Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grolsch, not so Grossche

Yes, I know - clever title ;)

So, I had a Grolsch today.  Being in a green bottle, most of the Grolsch I've ever had has been slightly skunky.  It's such an unfortunate thing when the beer inside has so much delicious flavour, but rarely reaches its customer like that.

Now sure, a fresh one that wasn't messed up by sitting in the sun for days or something would be amazing, but that's difficult to find at many Toronto bars, reason being, when you to go a bar with a medium sized selection, they may not sell as much of certain types, so they end up sitting around for longer.

In today's case, I got a good one. YAY.  It t just reminded me of all the bad ones I've had, and I decided to post my thought:

When at a bar, don't hate a beer if it's not the best quality that it could be, because it may not be the best seller there.  Buy it at the LCBO or beer store and give it a go then.

Also, my other thought of the day: Why can't the Leafs beat Boston this season?? 6-2, 7-0, and 6-3 tonight.  We've got their Kessel!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unfiltered, Haligonian Goodness

Garrison, in Toronto? Oh goody!

I found Garrison's Imperial IPA at a local LCBO and picked it up for a little taste of my beloved Halifax.

It was hoppy, but crisp and clean, probably due to the lack of yeast.  To be honest, this is the second type of unfiltered beer I've had and I'd like to explore it more; both were really good.  The first was Coopers Brewery Sparkling Ale from Australia.

Yes, it's in my Chicago Craft Beer Week glass.  I had two to make the set, given to me by a lovely Chicagonian, but alas, one broke on my way back the last trip out there.  ...Or the trip before that... I'm not quite sure which trip it was which any more.

Back to the IPA:  Try it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Toronto has a Beer History?

My very first Groupon.

One year ago I purchased a Groupon for a Toronto urban adventure which involves a tour guide walking you from the Hockey Hall of Fame, stopping at a couple of pubs, and ending off at the Mill Street brewery.  A friend and I finally went on it a couple of weekends ago.

To be honest, we had no idea that Toronto had such a deep history in beer.  We stopped at C'est What, Betty's, and lastly, the Mill Street Brewery, and along the way, stopped and talked about some of the buildings we passed by.

One interesting fact was that the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts used to be called the O'Keefe Centre, built for Eugene O'Keefe's brewery; the first brewery in Canada to produce lager, as well as traditional ale and porter.  Another interesting fact about the O'Keefe Centre is that in 1974, Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov ran out of the building, down The Esplanade and into a waiting getaway car, defecting into Canada.  He allegedly spent the next few days up in Muskoka. Crazy!  Too bad that the Muskoka Brewery wasn't around back then.

It was a fun time, we had a few good pints, and learned a lot about Toronto's history.

My beer selection comprised of:
Muskoka Harvest Ale on tap at C'est What
Tetley's English Ale on tap at Betty's
Mill Street Stock Ale sampled on tap at the Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street Organic sampled on tap at the Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street Tankhouse sampled on tap at the Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street Ginger Beer in bottle at the Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street Coffee Porter in bottle at the Mill Street Brewery

I'd have to say my favourite of the day was the Tetley's.  It's a lovely Sunday beer if I've ever had one.

Here's one last crazy bit of information: there's a closed off underground tunnel in this post's photo.  It was used to carry money from booze sales from the Flat Iron to the building where the Pizza Pizza now stands.

Don't stand there if there's ever an earthquake!

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Week's Catch: Christmas Has Arrived!

Oh yea.  You know you want it.

Not only did I snag Muskoka Brewery's new limited edition Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout Winter Beard, but I picked up a beloved Duchy, and got a Muskoka wall bottle opener with my 6er of Cream Ale.

Plus, check out this week's non-beer special guest: Kahlua Peppermint Mocha.  I can see this week's special guest meeting last week's St. Remy's French Liquor Cream in next week's morning coffee.


Polish Beer FTW

Me: "Do you sell beer?"
Bartender: "Yes, what would you like, Polish or Russian?"
Me: "Polish."
Bartender gives me a Svyturys Ekstra.
Me: "I've never had this beer before."
Friend: "What, you have something against Polish beer?"
Me: "Nope.  I've had most Polish beer available in Toronto.  This is Lithuanian."

Pravda, really?

I mean, if you're only going to offer two beer options, at least get the countries right.
I should have stayed and asked for a Russian beer.  My guess: it would have been Czech.

As a side note, the Ekstra tasted like what one would assume a fresh out of the brewery Steamwhistle would taste like.  Being a pale lager, it sure tasted pilsner-ish to me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Caps & Bottles Killin Me: What to Build!

I've been collecting bottle caps for a while now.  My dad topped a coffee table with pennies which is really awesome, so I always figured I'd use them to top a coffee table with too.  But now I've been thinking that I could probably do something else really cool with these bad boys.

Any ideas?

Some of my ideas so far have been:
- a collection of photo frames
- creating a personal crest
- kitchen platters
- book cover
- table top

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Great Guinness Chugging

This is what happens when one quickly drinks a pint of Guinness

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee and Beer. Mmmmy kind of Combo.

I'm glad I took one of these home with me from the Mill Street Brewery.

I recommend this beer after a long day when all you can think of is sitting on your couch with a blanket and a hot cocoa.  It's not quite hot, nor is it cocoa, but it gave me a nice warm buzz.

The beer itself definitely has coffee tastes, along with hints of chocolate.  It's slightly carbonated, which from my experience is indicative of a typical Mill Street brew.

Mill Street says that it's best paired with shrimp, oysters, marscapone cheese, or chocolate desserts, but I say, try it with vanilla ice cream, raspberry strudel, or right after a club sandwich.  Don't forget to eat your pickle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Maple... mmm... Porter... mmm... Maple Porter!

The LCBO has quite a few gems on a regular basis, and I was lucky to find this one.

Penticton, British Columbia's Cannery Brewing's Maple Stout has five ingredients: your typical four that every beer has, plus an added "natural maple flavour".

I liked it!  I mean, how could you possibly go wrong with Canadian water, a stout, and maple.  It was a little thick and very slightly sour to my tastebuds, but nevertheless, I can't dislike anything maple.

...about that maple.

Chicago, September 2011.  I refer you back to my visit to The Map Room.  I wasn't lying when I said I ordered twelve servings of maple syrup to go with my blueberry pancakes.  I must remind you though, I'm not some Canadian abominable snowman-like chick who needs 25oz of maple syrup to go with her meals; I was under the impression that they would be 1oz each!  That's teenie tiny!  12oz, now that's more like it.  Alas, in the land of the lar... free, here's a photo of what I got.

Just to add one little note though:  Chicago, being described as the "fattest city in the United States" did not live up to that title.  I'm sorry, but most of the people I interacted were trim and slightly smokin'.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The catch from the day!

I picked up a few select beers from my LCBO today.

I've had Young's Double Chocolate Stout before, and I'm pretty sure I've tried Southern Tier's Pumking, but if not, I'm super stoked.

I'm going to save the Bah Humbug cinnamon beer from Wychwood Brewery for the first day that I feel the Christmas spirit this year.

I'm *really* excited to have Garrison's Imperial IPA.  It's been a long while since I've had something from Halifax other than Keith's.

And yes, there's some St-Remy A La Creme in there.  It's new, and every coffee needs its cream.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


On October 30th, I had the opportunity to volunteer and go to Cask Days, put on by BarVolo, a speciality beer bar in Toronto.

I volunteered to get to know the cask scene and try some cool beer, both of which I did a bit of.

The venue was gorgeous - I'd never actually been to the Hart House before.  It was cold, but the beer seemed to keep everyone quite warm.

The guys at BarVolo put on a great event.  There were cask ales from all over Canada.  Fullers also made a special appearance which was fantastic.

I got to meet some really great people and stayed for the night session to try many of the cask ales.  I'd have to say my favourite was Muskoka Brewery's Not So Pale Galactic Ale Black IPA.  It was something around 8.5%, almost black, and one of the best IPA's I've ever had!! It was so low on carbonation that it went down almost.. maybe even just as smoothly as Guinness does for me.  Thanks Muskoka!

All in all fun times, but let me tell you: going to BarVolo's cask seminars the day before, drinking all day, going out for a Hallowe'en party at night, and volunteering to serve beer all day the next morning is not recommended.  That my friends, is what they call a CaskOver.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

AK 2020 - I can't wait

The brewing of Alexander Keith's will celebrate its 200th year in 2020...

I wonder how advertising will have changed over the next nine years and what campaigns will be run for this event.  It's going to be huge, that's for sure.

Just a thought.  What do you think they'll do?  What technologies will be utilized?  Hmm.

I'll bet I could come up with some stokular ideas.