A very beery few months

Cask Days 2011, organized by Bar Volo, at Hart House

Last night I dreamt about beer, again. This time I was at a beer club meeting (I’ve recently joined not one, but two beer clubs — WAY better than a book club), and one of our five members was organizing a beer dinner for us and he chose bad pairings, I felt crushed.

Not as exciting as my blood-red adventure dreams the night before, featuring a raven-whale rising out of a blood red lake, which I was canoeing down to get to my grandmother’s cottage (pot-induced dreams are the best), but then beer writing isn’t always exciting — sometimes it’s just plain work.

For me, the toughest thing is all of the beer events that are happening in the city all of the time. I have a low tolerance, and long hangover period (sometimes even a few drinks cause a three-day migraine) so I’m finding it nearly impossible to attend all of these functions.

But they are all so good and most offer one-off beer drinking opportunities, my FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) radar shoots sky-high when I can’t make one of them. For example, here is a list of just a few events that are coming up in the Toronto beer world (all contain potential for greatness):

Tomorrow night, the Burger Bar is hosting one of many beer Movember events — this one will see Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont judging which local beer blogger or writer has grown the best “Beaumont” style moustache for Movember. And it’ll feature two cask beers: a special release by Paul Dickey of Cheshire Valley (the brewmaster behind Augusta Ale at the Burger Bar) and Devil’s Pale Ale aged in Jack Daniels Cask from Great Lakes.

On December 5th, Muskoka is having a party to launch their Winter Beard beer at the Drake Hotel.

On December 6th, Greg Clow, author of Canadian Beer News blog, is launching a beer dinner series. The first one is a mega-challenge: vegan/raw food chef Doug McNish is pairing Beau’s beers with a vegan menu at the Windsor Arms, where he is the consulting chef.  It’s time we started getting away from the beer and meat combo as the only go-to, and this dinner promises to be a step in the right direction.

The next night, December 7th, the Bier Markt’s new location at Shops at Don Mills is opening and luring beer writers over with a special sampling of Sam Adam’s Utopias.

And on December 11th, the ladies-only beer appreciation club in Toronto — Barley’s Angels – is hosting a Brewing 101 event at The Rhino featuring beers from Lake of Bays.

And then there are all of the new holiday and winter beers which are being released at breweries and in the LCBO right now. All of which must be sampled… sigh.

Couple that with the fact that I’m walking down the aisle in May (for a girl this is the day where you’re supposed to look your BEST EVER), and the guilt over copious and frequent beer drinking piles on. In fact, I even tried to cut out recreational consumption of beer in November, limiting drinking to work-related events only. But then this created a whole host of questions: like how do you define work-related? Must one be writing about the beer one is consuming? Or can the rules encompass drinking any beer which is new to the writer’s lips — “research.” Let’s just say this little experiment didn’t last longer than five days.

Rather than self-hate, I’m a fan of celebrating one’s guilty pleasures — so I’ll end this post off with  some pictures of beers (and other alcoholic bevvies) I’ve been imbibing and loving this fall:

Denison's Dunkel on tap at Lil' Baci

Sipping Crown Royal at Whiskey Live

Tried the Maker's Mark 46 at Whiskey Live — woody goodness

In Miami, drinking beer & Columbian coke pitchers

Beer & columbian coca-cola might be sacrileg to some — but it was light and fruity when paired with ceviche, yum.

Cigar City's Pumpkin Ale — beer from Florida's best microbrewery at South Beach's best beer, Abraxus Lounge. LOVE THIS BAR.

Drank far too many of these at the noteable.ca awards party - thanks for the invite Danica.

Cameron's Deviator Dopplebock, coming out this week. I had it early, straight out of the fermenter — really interesting beer, worth picking up from the brewery.

Drinking at home: a wheat-beer like brew made by an Italian co-op brewery from what they call "slow foods," tapioca, quinoa, basmati and amaranth rice. Surprisingly zingy with a wheat-beer like cloudiness and mouthfeel, missing the yeasty goodness and natural fruit esthers of a weizen though.

This year's Cask Days was so much fun — great beers from across Canada all at Hart House. Beautiful job by Bar Volo.


1 Comment

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One response to “A very beery few months

  1. The

    One of the better pumpkin beers is the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale from St. Louis. It is not available in many states in New England, possibly in Toronto. Excellent reviews on Beer Advocate.

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