28 Sep

Aleister IPA Beer Review

Aleister-Haymarket_Pub_and_Brewery

Aleister-Haymarket_Pub_and_Brewery Having long planned to go on a road trip down to Chicago and the the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul to visit friends and stuff our faces with good food and even better beer, Mike and I finally made the drive earlier this month. When I say “we” made the drive I of course mean that my husband did the driving and I navigated, provided drinks and snacks, and changed music as necessary. I do not in fact drive (yet) so there were some very long days of driving for Mike. I will have to do something about that soon as I did enjoy the road trip aspect of the vacation on its own merits.

We only had a week so we budgeted our time carefully, planning to spend the majority of the days visiting some very good friends. Chicago had to be enjoyed as thoroughly as possible in about 40 hours. With some input from Twitter friends who invited us out to dinner at a lovely Italian place the first night we chose a couple of attractions we had to see. This of course included a local brewpub. We spent the morning at Shedd Aquarium taking tons of photos of interesting fish and petting stingrays before moving on to a greatly anticipated lunch at Haymarket Pub & Brewery.

We arrived at the brewpub and took only a few minutes to peruse the menu before we decided there was only one solution to our serious beer-choosing dilemma: we’d have to try them all. Starting at the top of the menu, we ordered one 4 oz sample of each beer and shared them slowly as we ate our lunch.

My favourite brew by a decent margin was their Aleister Double American IPA which I ordered a full pint of once we had finished our samples. Read more about it below.

Brewed and dry-hopped with 3 pounds per barrel of Amarillo!!! Dry in the beginning, with a nice malt middle and a huge hop finish, this big I.P.A. brings notes of bright fruit and citrus. Miiiiiiiiister Crowley!!! What went wrong in your head? Oh, Mr. Crowley, did you talk with the dead???

— menu description at Haymarket

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20 Sep

Houblon Chouffe Beer Review

Houblon ChouffeAs the weather turned and fall pounced upon the city of Toronto, naturally our thoughts turned from light summery session IPAs and refreshing saisons to stronger brews that will keep us warm in these suddenly cold nights. It was also a rather special occasion as my husband celebrated his 30th birthday Monday. A fitting present for a beer enthusiast on an important birthday, this beer arrived courtesy of our previously referred to like-minded neighbours. Lucky for me Mike is good at sharing.

A wholly unique and delicious beer, this IPA tripel is not only powerfully alcoholic but also quite delectable. From the brewery’s website:

HOUBLON CHOUFFE was brewed for the first time in 2006. It is an Indian Pale Ale, characterised by a harmonious balance between a pleasant fruitiness and pronounced bitterness by using three types of hops. HOUBLON CHOUFFE is an unfiltered beer which is refermented both in the bottle and in barrels.

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13 Sep

19 Original Colonies Mead Review

Rogue Farms-19 Original Colonies Mead An interesting alternative to the bitter and funky beers of this past summer – a season dominated by session IPAs and saisons – this unexpected brew is surprisingly drinkable and refreshing for a mead.

Made of only 5 ingredients – Rogue Hopyard Honey, Wild Flower Honey, Jasmin Silver Tip Green Tea Leaves, Champagne Yeast, and Free Range Coastal Water – this beer features 100% Rogue-grown honey from their very own 19 bee colonies. The bees live right next to 40 acres of Rogue hops, giving the beer a hint of hoppy flavours winking through the intense honey.

Rogue is one of my favourite out-of-province breweries and they are well-known for coming up with fascinating concoctions that combine a variety of unique flavours. Not long ago I insisted on buying a bright pink bottle of their  Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Ale only to end up drinking the entire thing myself when my husband refused. It was odd but interesting and I have since been on the lookout for their more unique creations. 19 Original Colonies Mead fit that bill perfectly and I found it almost as interesting as the Voodoo Dooughnut. I did share this one with my husband, thankfully, as I am not quite sure I would have been as enthusiastic about it by the end of an entire bottle to myself.

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07 Sep

Craft Beer Passport: Danforth

Canuck Pale Ale in a magnificent chalice at Sauce

Canuck Pale Ale in a magnificent chalice at Sauce

After several weekends of intending to head over to the Danforth to visit The Wren and neighbouring Sauce, we finally made plans with our Twitter buddy and fellow beer blogger, Eric of Doodle Brews, and headed out for some lunch and a nice afternoon drink, or five.

The food was great and the beer selection varied and delicious but the highlight of the day for me was the fantastic décor and atmosphere at Sauce. Inviting, warm, and funky it was full of visual appeal and eye candy from the bejewelled lampshades to the bright red and orange glassware, the space was full of rich colours and a mixture of textures.

The Wren had a cozy rusticness that I also quite liked and I do not mean to overshadow its charm but Sauce had a wholly unique character that very much appealed to me and I am sure I will find myself back there soon after completing the rest of my passport.

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