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, July 30, 2010

Gone For The Long Weekend

I'm gone for the long weekend after spending a great night at the Hart House Craft Beer Festival & Summer BBQ, so here are some links to some old posts.

Garrett Oliver Discusses Beer and Food at the Master Brewers Association of the America's (Ontario Chapter): Click here

Meet Bob Baxter, Founder and President of the Yukon Brewing Co.: Click here

Part Four of the Toronto Pub Crawl Series - Yonge Street: Click here

See ya next week!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Mess With Matt Phillip's - Video

I've been meaning to post this video since the start of the week but other things have popped up that pushed this to the side.  Not today though.

The video below is about an April Fool's day prank pulled on Phillips Brewery owner/founder, Matt Phillips by one of his sales reps, Kurtis, and Phillips' getting him back.  It's priceless.  What does it all mean - Don't mess with Matt Phillips.

**For some reason blogger won't let me embed the video at this time, so click here to view the video: 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Toronto Beer Week Present TBW Homebrew Competition 2010

Toronto’s first ever beer week is proud to announce its first ever homebrew competition. 

A huge amount of the world’s best craft brewers started off with small batches at home, and we want to give recognition to the Canadians who are producing stunning ales and lagers out of their garages, basements and kitchens. Not only do we want to give recognition, but we also want to give prizes. Awards will be given to the winners of each style category, who will then advance to compete to be named the grand winner, with additional prizes for those finishing 2nd and 3rd overall. We’re working on putting together an extra special prize for the best in show. 


Hopefully a number of you homebrewers will be onboard and want to take part. The major aim of TBW is to promote the craft beer scene in the city and province, and to attract more people to it, while improving the existing quality. Homebrewing is a damn fine pursuit, and we'd like to bring it more to the forefront of the public consciousness.  

Shiny Penny Brewery Gets Its Start

Chloe Smith and her husband Cedric Dauchot (in picture), both professional brewers by trade, recently packed up their bags and made the move from Montreal to Saskatoon to get into the Canadian commercial brewing industry, looking to open the Shiny Penny Brewery.  Their first beer was just produced at the Paddock Wood brewery - Saskatchewan Wheat Ale (Belgian Wit).

Dauchot, who studied at l'Institut Meurice Chimie in Brussels (one of the three brewing schools in Belgium), and Smith, with a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a diploma from the American Brewers Guild, have plans to open their own brewpub in Saskatoon one day in the near future.

Smith took some time to answer three questions about their new venture...

Shiny Penny is a new venture for you and your husband I understand - what led to your decision to move to Saskatoon to get into the brewing industry?
My husband and I are both professional brewers, he is from Belgium and I am from Saskatoon, we met while working together in Montreal. We talked about opening our own place for years and for us it was always going to be Saskatoon. Montreal already has loads of great beer and Cedric always says: you have to kill a brewer to take their place in Belgium, there is so much beer there. So when the boom started in Saskatoon we thought: ok it's now or never.

The beer (Saskatchewan Wheat Ale is currently being brewed at Paddock Wood Brewery until you find the right location to open your brewpub. Where will people be able to purchase the Wheat Ale?
The Sask Wheat Ale is really just a one off for us. We were getting itchy feet about not having brewed in awhile and thought it would be a good opportunity for us to have a product to place in investors hands. Paddock Wood generously agreed to let us brew a beer at their brewery and they are selling it for us at their outlet. So while supplies last you can get it at 116-103rd street in Saskatoon.

What does the future hold for Shiny Penny?
The Shiny Penny Brewery will be a gastronomy brewpub in Saskatoon. There will definitely be an emphasis on craft beer with rotating taps and guest appearances. However we will also do beer cuisine, things like: spent grain bread and wort BBQ sauce, as well as beer pairing dinners and all that fun stuff.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hart House Craft Beer Festival & Summer BBQ: Thursday July 29th

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 @ 7PM
Tickets: $35 Adult / $25 Student (+ tax) /


This Thursday Hart House will once again play host to the ultimate summer event - The 3rd annual Craft Beer Festival & Summer BBQ. Sample some of the best craft brewed ales, lagers and pilsners that Canada has to offer while relaxing in one of Toronto’s most impressive and historic settings. Hart House Chef Marco Tucci will provide guests with an assortment of savory barbecue nibbles while CIUT 89.5 DJs spin and broadcast live from the courtyard patio

Ticket price includes:
- 8 beer samples
- complimentary BBQ nibbles
- live entertainment
(Additional beer sample tickets may be purchased on site.)

* admission restricted to 19+, this event is rain or shine *
No vector bottles, no shivering cans and no color-changing mountains…just good tunes, delicious barbeque and quality craft beer.

Barley Days Brewery · Beau's All-Natural Brewing Company · Big Rock Brewery · Black Oak Brewery · Creemore Springs Brewery · F & M Brewery · Flying Monkeys Brewery · Grand River Brewing · Great Lakes Brewery · Heritage Brewing Company · Hockley Valley Brewing Company · Mill Street Brewery · Niagara's Best Brewery · Nickle Brook Brewery · Steam Whistle Brewery · Wellington Brewery

In addition to featuring Ontario’s very own creative and talented Craft Breweries this year’s festival will also include a selection of award winning Craft Breweries from Quebec courtesy of HMH Negotiants:
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! · Les Trois Mousquetaires · Microbrasserie Charlevoix

Beer isn’t the only thing on the menu, join us for Marco Tucci’s beer inspired BBQ featuring pulled pork sandwiches, ribs and Jerk tofu served with corn on the cob and coleslaw. Not a beer lover but your friends are all going? No problem, we’ll have wine as well as a special summer cocktail.

Hart House is a Gothic styled architectural gem that many consider to be the visual icon of the University of Toronto. Nestled in the heart of downtown Toronto, the building is a perfect venue for seasonal events. The 2010 Craft Beer Festival & Summer BBQ will be held within the magnificent courtyard (The Quad) that is located at the centre of this historic building.

The Big Rock "Rock-Out" Photo Contest - Guests are invited to give us their best rock-out poses in a unique photo op for a chance to win some great prizes.

The Creemore Springs "Big Sipper" Patio Lounge - Experience Aurora 'Beer'ialis as you enjoy a beer under the night sky on this beautiful courtyard patio.

Those looking to continue the party after the festival are invited to check out the Duke of York, a proud supporter of craft beer.

"Give me a smaller venue, a higher ticket price and a group of people who actually bother to taste what they’re drinking any day of the week."- Norman Wilner, NOW Magazine

"Hart House Craft Beer Festival & BBQ hits the spot"
- Diana Kuprel,

The Blast of the Okanagan Spring Fermentor

Jordan, over at St. John's Wort, has had some fun with the recent explosion at the Okanagan Spring Brewery in Vernon, BC.  He has altered the lyrics of Gordon Lightfoot's famous song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" to play into the blast that occurred last Thursday, spilling 32,000 litres of Cream Ale into the street.

Jordan picks up his guitar and sings the beer themed version he created and he has shared it with all of his readers in a audio podcast.  It's good stuff and worth checking out.  Here are the altered lyrics, but head to his site for a listen.

The legend lives on throughout Vernon’s downtown
Of the day the fermenter exploded
The beer, it is said, never gave up its head
And by nighttime the city was coated
As craft breweries go it was bigger than most
Each fermenter held thousands of liters
But there wasn’t a vent and it finally went:
Broken bottles for dozens of meters.
The newspapers claimed that the problem was blamed
On a buildup of carbon dioxide
The force of the squall tore the door from the wall
With the violence and strength of a rock slide
This was the tale of a batch of cream ale
from the brewery called Okanagan
The lumberjacks cried and they broke down inside;
There’d be nothing to drink after logging.
The beer it was spilled and though no one was killed
It was tragic enough to the brewers
Instead of being filtered through beer loving men
It flowed directly into the sewers.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lunch With A Craft Brewing Pioneer

I did something fun on Thursday.  Well, everyday is a fun day since I took on a position with TAPS The Beer Magazine and left the provincial government.   I get to try new samples, visit breweries and connect with brewery representatives, and meet some great people.

Not that it's not hectic though.  This is more to the job than than.  There are only a couple of us that run TAPS full time.  There are layout issues, advertising contracts to negotiate, preparing articles, working out distribution and subscription issues, playing around with social media, etc; there is a lot that we do.  Getting out is just one of the perks.  And Thursday I did just that.

As you can see in the picture, I had some drinks with that guy with the moustache.  For those of you who don't know him, well, it's Jim Brickman, the founder of the Brick Brewing Co. in Waterloo, ON.  Brickman is largely considered the founder of post-prohibition craft brewing in Ontario, bringing back a dead industry with the opening of Brick in 1984.  Jim went against the grain (no pun intended) and did things his way.  He saw that there was a market that was virtually left untouched (locally produced craft beers) and he ran with it.  In the pre-discount years at Brick, Brickman overlooked a brewery that was known for creating a wide-variety of good beers and for reasons well known, Brickman left the company he founded last year.

We met up at Duggan's Brewery in Toronto for a couple of drinks and to have a bite to eat with the intention of catching up.  We talked about the state of the Ontario brewing industry (something he claimed to still follow with great interest, and based on our conversation it seemed so), new beers, the Canadian Brewing Awards (CBAs), Toronto Beer Week (Brickman thinks this is going to be a great thing for the industry as a whole and he plans on being in Toronto to attend), and we talked about what he is up to these days.

It was a great conversation lasting almost two straight hours, yet it seemed like 15 minutes.  Brickman still emits great passion when talking about beer, about the early years of Brick, and it was interesting to hear some stories of stuff that he experienced over the years.  The man in full of knowledge and it was a treat spending time with him today.

On a selfish note, I do have to point out that Brickman is a big fan of TAPS and what we're trying to accomplish in the publication industry.  He had nothing but great things to say about how he's watched us climb the ladder from the magazines' humble beginnings to where we are today.  It's nice to have a guy like Jim stand behind the magazine.

So back to the start, yes, I'm lucky, and it's days like Thursday that remind me why I left my government job to work in this industry.

Click here to read a story I wrote about Brickman for TAPS that appeared in the Spring 2009 issue.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Archives: Black Oak 10th Anniversary

The following story appeared in the Winter 2009/10 issue of TAPS The Beer Magazine (pg. 58) and is being republished with permission.  A subscription to TAPS can be purchased by clicking on the link above or by calling .  TAPS is independently owned and operated and publishes four issues a year along with four online newsletters.

It was a day that Ken Woods won’t soon forget.  On a cold and windy day back on November 18th, Woods leaned back in his office chair and went over all the obstacles he has survived during the last ten years of his life as the owner of the Black Oak Brewing Company.  It may have looked something similar to this.

Back in 1999, a 34 year old Woods was sitting in an office surrounded by dull-grey cubicles working away as a Chartered Accountant for a large company in Toronto.  The daily grind of crunching numbers was finally catching up to him.  He felt trapped.  His mind began to wander.  He started envisioning the day of opening his own brewery, selling premium craft ales to the citizens of Ontario, and doing so without going belly up like so many others before him had unfortunately experienced.

From 1989 to his departure in 1999, Woods had worked as a server at the now-defunct Denison’s Brewpub in Toronto while attending Ryerson University working towards that CA position, and he fell head-over-heels in love with beer.  He loved its aroma, its taste, the lifestyle it encompassed, all the different styles, and it was during these years that Woods knew that one day opening a brewery would be atop a list of life goals.  He also had the benefit of working under legendary brewmaster and Denison’s Brewing Co. owner, Michael Hancock, who only helped fuel the fire in Wood’s belly, providing his extensive knowledge and expertise on a daily basis. 

Woods read all the books, applied his hospitality attributes, and used his valuable accounting skills and went to work developing a business plan.  The original plan was to give Toronto another brewpub, but those plans didn’t pan out, Woods explained during a recent chat at a popular Toronto pub.  “The start up cost was more than I was comfortable with, so I started looking at the brewery route.  The new plan was to produce one brand, grow it through sales and marketing efforts, and eventually introduce new styles into the fold once the brewery recognition was there.”   However, it didn’t work out that way.

“We opened our brewery in an industrial area of Oakville, ON and had a very, very tough time getting accounts out there,” stated Woods.  “We developed the Pale Ale and started off with that as our core brand.  From there the idea was to grow it before slowly incorporating other beers into our portfolio, but, not long after, with sales well below where we wanted them to be, we (partners) decided to develop and release the Nut Brown.  Maybe a little too early, if you want to look back on it.”

Not long after the Nut Brown was released did Black Oak announce that a Lager would be added to their portfolio of brands.  Little did Woods know, at the time, that it would be short lived.  The lager, while produced with great ingredients and receiving 2 stars in Stephen Beaumont’s Great Canadian Beer Guide, failed to win over the buck-a-beer crowd that was gaining market share at the time.  “The lager died with that and we went back to focusing on the two signature beers.”

Woods, who is not a brewer, became the face of his company early on like no other craft brewery owner in Ontario.  You’re likely to find him at events pouring samples and discussing the merits of his products.  You will often read about him in a newspaper article voicing his opinion about the state of craft brewing, watching him hand deliver kegs to publicans, giving tours at the brewery, and even personally delivering kegs to customers with who stock up their home bars.  The man works hard, 80 hours a week, at least, and while it’s tough work, he loves it and his customers are grateful for it.   With that dedication and persistence, Woods has built the Black Oak name into a very respected and reputable brewery who aren’t afraid to brew up a batch of beer for the beer geeks, while still winning over new beer drinkers with their Pale Ale.  A member of the Canadian forum on BeerAdvocate recently posed the following question to his beer drinking brethren: Is Black Oak Ontario’s Most Consistent Brewery?  The Ontario Craft Brewers Association (OCB) is probably proud to hear that.

You see, the OCB has helped tremendously with Black Oak’s survival as they played a key role in ensuring Woods and Black Oak made it to see their 10th anniversary.  As Woods puts it, the OCB was very helpful with securing much needed grants and additional government funding to help with developing the small breweries industry.  “I can remember looking at the bank statement one day and I seriously considered throwing in the towel,” claimed Woods.  “It was back in 2002 and we were going through all the ups and downs a small business can experience.  But I’m not a quitter and I felt reassured with all the work that the OCB were doing with the provincial government of the day.”  Woods is very committed to the association to this day and the brewery remains one of the twenty five throughout the province who work together to lobby the provincial government for changes in the industry, something that Woods believes is very beneficial to small breweries.

Woods and company have been through a lot in their 10 years, with the largest challenge taking place earlier in the year.  A brewery move to Etobicoke with much more capacity has been the most significant hurdle since brewing commenced in Oakville in ’99.   The new-found space has room for contract brewers, has lead to an increase in the number of full-time staff, and has made it easier to produce a handful of new seasonals.  Black Oak Brewmaster, Adrian Popowycz, who is highly regarded among his peers, stated in a conversation last year that the new brewery would be much more conducive to work in as a brewer, and it seems he has taken advantage of his space brewing more medal winning beers including some at this years Canadian Brewing Awards.

Right now the only two Black Oak products available for mainstream retail are the Pale Ale and the Nut Brown, which are sold through the LCBO, but Woods explains that he hopes to have his different seasonals in stores next year.  Armed with an arsenal of terrific offerings ranging from their Nutcracker Porter, to Summer Saison, to the popular Double Chocolate Cherry Stout and the recently developed Oaktoberfest Marzen, Black Oak is a force to be reckoned with in this department and it seems that this the direction Black Oak is heading in.

Fast forward to today, how does a brewery celebrate a milestone such as this?  Brew an anniversary beer of course.  Woods let it be known that Black Oak would be releasing a ‘new’ beer solely for 10th anniversary celebrations, but what he wouldn’t let slip was what style the beer was actually going to be.  “That’s a surprise,” said Woods, who couldn’t be persuaded to spill the beans.  “You’ll have to wait until the 18th, but I can tell you that it’s a strong ale that we’ll be calling 10 Bitter Years.”  It should also be pointed out that Woods is known among other brewers as a bit of a joker with a great sense of humour.

With only days leading up to the big day, a poster on Bar notified readers that a particular Toronto establishment had tapped a keg and the beer inside was simply amazing; “Had a couple pints each of the 10 Bitter Years. Oh MY GOD - maybe it's the beer talking, but this is hands down the best Ontario brewed beer I have ever had.”  

And I think I’ll end on that note.

Congratulations Ken, and the rest of the Black Oak team!

A Couple of Things You Might Not Know About Black Oak or Ken Woods
·      Woods stated that he pretty much wrote the business plan while drinking Wellington’s Arkell Best Bitter

·      Where did the name Black Oak come from - Oak is Woods’ family tree, and he liked the look of the black oak leaf

·      Paul Dickey, the top BJCP judge in Canada, serves as an Associate Brewer with Black Oak and it was him who designed the Summer Saison and Nutcracker Porter.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Muskoka Cottage Brewery Seasonal Stout?

Muskoka Cottage Brewery launched their new website today. There is a link for Beer and Food where you can browse through each Muskoka beer and see what foods they recommend you eat with them.  The regulars are all there: Cream, Premium Lager, Dark Ale, Hefe-Weiss and last years seasonal, Harvest Ale (the Pilsner seems to be missing though).  Joining them is a description of a new seasonal - Muskoka Seasonal Stout.

I remember hearing about this some time ago, but it now appears that they are going to be moving ahead with it, most possibly this winter.

Also, word has it that their Harvest Ale, which was introduced to Ontario drinkers last year in limited quantity, will be making an appearance again this fall, in an attract package and will be sold through the LCBO.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Prairie Brewpubs Video - Saskatchewan

Canada Travel put together the following video, showcasing Saskatchewan brewpubs. This is a lot better than the "TakeSomeAdvice" video I posted the other day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Shot At Ontario Brewers - Video

I just came across this morning and all I can say is, WOW!  I watched the entire clip and couldn't stop shaking my head.  Looking at his other uploaded video's, it would appear that this guy (using the name TakeSomeAdvice) is a homebrewer here in Ontario and he's not a fan of beer produced by the men and women in the Ontario brewing industry - Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery and Muskoka Cottage Brewery taking the blunt of his criticism.

While I was watching it I thought I'd embed the video here and let everyone see it and comment on it.  Then I thought it would be better leaving it alone, don't embed it, this guy doesn't need anymore attention than his YouTube channel is already bringing in.  I obviously decided on the former and the video is embedded below.

In the interest of time (I don't have much of it these days, with the new job and Toronto Beer Week) I jotted down some issues I have with this guy and his rant.  Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but when you don't seem to know what you're talking about that opinion needs to be sorted out.

Issue #1 - This guy rants for 11 minutes about his disdain for Ontario craft beer and mentions Mill Street and Sleeman, grouping them into the same category.  They're not.  Both breweries operate on a totally different business model and to lump them both together is insulting.  And to say that Mill Street makes crap beer, Come ON!

Issue #2 - If this guy wants to pretend he knows about reviewing beers, why the hell is he pouring the beer into a frosted pint glass?  Seriously!  Any knowledgable beer drinker, any serious (good) beer drinker out there knows that much.

Issue #3 - At 3:40 of the video he pours the beer and claims there is no head.  I don't know about you but I notice at least three fingers of head atop the beer and it sticks around for the duration of his tasting. At 6:46 of the video some head still appears in the glass.

Issue #4 - He states Ontario wouldn't make bad beer if the government got out of the way, opening up the industry.  Ummm, government may enforce and regulate the Ontario brewing industry with a heavy hand, but that doesn't/shouldn't affect what's being brewed.  Black Oak came out with the 10 Bitter Years and was a wonderful success - in both sales and taste!  But according to this guy, the government regulations prevent Ontario brewers from doing anything bigger, or in his opinion, anything better.

Issue #5 - States that Ontario beers are so inconsistent from batch to batch.  Yes, to a degree some Ontario breweries suffer from inconsistency, but this guy is drinking out of a frosted pint glass!  What real flavours you have in that beer are subdued the minute you pour from the bottle into that glass, turning it into something it really isn't.

And one of the best lines on the ridiculous clip - "This doesn't have that jumping out nose"

He also does a review of Hoegaarden in another clip, and guess what, he pours it into the same frosted pint glass and hates the beer.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Globe and Mail: Beers for Summer Sipping - Video

Beppi Crosariol writes about Wine and Spirits for the Globe and Mail, doing so for over ten years.  It's not very often Crosariol writes about beer, but when he does he usually gives local breweries some spotlight.

Monday the Globe and Mail posted a video on their website of Crosariol sitting on the front steps of a house describing some of his favourite beer to sip during the hot summer months.  He gives a pretty big shout-out to Mill Street's Lemon Tea Ale, even wearing their "Indescribably Delicious" t-shirt.

Click here to view the two minute and thirty-five second video.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Toronto Beer Week Update

I'll be the first to admit it - We've been pretty quiet so far with Toronto Beer Week news; outside the proverbial board room doors at least, but now the wheels are starting to spin.

The committee had some unexpected delays with the design of our official logo, which we've since cleared up (see the image to the left, and right) and we have re-done our website.  It is now cleaner, easier to read and will soon have more information posted in the empty sections.

With the logo complete and the website running smoothly, it's time for the fun part - hitting the pavement, getting out from behind our computer screens to sign up breweries, licensees, importers and another business that would be interested in participating.

So far the response has been great.  The idea of a Toronto Beer Week has been well received!  We have been getting a lot of emails from industry representatives with ideas, and so far they all sound great.  It's true, we do know that BrewDog will be in Toronto during the Toronto Beer Week for a series of events (details to be posted shortly), and there are a number of other excellent events already scheduled in theory, but we can't post on them just yet - soon though!

We are working hard to ensure that the first ever Toronto Beer Week is everything that every beer drinker in this city hopes it can be.

In the meantime, if you are a brewer, importer or licensee, and you are interested in participating, please visit and click on the contact us link.  Shoot one of us an email and we'll walk you through the registration fee, the timeline or answer any other question you may have.  If you aren't part of the list I just mentioned, but you have a favourite brewery or pub that you'd like to see participate, please either email one of use at TBW or forward our information along to them!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cass' & Troy's OCB Week Pub Crawl Reviews

When Cass Enright and I decided that organizing a pub crawl as part of the OCB Week (June 20-26) we had no idea how popular the event was going to be.  We thought that we might hit twenty people - at the max.  There wasn't a lot of time to market the event, and we understood that hosting it on a Wednesday night might not attract people who had to be at work first thing in the morning.  But as I posted back on June 25th, the crawl was, in our opinions, very successful.  

Here are some other reviews from other bloggers who took the plunge and came along:

Jordan St. John - St. John's Wort
Mike - A Year of Beer
Chris Schryer - Toronto Beer Blog

MicroBrasserie Charlevoix in Ontario!

HMH Negotiants are very happy to announce that MicroBrasserie Charlevoix will be coming to Toronto on Friday, July 16th, 2010! 

The visit will commemorate the availability of Charlevoix beers in the province and introduce Ontario to this world-class brewery from Baie-St-Paul, Quebec. It is our pleasure to announce the following events that will take place; 

Friday, July 16th | 6:00pm - 8:00pm 
Meet the Brewers @ The Only Café 
The Only Café will be serving Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Tripel and La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout in bottles with the brewers and founders present! - , ON  

Friday, July 16th | 9:00pm 
Meet the Brewers @ The Rhino 
The Rhino will be serving MicroBrasserie Charlevoix; Dominus Vobiscum Reserva Hibernus, Dominus Vobiscum Reserva Lupulus, La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout, Dominus Vobiscum Tripel in bottles with the brewers and founders present. - Toronto, ON  

Saturday, July 17th | 2:00pm-4:00pm 
Trade & Media Tasting @ barVolo 
barVolo will be serving samples of Charlevoix beers in bottles along with artisanal cheeses from the Charlevoix region in Quebec and local artisan chocolates from Chocosol Traders! This tasting is by invitation only. If you are part of the beer/hospitality industry and are interested in attending, please contact - , Toronto, ON  

Saturday, July 17th | 7:00pm - 12:00pm 
Launch Party @ barVolo 
barVolo and HMH Negotiants will host the main MicroBrasserie Charlevoix launch event starting at 7:00pm open to the public. The brewers and founders form MicroBrasserie Charlevoix will be in attendance and the following bottles will be available; Dominus Vobiscum Blanche, Double, Tripel, Grand Reserva Lupulus, Grand Reserva Hibernus, La Vache Folle Amarillo Double IPA, Herkules Double IPA, Imperial Milk Stout, ESB 

Sunday, July 18th | 12:00pm – 5:00pm 
Charlevoix / Biergotter / barVolo Collaboration Brew Day! 
With the addition of barVolo’s new pilot brew system, Frederick Tremblay from Microbrasserie Charlevoix, Russ and Eric from Biergotter Homebrew Club and Ralph Morana from barVolo will be collaborating to make a one off brew. This brew day will be open to the public. We will be serving beers in bottles from Microbrasserie Charlevoix.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Miami Weiss Pouring at Dominion on Queen

If you're looking for ways to beat the heat this weekend here in Toronto, head over to the Dominion on Queen (Queen St. East & Sumach) as they've received a number of kegs of Great Lakes' Miami Weiss.  Sean Duranovich, owner of the Dominion, is pretty pumped to be offering the popular new seasonal from Great Lakes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

TAPS Beer Magazine - Summer 2010 Issue

The summer issue of The Beer Magazine has been released and should start appearing on store shelves anytime now.  Copies of the 78 page publication have also been sent out to all of our dedicated and loyal subscribers, so you should be receiving your copy soon!

You may notice two changes with the new summer issue.  The first change - the name of the magazine has gone through a small change from TAPS Canada's Beer Magazine to TAPS The Beer Magazine.  The magazine will continue to focus on Canadian content and coverage of the Canadian brewing industry will still be the main initiative, but there are plans to have issues of the magazine on newsstands to our south come the fall and we felt that removing the word 'Canadian' from the name was necessary for our expanded distribution. 

The second change is a big change in the publication industry.  TAPS has gone to perfect bind.  Gone are the saddle stiches (staples) that we had before.  It now has the look and feel of a 'real' magazine.  

As with all the other past issues, this summer issue is full of beer related information from coast-to-coast, with a couple of international stories mixed in for good measure, including one on the Taste of Toyko.

Here is a sneek peek into what you'll find in the magazine, although there is a lot more inside the 78 pages, including regional beer news, beer reviews by our Tasting Panel, beer and food articles, and much more.

Greg Clow: Clow's series of Beer Styles 101 has taken a glimpse into Stouts, Witbier, Barley Wines, Porter, Weissbier, and Fruit beers over numerous issues and this summer issue features a good read on Belgian-Style Ales.

Stephen Beaumont: In his My Shout Column, Beaumont shares his thoughts on six things you should really know about beer.

Craig Pinhey: Pinhey doesn't get the Fuss Over Fizz with the new Molson M 'microcarbonated' beer.  Pinhey also writes about Jesse Vergen, a beer chef with the Saint John's Ale House in New Brunswick, and he also provides an update on the Granite Brewery in Halifax.

Bill White: Provides insight into the 17th Annual Mondial de la Biere in Montreal, the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago, and the World Beer Cup. 

Mirella Amato: Amato profiles the L'amere a boire brewpub in Montreal, highlights the Quebec brewing scene in her Quebec dispatch column, and interviewed Brazilian brewmaster and beer sommelier, Cilene Saorin.

James Burla: Travels around Canada's beer-basket, visiting the Wild Rose Brewery, Roughneck Brewery, Amber's Brewery in Alberta, and also makes couple of stops in Sasketchewan.

Connie Proteau: Proteau pays a visit to the Central City Brewing Co. in surrey, BC and chats with Gary Lohin, Central City's brewmaster.

Kristina Santone: Interviews Lakes of Bays Brewing Co. president, Darren Smith, who opened the new Ontario brewery back in May.  

Mike Tessier: This is Tessier's first article in TAPS and with it he provides some insight into the beer culture in Sasketchewan.

Sam Corbeil: Corbeil was at the Ontario Legislative Assembly of Ontario (Queen's Park) in May working the Ontario cheese table, matching various cheeses with Ontario beer, and he writes about his experience.

Eric Ecclestone: Shared his Mild Ale recipe in his Homebrewing column. 

Matt Simmons: Simmons first article to appear in TAPS features a story on the Plan B Brewing Co. in Smithers, BC.

Christine Beevis: Heard about the Hop Mess Monster?  Beevis takes you behind the story of the new Halifax beer with 533 theoretical IBU's.  Beevis also does a great piece on Nano-Brewing.

Adin Wener: Another first time article in TAPS.  Wener takes a look into the difference between pubs in the UK and the ones here in Canada.

The Tasting Panel featured the following beers: Ten Bitters Years from Black Oak Brewing Co., Pilsner Light from Muskoka Cottage Brewery, Hefeweizen from Propeller Brewing Co., Hop Head Double IPA from Tree Brewing Co., Ephemere Apple/Pomme from Unibroue, and A Wee Angry Scotch Ale from Russell Brewing Co.

And I wrote a little story on the Moosehead Breweries and Boston Beer Co. Canadian distribution agreement and interviewed Steve Gill, manager of the new Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Course at Niagara College. 

TAPS is available at select Chapters/Indigo nation-wide and at many independent book and magazine retail outlets from coast-to-coast. Subscriptions for the magazine can be purchased by visiting the TAPS website ( or by calling . On-line digital versions of the magazine can also be purchased for the low yearly price of $12. Click here for more details.

Beer Tweet of the Day

Well, actually it was yesterday, and it came from brewmaster Jamie Mistry (aka ) of Toronto's Amsterdam Brewing Co.
"As you have a beer today, remember the men and woman working in your favourite brewery’s brewhouse in 45C heat with 100 relative humidity"
His message is still relevant today as temperatures continue to soar in Toronto.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Opera Bob's Cheese & Beer Pairing - Thursday July 8th

, a pub I profiled back in May, is hosting a beer and cheese pairing event this Thursday in-conjunction with Mill Street Brewery.

Starting at 6:30pm, Mill Street's Brewmaster, Joel Manning, will lead customers in a beer tasting using five different Mill Street beers that will be paired by Manning with five different cheeses.

There is no word yet on which cheeses will be featured (they will be speciality cheeses from Cheese of Canada), but Manning will be using the following beers from Mill Street: Lemon Tea Ale, Pilsner, Roggenbier, Betelgeuse, and a cask of Tankenstein.

The admission fee is $25, which covers your cheese and beer samples (1/2 pint each).

Opera Bob's Public House
1112 Dundas St. West (just east of Ossington)
Toronto, ON

Monday, July 5, 2010

The 20 G's - barVolo Tonight

Twenty Years of Julian

Happy 20th birthday to Julian Morana, son of Ralph Morana from Toronto's barVolo!  

Tonight, starting @4:00pm, barVolo will be celebrating Julian’s (aka J-Money) 20th Birthday.  barVolo will be featuring Julian’s favorite 20 casks and taps (as well as rare bottles).   Also featuring live DJ set from irGO starting at 10:00pm.

The following beers available will be;
1. Flying Monkey’s Smash bomb IPA 
2. Black Oak Ten Bitter Years
3. Publican House Sqaure Nail Pale Ale 
4. Denison’s Spezial 
5. Denison’s Weissbier 
6. King Pilsner 
7. Scotch Irish John By Imperial Stout
8. Koningshoeven Quadrupel
9. Duggan’s #9 Porter 
10. Delirium Tremens
11. Unibroue Ephemere Cassis
12. Mill St. Chocolate Imperial Stout
13. Thornburry Peeler Cider
14. William Sir Perry Cider
15. Black Oak Marmalade Saison Cask
16. Black Oak Nutcracker Cask
17. Durham Red Dragon Cask 
18. Great Lakes Lackey’s Lakey’s Caskey 
19. Beau’s Festive Alt Cask
20. Granite Hopping Mad Cask
The following beers will be part of Monday Night $5.00 Pint Night

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beer Destination - Australia: By Duncan Rowland

The following post was written by GCPB blog reader, Duncan Rowland, who visited Australia back in May and thought he'd share his beer experience during his stay there.  Rowland has contributed to the blog before, writing a piece on the Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake and a beer dinner he attended at Toronto's Safari Bar & Grill.  Enjoy!

On May 17 I arrived in Sydney, Australia for a week of work. Outside of any corporate goals, I intended to get out and sample some local Australian beers at as many establishments as I could manage. Given that I was staying in the CBD (the Central Business District; what we would call "downtown"), the most accessible area for pubs was The Rocks, the area established by the first fleet arrivals in 1788. The Rocks is well known as a touristy kind of area, but once you step away from George Street, and head north under the Sydney harbour bridge overpass, it reverts to a genuine neighbourhood with what were once workers' homes, a school, and three pubs that are worth 20 hours in economy class. 
The first place I visited was "the Hero of Waterloo", on Lower Fort Street. It looked like a standard workingman's pub, with no pretensions...or cushioned seats. The first thing I noticed that had changed in the 14 years since I last visited Australia was the increased selection of beers on tap. When I lived in Melbourne in the mid-90s, 99% of the pubs had just 2 taps: Victoria Bitter (VB", the number one seller across the nation) and Foster's Special Bitter, a rather dull light beer. At the pubs I visited this time around, there were at least 6 on tap, and frequently more. The Hero of Waterloo featured ten, from VB to microbrews and the usual imports such as Stella, Guinness and Kilkenny. I sampled a Boag's Premium Lager (my favourite when I was in Melbourne: I really missed that beer in the 14 year interval), James Squire Amber Ale, and a Cascade Pale Ale. James Squire beers, named for the first brewer of record in Australia, are brewed by the Malt Shovel Brewery, which is owned by the large Lion Nathan brewing company. Both Boag’s and Cascade beers are brewed in Tasmania and form an interesting north (Boag’s) vs. south (Cascade) rivalry on the island. I could have sat at “The Hero” all night, but my drinking companion had to go so rather than drink alone like the barfly two seats to my left (who had to hold his beer glass in both hands in order to drink from it), I decided to head back to my apartment. 

That plan lasted about an hour before I decided to get out and try another place: The Australian. The most difficult aspect of drinking at The Australian is actually finding the damn place in the evening if you’re approaching The Rocks from George Street. Eventually I and another couple of would-be patrons walked up a staircase off of Cambridge Street that led us to Gloucester Street, turned around and there it was. The selection at The Australian was extensive and well worth an extended visit. Unfortunately jet lag was starting to kick in and the next day was a regular workday,  so I took the less risky path and had two beers and a pizza, paid my bill & left. The beers in question were excellent: a Beezneez Honey Wheat, which is made by Matilda Bay Brewing (a division of Fosters, but don’t tell anyone) and a Little Creatures Pale Ale, brewed by the Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, West Australia. In an odd coincidence, the founders of Matilda Bay started up Little Creatures after they were bought out by Fosters. The Beezneez was very refreshing and would be a great summer beer here in Canada. Despite its name, it wasn’t overtly honey tasting, nor would I have said it was a wheat beer if I hadn’t read the tap. Like Boag’s, I wish I could get some here. The Little Creatures was one of the best beers I’ve had in a while, with a subtle fruit aroma, and full-bodied taste. If you spot it at the LCBO or in a pub, buy several. 

The final visit to The Rocks was two nights later on Friday.  This was the visit I had been looking forward to all week: the Lord Nelson Hotel. The Lord Nelson is a brewpub, selling 6 beers at the hotel, with some also available in bottles around Sydney. The pub was the most crowded place I went to that week, which prompted me to take my beer outside for some fresh air. Unlike in Toronto, you can drink outside of a pub without threatening to tear the fabric of society (at least, that’s what our liquor laws seem to imply is at risk). Or so I thought: outside of the Lord Nelson, you have to remain seated. It was dark out, so in retrospect what they really had was a patio, but without the clearly marked barriers that seem to be required in Ontario. 

It had been raining most of the day, so the chairs were wet and not very enticing. So I stood there with three co-workers and drank some really good beer. About 15 minutes later, a barman came out and asked us to stand closer to the wall, which was kind of strange, but he asked nicely, so we moved closer to the wall. A few minutes later, the cops showed up, and it seemed like the right thing to do would be to go inside. The police officer went in soon after, found the bar manager and walked him around the pub, with the bar manager looking distinctly more uncomfortable than the officer. After a few minutes, the cop left. It was kind of unnerving, given that she was armed with an automatic pistol and what I can only guess was a taser gun (I was curious, but not curious enough to ask and verify my guess). All the while, people just stood around, talking, drinking and ordering beer. Very sublime. Anyway, the beers I tried were the flagship brew “Three Sheets”, the Admiral Ale, the Quayle Ale, and the cheekily named Victory Bitter (“say, that sounds like ‘Victoria Bitter’...hey, wait a minute!”). All of the beers were excellent and well worth flying 14,000 miles to taste. Sadly, none are available here.

One general observation about Australian beers is that they all tasted thirst-quenching and very satisfying. As you have likely deduced by now, I like drinking beer and sometimes will try more than one in an evening, but these beers were something else: I could have sat and drank one after another for a long time. It’s probably just as well that I don’t live in Sydney; I’d end up looking like Homer Simpson. That being said, I heartily encourage you to visit Sydney and all of Australia if you get a chance. I was only in town for a week and had to work every day, but it was a pleasure to be there all the same, as the city is both beautiful and welcoming. There are many, many more pubs to visit than the three that I have journalized here, so save up your pennies and go.

** As always, guest posts are always more than welcome here.  If you're interested in writing something for the blog, **

Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Winter Ale