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Tag Archives: craft beer

Sunday Raceday

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Last week I had a nice surprise when I noticed a distinctly taller can of Central City Red Racer IPA on the shelves of the LCBO than I ever remember seeing. That’s right folks, Red Racer is now available in tall cans! And just as surprising (to me anyway) was that I hadn’t yet reviewed it. So lets get down to it.


Pours a cloudy amber with a small, off white head that dwindles down quickly. Aromas of fresh grapefruit hops, other citrus, and pine. On the palate there is a much stronger pine flavour, along with the lingering citrus and floral notes, with the citrus carrying into the finish to provide a nice bitter, piney punch. It’s not an overly complex beer, but an amazing Canadian IPA.

This beer comes in at 6.5% ABV and is a great all-year-round IPA. The fact that we can now buy tallboys of Red Racer for $2.50 is definitely something worth celebrating.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and are looking forward to Session Toronto coming up this Friday/Saturday. Who knows; I may see you there!


Wheeling Catherine

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I’ve come to realize Belgian IPA’s just may be my ideal beer style for summer. The Belgian yeast makes them incredibly refreshing on the palate and the hop content varies enough from brew to brew to keep things interesting.

Last night I enjoyed some delicious (and very well priced) pints at the Bellwood’s Brewery on Ossington. The atmosphere was great even though we weren’t on the beautiful patio, and the beers were fairly tasty. My buddy Steve even decided to order the Duck Heart’s (four hearts for $4). They were very tender and covered in a jalapeno sauce that provided a nice kick in the crotch, and a thirst for beer. Well done folks.

I’ve had a bottle of Catherine Wheel Belgian IPA from Bellwoods in my fridge since the last time I visited the retail shop and I decided today was a great day to drink it.

Beautiful evening in Etobicoke North

Beautiful evening in Etobicoke North

Pours a cloudy light amber with a thin white head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of light citrus, flowers, grassy hops, and yeast. Light mouth-feel with more citrus, yeast, and grass. Its got a nice sweetness to it, but not diabetes-inducing by any means. Finish is dry, with grass and yeast. A little bit of lemon bitterness is evident, with some sweet malt undertones coming through. You wouldn’t guess it has an ABV of 7.2%

I’d recommend Catherine Wheel for a hot day on a patio. It’s not the best Belgian IPA I’ve ever had, but if it popped up on my Tinder page Catherine Wheel would be a firm right-swipe.

All I want for Christmas is a barrel-aged stout

Christmas is over and everyone is starting to snap back to the reality that we still have many months of cold, short days. I for one believe that these long, cold winters only enhance our love and affection for dark beers. Common flavours for porters and stouts are: chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit. Barrel aged beers can also add to that “warming” feeling that we get from the beer.

After all that, you are probably aware that I’m reviewing a dark beer. It’s Nickel Brook’s Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout and at 10% ABV this stout is a heavy-weight. According to the description, this is a barrel-aged version of their delicious Bolshevik Bastard imperial Stout which I had the chance to try at Brother’s Beer Bistro, located in Ottawa’s Byward Market.


Sorry about the flash. I never claimed to be a photographer.

Pour is black with a tan head that shrinks pretty quickly. Nose is of strong dark dried fruit, chocolate, oak, and bourbon.  The burn from the added alcohol and bourbon barrel is evident throughout this one. Other flavours are deep vanilla and chocolate. The booze is truly rosy-cheek inducing. Finish is vanilla and a boozy bourbon burn.

This is an excellent winter brew that warms the body and soul. I’ll be buying this again, but I wouldn’t advise it for beer drinkers who don’t like a strong alcohol burn which the barrel-aged stuff tends to bring.

As a side note, I struggled with the wax that was melted over the bottle cap for added appearance. Is there a trick to this, or am I just a special case? Leave a comment if you can relate.

Downtown Amsterdam

Yet another exam week beer review. Let’s be honest, craft beer is a lot more interesting than studying for Intermediate Macroeconomics Part 2… Fuck the theories of aggregate supply & demand.

Tonight I’ve settled down with a tall can of Amsterdam Brewery’s Downtown Brown, brewed in Toronto. It’s a 5% ABV nut brown ale, and here’s what I thought:


Pour is dark brown with white head that dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma’s of roasted malts, dark chocolate, earthiness, hints of burnt caramel, and coffee. The smell is out of this world; like a diet stout. Flavour is toasted malt, light nuttiness, light earthy/grass, caramel, and desert coffee. Finish is clean with rich coffee.

Downtown Brown is light bodied and very sessionable. I could very easily see myself drinking eight of these in an evening (just kidding Mom). Its sweetness isn’t too over the top, and all of the beers flavour is able to come through nicely.

I recommend this for someone who isn’t normally a dark beer drinker. It won’t scare them away in the way that a Triple Chocolate Bull Testicle Imperial Stout might, and might help them transition into the beautiful world of browns, porters, and stouts.

Merry Christmas everyone. May your stouts be imperial, your IPA’s be hoppy, and your hangovers mild!

Baby its cold outside

If you live in the Ottawa region, you were reminded this week of how god damn cold winter can get here in the Valley.

Anyways… It’s time for the last beer from my Bellwoods Brewery visit, and what better timing? I just finished my second of three exams and now have a break until Saturday… party time.

Its stout season folks, and I’m pumped as hell for some winter warmers. This beer is just that. Its Hellwoods Imperial Stout, and it’s a big fucking beer.


Aromas of vanilla, dark roasted malts, and dried fruit. This is a heavy beer starts out with flavours of roasted malts, switching to dried fruit which is slightly bitter, then moving to burnt caramel and dark chocolate for the finish with a slight burn from that 10% ABV.

This stout is on point. Bellwoods, I’ll be home for winter break in about a week. See you then.

To anyone who may read this, whats your favourite stout? (Feel free to name a few, I recognize that’s an unfair question).

I’m still alive

Hey there good lookin’.

Due to end of term papers and tests, along with work and a generally high level of procrastination, I haven’t made a post in a while. Don’t worry, I’ve still been drinking beer, I just haven’t taken the time to do any more than the odd check-in on Untappd (username is: Swainer – add me fools).

Tonight I’m drinking a beer I’ve had many times before. From the Quebec based brewery Dieu du Ciel!, its Penombre. This is a black IPA, a style which really interests me as it normally combines characteristics from my two favourite beer styles. Penombre is sold in a 4-pack in the LCBO for around $13.

Here are the details:


Pours pitch black with a frothy light tan head. Aromas of roast malt, nuttiness, coffee, and fruity hops. The palate is coffee, pine, bitter grapefruit, and earthy tones. The bitter grapefruit comes through in the finish, along with the malts and the mocha.

I really like this beer because it has the traits which I like in a stout combined with the bitterness I look for in an IPA. Dieu du Ciel! is constantly brewing excellent beer (try the Peche Mortel if you can find it) and this is no exception.

I’m looking forward to making more time to post now that classes are done, but no promises.


Study break beer review

I’ve been balls deep in the books all day, so I decided I’d earned myself a delicous beer break (its a thing, okay?!).

Now back during my time at home (Toronto) in the beginning of November I made the trek downtown to highly acclaimed Bellwoods Brewery to check out what all the fuss was about.

I went with a good buddy who also had never been there before. My first impression of the bottle shop was: “damn this place is small”. Still though, the woman working the cash was very helpful and gave some good descriptions of the 3 beers they had available. Being a craft beer fan with little self control, I got one of everything. This included the Galaxy Single hop Pale Ale, Hellwoods Russian Imperial Stout, and today’s beer of choice, Farmageddon barrel aged Brett Saison (all were 500ml bottles).

Farmageddon barrel aged Brett Saison – bottle conditioned:


Cloudy straw colour with a frothy white head. Aromas of wheat, yeast, and sweetness like licorice. On the palate are surprising tangy flavours, with yeast, spices, and a bit of sour citrus. Finish is slightly bitter with lingering hints of lemon and spice. The sourness dominates this beer, but in turn it hides the hefty 7.2% extremely well, so look out.

Overall, very smooth and sessionable. It was my first Bellwoods experience and I definitely plan on going back for more next time I find myself in Toronto.

I’m going to get my balls back in the books. Keep that stick on the ice folks!