October 4, 2010
Every once in a while the LCBO brings in a beer that totally shocks me. And its not necessarily the beer itself that gets my attention, but the fact that the LCBO had the you-know-what to actually bring it in! Last year the LCBO proved their worth to me by bringing in the Ola Dubh 12 and 40 – while the 40 was grossly over priced at $18.95 for a 330ml bottle, I was still excited to have it here. As well, it is a rare and pricey beer, so you can’t completely blame them.
This year the LCBO has again shocked me, and more so beyond last year. Not only are we getting the 12 and the 40 back, but the reaming Vintages in the Ola Dubh line are coming! That means soon we will have access to the Ola Dubh 12, 16, 18, 30 and 40! This is not yet reflected on the LCBO’s system, but was confirmed to me by beer services employee at the Sumerhill location. Read the rest of this entry »
October 1, 2010
There’s no avoiding it anymore, the summer is definitely gone; as hard as I have been trying to hold onto it, its gone. But fall is a pretty beautiful season – the leaves change, the air is crisp, the enchantment of the holiday season nears, and, oh yes, the Pumpkin Ales come in! This year we are getting four pumpkin ales in for the Autumn Release at the LCBO.
Great Lakes’ Pimpkin Ale will be back in 650ml bottles; it is a pale ale based pumpkin ale with mellow spice and pumpkin flavors at 5%. The St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale is also back, this 5% 341ml bottle is packed with crisp spices and refreshingly sweet pumpkin notes. The Post Road Pumpkin by Brooklyn will join the ranks for the first time, offering a more malty 5% pumpkin ale. And finally, Southern Tier, who is getting more and more shelf space recently will bring the Pumpkin, an 8.8% imperial pumpkin ale. Go get it!
September 29, 2010
At the end of Toronto Beer Week last week the Canadian Brewing Awards were handed out to the top three beer styles in 30 Categories as well as the Brewery and Beer of the Year Awards. From BC, Central City Brewing took home the Best Brewery Award, and their Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine won Best Beer. BC and Quebec brought home the most Gold awards, with Ontario getting some recognition as well. The biggest shock for me came in the Cream Ale category where Sleeman’s Cream Ale beat out both the Muskoka Cream and Cameron’s Cream. I would actually like an explanation on this. For the full award listings see the post at Great Canadian Pubs and Beer by Troy Burtch.
September 28, 2010
Here is another amazing example of why I love Dogfish Head and its founder, Sam Calagione. Back in the early 2000’s at some beer festivals you may have seen Dogfish head pumping some of their IPAs through a vertical tube of fresh hops then poured directly into your glass. Most notably the 120 IBU (International Bitter Unit) 120 Minute IPA was being fed through what Sam named Randall, producing a wildly fresh, enamel eating, hoppy beer. This was a fun and unique experiment for Dogfish, and also a way for Sam to prove to the West Coast Brewers that the East Coast knows how to hop it up too.
Now though, Sam has introduced Randall the second, a much more refined and engineered version of the original makeshift Randall. This version installs onto a tap line, and has two chambers allowing Dogfish to filter beer though the ingredient of their choice in one, and the second to reduce foaming. Guess what they have been doing with it… Read the rest of this entry »
September 28, 2010
A month or so ago I posted a recipe for a Spaghetti Squash pasta made with veal meatballs, San Marzano tomatoes, and Unirboue’s La Maudite. Unibroue loved the recipe and posted it in the recipe section of their site – then, just a few days ago I got an email from then asking if they could post it up on the front page as their recipe of the month! So now on the main Unibroue Page my own recipe is featured front and center! Thanks Unirboue! You keep making the beer, I’ll keep enjoying it! Cheers.
September 24, 2010
As more and more consumers all across the globe choose local, artisan, and craft products the beer industry has benefits greatly. Or, at least the craft beer industry does. Budweiser, who once had an unfathomable stronghold over most segments in the beer market has been loosing ground to smaller, more unique breweries year on year for quite some time now. You just can’t trick people into buying a bad product anymore, at least not as easily as you could before. Budweiser was never about selling you a beer, it was all about selling you an image, an image of who you could be if you drank Bud. Like it or not, that image has been tarnished over the years, and people aren’t so willingly hypnotized by cleavage and free trips. They want quality, flavor, and something unique.
So Budweiser has come up with a new plan to energize, to reinvigorate their appeal to the under 30 sector who is now seemingly ignoring them. Bud will unleash the largest ever national free sample campagn in trendy bards and eateries. This, honestly, is proof that Bud just doesn’t get it. Read the rest of this entry »
September 24, 2010
After being available to people outside of North America for almost 10 years now, Guinness will finally introduce the Foreign Extra Stout to the American market. I have never had the FES, but the reviews I’ve read, and rumors that I have heard build it up both as the best and worst Guinness there is. A FES is a bigger, more full bodied and richer stout than a typical dry stout, so this Guinness is 7.5% abv, appropriately. This leads me to believe that it is good. This version though is also carbonated in the bottle rather than nitrogenated as we are used to. It does appear to be full and creamy, but we will see I suppose.
Initial tasting notes reveal large roast on the nose, with a strong, bittersweet flavor. I thought Guinness could have been more descriptive, but I guess that is asking to much. Soon though, on October the 1st we can cross the boarder and find out for ourselves.
September 23, 2010
Recently there has been a slew of Craft beer videos all resonating the same message about how much we love craft beer. Most of them are great, but absurdly repetitive uttering “I am a craft beer drinker” over and over again from different people at different angles. It was refreshing then to see the newest Craft Beer promotional video for the New York Craft Beer Week. This video is totally original, unique, and pretty awesome. I don’t think anyone has done a beer promotional video like this before. Hats off to ya guys. Oh, and NY Craft Beer week is going to be crazy! September 24th through October 3rd. If you are in New York, go get some great beer!
September 20, 2010
This past weekend in Denver Colorado the largest gathering of American beer and beer lovers enjoyed a flavor packed weekend of craft beer, great food, and good times. This year 3,523 beers were entered into the Great American Beer Festival brew competition, more than any other commercial beer competition in the world. Winners from the 79 beer categories were just announced over the weekend and Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were handed out. Pizza Port Brewing took an impressive 13 medals, and Firestone Walker to 6. For the full list of winners here is the PDF. Read more for some stats. Read the rest of this entry »
September 17, 2010
BrewDog’s third installation in the Abstrakt series, AB: 03, just went live this morning. AB:01 was a Vanilla bean infused Belgian Quadrupel at 10.2%, AB:02 was a Tripple Dry Hopped Imperial Red Ale at 18%, now AB:03 is an Imperial Ale Aged for more than 2 years in Whisky casks with raspberries and strawberries at 10.5%. Just 3192, 375ml bottles of AB: 03 were made and are selling for 9.99 British pounds.
I did expect that AB:02 and 03 would sell out immediately, as AB:01 did, however they re still selling AB:02 on their website. Interesting. It may be a case of over flooding the market with similar products; what with Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Sink the Bismark, and The End of History, BrewDog has in the past year brought an onslaught of high alcohol, high cost, exclusive beers to the market. Maybe it is time that they focus on their core business. But I will never discourage their enthusiasm and sense of experimentation. Cheers!
September 16, 2010
Now that the Fall is upon us and Halloween looms over our heads the pumpkin beers will start to flow. I have had everything from weak and pathetic pumpkin beers that should be ashamed to called them selves pumpkin, to amazingly lush ones that glow a fresh pumpkin orange with flavor and character. What I have never seen, and am now madly excited for is a Pumpkin Cider!
Woodchuck Hard Cider is produced in Vermont, and is still the most delicious cider I have ever had. The Private Reserve Pumpkin is relatively strong for a cider at 6.9% abv – it will be scarcely available towards the end of September and early October. I will be looking for it!
September 15, 2010
In a quick follow up to my earlier post today claiming that the LCBO had discontinued the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, I have more information. The LCBO is the worlds largest single buy of alcoholic products, supplying stores all across Ontario. They also have unbelievably strict regulations with regards to what can be sold at the LCBO, and what needs to be met in order to keep that product on shelves. The Dogfish Head 60 is also one of the best selling Pale Ales in North America. Dogfish Head simply cannot keep up supply enough to dedicate all the LCBO is demanding to one distributor. While the LCBO distributes to hundreds of stores, it is nonetheless a single distributor, and Dogfish Head needs to ensure that all of their consumers are happy.
This does mean that hopefully soon the 60 will be back, and hopefully with some friends.
September 15, 2010
“Muskoka Harvest Ale is the pilgrim of out seasonal beer endeavor. Brewed using a selection of premium local ingredients, this ale has a rich malt backbone and is dry hopped which contributes to a subtle grassy character reminiscent of the harvest. This Harvest Ale marks the end of the growing season and the gathering of crops from the fields.”
This rather exciting, and beautiful offering from the Muskoka Cottage Brewery is a long anticipated fall release which will be at the LCBO in 750ml bottles, as well as on tap at select restaurants and pubs. I’m not sure yet of the price, but I am madly excited for this 2nd edition Harvest Ale.
September 15, 2010
The Three Floyds Brewery located in Munster Illinois, is recognized by RateBeer as one of the world’s top Breweries; largely for their beers like the Alpha King (IPA), Gumball Head (Wheat), Dreadnaught (2XIPA), and the infamous Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. This is however causing a problem for the now worldly acclaimed brewer – they cannot keep up with demand. While this may not sound like such a problem, it is creating some serious distress among retailers, and disappointment with consumers.
Three Floyds remains true to their small town, craft beer roots by brewing small batch beers mostly by hand; this is probably one of the reasons why their products are so delicious. The problem is that the brewery has outstretched their abilities, and has essentially promised too many markets something that hey cannot deliver on. Read the rest of this entry »
September 15, 2010
I am very sorry to report this, but just this week an inside source confirmed with me that the LCBO recently discontinued the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA; in my humble opinion, probably the best IPA available (previously) at the LCBO. This source did say that he wasn’t 100% sure if this was actually the case, but the LCBO website does not lie. On the product site for the 60 Minute it plainly exclaims that it is Discontinued.
I am currently unaware of the reasoning behind this, and it may have been a Dogfish Head decision rather than an LCBO one. Regardless, it is gone, sadly. To substitute the fresh, crisp, hope-forward awesomeness that was the 60 Minute, I would reccomend the Southern Tier IPA or the Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion.