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, July 27, 2011

More Exciting News For Ontario Beer Drinkers From NAC

Tree Brewing Co.,from Kelowna, BC, were thrilled to hear that the LCBO would be ordering pallets of their Hop Head Double IPA for the Specialty release this past spring, but were nervous about how well it would sell in this market.

I can remember having a conversation with Tree's Sales Director, Chris Stirling, before the beer arrived here and told him not to worry; the beer wouldn't last long. It didn't. A mere week went by with all but 10 or so cases remaining in the province leaving Tree happy, but left drinkers wanting more.

Then came April 1st. Stirling, along with Tree's Brewmaster, Stefan Buhl, made their way to Toronto to meet with the LCBO Beer Category and to do a number of meet and greet tastings at to Toronto flagship stores. Stirling had brought a case of Tree's regular IPA (Hop Head IPA) and mentioned that they had been working hard behind the scenes to get a listing here in Ontario.

Seeing that the sales of the Double IPA were so swift, the LCBO decided to give the Hop Head a chance and gave Tree a general listing in May.

This is where North American Craft (NAC) comes in. As mentioned here a number of times, Claude Lefebvre, owner of NAC, has been focusing on getting his clients (Black Oak, Denison's, Propeller, Stratford, Paddock Wood, and most recently Brooklyn and Rogue Ales) more shelf space at LCBO locations across the province. The people at Tree were looking for a company that could represent them at the retail level and today they've announced that North American Craft was chosen for the task.

From Lefebvre earlier today:
"We are very proud to announce the latest signing of Tree Brewery that we'll be managing and supporting with infield sales support here at the LCBO market in Ontario," said Lefebvre.

"Tree Brewery has a strong reputation with producing amazing craft beers and we are proud to be working with one of their finest - Hop head IPA!  The Ontario market is looking for bigger and bolder beers and Hop Head is a brand that will complement our (NAC) family of beers. We look forward to representing Tree (only independent craft brewery from BC at the LCBO) at the LCBO conventional stores here in the province."

Lefebvre also mentioned that while NAC's main focus will be the Hop Head, his group will work with Tree and their seasonal program, hoping to bring a number of their other brands to Ontario stores in the future.

You can follow up on NAC's website with the latest brands and also on .

Hop Aboard! Steam Whistle Available On Via Rail's - The Canadian

After working their magic to get their flagship Pilsner on board all Porter flights back in 2009, Toronto's Steam Whistle Brewery has landed another great account in Via Rail's, The Canadian, which incidentally, ties in perfectly to the heritage of the Roundhouse that the brewery calls home.

The train, which carries passagers between Toronto and Vancouver over a four day journey, has started carrying Steam Whistle's recently released 355ml cans for the sleeper and coach class sections of the train.

In a press release issued by the brewery, co-founder Greg Taylor had this to say about the recent news. "“My young family took a trip of a lifetime aboard the Canadian. It was an incredible way to see this amazing country of ours, and the gourmet dining on the train was definitely a highlight. As soon as we got home, Steam Whistle contacted VIA Rail to see about adding our Pilsner to their lineup of regional beverages. I’m really proud that our Canadian-made Premium Pilsner will be served aboard this national showpiece.”

Seeing the beautiful landscape of our country from the comfort of a train with a can of craft beer in your hands isn't a bad way to spend some time!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Garrison - Phillips: Mash-up Belgian IPA

On Friday June 24th, the brewing crew at Halifax's Garrison Brewing Co. welcomed Matt Phillips, the founder of Phillips Brewing Co. in Victoria, BC, into their brewhouse to colloborate on a Belgian IPA - the first in a new series of collaborative brews Garrison is calling the "Mash-up Series."

In a recent press release issued by Garrison, Phillips, who originally hails from the east coast, had this to say about being part of the first Mash-up: "It was good fun to work with such a great beer team. Nice to see that on both coasts, we speak the same flavour language about beer!"

The entire process was captured on video (below), taking individuals inside the brewhouse to witness the collaborative Belgian IPA being produced, and more Mash-ups are already lined up with other breweries in Canada and even some international ones.

"It was just a great, relaxing day of brewing," said Garrison Brewmaster, Daniel Girard.

While the beer was developing in the tanks, Garrison was struck with tragic news. On July 2nd the brewery learned that their graphic designer and long-time employee, Colin Allin, was shot and killed during a robbery in Nicaragua. To help with medical and funeral expenses Garrison will take $1 from each bottle of the Belgian IPA sold and donate it to Allin's family.

Bottles of the Belgian IPA are currently available at the brewery and in a select number of private stores in Halifax, but only for a limited time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Toronto Beer Week 2011 Homebrew Contest

Earlier today, organizers of the 2nd annual Toronto Beer Week released details on their website about this years TBW HomeBrew Contest; a significant part of TBW and the team hopes to build on the tremendous response that they received last year during the inaugural competition.

The Entry Form and the Contest Rules are also posted for all to see and if you have any questions, please contact Rob Symes at

Here is the full release:

July 21, 2011 - Last year’s Toronto Beer Week HomeBrew Contest was a huge success and a lot of fun. The quality of the beers that were entered last year was simply amazing. This stands as a testament to the skill, expertise and passion of Canadian homebrewers – and it’s for this very reason that we’re announcing Toronto Beer Week’s 2011 Homebrew Contest.

Homebrewers rock and form a vital part of Toronto’s vibrant beer scene. TBW’s HomeBrew Contest is our way of recognizing the fine efforts of the homebrewing community, and we encourage all homebrewers to participate because we don’t charge an entry fee. That’s because it’s our belief that this HomeBrew Contest should be accessible to all.

We’re currently finalizing this years prizing, and will release that information shortly, but expect it to be good! Last year’s prizes included the overall prize winner brewing a batch of his beer at Amsterdam brewery, a brewer for the day at the Granite under the supervision of Ron Keefe, delicious hops from Hops Direct and some great prizes from Canadian Homebrew Supplies, including a beautiful Blichmann brew kettle! To see how cool it can be to win, check out this write up of our grand prize winner’s brewery brew day.

Although TBW will be using the BJCP category guidelines to group the beers, the judging will not be BJCP sanctioned. When you enter you’ll need to determine which BJCP category is the best fit. You’ll find a complete list of all the categories here. The contest entries will be judged by the very same people who run the week – brewers, bar owners and beer press. Don’t worry – we know good beer – if you’ve brewed a winner we’ll recognize it!

The entry form is simple and easy to complete and you’ll find it here. As long as you live in the great white north and you make homebrew, then the contest is for you. The rules and address you need to get your entries are here. All entries need to be received by Friday September 9th at 9pm. If you have any questions we’ve not covered off, contact

Good luck and happy brewing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beau's All Natural Brewing Looking For Brand Ambassadors

Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. in Vankleek Hill, ON are ramping up for Toronto Festival of Beer and they are looking for some brand ambassadors to help pour beer in their booth.

This year Beau's will be bringing a number of their brands with them and you could help educate consumers with each pour.

The festival, which kicks off on Thursday August 4th with the opening of the Queer Beer Festival before giving way to TFOB from August 5 - 7th, is situated at Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place.

Interested individuals can contact Steve Beauchense by email at

Saturday, July 16, 2011

North American Craft To Represent Two Big US Breweries In Ontario

North American Craft (NAC), a company I've written about here in the past, have recently secured the rights to represent products from Brooklyn Brewery in Ontario through LCBO retail outlets, which came into effect today.

Claude Lefebvre, owner/founder of NAC, will also be providing Ontario field representation for Rogue Ales from Oregon who were recently selected as for the LCBO's Brewery Feature that ran this spring. "I'm extremely thrilled to be working with Brooklyn and Rogue here in Ontario," said Lefebvre earlier today. "We've already had some good news from the LCBO today about Brooklyn and we've secured a number of new store listings for Rogue products."

The Canadian national rights for both breweries still belong to the AFIC Group, yet Lefebvre's company will provide support on the ground, and only at the retail level.

Brooklyn and Rogue join NAC's portfolio as of today, sitting alongside Halifax's Propeller Brewing Co., Saskatoon's Paddock Wood Brewery, Ontario's Denison's, Black Oak and Straftford Brewing companies who are also clients of NAC.

Lefebvre has had great success since launching the company in February of this year, getting more and more shelf space for the brands he represents. Propeller is growing by triple digit growth in the Ontario market and the brewery is producing as much as they possibly can! Same with Black Oak, where Lefebvre has secured more listings in cities like Ottawa, which has the brewery producing more and more product.

So this is good news to those who enjoy both Brooklyn and Rogue products. We may even see more brands from Brooklyn making their way here in the future   ; )

Friday, July 15, 2011

Exclusive Teaser - The Oxford Companion To Beer

A beautiful cover for a beautiful book
The Oxford Companion To Beer, edited by Garrett Oliver, the author of , is slated to be released in October, but here is a small teaser just for Great Canadian Beer Blog readers.

The book is being billed as the most comprehensive reference book on beer ever published, and with 868 pages packed with over 1,100 entries by 160 different beer industry authoritarians from across the world, it should deliver. The contributors include - brewers, journalists, scientists, restauranteurs, importers, home brewers, distributors and much more, and their contributions to The Oxford Companion To Beer cover everything that has to do with our favourite beverage. 

Our own Josh Rubin, the Toronto Star beer columnist, contributed to this book, helping cover the Canadian content. "It’s pretty cool to be involved in a project like this, and I was honoured to be asked," said Rubin. "I contributed five entries to the Oxford Companion to Beer, including the Canada national entry, a few company profiles, and some technical entries."

Most people I know in the industry (brewers, sales reps, writers, etc.) tell me that The Brewmaster's Table, which was released in 2003, is their beer bible, something they refer to over and over again, but from what I've seen from Oxford, in terms of the preview I've been provided with, this book will surely be an instant favourite.

That being said, the book won't only be for industry people. Sections on homebrewing, the history of the English pub, style definitions and brewing terms, traditional drinking habits in various countries, biographical accounts of worldly brewing pioneers and more, will be of great interest to beer enthusiasts' the world over.

Rubin agrees. "This is a book I’d be buying even if I weren’t involved in it – there are some amazing people who have contributed to it, and Garrett’s an incredibly knowledgeable guy. I can’t wait to see the finished product. As a newspaper guy, I’m used to seeing my stuff appear in the paper the next day, or online right way, so this suspense is killing me!"

Keep an eye out here for more information as the release date draws closer. In the meantime, please enjoy the following teaser pages.
“Reprinted with permission from The Oxford Companion to Beer edited by Garrett Oliver published by Oxford University Press, Inc. © 2011 Oxford University Press”.

“Reprinted with permission from The Oxford Companion to Beer edited by Garrett Oliver published by Oxford University Press, Inc. © 2011 Oxford University Press”.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Only Cafe Expands Their Draught Line-Up

Starting yesterday, July 11th, one of Toronto's most beloved craft beer bars will now be offering customers more draught selection then ever before.

The Only Cafe, located on the Danforth near the Donlands TTC station, announced last week, shortly before their Summer Beer Fest, that they were expanding their draught line-up to 24 lines to accommodate all the styles being brewed in Ontario these days.

Here's how the additional lines will appear at The Only.
1. Guest Tap 1
2. Guest Tap 2
3. Guest Tap 3
4. Guest Tap 4
5. Guest Tap 5
6. Beau’s (rotating/seasonal)
7. Big Rock Grasshopper
8. Big Rock Traditional Ale
9. Black Oak Pale Ale
10.Creemore Springs Lager
11.Denison’s Weissbier
12.Duggan’s No. 9 IPA
13.Flying Monkeys Smashbomb Atomic IPA
14.Great Lakes 666 Devil’s Pale Ale
15.King Pilsner
16.KLB Raspberry Wheat Ale
17.McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale
18.McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
19.Mill St. Tankhouse Ale
20.Neustadt Springs Scotish Pale Ale
21.Steam Whistle Pilsner
22.Unibroue (rotating/seasonal)
23.Waupoos County Cider
24.Wellington (rotating/seasonal)

Bellwood's Brewery...Coming Soon To Toronto

Bellwoods Brewery - coming soon to Toronto.

I spoke with Luke Pestl last week, Bellwoods brewer and partner, and he mentioned that he and his business partner Mike Clark, also a brewer, are excited to be opening in Toronto's west end and they're looking forward to start brewing on a commercial scale.

Hoping to be operational by late October (if all goes as planned), the brewery, cafe and retail store will be situated at 124 Ossington Avenue in a location that the co-owners recently secured.

"We'll start off very small, a nano-microbrewery on a humble 8.5 hectolitre system where we'll brew a variety of styles," said Pestl, who formerly brewed at Amsterdam Brewing Co. "We plan to brew some traditional beer styles, alongside a wide range of lesser known and experimental beers."

Pestl also stated that Bellwoods, which will have a tied-house licence, will bring in a rotating selection of craft beers from other local breweries. "We want to create a community tasting room, within an indoor picnic style cafe, and with that we want to have rotating 'community taps' sitting alongside our own beers."

With the location secure (30 seat capacity), the team has begun brewing (privately) on a pilot system Bellwoods have purchased in order to strengthen some recipes that will one day be served at the brewery. They hope to keep this system in operation at the brewery to continually develop new recipes.

While we wait for Bellwoods to open, check out their website, and accounts to keep up to date with their progress. They have also started up the City Hops Project, a cool initiative that saw Bellwoods and volunteers plant hops in 8 different locations in Toronto that may one day be used in special release beers.

And here is a short video the future brewery put together about the production of their first set of posters.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meet Iain McOustra: Amsterdam Brewing Co.

Meet Iain McOustra, brewer at Toronto's Amsterdam Brewing Co. 

McOustra has been involved in the Ontario craft brewing industry for many years now, starting off with the old Kawartha Lakes Brewery (KLB) that once called Peterborough, ON home, before moving over to Amsterdam where he has been brewing for years.

And brewing he's been doing. Working with the rest of the Amsterdam brewing crew, McOustra has been doing a lot of recipe development for the brewery recently, creating new Imperial Stouts, IPAs, Porters, etc., which have been warmly received by beer enthusiasts' lucky enough to get some.

Meet Iain -

For those that don't know, where is the Amsterdam Brewing Co. situated and what beers do you currently produce?
We are located in downtown Toronto at Lakeshore and Bathurst. Our beers include Big Wheel Amber, 416 Urban Wheat, Natural Blonde, Raspberry Wheat, Spring Bock, Oranje Weiss, Framboise, Boneshaker IPA, Two Fisted Stout, and Tempest Imperial Stout.

Describe the history behind the brewery.
The original owner Roel Bramer had two brewpubs called the Amsterdam on John St and the Rotterdam on King St. He opened up the Amsterdam in 1986 and followed with the Rotterdam in 1988. In 1993 Roel sold the Amsterdam pub on John St and renamed the Rotterdam, Amsterdam Brewery. He used the sale to finance the equipment needed to expand into a microbrewery. In 2002, Jeff Carefoote bought the brewery. A year later, Jeff bought Kawartha Lakes Brewing. He still leads the company today. We eventually moved locations to 21 Bathurst St five years ago to accommodate our expansions.

What is your best selling beer?
Currently Big Wheel Amber is our fastest growing brand, but historically Natural Blonde has been our best seller.

Where can someone find your products?
You can find our beer in the LCBO and Beer Store as well as at bars across the GTA.

Amsterdam's seasonals have been making some noise. How successful have they been? And what has been your favourite?
We have a long history with our seasonals stretching back to the brew pub days. We have recently launched our seasonal line-up at the LCBO, and sales have been great. I think my favourite seasonal would be the Oktoberfest. When I first got to Amsterdam I remember Joel smoking the malt in a cabinet out back. It was a great introduction to the brewery for me. It's turned into a tradition for us and I love a smoked beer come fall. It also gives Jamie (Jamie Mistry, Amsterdam's Brewmaster) an excuse to break out his lederhosen for the release party.

What's new at the brewery? 
It's our 25th anniversary this year, so we are gearing up for a celebration in the fall. We are releasing an Urban Wheat beer called 416. It's also been a great year for medals for us in provincial and national competitions. We also have had several one-offs in the past year exploring different styles. Our barrel aging program is going well and we just released our Tempest Imperial Stout. There’s lots of exciting stuff going on at the brewery these days.

Why did you get into the brewing industry and describe your passion for it.
The tradition of it first appealed to me. Brewing is a craft and a trade at the same time - hard work and exact methods, with science behind every step. It seemed like a challenging and rewarding career. The fact that I love beer and the good times that come with it sealed the deal. Starting at KLB and then moving to Amsterdam. Studying at Siebel with friends who changed the way I thought about beer. Doing collaboration brews with great local brewers. Being fortunate enough to work for some of the best brewers in the industry. I haven't looked back once.

What is the best aspect of working in the Canadian craft brewing industry?
Definitely the community, from the brewers and sales reps to the bar owners and customers. Seeing everyone as passionate as you are about moving our scene forward. I love the festivals, tastings, new beers and new trends. Running into people every time you go out for a pint who are excited about local beer. We are evolving at an incredible rate right now and it's exciting to be part of it.

Tell us something about Amsterdam Brewing Co. that not a lot of people know about.
The Amsterdam pub on John St was the first brewpub to open in Toronto since prohibition.

What advantages do smaller breweries have over the big guys?
The main advantage is being involved in every step of production. From grain to glass, you are ensuring that the product is consistent and within specifications. It's also great to have a real team effort behind the beer. Everyone is involved in making our beer the best that we can, from our brewers to our delivery drivers. There isn't a disconnect between divisions that you may have at a larger brewery. Everyone still ends up having a beer together at the end of the day.

To date, what would you say is the highlight of your brewing career?
Having the opportunity to create new beers for Amsterdam over the past two years. I love the recipe design aspect of brewing. The pilot batches, taste panels and tweaking the recipe before the full scale brew. I’ve had a chance to brew beers in my favourite styles: IPAs, Porters, and Imperial Stouts. They've been received well and it's been a great learning experience.

Name your favourite non Amsterdam Brewing Co. produced beer.
Peche Mortel. Crazy good pint.

And lastly, best time for a pint?
Early Sunday afternoon watching the Premier League.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Brew The Truth" - Garrett Oliver @ Session 99 Craft Beer Festival

For those of you who couldn't get out to Session 99 Craft Beer Festival to see Garrett Oliver's speech, here it is in it's entirety.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Brief Look Back At Session 99 Craft Beer Festival

Session 99 Craft Beer Festival was held back on June 25th to mark the end to what turned out to be a very successful Ontario Craft Beer Week. The festival, in its second year, enjoyed much more success than in year one, having no G20 to compete with, and it attracted more breweries that set up shop in a new host venue at 99 Sudbury.

Like I mentioned above, year two, without a G20 taking place, without all day rain, without the hassle of arranging transportation to and from the venue, brought out more beer drinkers and offered a great event that also featured the world renowned brewer, Garrett Oliver.

The festival took place at 99 Sudbury (TTC accessible), a building that has hosted a couple of other beer events lately, and allowed festival organizers, Jed Corbeil and Curt Dunlop (of Bracebridge's The Griffin Gastropub) to set up breweries and food vendors both inside the building and outside in the parking lot, offering the best of both worlds. Inside was also where the live music was being played and where the numerous beer education seminars were being held, presented by people like Oliver, Roger Mittag and Mirella Amato, and all of which were highly attended.

pic courtesy of Ontario Craft Brewer
Many of Ontario's finest breweries were there pouring beers from their regular line-up and some did in fact bring one-off's, like Muskoka Cottage Brewery who brought a cask of Red Hot Chili Pepper, which went on to win the Best Beer of the Show (voted on by the crowd throughout the day). Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. had bottles of their bourbon barrel aged Festivale Plus Sticke Alt with them which was dynamite as it had so much going on in terms of aroma and flavour. And Amsterdam had some of their Tempest Imperial Stout and another new one, Elementary Ale, a single hop single malt beer with lots of flavour and very sessionable.

Toronto's newest brewery, Spearhead Brewing Co. walked away with the Best Brewery award, again, voted by the crowd throughout the day. Their booth was busy pretty much from the time the doors opened at 12pm until the festival ended at 9pm, with people discovering their Hawaiian Style Pale Ale for the first time.

It seemed that certain breweries were also trying new things to bring people to their booths. Brock Shepherd of the Kensington Brewing Co. set up his Randall the Enamel Animal and ran some of this beer through it and keep6imports brought in Stephane Ostiguy and Luc Lafontaine from Dieu du Ciel! to meet some of their fans at their booth. These little things are great for new festivals!

While the attendance was significantly higher than the first year, there were still a lot of familiar beer faces missing from the event, and it seemed like a beer festival that was offering as much product from the number of participating breweries would have brought out more people. So when I read a post by Mike Warner over at A Year of Beer about Session 99 (comments below), I could safely assume that I wasn't the only one thinking this:
After clamoring for years for a proper beer festival, it is amazing how the Session festival has been received the past two years by the beer-igensia in Toronto. A large number of people have written off the festival without actually going, usually do to a combination of price and tickeritis (the painful disease where people will only spend money to try beers they have not tasted in the past). Instead of comparing Session to something like the Toronto Festival of Beer, it is compared to the Mondial festival that takes place in Montreal every year – arguably one of the best beer festivals in the world. None of this is fair, especially because Session is a wonderful beer festival that deserves to be given a chance by beer lovers around Toronto.

Spearhead receiving award - pic courtesy of Ontario Craft Brewers
I didn't have to pay for a ticket to get in. I was there to work our booth. But I wouldn't have had an issue with the $35 ticket price as the venue was great, the beer being poured was top notch, the food vendors were terrific and the live music and show features, including Garrett Oliver's speech, would have been well worth it. And the individuals who were in attendance seemed to really appreciate the work that went into putting on this event, many people who stopped by our booth made a goal of pointing that out to us.

I believe that this festival will only continue to grow into something even more special than year two showed us. I think there are big things to come for Session Craft Beer Festival in the future.

**Next Post - Garrett Oliver speech video**

Consumed: Amsterdam Tempest Imperial Stout - by Rob Symes

The following review of the new Tempest Imperial Stout produced by Amsterdam Brewing Co. was written by Rob Symes of Toronto Beer Week.

There were only 710 bottles packaged of the Tempest, and it has been selling extremely well, so it would be recommended that you call the brewery first before heading there to purchase some... yet, you should still go and check out their other brands.

by Rob Symes:
There’s a storm brewing at the Amsterdam, though this kind of storm only includes a wind warning if consumed with a side of chilli nachos. Amsterdam’s newest beer – Tempest Imperial Stout – joins a small stable of Ontario examples of this weighty style. The buzz on the rating sites is that this brew delivers and that an increasingly experimental direction is paying dividends for the Bathurst Street outfit, and we’re ready to join the chorus.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the packaging for this beer is sexy, dark and sinister. A back and white image of the high of a hurricane casts a shadow over the label, but it’s the waxing that really grabs your attention. It’s rare to see a bottle dipped in wax in Canada. The practice is becoming increasingly prominent in the US – partly to indicate bottles suitable for aging, partly because it looks so damn good, and partly because it improves the appearance of a bottle and increases the chances of the sale. With a few notable examples (Half Pints Burly Wine springs to mind) our brewers have left waxing to their legs and chests, so it’s encouraging to see a waxable style on the market, and a fantastic job done of making the bottle look good.

So, the bottle looks good, but what of the contents? Another thumbs up, and a classic appearance, with a bordering on midnight body and a couple finger of dirty tan head that leaves abundant lacing. A few bubbles lazily make their way up the glass, indicating that the requisite full body is in place. The aroma is the weak point, lacking the fullness of Southern giants like Great Divide’s Yeti, but it still delivers a decent punch, mixing old coffee grounds with a light lactic note. It’s very much in the vein of a traditional English take on the style, and that continues in the flavour, which delivers a good coffee hit, followed by anise and bitter chocolate. I heard that the IBUs for this came in quite high, but it seems more subtle and drinkable than expected, and the bitterness seems to emanate more from the roast than anything. The posted ABV of 9% is nicely integrated – you can tell this is a big beer, but at no point does it cross the line into boozy. The medium body helps to boost the flavours, and a pillowy carbonation bulks things up somewhat. Things improved further as it warmed, and a little below room temperature is probably the best serving point, allowing the full range of flavours to make their presence felt.

Canada’s most populous province sorely lacks imperial stouts, and this entry from Amsterdam is a welcome addition. Its bad boy looks and robust flavour makes for a satisfying quaff, and for those interested in cellaring, this should hold up relatively well.

Amsterdam Tempest Imperial Stout is currently available at the brewery retail store: 21 Bathurst Street, Toronto.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Halifax Seaport BeerFest - Tickets Now Available

I'll get back to regular posting soon (very busy with TAPS and planning the Canadian Brewing Awards), but in the meantime here is the official press release for the Halifax Seaport Beer Festival that I'll be taking part in this summer.

Atlantic Canada’s largest beerfest celebrates 5 YEARS OF BEER ON THE PIER!

Halifax, NS – Voted “favourite beerfest” last summer by TAPS, Canada's beer magazine, Atlantic Canada’s largest celebration of beer and cider returns August 5th and 6th to the Halifax Seaport, featuring nearly 200 beers and ciders from the Maritimes and around the world.

“For the past two years, evening sessions have sold-out,” said festival co-chair Bruce Mansour. With nearly 5000 expected, highlights include an expanded Quebec pavilion, Baxter Brewing (Maine) and King Brewery (ON). We are also proud to welcome our first Maritime "nanobreweries" (extremely small brewers) and Canada's newest brewer, Spearhead Brewing from Toronto!

It is this growth and excitement that prompted the NSLC (gold sponsor) to launch a new program - Beerfest Limited Selection - bringing eight unique festival beers this August to select stores. Breweries this year include Muskoka (ON), Shipyard (US), Young's (UK) and Gahan House (PEI).

Ladies VIP Brew Tour returns with Mirella Amato (, Canada’s top female beer connoisseur! Mirella will lead a fun gals-only VIP tour of the beer world on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. For just $10 beyond regular ticket price, women can skip the line-ups and enjoy a 30 minute talk, sampling and food pairing. No men allowed!

Taste of Nova Scotia returns with member restaurants selling delicious beer-inspired creations to hungry festival goers. Scanway Catering, Saege Bistro, FID Resto, and Brussels Restaurant & Brasserie will serve up mouth-watering sample size treats.

The weekend kicks-off with a one-of-a-kind beer dinner at Brussels Brasserie hosted by Troy Burtch of TAPS Magazine. Served on their fabulous courtyard patio, enjoy four courses paired with five fabulous festival beers, each introduced by a representative of the brewery. Thursday, August 4 at 6:00pm. Tickets reserved by booking at or by phone at .

New this year, Beer Brunch at Maxwell's Plum Saturday, August 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Open to the public, come down mid-festival for a meal and meet some of the great brewers in town for the beerfest.

Tickets available at select NSLC stores, and online at, for $40 (+HST) per session or $45 (+HST) at the door. Sessions will run Friday night 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday afternoon 2:00pm to 4:30pm and Saturday night 7:00pm to 9:30pm. Tickets are limited so buy now and avoid disappointment!

For more information please visit or contact:
Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Winter Ale