What: Bevy 0008
Where: Food & Liquor
When: Friday, August 29, 2014
On the last Friday of every month the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies hosts a Bevy. These women-only beer tasting events are located at a new venue each time and always feature exciting craft beer from Ontario breweries as well as delicious food from local food trucks. Bevies have become a regular part of my schedule and I always look forward to them as the month comes to a close.
This month, however, I had a plan to get fit. As my husband had taken a couple of extra days off for the long weekend, we decided to bike down to the ferry and spend a few hours biking around Ward Island before returning home. We both recently bought new bikes and were eager to get plenty of use out of them before it gets too cold. I was a little apprehensive about the length of the bike ride to and from the ferry – a nice but long trek down through High Park to a bike path along the Lakeshore that totalled about 10-km each way – as I have not done more than about an hour’s worth of biking at any one time so far this summer.
The bike ride down was rather easier than expected, my new bike being vastly superior to the extremely cheap one we bought a couple of years ago for me to learn on. The almost-too-large 29″ wheels mean I could coast for a good long while on flat terrain, an extremely helpful feature on the long ride home. Unfortunately it timed out so we just missed the ferry we wanted over to Ward’s Island – the Centre Island ferry was packed full of families, strollers, and tourists – but we didn’t have too long of a wait and by the time we got to the island the grey sky had blossomed into a beautifully sunny day. After lunch at the surprisingly charming Island Cafe, we found a nice place to read for awhile before catching the ferry home. The return bike ride was rather more of a challenge but I did, eventually, make it home in time to get ready for my night out which was mercifully close by compared to some previous events. I was tired but determined to enjoy some good beer and company before it caught up with me.
Heading down with my usual Bevy buddy, my like-minded neighbour who introduced me to the group back in February, we arrived shortly after the event had started and the place was already surprisingly busy. A bit narrow and cramped, the venue at least had a cute back patio that allowed some ladies to get a breathe of fresh air and kept the place from growing too warm. We got our Rewards Cards stamped, snagged our free drink tickets, and entered the raffle for a homebrewing kit. The raffle is a recent addition to these events and a nice touch as I, among others I am sure, would dearly love to try my hand at brewing so, despite not winning, thanks to Toronto Brewing for donating the kit!
Once we had entered, we set about the very serious task of acquiring ourselves some beer.
The Venue: Food & Liquor
Location: 1610 Queen Street W, Toronto
While charming, Food & Liquor is not a large space. The main front space was not too crowded but getting to the taps at the back of the space was a bit of a challenge at some points of the night and the line up for food (dumplings which smelled AMAZING but I was simply too tired too eat) often filled a good amount of the narrow passageway. My exhausted legs were thankful for the decent amount of seating that lined the main bar area, allowing me to actually spend most of the night sitting.
This month’s Bevy featured an eclectic selection of light and dark beers from some great Ontario breweries including:
- Junction Craft Brewery;
- Side Launch Brewing Co;
- Royal City Brewing Co;
- Brasserie St.Ambroise;
- Granite Brewery; and
- Northwinds Brewhouse & Eatery!
Brewery: Junction Craft Brewing
Style: Black Lager
ABV: 5.5% IBU: 55
A deep black colour with a thick off-white to tan head, this black lager features a roasted malt nose with some hints of chocolate and herbal hops. A clean malt character and nice level of lingering bitterness warm nicely with notes of coffee, vanilla, more chocolate, and nuts. Medium bodied, it has a very strong but smooth presence that captures your attention and goes down easily.
Brewery: Granite Brewery
Style: English Pale Ale
ABV: 5% IBU: N/A
Despite my long familiarity with Granite Brewery, this is one of their delicious creations that I had not yet tried and I was intrigued by the unique name. A floral hop and crisp citrus aroma prefaces a lemon-lime flavour with slight bitterness and a light to medium, easy-drinking body. Accessible without being boring, it would be a nice pale ale to introduce a sceptic to the world of craft beer without scaring them off.
Darkside Black IPA
Brewery: Granite Brewery
Style: Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
ABV: 6.75% IBU: unknown
A big fan of both black IPAs and Granite Brewery, I was almost ready to call it a night but this brew called to me from across the party and I was not disappointed to have stayed and tried it. Near black in colour, this beer had limited head – as I am accustomed to with Granite brews – and a lovely aroma full of roasted malts and a nice hint of hops. The flavour of coffee and hops is rich and warm with notes of citrus and chocolate. One of my favourite styles of beer, Darkside is a nice example of a well-balanced black IPA.
The Reward Card
A nice feature of these Bevies is the Rewards Card which allows frequent attendees to collect stamps and, as first envisioned, unlock access to special smaller events. The logistics of such a reward proved rather complicated once one considered trying to schedule an event that everyone who had earned access could attend, however, and the Rewards Card was re-imagined. Instead of a special event, those of us who had attended at least 6 events who treated with our very own Craft Beer Passport. A great idea, the Passport is intended to encourage craft beer drinkers to try bars all over the city for a very reasonable cost-per-beer. Despite not having finished my first passport yet, I was excited at the prospect of having an excuse to re-visit some of the places I have been to. And I see no reason why I can’t bring a non-passport holding friends along with me to a few of the other stops in order to make use of my extra one. Great reward, ladies, I am looking forward to seeing what my twelfth Bevy will bring!
If you’de like to read about last month’s event, click here.