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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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cameron's Tallboy Salute to Canada Day

Toronto, ON

Just in time for summer, Cameron's Brewing Company proudly introduces the newest way to enjoy its brew - tallboy cans of lager. Winner of the silver medal at this year's Ontario Brewing Awards, Cameron's lager is fermented cold and long, using the finest Canadian malted barley for a crisp, smooth taste - the perfect refreshment for hot summer days. With new 473 mL tallboy cans, you can take this delicious lager anywhere! Pick up a case of 24 at selected LCBO and Beer Store outlets across the GTA.

Winner of two 2011 Ontario Brewing Awards, Cameron's Brewing Company is a true craft brewery, passionately brewing all natural ales and lagers since 1997 in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Its unique 9-packs of Auburn, Lager and Cream Ale allow for just a little more Cameron's in each box (6-packs of Dark 266 also available). Cameron's is currently available at The Beer Store, select LCBO stores in the GTA and across southern Ontario and on tap at many bars and restaurants. For more information about Cameron's and its availability, please visit www.cameronsbrewing.com.

Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Canada Day 2011

8.3% ABV

"This special beer has been brewed using Munich malt and golden oats to give it a beautiful biscuit backbone and a creamy smooth finish. Fuggles hops add their signature earthy and rich character before maturation in bourbon oak unlocks delicious flavours of vanilla and toffee from deep inside the oak grain."

The Pour

This limited edition barrel aged beauty, pours a wonderful copper colour. The head is made up of one and a half fingers of tight white bubbles that crown the glass and stick around. Leaving some nice lacing as I sip away. A decent amount of carbonation is streaming off the sides of the glass.

Aroma

There are lots of malt notes present, along with a buscuity/breadiness. Vanilla and toffee notes from the bourbon barrel aging are quite pleasant. A slight hint of alcohol is also there.

Taste

Wow! Big bourbon flavours. A Delicious mouthful of malty goodness. There is a decent amount of toffee like sweetness with undertones of vanilla. Slight, slight spice quality. A very nicely balanced and complex beer with a slight smokiness to the finish. There is a slight alcohol burn to the back of the throat.

Overall Impression

I have been very happy in the past with all that Innis & Gunn has to offer. Their handcrafted, barrel aged beers have been a huge hit in Canada and especially Ontario. At first it seemed a bit odd that a Scottish brewing company would make a limited edition brew to commemorate Canada's national holiday, but it turns out to be a rewarding homage to the country that buys the most of their beer. The bourbon barrel aging adds such a pleasantly complex taste profile to the beer. The vanilla, toffee and spice tones, combined with warmth offered from the 8.3% ABV is especially nice. This is definitely a beer worth of a great nations holiday celebrations. A solid "A". Get this 2011 edition while you still can.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beau’s Celebrates 5th Birthday with Beer-to-Energy Project

Vankleek Hill, ON

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. will be celebrating five years in the beer business on July 2 with a launch of a new project that converts sips of organic beer into units of energy. The program, which Beau’s calls Green Futures, is a unique initiative that will allow members to purchase shares in a beer “co-operative” of sorts.

The local microbrewery has been aging several brands of their beer in bourbon barrels, with this special goal in mind. They will be releasing 3 of these bourbon aged brands this July 2 as they launch details on the Green Futures Program. It is designed as a co-op type club that entitles members to 10 beers aged in bourbon barrels per year for three years, at a membership cost of $300. The program is called Green Futures because the brewery will use membership fees to install solar panels on its 30,000 sq. ft. facility.

Aging beer in bourbon barrels is a recent trend in craft beer. The additional flavours and aromas of bourbon in a strong beer add interesting complexity and because bourbon barrels are only used once for bourbon, they also add oak flavours and aromas.

“Beer tastes better when you can feel good about the brewery you bought it from,” says co-founder Steve Beauchesne, who started the brewery with his father Tim on July 1, 2006. Tim agrees: “We really wanted to mark our 5 year mark with an ambitious project that furthers our work in creating unique, tasty beer with our work in creating a truly sustainable business.”

Beau’s has applied for approval for the installation project and is awaiting confirmation to begin installation, but has already begun making the roof ready for the project. In total, 600 shares will be made available, raising $180,000. Total cost for the entire project is estimated at $500,000, but the solar energy will bring revenue in as well, allowing the brewery to finance a large portion of the installation and pay the remaining balance from the revenue created.

Initial estimates completed by Solera Sustainable Energies, the company Beau’s has contracted with to complete the project, of solar energy captured through this project is over 90,000kWh per year. Beau’s recently contracted the Guelph Food and Technology’s Sustainability Division to complete an energy assessment and has determined that this energy creation equates to almost 40% of total electrical usage at current usage.

OCB Series - Grand River Brewing - Plowman's Ale

4.7 % ABV

"This is a big, bold beer that is loaded with five types of hops but also backed up with a hearty grain that establishes balance and body. This deep copper coloured beer has beautiful spicy and a slight citrus hops note right from the start with a rounded malt finish accompanying the hop bitterness.

Immediately after pouring the beer, you will notice a full, rocky head form at the top of your glass that preserves all the flavour and allows the slow release of the hop focused aroma. As you drink and enjoy your beer you will notice the head take on a thick and rocky appearance as it creates some wonderful lacing down the side of your glass. All signs of a well made traditional style beer."

The Pour

This offering from Grand River Brewing pours a auburn to mahogany colour. One finger of a lingering off white / tan head. With a gentle swirl, the head reappears, but not a lot of carbonation streaming off of the glass.

Aroma

Some bready malts are the first thing I smell. This is followed by some earthiness and slight pine and floral characters. Caramel and toffee balance of some of the hop tones.

Taste

A delicate mouth feel with small bubbled carbonation. Through the centre of the tongue and top of the mouth there is a wash of bitterness that is pleasing to the palette. You can taste some of the floral and slight citrus notes of the hops, but the bitter / earthy qualities are definitely the most powerful. Through to the aftertaste, the bitterness create a drying affect to the mouth.

Overall Impression

I have to be upfront and let you know that I have had several offerings from Grand River Brewing over the years. Among their beers, this way definitely one that stood out. This is a very well brewed amber ale, with a modest ABV that could be enjoyed for an entire evening. Balanced sweet, bitter and floral / citrus notes make this very enjoyable. I would rate this a B+. A very good beer indeed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Beer Store Canada Day Closing

Toronto, ON

All Beer Stores will be closed on Friday, July 1, 2011 to observe the Canada Day statutory holiday. All Beer Stores will observe Friday hours of sale onThursday, June 30th and regular hours of sale on Saturday and Sunday. For more information about The Beer Store, visit us at www.thebeerstore.ca The Beer Store would like to remind you that we take back 100% of all beer packaging as well as all wine and spirit containers. The Beer Store also wishes to remind you to please, drink responsibly. To our customers and employees, please enjoy a safe holiday.

Visit to Mill Street Brew Pub

For myself, most visits to Toronto usually include an outing to the Summerhill LCBO or a trip to the Distillery District. Either choice brings a smile to my face and a warmth in my belly. Whether it is the enormous selection of all things liabatious in the country's largest liquor store or the quaint shops in old brick buildings lining cobblestone walkways, reminding you of times prior to alcohol conglomerates; your taste buds will always be rewarded.

On a recent trip to Hogtown for my niece and nephews birthdays, we made a family outing to drop in to the Mill Street Brew Pub. One of the nicest thing they offer is a much wider selection of their crafted brews than is available at The Beer Store or LCBO. Ranging from their Organic through to the Cobblestone Stout, they have something for all lovers of beer.

All of this is set in the beautiful atmosphere of a gorgeous wood crafted bar and dining room with walls of glass separating the patron from a 5000 hectolitre brew house. Stunning vessels of copper and stainless steel house the brews that will flow through the pub and many Toronto pubs and restaurants. It just seems a better way to enjoy your beer, giving you a peek through the looking glass of where and how your beer is made.

Every time I visit, I am impressed with how busy it always seems to be. This visit was no exception. With standing room only our group of six adults and three kids, we walked up to the cruiser tables and perused the beer menu. Feeling like something light, I tried their Ginger Beer. A subtle taste of Carribean spices and gentle hop bitterness with an overall undertone of ginger. Light and crisp, but not huge in flavour or aroma.

After being attended to by the manager, Tanya (just a wonderfully helpful person on the Mill Street team) and explaining what I was in the mood for, she suggested I try their IPA. Overall, a solid IPA with a twist; Saaz hops as the dominant bittering / flavouring / aroma hop. Slightly different from the more citrusy Centennial, Chinook, Citra, Cascade or Amarillo derivatives that I prefer, but still very tasty. The Saaz are a Czechoslovakian variety that has more of a earthy, spicy and herbal notes.

On this visit, we did not stay for dinner but have always had delicious traditional pub grub and comfort food that would be expected at any traditional pub. There is sure to be something that everyone in your party would enjoy.

If you are in the area or thinking on driving down for a visit, you
will not be disappointed. In the fall your trip could be rewarded with their "Brew Master Dinners". A wonderful night of beer and food pairings while chatting to their head brewer.

Located in Toronto's Historic Distillery District. The brew pub also boasts a retail shop where you are able to buy bottles and growlers of their fine brews.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Southern Tier - Gemini

9.1% ABV

"High in the winter sky, two parallel stick figures are visible & known as “the twins,” or the constellation Gemini. The astronauts of the 1960s flew as teams of two in a program named after the celestial pairing. At Southern Tier, we have our own fraternal twins, Hoppe & Unearthly. Blended together & placed in this vessel, the mission of our Gemini is to travel high & take passengers on a journey far into the heavens."

The Pour

A hazy vibrant orange. Carbonation streaming off the sides of the glass. Generous two fingers of slightly off white head; fluffy and cloud-like in appearance with small bubbles.

Aroma

You can smell this beer from two feet away. Wonderful floral notes, some orange peel, citrus and spice. A nice malt undertone. Some hints of sweet toffee. There is definitely tangerine present as well.

Taste

The tangerine flavour comes forward but is gently washed away with a slight alcohol taste and burn. Some breadiness towards the sides of the tongue. Definitely a spiced raisin rum tone. Overall gentle carbonation and velvety smooth.

Overall Impression

I'm not sure if I had huge expectations going into this, but while a solid beer and it is very good, it is just not outstanding. Well balanced and complex, just not spectacular. For me, the aroma definitely steals the show. I would rate this a "B+". While I've have worse Imperial IPA's and I definitely have had better.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Visit with Flying Monkeys Craft Brewers at Gambrinus Bistro & Cafe

As the week was progressing and not wanting Ontario Craft Beer Week to get away from us, we decided that our next event to attend would be the "Meet and greet with Flying Monkeys Craft Brewers" at Gambrinus Bistro and Cafe in London, ON. For those of you who don't know Gambrinus, named after the Patron Saint of Brewers, it is the premier beer destination in London or Southwestern Ontario for that matter. Boasting an impressive several hundred beers on their menu.

Arriving shortly before 6:00pm (the official start of the event), we were hoping to get a few minutes to chat with
Peter Chiodo, founder and artisan brewer of Flying Monkeys. Very pleasantly surprised, he was able to give us quite a bit of his time to chat about the beers being sampled and the future of the brewery. But more of that to come later this summer.

With several "one-off's" on tap for the evening, including Alpha-fornication, the worlds hoppiest beer at a staggering 2500 IBU's (international bittering units), after our chat we were excited to start tasting.

We started the evening with "Slam Dunkel" a nicely
complex, and drinkable Munich Dunkel Lager, dark with herbal, coffee and almost cola type notes. Then a white and a red saison were tasted, also quite pleasant. Some of the bigger highlights would be the "Super Collider" Imperial Pale Ale, the Imperial Black Saison as well as trip through the mind of the mad scientist that is Peter, Alpha-fornication.

The Imperial IPA, Super Collider, was a dark ruby/brown in appearance and very hop forward, but with a pleasant earthiness to it. Floral and citrus notes added to the enjoyment of the 12% alcohol by volume (ABV) offering.

The Imperial Black Saison was probably my favorite beer of the
evening. With a staggering complexity of spice, dark fruits and a higher ABV than would be expected in a traditional Saison. These farmhouse ales were meant to be refreshing and nutritional supplements for farm hands during the harvest. The balance in flavour, sweetness and ABV was impressive. This definitely did not disappoint.

The final beer of the evening was the much hyped Alpha-fornication. As part of their "Everest Experiments" in brewing, this 13.3% ABV Imperial IPA or derivative of the style registers a staggering 2500 IBU's (many big IPA's such as Dogfish Heads
90 Minute IPA register 90 IBU's). This was something to be slightly affraid of. I was almost expecting the hoppiness to be too pungent on the nose to actually be drinkable. With a murky almost coffee with heavy cream colour and massive floral, citrus, pine and earthy notes, this was like taking a deep breath from a bag of hops but with some underlying sweetness. While murky in appearance with plenty of hop particles, this was a sipper, but not as bitter as expected. They added some sweetness after fermentation in order to provide some balance to the overall bitterness. This was definitely an experiment in the direction brewing can take you as you reach the outer limits of the art.

A very interesting note, several of these debut beers at Gambrinus for Ontario Craft Beer Week, were collaborations with General Manager (and super beer geek and aficionado), Adil Ahmed. The two have collaborated several times before with the beer consumer being the real winner here.

All in all, we tried some fantastic beers that pushed the boundaries of what brewing can be and got to speak one on one with the people behind Canada's most daring and interesting breweries.

Why can't every week be Ontario Craft Beer Week?
(Imperial Black Saison - left, Alpha-fornication - right)


Friday, June 24, 2011

Okanagan Spring Brewery - Pale Ale

Pale Ale
5.1% ABV


"Brewed by Okanagan Spring in 1989, this is BC's original and favourite Pale Ale. Clear and copper coloured, it is fruity on the palate and hearty in hops with a nice, round finish. We are honourd that Pale Ale continues to be BC's most popular craft brew."


the Look: true copper colour, nice lingering head, lace on the glass but remaining on the pour as well.


the Smell: not a big nose on this beer, light hoppy if anything.


the Taste: lightly bitter from the hops, ironically it could be described as complex as there are a few flavours there, but still manages to be fairly light, not over powering.


the Feel: feels great, lightly coats your tongue, strongest feel through the middle of your tongue, where the taste buds are sparse


Overall: I enjoyed this brew on draft sitting in the shade on a patio. This is a beer with a nice colour, easy flavour, however, not quite the refreshing kick you hope for on a hot summer day. I'd save this for the early fall, crisp days/evenings, ideally relaxing around a campfire. I'd rank this beer a solid "B+".


Available at;

LCBO 6x341 mL bottle
Price: $ 11.95



LCBO Canada Day Closings

Toronto, ON

All LCBO stores will be closed on Friday, July 1, 2011 to observe the Canada Day statutory holiday. Some LCBO agency stores will observe their normal hours of business on July 1. Agency stores are locally-owned retail establishments authorized by the LCBO to sell beverage alcohol, along with other retail products, in communities that are too small to support LCBO stores.

Many LCBO stores in cottage and resort areas have extended evening hours on Fridays during the summer. In addition, the LCBO has opened a number of seasonal stores in these areas, which will operate in most cases until Labour Day weekend.

Customers should check for individual store hours with their local LCBO store or online at www.lcbo.com using the 'Store Search' feature. They can also contact the toll-free, bilingual LCBO Contact Centre at 1-800-ONT-LCBO (668-5226) or online at www.lcbo.com/service. In Toronto, call 416 365-5900 . The TTY number for the deaf and hard of hearing is 416 864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291 . The Contact Centre, Customer Service Department and Head Office will be closed on Canada Day.

Over the summer, the LCBO reminds customers to please drink responsibly and to never consume alcohol when driving or boating. A new, summer-themed Deflate the Elephant social responsibility TV commercial will air across Ontario on Citytv and CP24 the week leading up to the long weekend. In addition, a Canada Day alcohol-free Mocktail demonstration video and responsible hosting summer tips will be available at www.deflatetheelephant.com. Please bring a reusable bag when shopping at the LCBO and take your empty beverage alcohol containers (large and small glass bottles, PET plastic, Tetra Pak cartons, bag-in-box and cans) to The Beer Store for a full deposit refund.

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