Tasting the Innis & Gunn Winter Beer, 2010

October 4, 2010

Its coming, and its just around the corner… This winter as the Christmas beers begin to flood the LCBO again; we will be getting back the Innis & Gunn Connoisseur’s pack, and in this years pack is the strongest Innis & Gunn ever made – the Winter Beer. My good friends at Innis have been chatting about this beer for a long time now. In the summer I had heard that Dougal (the founder and BrewMaster) was working on a spiced beer, one that he was more excited about than any other beer he has made. This definitely got me excited – I already love the sweet, creamy and caramel oaky flavors of the Innis Original – the idea of a spicier and stronger version for the winter sounded perfect!

We should expect the Connoisseur’s Pack to be made available late October to November for the Christmas Release; probably the best overall beer release at the LCBO. I was fortunate enough to get the Connoisseur’s pack ahead of time thanks to my good friends at Innis & Gunn, and I have been saving the Winter Beer since – until now. The time finally came. I had enjoyed the Original and the Rum Cask that came in the pack, but have been waiting for the right moment to test the Winter Beer on my palate. It was a calm Sunday afternoon, football filled my living room, but my Innis & Gunn glass was empty. Time to fill it! Read the rest of this entry »

The Ola Dubh Will Return to The LCBO. All Of Them!

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 »

The Pumpkin Beers Are Coming

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!

The New Randall by Dogfish Head Really Puts the “Hop” in Hop-Head

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 »

My Maudite Lamb Meatball Recipe Takes Center Stage on Unibroue’s Site

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.

Bud’s Sales Slide, New Strategy? Free Beer…

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 »

Tasting the Cannery Brewery Blackberry Porter

September 20, 2010

Its now Fall, one of the best beer seasons that there is. I know it may seem counter intuitive; most people consider the summer to be beer season. But when the fall comes breweries begin to produce more richly flavored, robust beers with a wide range of ingredients. Spices, pumpkin, berries and more get added into the brew and the beers become unique and warming. I love it.

It is also when the LCBO brings in the best selection of new beers. In this year’s Autumn release came the Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter, a 6.5% traditional style porter with blackberry flavor added for a hint of sweet complexity. The Cannery has been brewing since 2000 in Penticton BC, and is one of many west coast breweries which I have been excited to try for a long time. The 650ml bottle plainly depicts blackberries front and center on the purple label, so I was expecting at very least a reasonable rush of blackberry in this beer. Read the rest of this entry »

Dogfish Head Can’t Keep Up With the LCBOs Demands

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.

The LCBO Discontinued The Dogfish Head 60…

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.

Tasting the Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel

September 14, 2010

What is a Weissbier Dunkel? A Weissbier is a German Wheat beer; a classic beer style brewed with 25% or more malted or unmalted wheat. These beers are typically very refreshing, effervescent, lightly fruity with a wheaty fresh aroma and flavor. So what’s the Dunkel all about? Come the colder months of the fall and winter the German people wanted a beer with greater depth, something that would reflect the season a bit better than a quenching summer weisse. Thus was born the Dunkel, a Weissbier brewed with a portion of darker caramelized malts.

What you get is the fresh feeling of a Weissbier, with an added touch of spice, malt, dark aromas and caramel. The authentic versions of this beer style, such as the Erdinger, which may be one of the most authentic, are all bottle conditioned, and medium in strength. The Erdinger is 5.6% abv, is bottle conditioned, and comes in a standard German 500ml bottle. It is available at the LCBO year round, and is a treat year round. Read the rest of this entry »

Toronto Beer Week is Less Than One Week Away!

September 14, 2010

Ok, I hope by now that beer lovers in and around Toronto already know about Toronto Beer Week (TBW). If not, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the website, contain your excitement, and book off the week to drink beer! This is a week long beer celebration starting on Monday September the 20th, running till Sunday the 26th. Thats only 6 days away!

I was going to post a full list of all the events happening during this week around Toronto, but there must be 100 of them! Check out the TBW Events Page for a full listing of what events are taking place where throughout the week. This is a great chance to enjoy some of the best beer available in Ontario, meet some of your favorite brewers, and mingle with beer lovers, media, and professionals alike. This is going to be a grand week ‘o beer!

Beer & Nosh Take a Visit to Orval

August 27, 2010

Orval is one of the few remaining authentic trappist breweries who brew all their own beer. Fellow beer blogger Beer & Nosh just posted a lovely guided tour of the history Orval brewery. The Brewery is housed within the monastery walls, and they brew but 1 beer that reaches our market. And thankfully, after about a 5 year drought, we will be getting it back at the LCBO!

If you ever wondered what monks brewing beer looks like, take a look at Beer & Nosh’s site. Thanks guys!

Tasting the Innis & Gunn 2010 Highland Cask

August 26, 2010

They are coming very soon to an LCBO near you – finally Canada is going to experience the Innis & Gunn Highland Cask. This 2010 Highland Cask is the 2nd that Innis & Gunn has brewed. In 2009 they made one for Sweden that I was lucky enough to try; that was aged in 18 year old Highland Whisky barrels. This, the 2010 edition brewed for the Canadian Market has been aged in 21 year old barrels from the Speyside region of Scotland. Innis would not say which distillery it was, and there are many. But to give you an idea, they include Aberlour, Belvenie, Cardhu, Glenfarclas, Glenrothes, Linkwood, Macallan, Strathisla, and more.

This Innis, like all special editions, comes in a signature box, this one an earthy green branded with “Highland Cask” on the front. It was aged in “extremely rare oak barrels” for 49 days. Innis & Gunn went to brewing a special beer for these special barrels, and watched it carefully as it matured in the oak until they felt it had reached its prime. This Highland Cask is brewed with pale and amber malts to create a smooth, creamy and biscuit like beer to best complement the light honey and floral notes of the oak. It finished at 7.1% abv. Read the rest of this entry »

LCBO’s Beer Garden Swings Into Action

August 18, 2010

Right now the LCBO is gearing up for their largest beer selection of the year. The summer selection is still available, and very soon the Autumn and Halloween releases will swell into store for over excited beer nerds like me to gobble up everything we can. This year’s seasonal offerings are not yet reflected on the LBCO’s site, but their interactive beer garden is.

The Beer Garden allows you to visually inspect just about every beer that you can find at the LCBO, as well as build a shopping cart of your favorite beers and it will tell you the closest locations to you that have them all. You can also take a beer personality quiz to see what beer est suits you (this is total BS, but fine), and the Beer Selector allows your to narrow your choices by type, body, country and brand.

LCBO Autumn and Halloween Beer Release Details

August 9, 2010

The LCBOs Autumn and Halloween Beer Releas was just posted up by Troy of  the Great Canadian Beer Blog. Thanks Troy! These are both usually very good releases, and there are definitely several awesome beers to look forward to.

Most notably in the Autumn Release, which will be expected throughout August is the Orval, a classic Trappist Pale Ale; the Southern Tier Choklat, a rich Imperial Chocolate Stout; and Innis & Gunn’s Limited Edition Highland Cask, which has been aged in Single Malt Highland whiskey barrels.

The Halloween release, expected to be towards the end of September will bring us the St. Ambroise, Brooklyn, and Southern Tier Pumpkin Ales, as well as the Dieu Di Ciel Rigor Mortis Quad. See more for the complete listing. Read the rest of this entry »