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Ryan's Liquor in Port Huron, MI!

For Ontarian's wanting American craft beer at great prices, Ryan's is the place to go. Located just across the border at 1837 Pine Grove, Port Huron, MI.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Spearhead Brewing Company Pours Its First Pint

Toronto, ON

Something new is brewing in Toronto: Beer Without Boundaries™. Unique, all-natural, unfiltered beer brought to you by Spearhead Brewing Company. On June 17, 2011, this local, family-run, craft brewery begins pouring its first pints at more than 30 establishments in Toronto, Guelph, London and Muskoka.

Spearhead Brewing Company was founded by Dimitri van Kampen, a Toronto-born beer geek and foodie who wanted to create bold, distinctive beer that would get people thinking differently about the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. Like fine wine, great beer should be savoured, not sucked back in the bottle. Great beer can complement and contrast the finest foods and turn an ordinary meal into a feast. “At Spearhead,” said van Kampen, “we want to create exciting beer that challenges traditional style categories and people’s perceptions of beer.”

A lawyer by trade, van Kampen’s true passion is craft beer and, in particular, the extreme brewing movement that has taken the United States by storm over the last decade. A few years ago, he discovered home brewing and started dreaming up beer recipes using non-traditional ingredients like fruit and spices to create beer with complex, unanticipated flavours. “When making our beer,” said van Kampen, “we don’t want to fit in. We want to stand out. We don’t want to conform to expectations. We will always test our imagination and the imagination of our customers.”

Also, unlike some breweries that filter their beer and carbonate it using CO2, Spearhead Brewing Company brews “real beer” meaning that it is unfiltered, non-pasteurized and naturally carbonated so that all of the beer’s flavour remains where it’s supposed to be—in your glass.

To make his dream a reality, van Kampen enlisted Tom Schmidt, a brewmaster with over 30 years’ experience. “For our first beer,” said van Kampen, “I wanted to come out with an aromatic, hoppy West Coast pale ale and brew it Hawaiian style—with pineapple. After numerous test batches, Tom perfected our Hawaiian Style Pale Ale. It’s just the way I imagined: bold, hoppy and refreshing, with notes of citrus and zest. It’s like aloha in a bottle.”

On Thursday, June 16 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to join van Kampen and the rest of the Spearhead team for the first taste of Hawaiian Style Pale Ale at Bar Volo (587 Yonge Street), one of Toronto’s premier beer establishments. (Media-only invite to the launch, June 16 from 5 to 7 p.m., is attached.)

Spearhead joins the ranks of Ontario craft breweries that are spiking sales with their delicious hand-crafted beer. According to the LCBO, Ontario craft beer is the fastest growing beer segment with a 46 per cent increase last year compared to overall beer sales that rose only 4 per cent.

Ask for a Spearhead at your local. As of June 17th, we’re in more than 30 fine establishments including Allen’s, Betty’s, C’est What?, Bar Volo, The Rhino, Cloak and Dagger, La Palette, The Victory Café, Castro’s Lounge, The Burger Bar & Tequila Tavern, Smokeless Joe’s, Bryden’s, The Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub, The Rebel House, Gambrinus Bistro & Café in London, The Griffin Gastropub in Bracebridge, The Local in Barrie and North Restaurant in Gravenhurst.

Countdown To Ontario Craft Beer Week

June 19 - 25, 2011

One Unique Week of Tastings, Pub Crawls, Brewer Sightings,

Beer with BBQ, Cheese, Chocolate & Cocktails,

Music, Art & Good Local Fun

~ ~


Plans are underway for the second annual Ontario Craft Beer Week’ hosted by Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) from June 19 – 25, 2011. Ontario Breweries, pubs, restaurants and venues are busily creating unique events that will showcase and celebrate the great flavours and popular culture of Ontario Craft Beer. New beer-themed occasions are being added to the website regularly.

“Craft beer weeks have become a hugely popular part of the local beer movement in North America,” says Steve Beauschesne, of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. and co-chair of Ontario Craft Beer Week. “Here in Ontario, we’re creating a world-class beer experience in our own backyard through grassroots events and tasting opportunities. It’ll be a great way for Ontarians and tourists to discover fresh, local beer, experience beer and food matching and support local businesses.”

Here’s a sampling of event highlights and Ontario Craft Beer Week themes:

Go Ahead and Make Dad’s Day: Celebrate Father’s Day by taking Dad for a tour and tasting at one of Ontario’s local craft breweries:

· Cameron’s Brewing Co. hosts its annual Father’s Day BBQ at the brewery – beer, food & free tours.

· Grand River Brewery tours and samples by the glass for a loonie.

· Granite Brewery in Toronto will give Dad a pint in a special free Granite Father’s Day glass.

· Bring Dad down to Great Lakes Brewery between 2-4 p.m. for beer and BBQ treats.

· Mill Street Brewery has three Father’ Day events planned at The Local in Barrie, The Griffin Pub in Bracebridge and the Cherry street Diner in Toronto.

· Muskoka Cottage Brewery Steamship Cruise: A four hour tour of Muskoka lakes with good craft beer, delicious food and entertainment.

· Neustadt Springs Brewery is hosting an Open House on Father’s Day in Neustadt, ON.

· Old Credit Brewing Co. in Port Credit throws its annual Father’s Day tour and tasting with a take home gift of glassware.

· Railway City Brewing is hosting “Bring Dad to the Brewery” in St. Thomas, ON.

· Wellington Brewery Father’s Day Open House (12-4 p.m.) with tours and samplings at the brewery in Guelph (including Welly One-Off limited edition cask beer). $5 per person.

Father’s Day Pub Crawl:

· On June 19, the Second annual Cass & Troy's (Epic) Pub Crawl is an "Outside In" affair. Toronto Beer Week organizers Cass Enright ( and TAPS The Beer Magazine/beer blogger extraordinaire Troy Burtch will each lead a group of revellers from opposite ends of the city and meet in the middle for an epic craft beer tasting blow out.

BBQ and Beyond! Chefs across Ontario will add craft beer to their menus and smokin’ hot bbq recipes with plenty of perfect beer matches.

· Hwy 61 in Toronto is planning something spectacular as always with local beer & BBQ specialties.

· Great Lakes IPA Triple Tap Takeover at the Rhino: a week-long rotation of single, double and triple, black and belgian IPA's.

· Grilling with Great Lakes at The Only Café (June 22).

· Beach BBQ & Brews Festival at Toronto’s Woodbine Park (June 17-19) will feature several craft brews, tasty food and a cool lakeside location.

· Blue’s Brews & BBQ in St. Thomas (June 18-19) at the Historic Caso Station features live music, great bbq&beer.

· Ontario’s craft beer-friendly bars will be sure to celebrate OCB Week each in their own dedicated way:

o Hamilton: The Winking Judge

o Ilderton: The King Edward Restaurant & Pub

o Kingsville: Jack’s Gastropub

o London: The Morrissey House

o Ottawa: Arrow & Loon, Elmdale House Tavern

o Toronto: Beer Bistro, Burger Bar (Kensington Market’s new brewpub), Cloak & Dagger, DeSotos, The Dominion on Queen, The Feathers Pub, Grapefruit Moon, The Miller Tavern, The Rebel House, The Rhino, Victory Café, Café Volo

Craft Beer & Cheese: Ooooh la la….A heavenly match.

· Guelph: The Cornerstone (June 21): a guided tasting of artisan cheeses paired with local craft beer, courtesy of Ouderkirk & Taylor and Wellington Brewery.

· Kingston: Olivea (June 23): Five fabulous artisan cheeses from Fifth Town Artisan paired with five organic brews from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company.

· Let’s see if Mill Street’s Sam Corbeil does a beer & cheese thang with Leslieville Cheese Co. (tbc)

· Mirella Amato of Beerology/Barley’s Angels will lead beer & cheese pairings at Session 99 (Toronto craft beer festival ).

Indie Beer meets indie culture: The first ever Battle of the Brewery Bands will unmask the musical brilliance of some of Ontario’s finest brewery folks.

· Musicians from Beau’s, Great Lakes, Mill Street and Wellington (and more) will perform at a hip downtown Toronto venue (full line-up TBC).

· Art of Beer (TBC): A radical, beer-themed art show is in the works for Toronto beer and art fans. More to come.

· Session 99 (June 25): Jason Collett (Broken Social Scene), New Country Rehab, NQ Arbuckle & The Blue Mushroom Circus Sideshow

Women, Beer & Chocolate:

· Beer & chocolate pairings (TBC - June 23): premium chocolate matched with premium beer – sinfully delicious.

· Special guided tours at Session 99 (June 25): Mirella Amato of Beerology will provide guided tastings and beer & cheese pairings. Learn how to taste and experience craft beer from an expert.

· Speed Dating/Beer Tasting? Sounds like a perfect couple! Stay tuned, more details to come.

· Toronto Beer Lovers Meet Up Group. They’ve already held events at Black Oak Brewery and Great Lakes; new details should emerge about their OCB Week plans.

Cask Conditioned Ale & Off-Off Brews:

· The Third Annual Cask Ale Crawl hosted by CASK Toronto is scheduled for the weekend of June 17-19. Order cask beer from any of the more than 10 participating pubs in Toronto, and get your passport stamped to win amazing prizes.

· Toronto craft beer mecca C’est What hosts its annual Spring Festival of Craft Breweries (June 21-25) bestowing pub goers with eighty brews over five days with a dozen new drafts and three new casks each night. Samples cost a loonie.

· Beerstock II (June 23) will rock Mississauga as West 50 Pourhouse and Grille hosts a beer festival featuring over 50 brands from Ontario Craft Brewers.

· Guelph Ale Trail Beer Dinner at the Woolwich Arrow Pub (June 19)

· One Off Beer Dinner at The Harbord House with Great Lakes Brewery (June 20)

Meet the Makers: Renowned Ontario brewmasters will be out in full force during the week, hosting tasting events and attending local celebrations.

· SESSION 99 (June 25), a craft beer festival will feature 35+ craft breweries from North America in downtown T.O. Kicks off with a toast to us from Brooklyn Brewery’srenowned brewmaster Garrett Oliver.

· The Brewer’s Plate people have planned a VIP Masterclass tasting event hosted by Beau’s. Deets to follow.

· Grand River Brewing/GRB Beer Club session (June 22); a special gathering to celebrate the brewery’s fourth anniversary with meads, ciders and fruit beers.

· King Brewery Tap Takeover (June 24) at The Only Cafe.

· Stand by for full details on OCB Week event plans from OCB members: Barley Days (Picton), County Durham Brewing Co. (Pickering), Flying Monkeys Brewery(Barrie), Hogsback Brewing Co. (Ottawa), Kichesippi Beer Co. (Ottawa), Lake of Bays Brewing Co. (Baysville), Maclean’s Ales (Battleaxe Brewery, West Grey),Niagara’s Best Beer (Niagara Falls), Niagara College Teaching Brewery (Niagara-on-the-Lake), Nickel Brook Beers (Burlington), Skeena Brewing Co. (Perth), Stratford Brewing Co., Trafalgar Brewing Co. (Oakville).

Brewery Collaborations: Ontario Craft Breweries are working (and playing) together to advance their industry by collaborating on beer events, casks, mixed OCB Discovery Packs, etc.

· Beau’s Pan-Ontario Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer: Blended beers from OCB breweries will age in bourbon barrels and be released at various OCB Week events.

· Brewing under the Stars (June 20): The new patio at Toronto’s Stout Irish Pub will double as an outdoor mini-brewery as brewers from Great Lakes, Camerons, F&M and Biergotter actively brew a collaboration beer under the stars. A previously brewed collaborative one-off will be poured.

· Etobicoke’s Finest: The brewing masterminds at Black Oak Brewery and Great Lakes Brewery have already brewed up a special batch of beer that’s aging in all its west end glory and will be featured at Bryden’s Best of the West; a week long fest where a majority of taps will be dedicated to west end brews.

· Guelph’s Greatest: Welly and F&M Brewery are working on a collaborative beer to rock the socks off the good citizens of Guelph.

“Ontario has definitely become a major craft beer centre,” says Jason Ellsmere of Cameron’s Brewing Co. and Ontario Craft Beer Week co-chair. “Increasing sales and consumer demand for local, premium products is proof that Ontario Craft Beer is a leading force in the Canadian beer market. We’ll be brewing up a huge batch of fun for Ontario beer lovers and foodies.

Interested parties with Ontario Craft Beer Week ideas should contact their local brewery or send an email to New details, when they are available, will be posted on the OCB’s new website for Craft Beer Week,

Ontario Craft Brewers: Discover the Difference.

The Ontario Craft Brewers is an association of more than 25 small brewers dedicated to making great tasting, high quality beer in Ontario. The 25 members of the Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally using fresh, all natural ingredients in communities throughout Ontario – from the Ottawa Valley to Waterloo and Niagara to Muskoka. Handcrafting over 150 premium beers, Ontario Craft Brewers employ about 600 people in Ontario, accounting for over 20 per cent of the overall brewing employment in the province. Ontario’s Craft Brewers’ share has more than doubled since 2002, going from slightly less than two per cent to approximately five per cent of the beer volume sold in Ontario and continues to be the fastest growing segment within the LCBO’s beer category. The OCB’s long term vision is to make Ontario a North American Centre of Excellence for Craft Brewing. Please discover responsibly.

Molson Coors Looking for a Piece of the Craft Beer Market

Toronto, ON

Molson Coors Canada announced today the creation of a new stand-alone division, the Six Pints Specialty Beer Company. Craft and specialty beer represent the fastest growing segment of the Canadian beer industry. To better participate in this segment, Molson Coors Canada acquired the Creemore Springs Brewing Company in 2005. Creemore then acquired the Granville Island Brewing Company in 2009. The establishment of the Six Pints Speciality Beer Company signals a further step in Molson Coors Canada's ongoing commitment to participating in this growing segment. The new division will be led by industry veteran Ian Freedman, who has been with Molson in a variety of senior positions since 2002.

"The skills and the business model required to be successful in seeding, nurturing and growing specialty beer brands is very different from those required to build powerhouse brands like Coors Light and Molson Canadian," said new Six Pints President, Ian Freedman. "And Six Pints will provide these additional capabilities, along with assets and people dedicated to serving the unique needs of consumers and customers in the specialty and craft category."

Six Pints' core business will focus on providing a menu of tailored beer and business solutions to customers, including category engagement through education, training, industry and consumer insights, product knowledge and quality standards. It will offer a compelling portfolio of craft and import beers, built on the foundation of two historic craft brands, Creemore Springs and Granville Island. Eventually, Six Pints will represent a wider selection of specialty beers from Canada and abroad that maintain the high standards of distinction set by Creemore and Granville.

"We are on the verge of a beer renaissance in Canada. Beer lovers across the country are taking their drinking occasions into exciting, new territory with specialty and craft beers," said Freedman. "Six Pints Specialty Beer Company is here to champion this renaissance with a single-minded mission: To create beer enthusiasts -and encourage people to be passionate about beer through the efforts of our brands."

The brands in the Six Pints portfolio, and the company itself, will operate separately from Molson Coors and develop their own unique strategies around price, product, distribution and promotion.

The company's initial priorities are to build a dynamic internal beer culture based on authentic beer reverence. Once the core team is in place, the company will turn its attention to developing strong national sales capabilities, in order to help expand Creemore and Granville geographically into new markets across Canada.

"Specialty and craft brewers are adding to the category in profound ways and opening up a world of opportunities to turn consumers into beer advocates," said Freedman. "The Six Pints Specialty Beer Company will help lead that wave of change, celebrating distinctive beer experiences and old world craft."


"Six Pints" is a tip-of-the-hat to a lesser-known bit of Canadian trivia. In the late 1700's, British soldiers stationed in what would eventually become Canada were entitled to six pints of beer per day as part of their compensation. Beer has been part of our constitution since before this country had one. Not surprisingly, it was eventually decided that paying soldiers with beer might not be the best idea. But to this day, we're a nation that has never stopped loving our beer.

For more information about the Six Pints portfolio, please visit and

Monday, May 30, 2011

Study shows 1 in 4 minors leave LCBO stores with booze; 1 in 5 from The Beer Store; Convenience stores best at testing for age

Toronto, ON

An independent study of LCBO, The Beer Store and convenience stores has shown that the LCBO fares poorly when it comes to checking minors for age. The study, conducted by
independent research firm Statopex Field Marketing on behalf of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, used two groups of secret shoppers, minors aged 15‐18 and young adults aged 19‐24, to randomly test retailers on how well they check for age.

“Using professionally trained secret shopping candidates, we investigated how well each of the LCBO, The Beer Store and chain convenience stores checked for age in locations all around Ontario,” said Jeff Wright, Executive Vice President, Statopex Field Marketing. “Based on a trusted and proven secret shopping methodology, this study revealed that convenience stores test best when checking for age, followed by The Beer Store and LCBO.”

When tested with underage secret shoppers (age 15‐18), convenience stores scored the highest with an 87.3% pass rate, The Beer Store next with 80.7% and LCBO last with 74.6% – meaning 1 in 4 minors successfully purchased age‐restricted products from LCBO, and 1 in 5 from The Beer Store – compared to 1 in 8 for convenience stores.

Testing with young adult secret shoppers near the age of majority (age 19‐24) revealed that
convenience stores once again scored highest with a 73.3% pass rate, next was The Beer Store with 65.9%, and the LCBO once again came in last with 40.5%.

In total, the study tested 105 of the LCBO’s 611 stores, 98 of The Beer Store’s 440 stores and 93
convenience stores. The convenience store success rate testing for age shown in this Statopex study is consistent with Health Canada’s secret shopping tests of over 300 chain convenience stores in Ontario each year.
“We did this study to measure how well we’re doing our job of keeping age‐restricted products away from minors compared to the government‐run LCBO and the foreign‐owned Beer Store.

The results surprised us. Government officials have for years put the LCBO or the foreign‐owned Beer Store up as the model for keeping age‐restricted products from minors, but the facts paint a different picture,” said Dave Bryans, President of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. “The results confirm that convenience stores lead the way when it comes to responsible community retailing and keeping age‐restricted products, like tobacco, lottery tickets and even alcohol from kids.”

Bryans added: “The convenience store industry sells more age restricted products than any other retailer and we’ve invested heavily in testing and training employees to minimize the risk of minorsgetting these products. Our driver’s licence swipe ID check program, We Expect ID, has been invaluable in helping us do that job. But there’s still room for us to improve and we continuously work with our members to get better each year.”

McAuslan Brewery - St Ambrose Oatmeal Stout

5% ABV

"At the World Beer Championship in 1994, St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout received the second highest rating of the over 200 beers in the competition and it won one of only nine platinum medals awarded.
Brewed from 40 percent dark malts and roasted barley, this intensely black ale carries strong hints of espresso and chocolate. Oatmeal contributes body and a long-lasting mocha-colored head to this well-hopped beer."

The Pour

Poured on tap at Gambrinus Bistro and Cafe in London, ON. Cascading head. A very black stout with a mocha, creamed head. Minimal carbonation.


Some chocolate notes, biscuity maltiness. Hints of espresso. Slight bitterness.


Silky smooth, some espresso and dark chocolate notes. Slight bitterness. Dries out to the back of the throat. The oatmeal adds a nice coating mouth feel.

Overall Impression

I love a good stout and this is one of them. Not that I would expect less from McAuslan Brewery. Just a terrific velvety smooth stout. Nice and mellow with balanced chocolate and coffee notes. A stout to be drank not sipped. Not as full favoured and "huge" like a KBS but this isn't an imperial to be belaboured all night. Definitely an A.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dogfish Head - Burton Baton

Burton Baton
ABV 10%
IBU 70

"This is a blended beer that we've been brewing for the past several years and it's recently been gaining in popularity.
For Burton Baton we first brew two 'threads' or batches of beer: an English-style Old Ale and an Imperial IPA. After fementating the separate beers in our stainless tanks, the two are transferred and blended together in one of our large oak tanks. Burton Baton sits on the wood for about a month.
When enjoying the Burton Baton, you'll find an awesome blend of the citrus notes from Northwestern hops melding with woody, vanilla notes from the oak. The wood also tends to mellow the 10% of the beer - so tread cautiously!
Burton Baton is brewed and released three times per year."

the Look: A rich orange glow emanated from the glass, somewhat opaque, with solid head that lasted the duration, almost encouraging you to drink more.
the Smell: It was a blend of both syrup and mellow on the nose, slightly hoppy but not over done.
the Taste: Light hoppy flavour, hits your sweet taste buds up front and the bitter towards the back, great lasting flavour across your whole tongue.
the Feel: Smooth albeit slightly syrupy feel, a little heavy, but matched the flavours and look
Overall: This was a very contradictory beer, sweet and bitter, heavy yet light, in the end I decided on sweet oranges, but it can't be summed up that easily.  I think it would go amazingly with spicy Thai dishes, however, good luck getting your hands on some.  If you can, grab it and drink it fresh before the hops fade out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

OCB Series - Railway City Brewing Company - Iron Spike Amber

4.6% ABV
30 IBU's

"A deep garnet, this ale pours a frothy beige cap. In the nose, deeply rooted dark fruits give way to a perfume, bubblegum, banana, and some yeasty esters. Lots of toasty notes with dark bread, caramel malts.

Flavour profile initially is sweet with dark fruit and caramel. This leads to toasty spicy flavours with a hint of smoke and fall fruits. The hops come through to balance the sweetness perfectly. Very nice dense head with good lacing and retention.

This is a full bodied amber ale with a nice balance of creamy grainy fruitiness, and sharp hops bitterness."

The Pour

Pours a wonderful dark maple colour. One finger of head nice creamy bubble. Steady coronation, while not vigorous.


Malt sweetness, bisuity nuttiness. Some light grassy earthiness. Very slight hint of spice and dark fruit.


Big taste up front compared to other Railway City offerings. Hints of caramel with a light hint of mocha. There is a nice hop bitterness with some dark fruity esters. Not overly carbonated, with a pleasant yet light mouth feel. A tasty offering indeed.

Overall Impression

Bought in the breweries retail shop, this is probably my favourite beer from Railway City Brewing Co. Poured from a grower, this is a pleasing offering that isn't heavy but has decent flavour. With a lower ABV, this a beer you could enjoy all night. Interestingly, this beer won Gold at the Ontario Craft Beer Awards a few weeks ago. This is a B+ for sure. It is nice to have a craft brewer close to where you live.

Friday, May 27, 2011

OCB Series - Muskoka Cottage Brewery - Summer Weiss

Muskoka Cottage Brewery
Summer Weiss
ABV 4.8%

"Seasonally brewed and available in limited quantities, Muskoka Summer Weiss ("vice") is crafted with visions of summer in mind. Unfiltered and naturally hazy by design, the perfect balance of wheat, barley and subtle hopping makes this an intriguingly aromatic, flavourful and sessionable summer wheat beer. To release more flavour, agitate bottle slightly before opening. Cheers to you Summer!"

I have to start by saying we had this on tap at Gambrinus bistro and cafe. Our local option for fresh, craft and specialty brews. Should you find some at your local LCBO (see link below), it will be slightly different.

the Look: Nice, rich old gold colour, clear with a little head which didn't linger.

the Smell: nicely spicy on the nose, to be expected, hints of floral notes with an overall "fresh" aroma.

the Taste: great full flavour, just the right balance of wheat and spicy notes come through lasts well on the tongue with no bitterness.

the Feel: surprisingly light in feel for the flavour, cascaded well over the tongue hitting all your tastebuds.

Overall: this was a tasty offering, I would happily go back again and will be trying to track some down through the LCBO. It was brewed with the summer in mind, and I look forward to having a few in the backyard with a slow roast BBQ on.

Available at the LCBO;
LCBO 238212 | 750 mL bottle
Price: $ 5.95

Ontario Modernizes Liquor Laws

Toronto, ON

McGuinty Government Removes Unnecessary Restrictions On Ontarians

On June 1, Ontario will have updated alcohol laws to better serve Ontarians.

The changes eliminate unnecessary barriers for special events, festivals and licensed establishments. This will provide Ontarians with a more enjoyable experience, and improve tourism and local economies.

The changes allow the following:

  • Festivals and events can define an area larger than beer tents where people can walk around freely with drinks. Local communities are free to customize the events to their needs.
  • Restaurant and bar servers can carry drinks on public sidewalks to licensed areas such as patios.
  • Special events such as weddings or charity fundraisers can serve alcohol for an extra hour until 2 a.m.
  • All-inclusive vacation packages can now be sold in Ontario.
  • Business owners can give a complimentary drink to customers to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary.

The province is also strengthening enforcement by adding additional monetary penalties against those who violate Ontario's liquor laws.

Modernizing the province's liquor laws supports Ontario's Open Ontario Plan to strengthen our economy and create new opportunities for jobs.

"These changes will provide additional flexibility, while strengthening enforcement."

– Chris Bentley
Attorney General

"Festivals and events are powerful economic drivers - they draw tourists to our communities, create jobs and stimulate local economies. We are making it easier for festival and event organizers, restaurants and bars to attract more people and create more jobs while providing an enjoyable experience for Ontarians."

– Michael Chan
Minister of Tourism and Culture

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homebrew - A Hopslam Clone Or An Abbey Ale?

Well, as Ian pointed out on National Homebrew Day (US), we were supposed to bottle our Hopslam clone. As with all living things, sometimes they can be unpredictable, and our yeast stalled at about 7% ABV. While this would have been a decent alcohol level for most beers, ours had a significant amount of convertible sugars left behind. This would have left if overly sweet. So we had to come up with a plan B to salvage the batch.

We decided on pitching a Belgian Ale yeast because of its vigor in dealing with higher ABV. Luckily the yeast started bubbling away and doing its job. So with about a 2 week delay fermenting, the dry hopping was only done for about a week in seconardy. The good news is we hit (and slightly exceeded) our target ABV. We ended up at 10.4% alcohol by volume.

So we went down to Brewhaven in London to begin the bottling
process. After washing the bottles and sterilizing them in a Star-San solution, we started to fill and cap. About an hour later we managed to get all 50 litres bottled.

Now for the taste...What a difference a Belgian Ale yeast makes. I think somewhere between the extra weeks of fermentation and the reduced time dry hopping, the hop flavours were not as prevalent as hoped. But, the additional yeast added some interesting spicey and dark fruit notes.

In the end, while we didn't succeed in cloning Hopslam, we did however make a very pleasing and balanced Abbey Ale. All in all we were happy with the outcome, it could have ended in discarding the batch, but luckily a pleasant ale emerged.

Next up, an Imperial Stout. We are hoping to start it soon to allow it to age and mature for the fall/winter. We will keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuborg: Gold

ABV 5.5%

"This full flavoured deluxe pilsner is famous for its crisp European taste and has been brewed in Copenhagen since 1895. Its high quality and unique taste have earned it an appointment to the Royal Danish Court." Tuborg is part of the Danish Carlsberg group, which is Denmark's leading brewer.

the Look: It poured with almost zero head, fairly clear with a colour close to a dark yellow. Not overly impressive to look at, but I suppose thats the "gold".

the Smell: A faint sweet smell, nothing specific to pick out.

the Taste: Mild chemical taste, not pleasant, didn't last at all.

the Feel: mouthfeel was almost thick, not quite syrupy, but close, heavy.

Overall: for a beer touted to be a top choice in Denmark, I was unpleasantly surprised. I was expecting a somewhat "premium" offering, and while I know that the LCBO imported premiums don't come close to the flavour of a local craft brew, I expected better. On a positive note, they do have a fairly cool website, check it out here.

If you are looking for something cheap, check out our post on PC's beer offerings

Available at the LCBO

LCBO 74591
Price: $ 1.95

and at the Beer Store
Price: $ 1.95


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