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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06 Aug

Big Rock IPA Beer Review

Big Rock IPA

Big Rock IPAAlways ready to give a new IPA a chance, this long weekend we decided to pick up a 24 of this brew rather than one of our standards options.

I didn’t have the highest expectations but I have developed a certain standard for IPAs that over the recent months. Unfortunately, this one did not quite meet them.

Brewed with two kinds of Yakima Valley Cascade hops, one would anticipate a certain level of hoppiness to come out in the flavour but that would be a mistake. In aiming to provide “the maximum heavenly hoppiness” without too much bitterness, they have simply created a sub-par IPA without any of the significant qualities one would normally find in a quality IPA.

They did, however, have this interesting tidbit of information on their website:

The Cascade was the first North American-made aroma hop and the first hop variety from the USDA’s hop research program to be approved for sale since prohibition. It’s aroma is now one of the hallmarks of North American craft beer.

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03 Aug

Detour Beer Review

Muskoka Brewing - Detour

Muskoka Brewing - Detour As a major IPA enthusiast, summer can be a dangerous time of year. Long, hot days on the patio are perfect for drinking a beer, or two or three, but with traditional IPAs that can sometimes be more alcohol than I want for a lazy Saturday afternoon. Enter the session IPA: Light in body, low in alcohol, and full on flavour this is the perfect style of beer for a hophead like me when I want to enjoy a few brews without being useless and tired by early evening.

Last Wednesday I regaled you with my favourite of the style but its far from the only available example. In fact, Muskoka has done a pretty nice job with their own session IPA, Detour. From their website:

Life’s more interesting when you take the less paddled fork in the river. That’s how we developed Muskoka Detour. We took a left turn from a normal IPA, dry-hopping it to create a truly sessionable brew with a rewarding aroma, big hop flavours and clean finish. The result is a perfect way to quench your thirst for the unexpected.

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30 Jul

Weakday Warrior Beer Review

Indie Ale House I am usually not much of one for low alcohol beers – in fact, I usually feel like they are somehow a rip-off, as if I am not getting the full bang for my buck if it is any less than 5%. How glad am I that I allowed that concept to be challenged!

I first tried Weakday Warrior by happen-stance and immediately fell in love. I have been back to Indie on multiple occasions simply to drink this beer – not to say that I don’t enjoy others or the typically fantastic food – but this beer has been my main draw to the establishment since it’s arrival. Pungent, tropical, and hoppy this Warrior is ready to battle the summer heat!

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12 Jul

Craft Beer Passport: Kensington Market

craft beer passport_5 Having so thoroughly enjoyed my first three stops on the Craft Beer Passport, I was really looking forward to crossing another couple of bars off of my list Tuesday night. We had made plans with my dad after buying him a passport of his own for Father’s Day and we were finally getting out to make good on our promise to visit some of the establishments together.

But on Tuesday morning I was worried: the weather network was promising rain all day and all evening with high risk of thunderstorms and powerful winds. As the rain poured down hard enough that I could barely see out the window, our plan of knocking off two bars with a stop for dinner in between seemed ill-suited to the day.

By late afternoon, however, the powers that be had decided to smile on our plan and the weather turned to our favour as the skies cleared for a lovely sunny couple of hours before dinner. Relieved, I set out to meet the others at our first stop: Thirsty & Miserable. The rain did make another short appearance as we strolled over to Margarita’s for dinner but it was a lovely summer evening and we didn’t mind it all that much. I, for one, was quite mollified by the unexpected treat of finding one of my favourite beers at our first stop.

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10 Jul

Craft Beer Passport: The Bar With No Name

craft beer passport_3rdWith the cast off and summer in Toronto heating up quickly, I have been picking up steam on my passport. Last Monday, taking advantage of the holiday to have an extra long weekend, we decided it was long past time to check out the nearby, geek-friendly Bar With No Name that we had walked past many times but never entered.  

Greeted with a unique atmosphere and friendly staff, we were happy to see the beer selection was not only quite good but also incredibly affordable: Mondays at the Bar With No Name means $10 pitchers of anything on tap! And with their selection, that is a pretty impressive deal. 

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25 Jun

The Princess Wears Girlpants Beer Review

SawdustCity-ThePrincessWearsGirlpantsOne of the newest creations from the ever-brilliant Sawdust City Brewing, the Princess Wears Girlpants is an easy-drinking, dry-hopped Belgian ale featuring the juiciest varieties of New Zealand hops including Motueka, Galaxy, Summit, and Nelson Sauvin. It is made with Belgian yeast for that familiar scent and flavour and uses both 2-Row Malts and Wheat Malts.

This is one brew that I may have to try to hunt down for a second try before I decide how much I really like it. The bottle I tried was the most apple-y beer I have ever had at first sip and I am unconvinced that it was supposed to taste quite that much like a Granny Smith Apple. With that said, the flavour softened the more I drank and I could see it being used for some novel – and potentially kickass – beer cocktails.

Have you tried the Princess Wears Girlpants? What did you think, did it taste just like an apple or should I give it another shot?

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21 Jun

Craft Beer Passport: Second Stop

second stop-3030Having gotten started on my beer tour of the city last week, I was determined to keep going cast or no. Luckily we live very close to 3030 so my (amazing) husband was able to drive me there and then drop the car back at home.

As only my second trip to this bourbon and craft beer bar in the Junction, I was impressed once again not only by the beer selection but also by the delicious small share plates, most of which are only $5. Among my favourites: Blue cheese mac n’cheese & popcorn chicken. (The doubles also look fantastic for the vegetarians/vegans out there!)

To read about the delicious beer I tried on this stop, keep reading!

Have you tried any interesting brews yet on your craft beer passport? Tell me all about them in the comments – I’d love to add some interesting new beers to my wishlist!  

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11 Apr

St-Ambroise IPA Beer Review

McAuslan has created a truly tasty English style Indian Pale Ale with their release of the St-Ambroise IPA. Made with Chinook, Golding, and Cascade hops, this New World take on the classic IPA style of 19th century England, this brew has a lovely hop bitterness and malt smoothness. This is an excellent, hoppy but sessionable drink which is great for summer drinking.

St-AmrboiseIPA

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