  If the weather permits take the pints out to the back patio and forget about the busy street you just came in off, or sit upstairs where a wooden Mountie watches over you.

The Monk's Table, the last stop on the crawl.  Formerly known as The Abbott on the Hill, partners Adam and Melissa are two of Toronto most hospitable pub/bar owners and they have put together a great spot to order delicious pints of imported beer.  In fact, this is what they specialize in.  Out of respect to the older Rebel House, The Monk's Table chooses to only bring in beers like Fuller's ESB, Gouden Carolus Classic (bottles), Hacker Pschorr Dunkel Weisse, Warsteiner, Urthel Hop It, and more.  Great food, great service.

*Queen & Beaver -
*barVolo -
*The Pilot Tavern -
*Rebel House -
*The Monk's Table -

Tomorrow - Leaside

Friday, March 19, 2010

Toronto Pub Crawl - Downtown

 Part 3 - Downtown:

I'm going to start at the 22 year old C'est What, a place that specializes in local draught beer. It's a good place to get started due to it's proximity to Union Station. Over 35 locally produced beer, and a couple from Quebec, grace the draught menu and there are a couple of casks serving local real ale .

Head back upstairs to the sunlight and head north on Church Street to King Street and go west until you reach beerbistro, Toronto's upscale beer bar. Delicious food prepared with beer, hundreds of bottles from around the world, local draught, and experienced and knowledgeable staff make beerbistro one of the best places to have a beer in Canada.

Back out to the street. Head east until Victoria Street and turn up north until you hit Lombard Street. Duggan's Brewery. Opened in December of '09, Duggan's has already been experiencing a steady stream of regulars and has also received a good share of attention in the press. Eight beers produced on-site by Michael Duggan, including a very good Asian Lager, London Porter, and his signature #9 IPA. Good food too.

McVeigh's New Windsor Tavern is the next stop on the crawl. Walk east on Lombard back to Church and head north. McVeigh's is a great old Irish pub that pours a good pint of Guinness and has a nice welcoming feel upon entering. Once you've ploughed through your pint, change directions and head towards Yonge street and walk north to the 3 Brewers.

Opened in June 2009, the beers produced at the 3 Brewers won't knock the socks off the beer geeks out there, but it's good for what it is. Food's not bad, lots of tv's, good staff, and decent prices make the 3 Brewers a good choice when putting together a list for a pub crawl.

*C'est What -
*beerbistro -
*Duggan's Brewery -
*McVeigh's New Windsor Tavern -
*3 Brewers -

Tomorrow - Yonge Street

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Toronto Pub Crawl - Danforth Avenue

Part 2 - The Danforth:

Rule  #1 - for a Danforth crawl - no public transit, the crawl must be completed by foot (well, you can use transit to get to the start, and when you're finished).

Rule #2 - The Danforth Crawl should have six stops inside of the five I mentioned for the criteria.

My Danforth Crawl starts at Taps and Tales at Greenwood. This 'Toronto' pub has a number of good beers on tap, including a couple of McAuslan's, and the food is quite good. The back portion of the pub is furnished with leather couches sitting before a fireplace and offer a relaxing atmosphere secluded from the front of the house.

After finishing your pint get back out to Danforth and head west to the Only Cafe, a long time fixture on the strip for the beer lover. Take a peek into the two beer fridges behind the bar and choose from a number of decently priced imports.

Eton House is next (Eaton St). Now, you might disagree with me here on this stop, but give the Eton a chance and pop in. It's been known for years as a dive bar, but it's a good place to play pool, listen to some good ol' east coast music, and put back some Mill Street offerings. Have a couple at the Eton as you're in for a little bit of a walk to the next stop - the Auld Spot at Danforth and Jackman St. Good beer, good food, good atmosphere, and in the summer, a nice street side patio.

And now onto the final two stop: Allen's and Dora Keogh's (I'm counting these two as one). Two local legends. Loads of Scotch Whiskey's at Allen's and cask beer and a terrific atmosphere at Dora's.

*Taps & Tales -
*The Only Cafe - nue
*Eton House -
*Auld Spot -
*Allen's -
*Dora Keogh's -

Tomorrow - Downtown

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Could You Give Up Beer For 40...err 46 Days?

The following story was written (and well written at that) by Rob Symes, a friend and semi-regular guest contributor to this here 'ol blog, about his experience in giving up beer for Lent.  Enjoy...with a beer in you hand!

Troy’s too busy doing other stuff to spend time with you, dear readers, so he’s twisted my arm and told me to write about my decision to give up beer for Lent. The good news is that this post isn’t wishing someone a happy birthday! The bad news is… well there isn’t any bad news.

I’m not even sure what Lent is… something about forty days in the desert avoiding the temptations of the devil? The timing didn’t jive, though. The first day of Lent begins the day after Shrove Tuesday and runs through until Easter, which is a period in excess of forty days. A bit of research brought the revelation that Lent doesn’t include Sundays. Here was a way out… no beer all week, and then a massive bender every seven days to make up for it. With a bit more thinking (and some wise words from the wife) I figured it was worthwhile to abstain on Sundays and extend the beer-free period to a shocking forty-six days; after all, I highly doubt this Jesus fellow left the desert once a week to whup it up in the city.

Ironically my last beer was Péché Mortel, which French immersion students everywhere will tell you translates to ‘mortal sin’. Not a bad beer to herald the coming arrival of my longest dry spell since turning 15. The initial few days were tough – I didn’t really crave a beer, but I was in the habit of grabbing one in the evening while I relaxed. To reduce the temptation I moved all my bottles out of the fridge, prompting my wife to remark that we now had room for vegetables (benefit number 1: increased regularity). After a few days the habit had been broken and I didn’t really think of it too much, but bigger tests were to come.

Toronto Pub Crawl - Toronto East

We have it pretty good here in Toronto. What I mean by that is that we have a number of terrific drinking establishments throughout the city that are easily accessible by foot or by TTC, and pub crawls are starting to become more and more frequent; sometimes a weekly occurrence.  So I thought I'd put together a list of pub crawls throughout the city that I myself have taken the time to explore.  It's a good way to get out of the house, enjoy the city, learn about the city, and meet interesting people along the way.

Criteria for making this list: Five pubs per location - good beer menu, either locally produced craft beer or good imports, at least something decent to drink - easily accessible by foot or by TTC - and absolutely no Firkins, Fiddles, or Mahones (with the exception of two Fab Concept Pubs).

I will post one list a day for the next six days. It is by no means a comprehensive list and doesn't go into much detail about each location.  At the conclusion of the postings if you aren't happy with the list make your own and submit it through email for me to post.

So here we go strutting door to door down the Danforth; to drinking in Leslieville and Corktown; hanging out downtown; seeing the sights of Yonge street; and places everywhere in between.

Part 1 - Toronto East:
Starting in the Upper Beaches (I'm not a fan of the Beach) at the historic Feather's Pub on Kingston Road just west of Victoria Park, and home to hundreds of Single Malts and a good offering of local craft beer. Hop on the #22 bus and head south-west to Murphy's Law. Grab a pint of or two of Mill Street and enjoy it up on the awesome rooftop patio which offers an unobstructed view of Woodbine Park.

Head back downstairs and out to Queen Street and make the 12 minute walk to the Ceili Cottage, one of Toronto's newest establishments serving real ale, which is produced by Bruce Halstead at County Durham. Plan to have more than one pint at this Leslieville local as the Cottage hits almost every note of that picture of a 'perfect pub'. I don't think I've ever had less than two in one sitting. Back out to Queen Street and onto the 501 streetcar.

Head over the Don River bridge and yank the stop cord at Sumach, where the Dominion on Queen awaits. Sit at the old bar, look at all the photographs that hang from the storied walls and choose from a number of Ontario produced craft beers from the draught menu. Jump back on the 501 and head to Parliament.

Get off and head south on Parliament by foot for about 10 minutes until you reach the Distillery District, where you'll find the Mill Street Brewpub of course. Five of the regular bottled beers are available on draught, and they're joined by eight other Mill Street products, some of which have won golds at various Canadian Brewing Awards.

*Feather's Pub -
*Murphy's Law -
*Ceili Cottage -
*Dominion on Queen -
*Mill Street Brewpub -

Substitute pub - The Roy Public House

Tomorrow - The Danforth

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. George's Day Gourmet CASK! Ale Dinner - Beer For A Cure

The CASK! Toronto group will be hosting a four-course cask ale dinner on Saturday April 24 at The Granite Brewery, in support of Prostate Cancer Canada.

Tickets cost $65 per person, which will get you four different glasses of real ale that will be matched with each course. 

The St. George's Day dinner will celebrate of all things English and will feature a guest speaker, silent auction and a number of door prizes will be awarded to ticket buyers.

Please call Caroline or Robert Hughey at to purchase tickets.

Granite Brewery

Toronto, ON

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Craft Beer Mixed Packs In Ontario...and a New Four Pack

I've noticed something taking place over the last year.  On the back of the successful OCB Discovery pack mixers, and the single serve format that the LCBO provides customers, some Ontario breweries are starting to realize that offering beers in their own mixed packs, at the LCBO retail level, is a good idea and helps introduce individuals to a number of styles and flavours in one box.  Many breweries who have their own retail store often let you mix and match beers, but that only benefits people that live or work close-by.

Mill Street was the first Ontario brewery to package six different beers in one box with their Seasonal Sampler, the first being introduced to the public in the fall of 2009 and highlighted their silver medalist at the Canadian Brewing Awards - Pilsner.  It was so popular that they followed it up with another one in the winter that featured their Helles Bock, and plans are to release another one in the near future with the Lemon Tea seasonal as the new beer.

Bracebridge's Muskoka Cottage Brewery has been letting people mix and match at the brewery since switching over to cans and found the method to be quite popular.  And now they have their own mixed 12 can packs in the LCBO (broken up to be sold individually) and in the Beer Store (sold as 12 packs).  Three cans each of their Cream Ale, Dark Ale, Hefe-Weissbier, and Premium Lager.  The first three are all 473ml cans and the Lager 355ml.  Pricing in LCBO will be $2.60 x 12, but Beer Store will have pack up pricing - $29.40. (pic of box not the actual mixed pack)

And, for the past two Canadian Brewing Awards, Cameron's Brewing Co. in Oakville have walked away with three medals each year for the four beers they submitted.  Not bad.  So, why not throw all four of their brands into one box, send it to the LCBO, and give people the chance to try each beer without splurging on individual six (Dark Lager) or Cameron's signature nine-packs (Premium Lager, Auburn Ale, Cream Ale).  The new four pack is currently being sold at the breweries retail store and will soon start appearing on LCBO shelves for $8.95.

And while I'm on the subject of new packaging, even though it doesn't consist of a mixer pack, Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. is ready to release their long anticipated new four-packs containing 4x600ml of their flagship beer: Lug Tread Lagered-Ale.  The four-packs will start showing up at LCBO stores as early as next week and will retail for $15.60

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Ceili Cottage Transformed - St. Patrick's Week Starts Tomorrow

Just a reminder that St. Patrick's week kicks off tomorrow at the Ceili Cottage, and as you can see in the picture above and below, the large outdoor tent is now fully covering the patio area and is ready for live music, Irish dancing, and a Guinness bar. If ever there was an authentic place in the city of Toronto to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the Cottage is it. The full list of events at the Cottage is listed below, as the appeared on the blog earlier this month.

Saturday 13 March - St Practice Day: 12noon - 2am

19 & older after 5pm, proceeds of the $10 admission at the door go to the Gilchrist-Canavan School of Irish Dancing which is located at the rear of the pub.
Draught Guinness & Bushmills bar will be located outside in the marquee, with the regular full bar inside. Kevin Brauch, the "Thirsty Traveller" will have signature cocktails.
*The Gilchrist-Canavan Irish Dancers will perform.
*Live music with the Mere Mortals from 1-4pm & Piece of the Rock from 9pm - 1am. *St Patrick's Menu

Sunday 14 March - St Patrick's Day Parade - 12pm - c. 11pm
*Post Parade family day - kid's fun & parents welcome as well.
*The Gilchrist-Canavan Irish Dancers.
*Live Irish Trad Session with Ena O'Brien & friends from 2pm.
*Ceili Dancing - bring your shoes and learn a few steps!
*St Patrick's Menu

Monday 15 March - Industry Night - 5pm - c. 12am

*The Gilchrist-Canavan Irish Dancers.
*Live Bluegrass with Brian Taheny from 6pm.
*The St. Patrick's Open - Oyster Shucking Contest at 7pm. Pro & Am's - Cash & swag prizes.
*St Patrick's Menu

Tuesday 16 March - Session Day - 5pm - c. 12am

*The Gilchrist-Canavan Irish Dancers.
*Live Irish Music from 6pm with Ena O'Brien & friends
*Biggest Trad Irish Session this side of the pond - all welcome to join in!
*St. Patrick's Menu

Wednesday 17 March - St Patrick's Day - 12pm - 2am

19 & older after 5pm, proceeds of the $10 admission at the door go to the Gilchrist-Canavan School of Irish Dancing which is located at the rear of the pub.
Guinness Draught & Bushmills bar. Kevin Brauch, the "Thirsty Traveller" will have signature cocktails.
*The Gilchrist-Canavan Irish Dancers.
*Live music with the Mere Mortals from 1-4pm & Piece of the Rock from 9pm - 1am.
*St Patrick's Menu & Paddy's Matchmaking

The Ceili Cottage
Toronto, ON

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Garrison Brewmaster's Beer Dinner - March 25th

Halifax's Garrison Brewing Co., along with the Delta Barrington Hotel, are pleased to announce a Four-Course Brewmaster's Dinner to take place on Thursday March 25th. The dinner will feature four Garrison beers, which will be paired with some culinary delights prepared by Executive Chef, Jamie Mullett and his team.

Garrison Brewmaster, Daniel Girard, is excited about the upcoming dinner. "I know we will have a great time at the Delta. Jamie, the Executive Chef at the Barrington’s, is a strong believer of Nova-Scotia products. When you eat there, it is really a Nova-Scotia experience, which is one of the reasons I am glad to have our Brewmaster Dinner there."

The menu, available by clicking the image to the right, will feature Garrison's Hopyard Pale Ale, Imperial IPA, Martello Stout or Irish Red Ale (depending on which food item you choose for the third course), and cask conditioned Tall Ship Amber Ale. Girard will be speaking about each beer at the dinner.

Tickets will set you back $60 (+tax&tip) and reservations can be made by calling the hotel at .

Breweriana Invades Dominion on Queen Pub

The Dominion on Queen welcomed a number of beer collectors into their pub on Tuesday night to take part in a 1.5 hour long presentation of old Ontario beer labels and photographs of the Dominion Brewery.

At 8pm, local and well known breweriana collector, Larry Sherk, ushered people from the bar to the Dominion's private room in the back of the pub and started the projector which he had filled with images of beer labels. Sherk introduced himself to some of the new faces in the crowd, but the people in attendance were mostly from the beer collecting world and were all familiar with each other. He introduced Sean Duranovich, owner of the Dominion on Queen and collector of old breweriana himself, before he got underway with his presentation.

He showed us images of beer labels from a number of old Ontario breweries, mostly those of Carling, but some from the breweries of Kuntz, O'Keefe, Bradings, and more. Bocks, Oktoberfests, 1% beers from prohibition, Porters, crisp lagers, and many many more, all dating back to the early 1900's and up to the 1960's. The attention to detail that each label featured is a stark contrast to labels we see today. More propaganda, more illustrations, more information, and the ones sold through the LCBO featured the LCBO acronym on the neck label, which was required at the time.

The second half of the presentation, which took place after a beer break (pints of Great Lakes Canuck Pale Ale) focused on old photographs from Duranovich's collection. They featured the old Dominion brewery, which stills stands today at the same location (attached to the pub), in full operation, and those with the knowledge of the period figured most of the brewery photo's dated back to before the 1900's. The most fascinating picture was one that showed hundreds and hundreds of wooden casks lined up in the courtyard behind the brewery, ready to be loaded onto the horse drawn wagons for delivery to local taverns (it's said that Robert Davies, the founder/owner of the brewery, once owned over 140 taverns in Toronto).

I have a fascination with history, and beer history is very exciting to me. To see those pictures, taken by brewery workers, while the brewery was in full operation, was very interesting. Not only were the label images and photographs cool, but the chatter that took place while the presentation was happening was quite educational and well worth the free admission. And Sherk knows his stuff, and he's pretty passionate about collecting. In fact, it's rumoured that he has one of the largest breweriana collections in Canada with everything from labels, to trays, to beer books, posters, and openers.

I myself have a small collection of breweriana that will be neat to look back on in fifty years or so. I like the growlers, bottle openers, enamel ashtrays, and glassware. I have well over 100 different glasses in my collection, everything from the big breweries to the small local breweries and those from other countries, in all different shapes and sizes. My growler collection is still in its infancy with eleven in my possession, and my bottle opener stash is slowly growing in size. It's something I never thought I'd get into, but after attending a breweriana show two years ago I caught the bug and so far it's been a fun ride.

**There is going to be a Brewery Collectables Buy/Sell/Trade Show taking place on Saturday April 10th at Toronto's Amsterdam Brewery between 11am and 2pm. If you are a collector and are interested in getting a table for the show, you can contact Sherk at .

Alley Kat Press Release

I received the following press release this morning from Alley Kat's founder, Neil Herbst, and after reading through the one page document I felt like it was something everyone would enjoy reading, so I've posted it word for word. And as mentioned in a post last week, Alley Kat will be opening the doors to the brewery this Friday night between 5-7pm and the new Smoked Porter will be available for sampling.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meet John Hay - President, Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB)

The following interview, minus the intro, appeared in the fall issue of TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine alongside an interview with the Chair of the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), Gary McMullen.

John Hay has served as the President of the OCB since 2003 and has worked hard for its members over the years, helping to secure much needed funds from the provincial government on two separate occasions. He has worked closely with the Speaker of the Legislative Assemlby of Ontario to get OCB produced beers into the Legislature, which has been great for the OCB, and he sees big things developing in the OCB's future.

How long have you served as President of the OCB?
We formed OCB in 2003. I began as President then. Actually I had worked for the founding group of breweries before that on a tax structure project.

What has been your biggest accomplish to date as President?
The most important accomplishment was the reduction in the volume levy for small breweries. It changed the income statements dramatically and led directly to the investment growth that we saw over the last six years. Howard Thompson was key to that success; he was the chair at the time.

The next two most important items were the Micro Brewer Strategy and the OCB Opportunity Fund. The first led to the Marketing Grants and Cam Heaps was key for that project as he was Chair. The Opportunity Fund provides money directly to breweries to invest in growth. Gary McMullen and Jim Brickman were instrumental in this effort.

While this was going on in Ontario we worked Canada-wide to have the excise tax reduced very significantly for small brewers. All the Regional Chairs were key for this one.

Just recently we were successful in having the marketing Grant renewed. Gary was very involved in that. We also found ways to make decisions as a group, get members involved in committee meetings and get access and help from a wonderful group of highly skilled and dedicated professionals. Gary was the calming influence in all this work.

What does the President of the OCB do on a day-to-day basis?
My days are very busy and varied. A lot of time is spent on strategy and looking ahead. Some time is spent on planning and budgeting. Some time is spent on analysis and model building.

There is considerable administration needed in managing resources, grant administration, and dues generation. New member negotiations and mentoring are important activities.

Lobbying is a very important element and is very time consuming. I also spend considerable time fixing things that break or processes that need re-thinking. We are both a lobbying organization and a marketing co-op. Government looks at our role as industry development so that gets us into areas like mentoring, technical, funding, group purchasing, tourism, etc. We try to do a few things well and only do the absolute essentials in the others.

What has been the most significant change since the inception of the OCB under your watch?
The most significant changes have been the move to cc meetings, the full acceptance of e-mails, the reluctance of all members to stay involved in the marketing programs and the biggest change is the current move to much more point of sale activities. Also the increased aggressiveness at the Beer Store is a significant change.

What did you do before joining the OCB?
I spent twelve years in government on the path to a DM (Deputy Minister), then 17 years with Carling O'Keefe and Molson in the corporate affairs area at the VP level.

You deal a lot with the Provincial government. What has that been like?
The Provincial Government under both parties have been very good to deal with and are very support of Ontario Craft Brewers.

Where do you see the OCB in 10 years?
In 10 years there will be quite a few more breweries in the smaller cities and the breweries will be much more involved in tourism and export. There will be more credentialing, the brew school at Niagara College will be running, there will be much more barley and hops from Ontario, and there will be a few breweries over 50,000 hl. The Beer Store will be taken back to a co-op or non-owners will be allowed to own their own system, and grocery store beer sales will happen via LCBO Agency Stores etc.

Ontario will have an International Beer Event and will be seen as "A North American Center for Craft Brewing Excellence"

Is there more that the Provincial government could be doing for OCB members?
Fix The Beer Store and align our business model with the LCBO.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario has made it mandatory to serve beers produced by OCB members. How exciting is that?
The Speaker is a wonderful supporter and great at making it happen. We are thrilled with the featuring of the wining products in the Legislature.

Stats show that craft beers sales continue to rise. What is the OCB doing to help breweries deal with the current retail system in this province?
We work very closely with the LCBO and have pushed for return to self-serve stores at The Beer Store. We do a number of things with the LCBO, ranging from staff orientation - to the in-store sections - to tastings - to shared end-isles - to the fixture program.

Although none of the above would be possible if our members did not make great beer, get heavily involved in their communities and welcome visitors to their breweries.

*Photo - John Hay on the left and Great Lakes co-owner Peter Bulut. Jr at the 2009 Brewer's Plate*

Happy Birthday Mr. Steve Beauchesne

Steve Beauchesne, the energetic and passionate co-founder/owner of Vanleek Hill's, Beau's All Natural Brewing Co., is celebrating a birthday today, or so Facebook tells me.

Steve left his cozy job working for the provincial government to start the brewery with his father Tim back in 2005, and in 2006 the brewery opened their doors. Together, along with the rest of the Beau's team, Steve has taken the eastern brewery from humbling beginnings and turned it into a very successful business, growing at a very healthy rate.

He looks after marketing and promotions for the brewery and has done an incredible job (imo) building brand awareness throughout Ontario with their signature Lug-Tread Lagered Ale. Steve also documents his adventures in the brewing industry on his blog, How To Start A Brewery (in 1 million easy steps).

Happy Birthday Steve!

*Pic - Steve on right*

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Great Lakes Project XX - Women's Brew!

Score another one for the crew at Great Lakes Brewing Co. Their Project X nights have been a huge success since they started them last summer and they've since started taking them on the road to other locations outside of the GTA, which have also been successful.

Now they've announced another addition to the Project X events - Project XX: The women of Great Lakes will go head to head on March 11th in a showdown between two cask beers they brewed on the pilot system to celebrate International Women's Day.

Two teams, two beers:

Team 1: Jamie and Melle Oh - Hefe Weiss!
Team 2: Anetta and Kristy - American Style IPA!

As with other Project X nights, there will be food available and this installment will feature treats prepared by the female chefs from The Troubadour Bar. There will also be oysters from Oyster Boy, which will be shucked by the Great Lakes women.

The cost: $10.00 at the door. 6:30pm start time. All proceeds go to the Women's Habitat of Etobicoke.

Collectors of Canadian Brewery Advertising at Dominion on Queen - March 9th

If you're interested in old brewery advertising material, or care to catch a glimpse into Ontario's rich brewing history, you may want to head to Toronto's Dominion on Queen pub on Tuesday night.

From a post on Bar Towel:
The Collectors of Canadian Brewery Advertising present a slideshow of very rare Dominion Brewery photos and old Ontario beer labels. Constructed in the late-1880s, the buildings that housed the Dominion Brewery still stand today on Queen Street East in Toronto. These unique photos capture scenes of a thriving brewery at the turn of the twentieth century.

As well, a variety of mid-century beer labels from Ontario breweries owned by E.P. Taylor (including Brading's, Carling's, Kuntz, etc.) will be shown. 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 9, in the Corktown Lounge at the Dominion On Queen, in Toronto. Free admission.

More information: Larry at .

barVolo to Showcase Denison's Brewing Co.

Beginning Thursday March 11th, Toronto's barVolo will be featuring three beers on draught from the talented Michael Hancock, founder of Denison's Brewing Co.

barVolo will be tapping and serving the following Denison's beers; Weissbier, Dunkel and a brewery blend of the two beers - Spezial Weissbier Dunkel. Hancock will be at the bar on Thursday between 6-8pm to help kick off the feature.

A sample trio will also be offered during this time where you can taste all three beers in 5oz. tasters for $6.00

Thursday, March 11th @ 6:00pm - Until supplies last

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Railway City Brewing Co. - Dead Elephant Ale

Railway City Brewing Co. opened for business back in the spring of 2008 and battled consistency issues right out of the gate. They opened with a portfolio that consisted of a Blond Ale, a Cooper Ale, and an Amber Ale, and depending on when you ordered one, it might not have been so good.

Things changed for the better when Barb Ziola entered the picture. Ziola brewed at Creemore Springs under Gord Fuller for years and learned a thing or two about maintaining and producing consistent flavour profiles in Creemore's beers. She got to work tweaking recipes and playing with new ones, and one of those ended up being an IPA that Railway City has called Dead Elephant Ale, paying homage to Jumbo the elephant, who eventually came to his demise in St. Thomas.

I recently acquired some 500ml bottles from the brewery (without labels - see new label below) due to the fact that TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine will be reviewing it for the upcoming spring issue of the Tasting Panel, and I enjoyed a couple of bottles over the weekend.

The first two or three times I found myself supping a pint of it at a local Toronto pub I didn't really know what to think of it, but these two bottles I had were quite good. Those two Dead Elephant's were a nice surprise.

The pour stirs up a thin layer of white bubbly head that sticks around, leaving sporadic lacing around the pint glass atop an orange/amber coloured body. The nose is nice and hoppy (grassy) and a swirl of the glass produces some caramel notes that are mixed together with a slight acidic (citrus)/fruity touch. The slightly hazy body offers a fruity bite of mango and lemon zest before giving way to a good amount of piney/bittering hops. It has a nice citrus finish and Ziola has done a pretty decent job hiding the 6.8%abv.

The Dead Elephant Ale will start appearing in LCBO stores anytime now as part of the LCBO Spring Release. It will be packaged in 500ml bottles and will retail for $3.50.

Railway City Brewing Co.
168 Curtis Street
St. Thomas, ON
Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Winter Ale