Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canadian Geese Should Make Liquids Like This

The summer's hitting, the sun is shining, and I'm thinking about last year's exploits in Chicago.

It's obvious that I adore a few certain breweries if you're an avid To Love and to Drink reader, and so much of me wishes this wasn't the last Goose Island post I had up my sleeve.

I had Goose Island's IPA at Capital Grille just off E Ontario Street in Chicago. I'll never forget the taste of this beer, and its one of my go-to's in Chi-town. Clean, hoppy, smooth, very subtlety fruity. Oh, so good.

It's 5.9%, 55 IBU, light to medium golden, and has a gorgeous citrus taste that's not overbearing; oh, and it's amazing with thai food.

If anyone's on their way from Chicago to Toronto, and feels like picking up a few brews to share (with me!) this is one I'd choose. Yes, yes please.

Did I mention it's got Cascade hops?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thirsty Traveler's Drink a lot of Beer

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to the Thirsty Traveler Beer Dinner at Fynn's of Temple Bar in King West.

Hosted by Kevin Brauch, the event consisted of four courses, five beers, and one seasonal Oranje Weisse by Amsterdam Beer with a shot of tequila in it.

Having recently decided to go vegan, and still dealing with a concussion, this was a pretty good last meat centric meal, paired with an amount of beer that my doc probably wouldn't approve of.

The first beer was a one off from Wellington Brewery called Rye-It Ale at 5.5%. It was meant to be the toast beer, but no toast actually happened. That was slightly disheartening, but the beer was impressive. It reminded me of two beers: Fuller's Chiswick Bitter, and Badger Golden Champion. Low carbonation, lightly fruity, with a bitter and dry finish, it was really nice.

Next up was the seasonal Lake of Bays 10 Point IPA, 6%. I'd had this in the 750mL bottle from the LCBO the week prior to having it here on tap. Preferring the draught version which was not as hoppy, it wasn't my favourite thing to come out of Lake of Bays, but it wasn't offensive by any means. I asked Kevin Brauch why it was paired with the cauliflower cheddar soup, and after making up some reasons on the spot about how they contrasted one another, I got him to admit that it was a last minute addition to the menu. A- for effort, though.

With the appetizer came Granville Island's Robson Street Hefeweizen - an unfiltered wheat ale at 5%. I'm yet to develop a proper palate for wheat beer, they all taste very similar in their lemon-orange citrus midtones to me. I was also surprised for such an event to have a Molson-Coors product on the list but, this was not marketed as a craft beer event. The hefeweizen was paired with cod cakes and ginger beet chutney.

The entree was a pair of two sliders, one venison, with red onion port marmalade on a raisin walnut bun, and a bison, with scotch bonnet limo mayo and maple bacon. For me, the venison went well with the Kostritzer Schwarzbier, a vollbier dark lager from Germany. I was surprised that I really liked the dark lager, but once again, it was clear that colour does not imply taste.

Dessert was crunchy hazelnut meringe layered with caramel butter cream and dark chocolate. It was a bit too rich for my taste, but I made sure to have all of the dark chocolate layers with my Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale Ale (6%). Apparently this pale ale used to be brewed at 6.5%, but the brewery found it did better at 6%, so here we are. I first tried this beer last September, just after it launched, and I've liked it ever since. It was a comfortable way to finish off the meal, or so I thought.

Then came the tequila.

We all got a small glass of Amsterdam's seasonal Oranje Weisse with a shot of [I can't remember what kind] tequila in it. I'm a tequila fan when it comes to shots, and it was actually quite good in beer! The tequila rep explained that tequila is customarily had in drinks, and not on its own.

The best part of the meal for me was the soup, with the venison coming up second, and Wellington's one off riding third. Thanks to Fynn's GM Robin Wynne and chef Patrick Narain for hosting a fun night.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Big, Orange, Asian Tiger

Here's one for the International books.

Holy WOW! Tiger Beer has not only one of the best beer websites I've seen, but check out the advertising!

"Born in the East. Winning the world over". Yup, well they've got the resources ($$) to do it.

After a recent trip to Vietnam, my pops brought this can back for me to sample (thanks!). Brewed by Asia Pacific Breweries, with Heineken being the main stakeholder, Tiger Beer is available in over 60 countries, and has been around since 1932 when it became Singapore's first locally brewed beer. Heineken is one of the big few (Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller, Heineken, Carlsberg, China Resources Enterprise), as one of the top companies to hold the most market share in the beer industry.

As I poured the beer, I wasn't so shocked to see a light orangey-yellow; I was thinking that most largely produced beers have that in common. There was no nose at all - none, and then BAM - a fruity taste hit me. It was lightly bodied, but surprisingly flavourful (on the fruity side). Not one of my favourite's (No Cascade ;)), but it was interesting to try.

It is in fact available in North America, although not too commonly. Here's an LCBO search for the Torontonians, showing one LCBO location result.

Yes, there are two glasses in that photo. The other lucky drinker involved considers Tiger Beer to be one of his favourites, but mentioned that it tasted different from the Tiger Beer actually in Singapore (this one was from Vietnam). The change in water really makes a difference to the taste, and it reminded me of how incredible Guinness tasted over in Liverpool, England.

Quick note back on Tiger's website: Tiger Social, Tiger Video Channel, Tiger FootballTiger Translate - "Tiger Beer's cross-cultural creative platform. It highlights Asia’s brightest creatives and facilitates collaboration with Western visionaries through a series of events, exhibitions and publications.", Tiger History - what a cool way to show the history that most people would never read through if it were in 18 paragraphs)... *drool*. So well put together.

I've you've had Tiger Beer, tell me what you think of it, and/or its website.