Monday, July 20, 2009

Crafty Brews from Ontario

A while back, after seeing a pre-release screening of (500) Days of Summer {walk, don't run}, I felt the need for a beer or 6. In the local LCBO, I spied the Ontario Discovery Pack v2 by the Ontario Craft Brewers. I've been meaning to try more local brews, which I've really haven't done since I've lived in the Pacific Northwest {Eugene, OR}. The six selections are {L to R}:: Confederation Ale—The Robert Simpson Brewing Company, Nut Brown Ale—Black Oak Brewing Company, Elora Irish Ale—Trafalgar Ales and Meads, Tankhouse Ale—Mill Street Brewery, Auburn Ale—Cameron's Brewing Company, and Nickel Brook Apple Pilsner—Better Bitters Brewing Company.

On the box were tasting notes, which also listed the type of beer {all ales and 1 pilsner} and alcohol content. When I was a "homebrewer" back when I was a "gradual student," I developed a taste for stouts, which would make me rather stout if I quaffed now what I did then. A friend of mine {David Rankin} and I would brew 5 gallon batches of stout that eventually was good enough to make us turn up our noses at Guinness. The best part was having brewing parties, where we would show people the process and somehow drinking too much ouzo became part of the ritual. I think we were mesmerized by the louche effect created when we put the liqueur on the rocks. I also became quite good at creating a half-and-half, with our stout layered over a Smithwick's or a Harp. I later learned that you can also do this with certain hard ciders and have been known to do this on my own here, one of my favourite places in California.

I'm looking forward to my Discovery Pack. The last time I went out of my way to sample local beers was in 2006. After the Sociology meetings in Montréal, I sought out local Québec microbrews, lugging quite a few down to appreciative beer drinkers in NYC. While having flavours that took some getting used to, my favourite was Boréale's blanche. {I'll have to pick up some Boréale products when I'm in Montréal next month, as they're not stocked by the LCBO or The Beer Store.} I wish there was more geographic representation of the breweries within the province {all are in the Golden Horseshoe}, but I'm sure the Ontario Craftbrewers had to make tough choices, given the sales requirements to be carried by the LCBO, which is the topic for another blog. I'm just hoping it helps me to break out of my rut. I've been reluctant to get too adventurous with the long list on the wall at The Beer Store, with the default being Upper Canada.

I'll post on any standouts.

Twitterversion:: New version of #Ontario Craftbewers Discovery Pack is out at the #LCBO. All ales and 1 lager. #beer #Rhizomicomm #Canada @Prof_K

Song:: She's Crafty - The Beastie Boys

Video:: Beer Store in Strange Brew

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