May 1st, 2013
I am constantly talking to people everywhere about where they can go have a great beer experience. Breweries, pubs, restaurants, stores, festivals, and more. If you are just looking for a great local to enjoy a selection of suds – or if you are planning a 3 day beer trip with some buds – there are plenty of options no matter where you are. But without question, every year I tell hundreds of people that if they want a amazing and vast beer experience, then Mondial de la Biere is on the very top of my list. No joke.
This is a very different type of experience compared going to a brewery or a brewpub. Those are an intimate insight into specific beers and the people that make them. Some of the great beer highlights in my life, and in anyone’s, will be in a brewery or brewpub. A beer festival offers a very different scenario – and one that you can customize to you own preferences. I’ll discuss that in a moment, but first – why do I love Mondial so much? Read the rest of this entry »
September 19th, 2012
You may be asking yourself, what does Sam Adams Utopias have to do with homebrew? Maybe one of the world’s most complex and out-of-the-box beers is such a far stretch from a homebrewer cooking a batch of beer in his kitchen. Its true. Although I’d warrant that I can make some pretty sweet beer on my stove, its still a far cry from a 16 year old variety of barrel aged beers blended and finished in a variety of spirit and wine casks. But, the truth is that the Utopias was created out of the same passion and love that creates homebrewers – and without it, beers like Utopias simply wouldn’t exist. While the technical ability and resources are different, the heart is all the same. Read the rest of this entry »
May 30th, 2012
From June 6th to 10th thousands of beer lovers from across the globe will bombard Place Bonaventure in Montreal Quebec for the 19th edition of Mondial de la Biere; one of the world’s premier international beer festivals. The upfront info is that admission is free, tasting tickets are $1 each, beers will cost between 1 to 5 tickets, it is open each day from 11am to 9pm, and it located at 800 De La Gauchetiere St. West. What’s really important though is that this may actually be the best beer festival in North America… I know many Americans will be outraged by this. There are tons of amazing festivals in the US like the Great American Beer Festival, Taste of the Midwest, The Extreme Beer Festival and Savor. Where Mondial tops these, and any other festival I know of in North America is that it is truly and international festival. Read the rest of this entry »
May 12th, 2012
Well, Cass Enright seems to be at it again. The man behind The Brewery Market, The Bar Towel, and the Golden Tap Awards is forging new roads forward for Ontario Craft Beer. As somewhat of a spin-off series of events, the Brewer’s Backyard will launch on May 21st, operating in similar fashion to The Brewery Market by featuring an exclusive brewery and some of their regular plus one-off flavours, all paired with local cuisine. This event series will be held at the Evergreen Brick Works, a beautiful outdoor/indoor venue that has hosted many culinary, wine and beer events over the past few years. Each even will run from noon to 4pm, and you will be able to purchase tickets redeemable for food or drink. The remaining events will be held on June 17th, July 2nd, August 12th, September 23rd, and October 8th. Read the rest of this entry »
May 4th, 2012
Today is Star Wars Day. Yes, there is a Star Wars Day, and in reference to “May the force be with you”, May the fourth has become the unofficial day of celebration for Star Wars nerds *cough* fans all across the globe. And I am not ashamed to admit it, I love Star Wars. In fact I watched Return of the Jedi two nights ago because I had a huge craving for it! Its just so good.
So, to honor this now sacred day, lets take a look at what beers some of the famed Star Wars characters would be enjoying today.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away… Read the rest of this entry »
April 17th, 2012
This Friday, April 20th will kick off a three day Cask IPA Challenge at Bar Volo, which in its 4th year as stirred up as much excitement in the craft beer scene as any event in Ontario. For any newcomers to the scene, here is the scoop. Cask beer is one that is unfiltered, and is being dispensed directly from the vessel that it has matured in without the use of CO2 or other aiding gasses. Cask beers are typically either poured by gravity (ie, the cask is tilted with a valve at the front to allow for clean serving) or with a hand pump, which will pull the beer from its cask to a faucet like a siphon. Cask beer is commonly served at cellar temperature (12 to 14 C), but because of the nature of serving gravity cask ales, which will be sitting atop the bar or on a table, it is difficult to regulate the serving and storage temperature of the beer. Now you know what cask beer is.
The Cask IPA Challenge is really exactly as it sounds. It is a 4-round blind sampling of 32 beers brewed by 26 different breweries where grades are awarded to each beer by the public, and only the best move onto the next round until there is a single champion. Read the rest of this entry »
March 26th, 2012
Two of Ontario’s beer loving disciples are joining forces this Thursday (March 29th) to create one awesome night of delicious beer. BarVolo and Beau’s All Natural Brewing are working together for a total tap takeover at barVolo of Beau’s beers – including some of their specialty seasonals, one-offs, and collaborations. The event begins at 7pm with 13 beers on draught, 7 in casks, and 7 in bottles, and expectantly a lineup for beer the whole time. The full lineup of beers available is posted here on barVolo’s blog. Some of the standouts are the Smokin’ Banana Peel Hefeweizen, which was Wild Oats no. 11; Ryes Above, a House Ales collaboration Rye Porter; Barrel Aged Dunkel Buck, a Greener Futures release; Winter Brewed, which was Wild Oats no. 9; Good Nught Nurse, a Belgian Quad one-off; and the list goes on. For beer lovers, advocates, geeks, acolytes, and socialists alike, this will not be a night to miss.
March 14th, 2012
June is consistently one of the best months of the summer in my opinion. By then spring is behind us, fall is far away, summer is raging in full swing, and so are the patios, beer events, festivals and cold delicious pints. One of the capstone events for me is always the Mondial de la Biere in Montreal Quebec. This year the event runs from Wednesday June the 6th to Sunday the 10th from 11am to 9pm each day. What makes this festival so special, and so unique compared to other beer festivals in North America, is that it is truly a global beer festival. There are breweries represented from Canada, the US, UK, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, France, Japan, and more! This alone makes it a world premier event – but then when you consider the number of beers represented from each of these countries, and the high quality and often rarity of some of the beers that show up, it really makes Mondial second to none. Seriously, I have had the pleasure of trying some of the most highly regarded and sought after beer-geek beers at Mondial for the first time. It really is an amazing experience. This doesn’t even take into consideration the deep list of amazing brewpubs in Montreal too… More on that later
February 18th, 2012
It is a full week of craft beer events, it is all across Ontario, it showcases some of the best and newest beers that Ontario has to offer, and it is from June 17th to the 23rd. It is Ontario Craft Beer Week! Following 2 very successful OCB Weeks the 3rd will begin on Father’s Day, Sunday June 17th, 2012 and extend all week long. There are currently 29 OCB Member Breweries, but OCB Week is really a celebration of all craft beer in Ontario, and pretty much every brewer, member or not, will be pitching in. This year’s event series is targeted to new craft beer lovers theme as “Your First Time”, and event will focus on newcomers and naysayers in an attempt to educate and expose people to a new and wonderful world of local flavours, styles and brands. Events will be listed on the OCB Week Website under the following categories: Read the rest of this entry »
January 26th, 2012
Canadian Beer News has announced the continuation of the Canadian Beer News Dinner Series. This ongoing series of dinners brings together some of Canada’s top craft breweries and beer importers with outstanding chefs and restaurants to create unique and exciting beer and food pairing experiences. Following on the success of the debut dinner in December, the second dinner in the series on Tuesday, February 21 will celebrate the art of experimentation, as the adventurous beers of Great Lakes Brewery will be paired with the unique ‘cucina moleculare’ (modern Italian cuisine with a molecular gastronomy twist) crafted by chef Howard Dubrovsky in the kitchen of his L.A.B. Restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »
January 18th, 2012
For a long time Bar Volo has been THE place to go in Toronto to experience new beers, find new flavours, and get education on real beer. Less than one year ago Bar Volo added brewing to their list of talents that include service, knowledge, entertainment and fun. The launch of House Ales, a small nano-brewery located within Bar Volo’s walls, added a new dimension to Ontario’s craft beer culture. The small (100L at a time) system and creative minds at work at House Ales allows them to constantly play with new flavours, experiment with different styles, and collaborate with both experienced and novice brewers. What is has become is an ever changing and always exciting opportunity for beer geeks and fresh-to-the-scene beer lovers to expand their palates and minds with unique and unheard of beers. On December 30th, 2011 House Ales brewed their 100th batch (since Launching in June 2011), Fermium Imperial Black IPA, which will be available on draught at Bar Volo this Friday January the 20th. Keep your eyes on these guys to see what the future holds.
January 17th, 2012
Probably London’s most enthusiastic and passionate beer bar, Gambrinus, also acts from time to time as Flying Monkeys‘ not-so-secret research facility for new products. Lucky Londoners. Over the years Gambrinus has played host to unique one-off tastings, special collaboration beers, and even pre-production prototype experimentation. I remember having the first tastes of this crazy hopped beer with a wild and citrus/funky hop called citra years ago – a beer that we know now as Smashbomb. On Saturday January the 28th Gambrinus will again host Flying Monkeys for a full 17 line Tap Takeover. Every draught line at Gambrinus will be cleaned and reserved for Flying Monkeys’ beers – some of the usual suspects, some prototypes, and some special one-offs brewed in collaboration with Gambrinus’ own brewing genius, Adil. The event begins at 6pm, and, if like the previous events, beers will not last long – so show up early to ensure you get to try what you are looking for. Below is a list of the beers that will be served. No cover.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 22nd, 2011
The second edition of the Canadian Beer News Dinner Series will take place on Tuesday February 21st at L.A.B. Restaurant featuring beers from one of Ontario’s most exciting breweries, Great Lakes Brewery, and food prepared by one of Ontario’s most exciting young Chefs, Howard Dubrovsky. Only 20 seats will be available for this 6 Course beer paired dinner – tickets are available by calling L.A.B. (416-551-5025) to reserve one for $95 including tax and gratuity. This should be a wild evening of adventurous food and beer pairings – just go glance at L.A.B.’s menu and I think you’ll know what I mean. Howard’s culinary skills involve a combination of raw homemade passion and out of the box fusion-style creativity. The flavours speak for themselves, not to mention the presentation. This, along with a host of beers from Great Lakes, which has a wide range of characters to play with, should create an entertaining and delicious evening.
December 16th, 2011
On Thursday December the 22nd everyone that shows up to the Burger Bar will get to try the very first commercially brewed beer from Snowman Brewing, the Pail Ale (4.7% abv, 30 IBU). Well anyone that shows up early enough will. Snowman is yet another craft brewery to pop up in Toronto in 2011, and is brewing their beer on contract out of the Black Oak Brewing Facility. What makes Snowman unique compared to any launch this year is that Snowman exclusively makes Gluten Free Beers. I’m not talking about your typical pale and flavourless gluten free beers, I mean multiple award winning gluten free beers. In fact, I entered the Snowman Rambam Quadrupel in my blind Quad tasting a month ago – it placed above the likes of Pretty Things, De Struise, Dieu Du Ciel, and Westvleteren! This is serious beer. Founders and Brewers Hirsch Goodman and Kevin Snow malt their own gluten free grains in order to produce rich and delicious flavour - in a homemade malter! This is serious Gluten Free Beer that they have proven can stand tall among regular gluten filled beers.
December 12th, 2011
The Brewery Market is back on Sunday December 18th at the Wychwood Barns. The event runs from 1pm to 5pm and will feature Indie Ale House’s limited edition Christmas Spiced Porter, as well as their Breakfast Porter, Belgian IPA, and Hoppy IPA for the event titled “Twas the Beer Before Christmas“. Indie Ale House is a recently opened BrewPub located at 2876 Dundas St West in Toronto featuring a wide selection of unique craft beers that I am sure will continue to expand as they grow. Events like The Brewery Market are a perfect opportunity for both brewer and beer lover. Brewers get to showcase their skills behind the mash tun, and enthusiasts can experiment with new beers, new flavours, can speak with the people that made the beer, and also enjoy some great food with good company.