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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.

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!

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!

Checkin out Uranus

Well I made it back to Toronto courtesy of Via Rail, and damn does it ever feel good to be home. Back in the land where all public transit announcements are inaudible, but you only have to listen to the speaker static in one language. It’s definitely the better of the two evils.

I biked to the LCBO tonight and picked up this Etobicoke-brewed beauty. It’s Sawdust City’s Long Dark Voyage to Uranus. Yes, I know Sawdust City is based in the breathtaking Gravenhurst Ontario, but they brewed this beer at Black Oak Brewing facilities here in Etobicoke. Two awesome places combining to make a stout means I have some pretty high expectations.


Aroma is dark chocolate, roasted malt, and booze. The smell makes me want to fill a swimming pool with this stuff and dive in. I was able to feel the booze on my lips with the first sip. Starts out with light toasty notes, moving to bitter dark chocolate with some sweetness, and finishing bitter with a light burn from the alcohol and some chocolate.

Overall the 9.0% is very prominent throughout this beer. I love all the characteristics of this beer; it’s extremely bold, in-your-face, and not a beer that I will be forgetting about anytime soon.

Part of me wishes they could’ve dialed down the ABV so that the other flavour’s could’ve come through a little better, but part of me likes how bold and strong it is.

This stout is not for the novice beer drinker or someone who thinks Guiness is the best stout ever made. I like Guiness and all, but it doesn’t take much poking around the craft beer scene to realize that there are better products being brewed in places a lot closer than Dublin, Ireland… My Dad was only able to handle a few mouthfuls of Uranus before gracefully bowing out and pouring his glass into mine.

I truly enjoyed this and plan on grabbing another bottle to split with friends.

Let me know what you folks thought. I’m all ears.

Slippery when wet…

Well folks, reading week has begun for students at Carleton University. To our delight, the school decided to put it AFTER the bulk of midterms have been completed, making it essentially a drinking week… Fuck yeah.

Today I’m reviewing Autumn Hop Harvest Ale by Amsterdam Brewery out of Toronto. This beer is made using a process called “wet-hopping”. Here’s what I understand about this term:

Wet hopping simply means using freshly harvested hops in the brewing process. Hops naturally start to break down quite quickly after being harvested, which is why it is so popular to immediately dry them out and put them into pellet form for brewing. A wet-hop offers brewers a more vibrant, unique flavour which can only be attained at this beautiful time of year; hop harvest season. In order to successfully wet-hop a beer, the hops must be brought straight from the farm to the brewery and added before they decompose. This adds an element of difficulty for brewer’s, however I would imagine most of them are up for this type of challenge.

With that knowledge in your brain, let’s move on to the beer at hand.


In honour of Carleton’s new fall drinking week.


Pours clear, light amber with a small white head. Aroma is earthiness, light citrus hops, and some sweetness. Light mouth-feel with fairly high carbonation. On the palate is loads of bitter, slightly citrusy hops that are distinctively refreshing. Finish is slightly earthy and bitter.

Really great brew from Amsterdam Brewery which should entice many to try more of these wet-hopped ales. I have begun to see a few more on shelves at the LCBO, so I’ll be sure to pick up another one to get a different perspective on the style.

Personally, I’ve purchased this beer on two separate occasions, and I will likely buy it again. For lover’s of bitterness, this will tickle your fancy; however it’s probably not the best beer to use to convert Labatt Blue drinkers. Still I find it quite approachable and sessionable, and if I didn’t have to be at work in an hour I would be down to crack a few more of these bad boys.

On a side note, I’m heading home to Toronto for a few days for reading week and I plan on doing some more exploring of the craft beer scene there. Mainly looking to hit up Bellwoods Brewery as they seem to have an amazing lineup of bold beers which I won’t be able to find in Ottawa… at least not for a while. I’d love to hear your suggestions for other breweries to check out while I’m in town.

My question: What’s the coolest/weirdest beer available in Toronto at the moment?

Let me know!

Kensington at Night

Hey guys,

I just finished my work for the night so I’m rewarding myself with a brew. This is the first time I’ve had this one, and I’m hella excited.

Tonight I’m drinking Augusta Ale from the Kensington Brewing Company. These guys brew straight out of Kensington Market – hipster central in Toronto.

For those who have never been to Kensington – GO. I remember my first time visiting this historic and whacky neighbourhood one day after high school. Being from Etobicoke, my buddies and I were blown away by the culture we found that afternoon. At first we laughed at how eccentric everything seemed, but I quickly realized that this type of place is rare and began to really take it all in. If you leave Kensington Market without finding at least 5 things/people which interest you or make you laugh, you suck as an individual.

Anyways, on to the beer:

Pours a clear golden colour with a frothy white head. Aroma is sweet-sweet caramel malt and citrus. I don’t really taste the citrus, but I get the sweet caramel and some hoppy bitterness, with a bit of a grassy finish


If I had to describe this beer in 3 words they would be: God damned sessionabe – Side note, Microsoft word says sessionable is TWO words. HA, idiots…

I will most definitely be using this beer to try to convert my hopeless Canadian-drinking friends. Kind of how marijuana is a gateway drug, this can be used as a gateway craft ale. Very approachable and enjoyable for all. Next time I’m home in T-dot for a visit this will definitely be a place I stop by in person.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts on this beer or my blog.

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Twitter: @ottbeerguy

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In my fridge right now is a bottle of Cameron’s RPA which I somehow have never tried, and a can of Nickelbrook Headstock IPA which I have had on numerous occasions. Look for reviews on these beers and/or others in the next few days. Until then, cheers!