There are many excellent brewers in Toronto, but most would agree Mike Lackey at Great Lakes has a dab hand with the hops. Uncanny, you might say. He’s more than capable when it comes to barrels and sours and weird bacterias; highly talented. But he just makes great IPAs and pale ales. Canuck pale ale, for instance. Or Lake Effect IPA. [cough] Karma Citra. So when he handed me a growler (Great Lakes has a growler filler now; if you didn’t already know, rejoice) of a new IPA he made, I was a lot more than excited. My current Lenten fast has meant that opening a growler without a dance partner was a non-starter. But with the snow day today,…. [Read More]
Well, despite assertions from major beer-writers in Toronto (I’m looking at you, Ben), this is the perfect beer for Valentines Day. Even if it doesn’t hit shelves till tomorrow It’s at the retail stores now! Get it on your way home. Why? Well, for starters, this vDay is on Friday. This is Rebecca Black IPA (get it?). The fact that this was actually named for an old Hitchcock movie be damned, it’s Friday Friday! Also, because it’s a Black IPA, it’s dark and bitter, like your soul. Unless you had a date for Valentines. In which case it’s complexity is like you, you poetic masterpiece.
Hey, did you read my post yesterday, about the explosion of new brewers out there? Well, Arch is in that cohort, but is definitely one doing things well. Partnered with Paul Dickey, and making their beer on contract at Welly, they are taking the act of making great beer seriously.
Okay, I’m the first to admit it: today’s match-up is a totally uneven bout. Indie Alehouse’s awesome Instigator IPA is a rock-solid American-style IPA, and a constant crowd-pleaser at the brewpub. Etobichoker is a new Tank Ten brew from Great Lakes, and is a Belgian double-IPA. While they both share three initials, that’s probably where the similarities end. And I’m okay with that. There’s no prize aside from bragging rights, and everybody will still be pals at the end of the day. So what the heck, here’s a fight between a storm-trooper and a rider of Rohan!
So here starts the head-to-head battles between beers. Before I address the two contenders, let me make something clear: The four breweries involved are absolutely top brewers in Toronto. None of these matches are likely to be landslide victories. In fact, I expect to have trouble picking winners. Mike and the folks at Great Lakes just won Best Brewery in Canada at the Canadian Brewing Awards. Iain and his team at Amsterdam (at both breweries) are turning out some amazingly innovative beers, especially around their barrel program. Mike, Luke and the crew at Bellwoods are also innovating and playing with barrels, wild yeasts, aging on fruits and more. When I needed some brettanomyces yeast, it was Luke who was like…. [Read More]
I love hops, and I hope you do too. In fact, I have three hop plants on order from Toronto Brewing as we speak. I also have a hop vine at my mother’s house. So, you would assume that I was a pretty big hop head. Give me the biggest, brashest, hoppiest thing you can find. No malts, they’re for the weak. Etc. But I’m not. Actually, I value balance and subtlety a lot more, as I spend more and more time drinking excellent beers. Anybody can make a basic beer and chuck a crate of hops in it, but crafting a balanced beer, even if it is hop-forward, is no small feat. Because of this, I tend to prefer…. [Read More]
Wow. Just Wow. How about Left Field Brewery? I don’t know if you remember when, a few weeks ago (March 4th, to be specific) I mentioned Left Field Brewery launching. I remember, because it was the single biggest day of traffic on my blog. Seriously. People were jazzed about the new baseball-themed beer. Obviously, I have something of an interest here. Mark and Mandy Murphy, the duo behind Left Field, are friends of mine, and Mark and I do our monthly home brew webcast, Brewmance. But my own interests didn’t prepare me for the onslaught of love and attention they were about to receive. Between savvy branding and excellent products, Mark and Mandy have seen their beers launch, been featured…. [Read More]
Did you ever read The Chrysalids in school? Remember Sealand, the awesome country where telepaths were normal and encouraged? Sealand was New Zealand. It survived the nuclear holocaust, basically because it’s such an awesome place. Even Wyndham knew that it was that awesome. Think about it: It’s Middle Earth; they have the All Blacks; Marlborough makes some of the nicest wines in the New World; they were the first country to elect a female Prime Minister; they have some of the most progressive conservation programs for their endangered wildlife; and of course, there’s Flight of the Conchords. Not only are they growing incredible grapes for wine, but New Zealand has become something of a rock star in the hop production…. [Read More]
I love a good fireworks display. When I was younger, it was all about lighting off the kind you buy at pop-up shops on the way to the cottage, firing them off over the lake on Victoria Day, Canada Day, and midnight on New Year’s. As I’m getting older, I prefer just wandering down my street to the beach to take in the display from Ashbridges Bay (a much safer option. When I was about 21, I had a fairly large commerical firework jam and explode about 18″ from my head, as I was lighting another one; not cool). I also have some pretty serious concerns about airborne heavy metals after displays (Google it, it’s disturbing), and while I don’t…. [Read More]
And BC beer week just keeps on going. Back to a Tree product (not the last), their highly regarded Hop Head Black IPA. This stuff sold like crazy in Kelowna where it’s made, and was talked about all over BarTowel.com among other places. Black IPA – or Cascadian Dark Ale – is a fairly newly recognized style. In fact, there is no shortage of people who still won’t recognize it. I tend to defer to others on what actually constitutes a “style”, but I would agree that this type of beer needs to be classed as “something”, even if it’s simply a sub-class of another style (IPA, for instance). If you’ve never had one and you like Russian Imperial Stouts…. [Read More]