Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Crafts, Chicago, O'Toole's Good Times - Cya 2011!

So I went back to Chicago again this year - sure glad I did!

That's a photo of Timothy O'Toole's, coincidentally on the corner of Ontario and North Fairbanks.  I've spent some good time there this year, and I recommend that place to everyone who's passing through the city.  Plus if you are ever in town, look for Dustin, Jayme, and Jim, the bartenders - they're great at recommending bottles (or draft) that you'll love.  And you won't miss the gorgeous servers!

Their current beer menu's pictured here, and every time I see it there are another few American micros that I'm super excited to see since they don't ship to Canada. You'll see a few posts on a bunch of these in the days to come, but my first one will have to be the seasonal Goose Island Christmas Ale.  My kind of Christmas craft.

Now I'm not your typical brown ale fan, and I mean, I've had some GORGEOUS Goose Island ales, but since it was lighter than all of the chocolate stouts I've had this season, and heavier than any of the Christmas ale's I've had, (I've decided to compare it to those); I thought it was alllllright :).  It did a nice job of being bottle drinkable, which I find rare in darker browns.  Plus, you can't say no to a seasonal - you'll never be able to try it if you don't, right then and there...

Kind of like my trip to Chi-Town this time. I'd never thought I'd reach my 4-trips-in-one-year-to-one-city goal if I hadn't decided to head over at 6am after Christmas!

If you make it out to O'Toole's, say a friendly hi to the staff there, and tip well, they're great.

Happy New Years folks!

Friday, December 23, 2011

It Was Christmas Eve's Eve, Babe

T'was the night before the night before Christmas.

...and with these tasty friends coming home with me, this is probably the last time I'll know what date it is this year.

...with visions of tall, dark, and handsome dancing through my head, and the bells ringing out not only for Christmas Day, but soon to be in my head as well, I'm ready.  I'm celebrating with stags, beards, and a lot of chocolate (stout) this weekend. Yup, tis all for this weekend.

Countdown on, Christmas Day! It's on!

Merry Xmas everyone :)

Shown above, from left to right:
Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale
Box Steam Brewery Dark & Handsome
Southern Tier Imperial Crème Brûlée
Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout
Young Double Chocolate Stout
Muskoka Brewery Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout: Winter Beard
Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager
Muskoka Brewery Harvest Ale

Bailey's Hazelnut Creme Liquer
40 Creek Premium Barrel Select Whiskey

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rate Me

Well, it's the work Christmas party, number one. Guess which I'm drinking, rate the rest in order of your fav. The winner (the beer winner) .... Wins.....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Which wood? Why, Wychwood! My Kinda Wood.


I JUST realized how close it is to Christmas so I figured I'd better start drinking specialty beer that reminded me of the holidays, and Wychwood's Bah Humbug December seasonal 5% beer was too perfect.  Plus I've been on such a UK bevy kick that this goes all too well.

Did you know that Wychwood has a seasonal beer PER MONTH?  Yea! Check it.  I am super excited to try April's Hot Chocolate, and July's Cherry Picker. Mmmmmmm hot choooooclate beer.

While perusing their site, I'd have to say I was super duper pleased.  It really got into the "Brewers of character" (their tagline) spirit, and I felt like I was in the realm of the Wychwood forest, sipping forbidden ale and scouring the trees for an evil goblin... a Hob-goblin perhaps? Oh, lovers of Wychwood will get that reference :)  And if you didn't - they have a beer called Hobgoblin.

Beer-wise, it had a semi-sweet taste that had the perfect amount of spice and cloves to it - when I said this was a Christmas spiced ale, I wasn't kidding.  They know what their doing with taste v naming over there.

One fun fact is that Wychwood is of the same Marston family that my believed organic Duchy hails from.  Those Marston's know a little something about good beer.

LL recco:  Give'r a go this holiday season.  Pop on The Pogues Fairytale of New York and open up some fresh, moist, fruit cake to go along with it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Old Pale's Are Always Very Special

As a huge pale ale fan, I was immediately surprised when this 6.7% ale tasted dangerously like a 4.5%er - I could get into quite a bit of trouble drinking these for a night!

Marston’s Pedigree Very Special Old Pale had quite the classic taste to it.  It was a smooth, clean tasting pale ale, and reminiscent of some English cask ales I had back in England a few years back.

One thing to note, is that it's in a brown bottle, but from some googling, it looks like it's served in clear bottles over in the UK. That's a good call for exports, and I'm starting to see more and more differences in beer that comes from over the sea. (Sea, ocean, whatever.)

My recommendation for when to drink this beer?  On a cold, winter night, in front of a fire, eating a hearty stew. Mmmmm... beef stew....

Friday, December 9, 2011

...and the Gardens of the Elders were filled with...

Elderflower!  Badger Golden Champion was so good that I bought another the next day.

Now, I instantly knew it was from the UK because the label said it was a strong beer... of 5%.  Oh United Kingdom.

But seriously, this beer tasted like what eating a fresh spring day in a Switzerland meadow would taste like. The elderflower in it just gives it an unbelievable floral scent that's not lost in the taste, and is so delicately, beautifully fresh, that you feel like wrapping it up in warm blanket, sitting next to it on the couch, and watching Christmas specials with it.


Anyhoo, the one thing that I wasn't sure about with this beer was the label.  I feel like it doesn't quite match the pretty flavour.  But lo and behold, the website displays a much prettier version of the bottle and label, one that I hope is still in production.  Maybe this one (shown in this post) is just used over in the UK.  I'd be quite interested in knowing which was older/newer and if they were both being used in present times.

Right. Try this beer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Liege!


Ok... now that that's out...

Last weekend I finally cracked open my Southern Tier Imperial Pumpkin Ale: Pumking.  Southern Tier has not failed me yet, and this time, it didn't just not fail me (like my double negative?) it exceeded my utmost expectations of what I thought a children's holiday could do for my life.

Kids... they get all the candy.  I remember that sad day when I was ...14... and I realized I was too old to go trick or treating when the first three houses told me I was too tall and not dressed up enough.  What, my Wonder Woman mask wasn't good enough?  It's not my fault I had a huge growth spurt at a young age!  I still liked free candy!

Well, the joke's on them now, because I've got something better: Pumking.  Seriously, this was the best pumpkin *anything* I've ever had.  Pumpkin pie?  Chuck it.  Pumpkin Spiced Latte?  Cya.  Pumking - you are my Autumn liege.

So here's the problem: Both of my local LCBO's are out of it, and I only got one.  One.

Also, it was raining today, and I walked into a store sign because my umbrella was blocking my view.

I implore you, my kind, fellow, lovers of such things liquid - if you find a Pumking, please tell me where, so I can once again taste that sweet, light, yet 8.6% imperial ale, that has gained my taste-buds' allegiance.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Probably The Only Beard I'll Let Near My Face

So two weeks ago I had the pleasure of purchasing and trying Muskoka Brewery's Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout (Winter Beard). Coming in at 8%, just one glass of this bad boy made me quite the happy lady. It's what I'd consider my type of beer to pour into a wine glass, and pretend to be having a beautiful syrah, whilst the rest of the ladies chug down their grapes.

As a femme, anything with a chocolate undertone is fantastic in my books, and this stout was no different.  Plus, as a stout, the ever-so-slight carbonation made it such a sipping beverage that I think it's perfect to grab a few more and serve them at an upcoming holiday party.

I probably shouldn't like this, but I left about one glass for the last 2 weeks in the bottle and had it tonight. .. I still liked it.  Sorry, sorry, but I did.  Plus I tasted the cranberry a lot more! How festive!