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.


Friday, April 30, 2010

Collectors of Canadian Brewery Advertising 2010 Annual National Convention

The Collectors of Canadian Brewery Advertising (CCBA) have announced the dates for their annual National Convention - Wednesday August 4th to Sunday August 8th, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Kitchener-Waterloo Hotel & Conference Centre.

This will the the 31st annual convention the CCBA have held.  It's a great opportunity to head to Kitchener-Waterloo to meet people from all over Canada who share your enthusiasm for collecting brewery advertising relics, and it provides a rare opportunity for beginners to potentially score some items for their growing stash.

Convention Itinerary:
* 4 Nights hospitality room
* Trip to the Ontario Legislature & lunch with the Speaker (The Honourable Steve Peters) - Aug 6th
* Tour of Waterloo region brewpubs, breweries - Aug 6th
* Buy, Sell, Trade Show - Aug 7
* Dinner at a traditional German social club - Aug 7

Cost to attend is $85 - $75 for seniors (60+)
Cheques made payable to "CCBA Waterloo Region"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Muskoka Pilsner Light Launch Tonight

Just a reminder that Muskoka Cottage Brewery is officially at Highway 61, which is located on Bayview just south of Eglinton.  The party gets started at 7pm.

Here is a video from last night.  Mike Laba, Muskoka Cottage Brewery's Manager of Marketing is pimping TAPS Beer Magazine and announcing the name of the winner of two tickets to the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards gala.  (grainy video again....)

Central City Red Racer IPA Private Order - HMH Negotiants

From HMH Negotiants

Toronto, ON Central City Brewing Co. and HMH Negotiants, are excited to announce the release of Central City Red Racer IPA for private order in Ontario! Central City, out of Surrey BC, have become known for their true to taste styles, funky labels, and use of cans. With their growing popularity, and great taste, it’s no wonder why Central City is a top rated Canadian Brewery, and why beer lovers, and patio drinkers alike would love to have this aggressively hopped IPA in their fridge.

This award winning IPA, is an ale that was fashioned to survive the long voyage from England to India during the British colonization.  Hops, hops, and more hops, this ale has an intense aroma and a long lingering finish.  Drink as an appetizer on its own, or pair it with a hearty dish.  A beer for the connoisseur, this is a brew not to be missed.

If you are interested in placing an order, please e-mail your name, phone number, address, email and the quantity you are interested in ordering to 

This order will be closing Wednesday, May 12th, 2010. For more information on how private ordering works, please visit

Alcohol by volume: 6.5%
Price: Approx: $75.00* (24 x 355mL) Cans
*Prices may fluctuate based on freight rate.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Brewers Plate @ U of T's Hart House

The 3rd annual Brewers Plate is set to take place on Wednesday May 26th at the University of Toronto in their historic Hart House.

I have been fortunate enough to attend the first two Brewers Plates and I can say, without hesitation, that it is a real treat to be in attendance.  The food is great (see list of chefs below), the beer is great and paired wonderfully with the food creations, and the music has always been terrific. 

Chefs involved: Jamie Kennedy (Jamie Kennedy Kitchens), Brad Long (Veritas, My Place), Mark Cutrara (Cowbell), Marc Breton (Gladstone), Karen Vaz (Rebel House), and Brook Kavanagh (La Palette),  Michael Steh (Red’s), and others from Oyster Boy, Magic Oven and BuddhaDog.

Ontario Breweries: Black Oak, Wellington, Steam Whistle, Mill Street, Great Lakes, Cameron’s, NickelBrook, Flying Monkeys, Beau’s and Heritage Brewing and more!

David Crombie, a former Mayor of Toronto, will be headlining the special evening of taste revelations in a stunning historic venue with live jazz music. 

For more information on the event, or to purchase tickets, head to

Wednesday May 26th 2010
Hart House, University of Toronto
The feast begins at 7:00pm.
Tickets$159.00 (inc.GST and service charge)

Monday, April 26, 2010

barVolo Announces 2nd Annual Ontario Cask IPA Challenge

From barVolo
In 2009 barVolo hosted the first Ontario Cask IPA Challenge placing eighteen Ontario India Pale Ales/Pale ales up against each other in a single elimination bracket tournament. The final four beers last year were: Granite Hopping Mad IPA, Durham Hop Addict IPA, Mike Duggan #9 IPA and Scotch Irish Sgt.Major IPA. In a head to head final round, Mike Duggan #9 IPA was victorious against Durhams Hop Addict, taking the title of the 1st annual IPA challenge winner.

It’s now 2010 and barVolo would like to invite breweries to participate in the 2nd Annual Ontario Cask IPA Challenge. This year will feature 16 India Pale Ales on cask, with three rounds, all tasted blindly. The top score from each beer pairing will advance to the next round.  All participating beers will be disclosed as brewers submit their beers, please check the website for updates.

Canadian East Coast vs. West Coast vs. No Coast Double IPA Challenge

Saturday, May 29th, 2010 from 12:00-5:00pm

To start the Ontario Cask IPA Challenge festivities, we will be hosting a Canadian Bottle Double IPA Challenge, featuring Eight Double IPA’s from coast to coast served blind.

1. Phillips Amnesiac -
Victoria, British Columbia
2. Tree Hop Head Double IPA -
Kelowna, British Columbia
3. Half-Pints Humulus Ludicrous -
Winnipeg, Manitoba
4. Black Oak Ten Bitter Years -
Toronto, Ontario
5. Beau’s Screaming Beaver -
Vankleek, Ontario
6. Great Lakes My Bitterer Wife -
Toronto, Ontario
7. Charlevoix Amarillo Double IPA -
Baie-St-Paul, Quebec
8. Garrison Imperial India Pale Ale -
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Try all eight double IPA’s blind served in 3oz sample glasses for $20.00. Beers will be disclosed after the event on our website.

To see the dates for the actual IPA Cask Challenge, please click 'read more'

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Creemore's Kellerbier Coming Back Soon!

The beer I decreed to be 'my beer of the year' for 2009 is on its way back into the market as Creemore stated in an issued press release on Friday.

The Kellerbier will be made available by May 3rd at select LCBO's and pubs/restaurants.  Don't wait to long to get some, it sold out extremely fast last year

Here are my thoughts from last years batch:
The can is attractive and full of educational reading material for the individuals out there looking for something new (you've seen these people standing in the beer section at the LCBO reading all the cans). The unfiltered Kellerbier (cellar beer) pours a lovely hazy tarnished gold with a strong bold white layer of foamy protection that decides to hang out with me for the duration of the tasting, covering my glass with thick lacing.

My nose awakens as I dip it into the glass to get a big whiff of aromas, aromas that take me to an autumn day in the country. Floral, biscuity and a slight grassiness are picked up along with some sweet fruit, white peppery notes and a little citrus. The first sip is a good one. The second is even better. Caramel notes and some of that Creemore fruitiness, along with some of the left over yeast is found up front leading into a nice subtle hop body that sparks a slight peppery touch ending in a nice dry, yet clean and refreshing finish. The malt base plays nicely with the hops and only has a mild cloying effect on the palate.

This unfiltered lager is bursting with flavour and aromas, resembling a cask conditioned ale in a can, which is essentially what a Kellerbier is in Germany. Creemore has certainly taken the ball and ran with it on their latest seasonal, which will hopefully awake some of the smaller craft breweries in this province who produce lagers. Get some while it's fresh as the brewery has only produced enough for 80,000 cans.  

CASK! Toronto Releases Dates for 2010 CASK Ale Crawl

The fine folks behind the CASK! Toronto group have let it be known that their 2nd annual CASK Ale Crawl, which takes real ale drinkers to great establishments throughout Toronto, will take place between Friday May 7 and Sunday May 9.  While they haven't listed any specific pubs as of yet, they did say that at least six will be participating and they'll be announcing them on their website in due time.

For those of you that don't remember, or for those of you who are just getting into the 'better beer experience', the CASK Ale Crawl is a weekend long event, throughout Toronto, that celebrates real ale and the pubs that serve it.  So mark the date on your calendar now to make sure you get in on the action.

From CASK!
This is advance notice of this year's CASK Ale Crawl, coming to several pubs near you in May.  You may recall the 2009 CASK Crawl, for which we were honoured with a Golden Tap Award.  This year we're aiming for a Nobel Peace Prize, so no fighting, okay?  The 2010 Crawl will take place over the May 7-May 9 weekend and will include at least six pubs, all serving fresh, delicious, local cask-conditioned ales.  Watch this space for further details.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ontario Brewing Awards - Winners Announced

Here is a complete list of the Ontario Brewing Award Winners - Congratulations to all the winners!  It was a pleasure judging the People's Choice Awards this year.

Category Gold Medal Silver Medal People’s Choice
North American Light Lager Laker Light Brick Brewing Antigravity Light Flying Monkeys Brewery Antigravity Light Flying Monkeys Brewery
North American Lager Cool Lager Cool Brewing Red Bull Beer Sleeman Brewing Trailhead Lager Wellington Brewery
European Style Lager (Pilsner) King Pilsner King Brewery Traditional Pilsner Creemore Springs Brewery King Pilsner King Brewery
Amber Lager Oaktoberfest Black Oak Brewing Barking Squirrel Hop City Brewing Barking Squirrel Hop City Brewing
Dark Lager Cameron’s 266 Cameron’s Brewing King Dark Lager King Brewing Dark 266 Cameron’s Brewing
Bock Mill Street Spring Bock Mill Street Brewery Amsterdam Spring Bock Amsterdam Brewing King Pilsbock King Brewery
Honey/ Maple Laker Honey Brick Brewing Stone Hammer Maple Red Stone Hammer Brewing Laker Honey Brick Brewing
German Style Wheat (Hefeweizen) Lawn Chair Classic Weisse Hop City Brewing Duggan’s #13 Weiss Duggan’s Brewery Duggan’s #13 Weiss Duggan’s Brewery
Belgian Style Wheat (Witbier) Mill Street Belgian Wit Mill Street Brewery Waterloo Wheat Brick Brewing Mill Street Belgian Wit Mill Street Brewery
Cream Ale Muskoka Cream Ale Muskoka Cottage Brewery KLB Cream Ale Amsterdam Brewing Muskoka Cream Ale Muskoka  Cottage Brewery
Pale Ale Duggan’s #9 Duggan’s Brewery Hoptical Illusion Flying Monkeys Brewery Canuck Pale Ale Great Lakes Brewery
India Pale Ale 10 Bitter Years Black Oak Brewing Dead Elephant Ale Railway City Brewing Duggan’s #9 Duggan’s Brewery
Amber Ale Big Wheel Amsterdam Brewing Cameron’s Auburn Ale Cameron’s Brewing Devil’s Pale Ale Great Lakes Brewery
Dark Ale Muskoka Dark Ale Muskoka Cottage Brewey Mill Race Mild Grand River Brewing County Dark Ale Wellington Brewery
Bitter KLB Pale Ale Amsterdam Brewing Galt Knife Old Style Grand River Brewing Galt Knife Old Style Grand River Brewing
Porter Mill Street Coffee Porter Mill Street Brewing Nutcracker Porter Black Oak Brewing Black Irish Plain Porter Heritage Brewing
Stout Russian Gun Imperial Stout Grand River Brewing John Bye Imperial Stout Heritage Brewing John Bye Imperial Stout Heritage Brewing
Fruit or Vegetable Framboise Amsterdam Brewing Ringberry Ale Granite Brewery Green Apple Pilsner Nickel Brook Brewing
Strong Mill Street 2009 Barley Wine Mill Street Brewery Iron Duke Wellington Brewery Mill Street 2009 Barley Wine Mill Street Brewery

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Am A Canadian Craft Brewer - Video by VCBW

A couple of days ago the organizers of Vancouver's Craft Beer Week (VCBW) posted a teaser on that a 'I Am A Canadian Craft Brewer' video would be going live in due time, a video to help promote the VCBW that is taking place from May 10-16th.  Well, they've released the video and it's terrific!  Good job lads.

from on .

There seems to be a wave right now spreading throughout Canada, a wave of passion in the industry.  It was evident in Chicago, with the many brewers and brewery representatives wearing their bright red t-shirts with the Maple Leaf on the back and the 'Proud To Be A Canadian Craft Brewer,' and I think it's about time.  Canadian craft brewers nation-wide have a lot to be proud of and a little flair and showmanship like we see from American breweries is something that has sadly been lacking here in our country.  Let's keep this momentum going!

*pic on right taken by Jason E. Kaplan at the Craft Brewers Conference.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here and There

> Greg Nash is at it again.  According to a post he put up on his Hart & Thistle blog, Nash plans to brew up a 'Hop Mess Monster' (a huge Imperial Pale Ale) with a calculated alcohol content of 11% and a 533 IBU count!  Click here to read more here.

>  Greg Clow has posted an interesting news item over at his Canadian Beer News site about a planned collaborative brew that was to take place tomorrow in Vanleek Hill between Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. and Dutch Trappist brewery De Koningshoeven.  Turns out the ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland has disrupted flight plans. 

**There is word of another Ontario brewery looking into a collaboration in the US with a very well known brewery.  Details will follow once they are made available, but let's just say that it will be delicious**

>  The final round of judging for the Ontario Brewing Awards (OBA's) and the OBA's People Choice Awards will take place tonight.  Winners will be announced...actually, I don't even know.  I'll get back to you with that.

Black Oak Brewing Co. has announced (on Bar Towel) that they have just bottled their much talked about 10 Bitter Years and have lots of it for sale at the brewery's retail store.

>  Organizers of Vancouver Craft Beer Week continue to list the participating breweries daily on their Twitter account .  Check out their website though for the full listing.

>  I am heading up to Niagara-on-the-Lake next week to check out the new Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program at Niagara College for an update on their progress.  I was talking with two people on the weekend who were accepted and they both can't wait for the fall (when classes commence).  TAPS also features a short article on the program in the Spring issue, written by Bill White.

Heritage Brewing Co. is hosting a launch party for their Maple Bush Lager next Tuesday, the 27th, starting at 5pm.  Head to their for more details.

>  And Muskoka Cottage Brewery are also organizing a launch party for next week.  (Thursday), Highway 61 will be the place to head to to indulge in the new Pilsner Light. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meet Bob Baxter: Yukon Brewing Co.

Meet Bob Baxter, the Founder and President of the Chilkoot Brewing Co.,...err.... I mean the Yukon Brewing Co. in Whitehorse, Yukon.   Baxter, and co-founder, Alan Hansen, opened for business back in 1997 and today sells more draught beer in the Yukon than the big boys - combined!  Last year Baxter's Yukon Red Amber Ale won the distinguished Canadian Beer of the Year Award at the Canadian Brewing Awards, something the brewery is quite proud of.

Meet Bob....

Where is the Yukon Brewery and what beers do you produce?
Yukon Brewing is located in Whitehorse, Yukon, in the farthest northwest corner of Canada. There has only ever been one brewery in the Yukon, that being during the gold rush, in Dawson City, in the early 1900's. The end of the gold rush pretty much did them in, with prohibition driving the final nail. We are the first brewery ever to be located in Whitehorse. We produce eight full time brands - Yukon Gold, Chilkoot Lager, Discovery Honey ESB, Creekside Cranberry Wheat, Yukon Red, Lead Dog Strong Ale, Midnight Sun Espresso Stout, and Ice Fog IPA - plus an assortment of 'brewery only' beers available through our growler system.

Describe the history behind the brewery
Yukon Brewing was conceived like so many Yukon babies - near a campfire, late one night, on a canoe trip. Co-founders Alan Hansen and Bob Baxter sat on the side of Jennings River in the mid-90's, talking about world problems, beer, and breweries, probably in that order. One thing led to many things, and in 1997 the Chilkoot Brewing Company began sending beer out the door. By 1999, we realized that almost nobody outside of the Yukon knew what Chilkoot meant (the Chilkoot Trail was the main route to the goldfields in 1898) and we rebranded as Yukon Brewing. And our baby just became a teenager.

What is your best selling beer?
Our best selling beer in the Yukon is, without question, Yukon Gold, especially on tap. Yukon Gold is now the number one selling draught beer in the Yukon, bar none. One of those big brands is number two, but Yukon Gold outsold it by more than 50% in 2009. Yukon Gold accounts for one out of every three beers consumed on tap in the Yukon.

What's new at the brewery?
Yukon Brewing has been trying to find a better bottle filler for over two years, and this past winter we found the perfect Krones filler on the used market. We snapped it up and just finished the install within the last couple of weeks. While there is still some tweaking to do, we are totally thrilled to see our beer bottled in such a high quality way.  Of course, there is always something new here on the beer week our traditional German Hefeweizen will be ready for the growler system, and we are eagerly anticipating our birch beer coming this spring, as soon as the sap decided to start to run.

Why get into the beer biz?
The history of beer in Canada goes back to before there even was a Canada. The chance to work in an industry that has such heritage is pretty hard to pass up. And, to actually be in control of making something you love...well, find me something better to do and I just might start doing it.

What is the best aspect of working in the Canadian craft beer industry?
The Canadian craft beer industry is pretty much in its infancy, even still. So, you have a bunch of folks shepherding their products along, trying to create a market and then find their place in it. It makes sense to work together to that end and, guess what, nearly everybody does. We have traded questions and answers with so many other craft brewers, always with the idea of improving our products. The camaraderie continues to amaze me.

Where can someone find our products?
Everywhere in the Yukon...we dare you to find a licensee who doesn't serve some (if not all) of our brands. We also export to B.C., Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.

Something not many people know about the brewery?
We always get the raised-eyebrow look when we talk about our market penetration with respect to draught beer in the Yukon. In 2009 we sold more draught beer in the Yukon than those two big multi-national breweries - combined.

Advantages for small brewers over the big guys?
Boy, there are not a lot of those! Our main advantage over the big boys is the freedom to have fun with our beers. We can use crazy ingredients like birch sap or espresso coffee beans and not worry about the need to sell trainloads of it. In 2009 we bought a still and started making whiskey (which of course we won't see out of the barrels for some time to come) simply because we thought it might be kind of a funky thing to do, not because we have shareholders to please and big money to make.

Highlight of brewing career?
Actually, the highlight of my brewing career was something that happened more to my partner Alan than to me. Last year, we were invited to participate in the JD Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival in England. Sending beer that far would not be great, so instead we were invited to send a brewer to make some of our beer in a brewery across the pond, which Alan quite happily did. While the festival invites brewers from around the world to participate, we were the first ever to be invited from Canada. And, of 50 real ales in the festival, we finished 2nd overall in the peoples' choice voting. A highlight, indeed.

Cold clean lager, big hoppy pale ale, or nicely roasted stout?
Hands down, nicely roasted stout...a meal in a glass.

Favourite non-Yukon produced beer?
I guess further to the last question, I am kind of partial to the Blackheart Oatmeal Stout from Nelson Brewing...especially since I can't buy it in the Yukon, so it generally is part of a BC getaway.

Best time for a pint?
The end of the work day which, around the brewery, is often an Ice Fog the end of most days somebody here at the brewery will say "Well, guys, I think it is Fog O'Clock".

Friday, April 16, 2010

Duggan's No.9 IPA Heading to the LCBO

Duggan's No.9 IPA, a beer that has done very well for itself (silver at Canadian Brewing Awards) since being released back in 2009 by Duggan's Brewery brewmaster, Michael Duggan, will be showing up on LCBO shelves in the very near future I'm told.  There was no mention of a price, but it will be an open format six-pack of the 275ml bottles.  I confirmed this with Duggan this morning, who also shared some other interesting tidbits about some events he has planned for the brewery/restaurant.

"We're working on a MaiFest down at Duggan's that will celebrate German beer, German food, and we'll have some live bands in house to entertain the customers," he said today over the phone.  The plan is to run it for 10 days or so.  He also mentioned that Duggan's Brewery plans to do little festival's like the MaiFest each month or two.

And, for all your homebrewers out there, Duggan plans to host a Homebrew Weekend at the brewery during the first weekend of May.  "We'll cover some theory, have some ingredients for sale, and on Sunday we'll actually do some brewing."  More information will be available shortly.

More Additions to the List of Canadians at the Craft Brewers Conference

I just received an email from Beerology's, Mirella Amato, who was in Chicago for the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC), informing me that I missed listing representation from two Quebec establishments on the list I compiled of Canadians who attended the CBC.

Le Saint-Bock
Mondial de la Biere

I don't know how I missed the ladies from Mondial as we shared drinks with them before the World Beer Cup dinner and after the dinner at the late night party.  They have now been added.

To see the full list, click read more:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hop City Lawn Chair Hefeweizen - By Rob Symes

**Hop City Brewing Co. launched a new beer last night and Rob Symes and I were there to sample it.  Rob, who has written here before, has kindly provided you with his thoughts.  Enjoy!**
(sorry for the quality of the pic)

By Rob Symes:
Yesterday I was fortunate to head down to the launch party for the new beer from Hop City - a craft brewery that has the backing of Moosehead. Late last year, Hop City debuted on the scene with Barking Squirrel Lager, a crisp and drinkable beer that instantly reminded me of a Creemore. While Barking Squirrel would not displace any of my craft favourites I'd take it in a heartbeat over the crap that's available in most bars. The announcement that the new brew would be a hefeweizen got my hopes up that this beer would eclipse its predecessor and become an option I'd consider on a regular basis. I love hefeweizens and their rich flavours of sweet banana, spicy clove and tangy wheat. After extensive tasting of hefes from three continents I can happily say that the local Denison's Weissbier is one of the best in the style. The flavour profile described by the brewery seemed to indicate good things and whetted my appetite:

"A true Bavarian style Hefeweizen with a deep golden colour and naturally cloudy appearance. A beautiful balance of exotic fruity and spicy notes followed by a crisp refreshing finish."

So how's the beer? Well firstly I should reveal that they've gone with the name: Lawn Chair "Classic" Weisse, and the tagline on the coasters reads "Grab a Chair". They've certainly got the whole retro summer look going on, and for a brewery whose website talks about beer not being about expensive ad campaigns, there's certainly some slick marketing and big money behind this one. I grabbed a couple pints over the course of the evening in the interests of you, dear readers. This is what you can expect from Lawn Chair:

Halifax Microbrew Fest and Conference Cancelled

Halifax, NS - I just got word this morning that the Halifax Microbrew Fest and Conference has been cancelled.  I was asked months ago if I'd like to sit on the advisory board and had no problem saying yes, thinking that there was sufficient time to pull it off. 

Well, this is actually the first time that I've heard back from them with regards to progress on the event and it's sad to hear, especially just after returning from the Craft Brewers Conference.  I think Canada, could use something like this, and judging from the Canadian turnout in Chicago it looks like there might be enough support to one day do this in Canada.

The two women who were trying to put together the Halifax Microbrew Fest and Conference were, when I first talked to them, very focused and I believed that they had the passion needed to pull something like this together.  I still believe that, so I hope they don't completely abandon their goal, and maybe they will revisit this down the road. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ontario Brewing Awards Judging Commences

Last night marked the start of the judging for the Ontario Brewing Awards (OBA) which featured both BJCP judges and non-BJCP judges.  The accredited judges are actually doing the proper judging to determine the winners of the individual categories and the non-BJCP judges are there to determine the 'people's choice' award for each category.  That's where I fit in.

Two years ago I was asked to help judge the OBA's and I didn't really have a good experience.  I made a note to myself that I wouldn't help judge again unless I became an actual BJCP judge or if the awards had more BJCP people involved.  Last year it did, so when asked this year if I'd like to help select the people's choice awards I thought I'd give it another go. 

Like I said, the OBA's were sanctioned last year and it is no different this year.  All the actual judges there last night (with the exception of guys like me) have all been doing the BJCP thing for years; it adds so much credibility to the awards.  It was good to catch up with some of them too, as I hadn't seen many of them since the judging of the Canadian Brewing Awards.  Roger Mittag, who runs Thirst for Knowledge - Beer School and the Prud'homme Beer Certification program, and who also organizes the OBA's, stated that this year features the highest number of entries, just under 200, which he said was a significant leap over last years OBA's.

Part 1 took place last night and the second round goes next Tuesday to determine the final overall winners.  Our table, which was comprised of three judges and three people's choice judges, drew the Light Lager, Amber Lager, and Pale Ale categories, and I can say, without knowing the names of the breweries who entered them, that some beers surprised me - both good and bad.  There was good banter between the judges after they finished tallying their scores, seeing if their scores jived with one another.

No word yet on when the actual winners will be announced, but stay tuned, once I find out, I'll post here.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Feature at barVolo - Tonight

Tonight at 6:00pm, barVolo will be featuring beers on tap and on cask from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. from Vankleek Hill, ON.

Co-founder Steve Beauchesne and Toronto Representative Rob Morra will also be on hand to discuss their product. Volo will be tapping the following beers, which will be available until supplies last:

Beaver River I.P. Eh?
On Cask
Bogwater – Strong & Spicy Dirty-Brown AleOn Cask
Beaver River I.P. Eh?On Tap
Lugtread Lagered AleOn Tap
Matt's Sleepy Time Belgian Imperial StoutOn Tap

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Craft Brewers Conference - Canadian Breweries Well Represented

Canadian brewery representatives were everywhere during last week's Craft Brewers Conference.  When I posted here last week that I was headed that way with a healthy number of Canadian breweries, I was way off.  I listed a handful, but 26 breweries/brewpubs where there from all parts of our great country. And there were 10 other businesses from Canada (and possibly more) in attendance, along with numerous exhibitors whose names have escaped me and two individuals planning Toronto brewery openings in the near future.

I know in speaking with many of the different brewery reps the seminars they attended sparked some fire in their bellies to either try brewing something new, or at least look into doing something big and bold; maybe even a cultist brew.

Here is a list of the Canadian representation in Chicago.  Sorry to those I may have missed.  If you were in Chicago and I didn't mention you, and I'll get you added.

Alley Kat Brewing Co.
Drummond Brewing Co.
Wild Rose Brewing Co.

British Columbia
Central City Brewery
Phillip's Brewing Co.
R&B Brewing Co.
Russell Brewing Co.
Tree Brewing Co.

New Brunswick
Pump House Brewing Co.

Nova Scotia
Garrison Brewing Co.
Granite Brewery

Amsterdam Brewing Co.
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.
Black Oak Brewing Co.
Cheshire Valley Brewing
Clocktower Brewpub 
Granite Brewery
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Mill Street Brewery

Benelux Brasserie
Dieu du Ciel
McAuslan Brewing Co.
Le Trou du Diable
Le Saint-Bock Brasserie
Microbrasserie Charlevoix

Others from Canada In Attendance
Artisan Ales Consulting Inc. (AB)
Bar Towel (ON)
barVolo (ON)
Beerology (ON)
Better with Beer (ON)
Bob Latimer (with Hops Direct booth) (ON)
Brewery Creek (BC)
Chester Carey (Canada's first certified Cicerone) (BC)
HMH Negotiants (ON)
Mondial de la Biere (QC)
TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine (CDN)
The Rhino (ON)

Craft Brewers Conference Adventure Pics - Part 1

At the World Beer Cup reception.  These are just some of the leftover beers from the judging.  Scooped a 2006 Barrel Aged Speedway Stout, Tree Double HopHead IPA, St. Feuillien Saison, Nogne-O Imperial Stout, Stone Sublimely Self Righteous... and more.

The sign out front of Clark Street Ale House, a Chicago landmark.  We grabbed out pints of Founders Diablo de Noche (a huge Black IPA), Southern Tier's Matt and Phin's ExtraOrdinary Ale, and headed out back to their patio to drink with the dogs....

Stone Brewery co-founder Greg Koch and I at the Stone/Nogne-O/Jolly Pumpkin collaborative dinner.  The face - check out Koch's twitter hash-tag to see what it's all about.

The bar at the State & Lake hotel bar near the entrance to the rail line.  All the kegs are stored underneath the bar and are showcased by the clear glass.  The State & Lake was our last stop (bar #15 for us) and had great deals on flights of beer from all over the US.

Here we have John Bowden from Great Lakes Brewing Co. and George Eagleson of F&M Brewery at The Local Option who were congratulating some woman on her birthday.  Don't you love the shirts?  "Proud to be a Canadian Craft Brewer" ()

And.....the draught menu at The Local Option.  Still drooling.

More pictures will come soon!

Philadelphia Beer Raids Hearing - Streaming Live

Remember the Philadelphia beer raids?  From Lew Bryson's Facebook page:
The PA legislative hearings on the 'beer registration raids' will be live on PCN (the Pennsylvania Cable Network) this morning, beginning at 10 AM. I'm in the Caucus Room, ready and waiting. Testifying: Leigh Maida (Memphis Taproom et al), Dominic Origlio (wholesaler), Artie Tafoya (Appalachian Brewing), Joe 'PLCB CEO' Conti, & others. Should be a good show.
The hearing into the matter is now streaming live at the following link:  Then click on Live Channel 1.

Beer For A Cure Gourmet CASK! Ale Dinner

The menu for St. George's Day: Beer for a Cure Gourmet CASK! Ale Dinner has been released and boy does it sound good.

CASK! Toronto, the group behind the successful CASK! Social's, are the people organizing this dinner which will take place on Saturday April 24th at the Granite Brewery (Toronto) in support of Prostate Cancer Canada.

Tickets are $65 a person, which will allow you to feast on the four course dinner and indulge in four cask conditioned ales - 2 from the Granite, 1 from Durham County, and 1 from MacLean's Ales.  Nick Pashley, author of Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and Why Its Necessary and Cheers!  An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada, will also be on hand to engage the crowd with a sure to be humorous and entertaining talk about all things English.  There will also be a silent auction and door prizes.

Call Caroline or Robert Hughley to purchase tickets by calling . *Click on image to expand and view*

Sausage rolls in step with Granite Hopping Mad

-Round 1-
Cream of asparagus soup made with Granite IPA, served with Granite spent grain bread: Beer - Granite IPA

-Round 2-
Roast beef with a Granite Peculiar gravy, Yorkshire pudding and a medley of roasted vegetables: Beer - Durham Hop Head

Apple crumble or bread and butter pudding: Beer - MacLean's Ales Claymore Oatmeal Stout

Monday, April 12, 2010

7 Medals Won By Canadian Breweries at World Beer Cup

As many of your dear readers know by now that I was away in Chicago last week for the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) (organized by the Brewers Association) to meet with a number of people in the industry and to learn about some trends that are occurring in the craft beer sector. 

Part of the CBC is the Saturday night World Beer Cup (WBC) reception and the awards presentation dinner.  Now I didn't purchase tickets for the dinner, and the group of other Ontarians I was with decided to pass on the dinner too, so we headed to the reception only to indulge in all the beers that were leftover from judging (and there were many).

Once the dinner started and the doors were shut our group headed out for dinner at Chicago's newest brewpub, Revolution Brewing Co., and watched the twitter feeds come in announcing many of the winners.  We were actually only looking for updates concerning our Canadian breweries and when the first one came in we all let out a big cheer.  We ended up taking away 7 WBC medals, including 2 silvers and 5 bronzes - see list below in numerical order.

This was the largest commercial beer judging competition in history.  There were 642 breweries from 44 countries and 6 continents that submitted 3,330 beers!!  There were even a number of judges from Ontario who were in Chicago earlier in the week who helped judge this enormous competition.

Category 5: Fruit Beer or Field Beer
Bronze – Ephémère Apple, Unibroue, Chambly QC

Category 48: Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
Bronze – Fin du Monde, Unibroue, Chambly QC

Category 49: Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
Silver – La Grivoise de Noel, Micro-Brasserie le Trou du Diable, Shawinigan QC

Category 53: English-Style India Pale Ale
Bronze – Russell IP’eh!, Russell Brewing, Surrey BC

Category 57: Scottish-Style Ale
Bronze – Russell Wee Angry Scotch Ale, Russell Brewing, Surrey BC

Category 58: English-Style Mild Ale
Bronze – Whistler Black Tusk Ale, Whistler Brewing, Vancouver BC

Category 68: Barley Wine-Style Ale
Silver – Thor’s Hammer, Central City Brewing, Surrey BC

So, congratulations to our Canadian breweries that represented our great country!

Check out the WBC website to see the full list of winners

Back in Ontario to Dry Out

Well, I'm back.  I just spent four full days in the windy city hanging out with a bunch of people from the Canadian beer industry during the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC).  It was a great time, great time. 

I wanted to do a number of posts from the conference but for some reason Chicago isn't to big on the free wi-fi thing just yet.  Everywhere we went, even the different hotels, wanted to charge $20 a day to get logged on and I'm too cheap for that.  And besides, it was kinda nice not touching a computer for a weekend.

There is lots to write about.  Some good stuff to share with you.  Most of the seminars I attended provided good information and a particular one about importing US craft beers to British Columbia provided me with some good material for a possible story here on the blog.  I will get to this over the course of the week and I'll include a bunch of photographs that I compiled during the week.

Up first - the seven medals won by Canadian breweries at the World Beer Cup
Second - the story on how we almost didn't get there....

*in pic - Dogfish Brewery founder Sam Calagione behind mic

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Off to Chicago For The Craft Brewers Conference

Later on today I'll be jumping on a plane headed for Chicago - destination: Craft Brewers Conference.  This will be the first time I'll be attending and my anticipation for the plethora of amazing beers I'll be able to consume is growing with each passing second. 

There is going to be a large crowd of Ontario brewery representatives there this week, as members of Muskoka Cottage Brewery, Mill Street, F&M, Grand River, Black Oak, Cheshire Valley, Beau's, Great Lakes, are all planning on attending.  The guys from Garrison Brewing Co. are also flying in tonight, and a high number of other Canadian breweries submitted their beers for World Beer Cup judging, so I'd assume there will be many more representation from across Canada joining us.

I had some t-shirts made up for the occasion that read "PROUD TO BE A CANADIAN CRAFT BREWER" and there is a large maple leaf on the back of the shirt, which is Cardinal Red in colour.  We won't be hard to miss.

Anyways, gotta get packing.  Look for updates here throughout the week and on the account.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hop City to Introduce New Brand

Remember Hop City and their Barking Squirrel Lager?  It wasnt' to long ago that they were introducing themselves to Ontario beer drinkers.  I wrote a post on them here back in November of '09. 

I went to their launch party with a bunch of other people shortly after they announced their arrival and we were all surprised at how receptive we were to the beer, considering that the small brewery making it is a subsidary of Moosehead Breweries.  We were also told of the number of establishments that had already took the beer on draught, and the last I heard it was in well over 100 places.

Fast forward five months - banking on their fast success with Barking Squirrel, Hop City will be releasing a new brand later this month: Hefeweizen

Their tasting notes - A true Bavarian style Hefeweizen with a deep golden colour and naturally cloudy appearance. A beautiful balance of exotic fruity and spicy notes followed by a crisp refreshing finish.

 Stay tuned for more.....

A New Job....A New Start

For those of you out there who know me personally, you'd know that for the last three years I have been employed by the provincial government, working in a department of the the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. 

During that time I have somehow managed to maintain this blog, sell advertising for TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine, write my Burtch on Beer Column for TAPS. conduct interviews with people in the industry for TAPS features, help out with a weekly radio show, and attend numerous events and festivals throughout Ontario.  It has been hard work (I know you might laugh at that.  I mean, how hard could it be to attend beer events, talk about beer....?), especially juggling everyday work commitments while a deadline is looming over my head or spending an entire weekend doing nothing beer related. 

Something had to change.  I was getting bogged down, feeling stressed out at times.  I knew that I needed to re-evaluate things in my life and was hoping that the beer writing wouldn't lose out to the steady job that working for a government branch offers. 

So, I'm about to make a significant change to my life and the beer world that I've ingrained myself in over the last 3 1/2 years won't disappear at all.    In fact, it will become my life.  As I mentioned last week, I left my cushy job with the government to embark on a new venture. 

Starting today, April 6th, I'll be assuming my new role with TAPS Media as the National Director of Sales and Marketing.  I'm very excited about this.  I have a lot of ideas for the magazine and everything that goes along with it, some that I hope to get up and running in the next month.  And as I'm getting my feet wet I'd love to hear from TAPS readers out there with their thoughts on how to improve the magazine, changes you'd like to see, articles that would be of interest to you, or anything you'd like to pass along for consideration.  Feel free to drop me a line at .

I'll continue posting information on this blog, but I'm assuming that the post count will  drop slightly.  The new position will provide me with the chance to travel the country, visiting our terrific breweries, brewpubs, and pubs/beer bars which will give me much to post on. 

Goodbye government - hello beer!

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Hiring Toronto Sales Rep.

Peter Chiodo, President of the Flying Monkeys Brewery in Barrie, ON, posted the following message on Bar Towel Sunday.  It seems that Flying Monkeys will be making a push for space in the Toronto market and the brewery is looking to hire the right person to help them acquire some accounts.   And the job ad is great.

Yes, the Monkeys are growing…..We are looking for a Toronto area sales rep to add to our family of 11 employees. We thought we would try something new by recruiting folks on the Bar Towel….people passionate about the micro culture in Ontario! Well, here I go...Are you looking for an unglamorous job? Do you enjoy hard work for little pay ? Are you independently wealthy or have a spouse or significant other that earns a decent enough salary to compensate for your lack of pay? Then read on…Do you drink microbrewery beers? Do you know anything about the microbrewery industry in Ontario? Does a career with Beer Benefits actually sound ideal to you? Here’s what’s available at our brewery right now:

Toronto Sales Rep
Do you enjoy cold-calling on Bistros and micro-friendly restaurants? Are you passionate about the microbrewery culture in Ontario? Did I mention cold-calling? Are you organized? Can you complete a weekly plan, daily reports, and make it to meetings on time? Just maybe you`re right for the Monkeys.

Job Description
Developing New Customers
Develop prospect lists
Execute a new account presentation- Communicate our philosophy
Manage existing prospect follow-ups and calls
Manage Point-of-sale budgets
Draught installs

Other Stuff
Manage customized staff incentive programs
Provide occasional emergency deliveries
Participate in beer samplings
Festivals & Shows – set-up and support...i.e. work!
Monday AM meeting attendance

Flexible Hours which may include occasional evenings and weekends

A proven beer lover. A positive attitude is a must i.e. “no energy vampires.” If you are a negative person, do not apply. Must have the ability to work under the pressure of a sales budget (sorry we are not a charity). The ability to creatively solve problems on your own,. Must be disciplined with solid time management skills.

Performance Review
1. Territory Sales
2. Number of new licensee accounts
3. Customer retention of 90% or higher

Email your resume to . If I see brilliance in you, I will call for an interview. If not, I will likely not return your email (because I am just plain lazy--unlike the people I am trying to hire).

Yours in Brewing,


Friday, April 2, 2010

Patio....I Hear You A Callin

Wow!  Is it ever a beautiful day here in Toronto today.  It is currently 21 degrees outside with a nice refreshing wind coming in off Lake Ontario.  To nice to be stuck indoors writing about beer.  After a quick Easter dinner with the family it's off to a patio for the rest of the day!

Have a great long weekend!

Oh, and to all the LCBO and Beer Store staff who worked yesterday - put your feet up and kick back today with some terrific beer.  I was in a handful of stores yesterday and couldn't believe just how busy they all were. A day to relax with good beer is what the doctor ordered.

And the Great Lakes Brewery staff did another great job with their Project X.  Some damn fine beers and good food (supplied by Bryden's), mixed with a handful of fun games.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From Beer to There: Toronto Habourfront Centre Offers Six-Week Beer Course

Mirella Amato, founder of and local beer educator, has just announced a new six-week beer tasting class that she'll be instructing for the Toronto Harbourfront Centre as part of their Courses and Workshops program .

The course, "From Beer To There," will feature discussion on the origins of different beer styles, food and beer pairings, will showcase the best beer bars/pubs that Toronto has to offer, and will include tasting sessions.  The six-week course will commence on Thursday April 15th and will run every Thursday evening from 6:30pm to 8:30 until May 27th (there will be no class during the week of May 10-14).  The cost: $150

For more information, or to register for the course, click here to be directed to the Harbourfront Centre website.
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