Monday, June 27, 2011

Session 99 Overview

 This past Saturday the 2nd annual Session Craft Beer Festival took place, showcasing the best of Ontario craft brewers as well as craft brewers from BC, Quebec and Nova Scotia. In addition to year-round offerings from the brewers there were many one-off's and rarities that, in my opinion, were the highlights of the day. The beer of the day for me was Beau's Bourbon Barrel Aged Festivale Plus Sticke Alt, for this they took their summer seasonal and incorporated a secret recipe and then aged it in Bourbon oak for 7 months. The result was a perfectly balanced, smooth and full bodied behemoth of a beer clocking in at 11% ABV but tasted nowhere near that. Other favourites included Flying Monkeys Big Nib Cocoa Vanilla Imperial Stout, Great Lakes Karma Citra IPA and Spearhead Hawaiian Style Pale Ale. It was also nice to see Mill Street resurrect Tankenstein, a whole hopped cask condition version of their signature brew Tankhouse. Even though this did not blow me away it was still nice to see this rarity that most thought was gone forever. Keep 6 Importers, formerly HMH Negotiants/The guys from Bar Volo, had some monsters at their booth from Trou Du Diable, Trois Mousquetaires, Dieu Du Ciel!, Phillips, Central City, and Brasserie Dunham. Hands down they had the most insane lineup of the day, but that being said there was no weak booth and at Session this year Ontario craft brewers showed that they can keep up with their American and out of province counterparts.

  The food was also pretty amazing on Saturday, provided by Cowbell, Burger Bar, Magic Oven and Leslieville Cheese Market. The pulled pork from Cowbell and burgers from Burger Bar were perfect matches for the fine selection of beer being served at the festival. The only downside at the end of the day was knowing I'm going to have to wait a year until the next one.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rogue Invades Ontario

Ontario got its biggest order of American craft beer ever at the beginning of this month, compliments of Oregon's Rogue Brewery. Most of the release is widely available throughout the province with one more hitting shelves later this week, however the Double Dead Guy was in limited supply with only 20 cases available in the entire province. If you missed out on Double Dead Guy the LCBO has ordered 45 more cases that will probably take another 8 weeks to hit shelves, but it's better late than never I suppose. The standout for me from this release has been Captain Sig's Northwestern Ale. Its dry and hoppy, with lots of citrus balanced by a chewy malt that makes it bitter, refreshing and satisfying.

Rogue will also be at Session 99 craft beer festival June 25th at 99 Sudbury Street.