Trillium Brewing Co. Congress St. IPA

Cloudy dark yellow. Tropical passion fruit, mango & lychee (almost sherbet) on the nose with a hint of pine lurking in the background. On the palate the pine steps to the foreground on a wave of pleasant hop bitterness leading to a long finish. Where as Trillium’s Grass Hopper Pale Ale didn’t overly impress me, this IPA is a World Series winning home run definitely worthy of the biggest ticker-tape parade.

Trillium Brewing Co. Grass Hopper Pale Ale

Cloudy deep amber. Pine resin hop notes on the nose. An incredibly balanced beer. Perhaps too perfectly balanced to make a splash in the current craftbeer zeitgeist. On the palate the hops and malt are present but almost indistinguishable. It’s smooth and easy drinking. The length begins to build after the 3rd or 4th sip. This is a beer that could easily get lost in a tasting flight since there is no stratospheric IBU presence or big roasted malt notes to smack you around. Grass Hopper was brewed with 100% Massachusetts-grown/sourced malts and hops, and I imagine the goal was to craft a beer that allowed the ingredients to support each other rather than having one aspect standout. I’d say Trillium has definitely accomplished that with this pale ale, although the result is more a subtle “good job” nod rather than a ticker-tape parade.

Muskoka Brewery Winter Jack: Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout

Oily jet-black. An oaky creaminess on the nose is reminiscent of other barrel-aged brews but accompanied by a high octane background of alcohol. Bitter baker’s chocolate on the initial attack that smooths-out to a creamy chocolate truffle on the palate. Hardly any bitterness on the finish but I can’t find any hint of the cranberry fruit.

Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask Matured Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Lovely deep golden amber. The nose is soft and sweet with hints of butterscotch and new oak spiciness. Starts light on the palate moving into a medium body of biscuit and cereal with a heavy alcohol presence. The finish is a good length and is warm with plenty of oak presence. A big thank you to Juan Algarin for this bottle and introducing me to a great scotch.

Flying Monkeys City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat

Dark brown. Like walking into a pancake breakfast at the church hall, the smell of butter melting into maple syrup on hot flapjacks leaps out of the glass and follow onto the palate. The sensation is balance with a pleasant baker’s chocolate bitterness that comes through on the finish. One of the best maple-infused beers I’ve ever tasted. Highly recommended.

Always Yonge – A ride for Right To Play

Recently I was contacted by Lynn Moffatt from the hip-hop performance group Side Pony Nation to let me know about an amazing adventure they are undertaking that, like the Yonge Street Pub Crawl, is also raising money for Right To Play.

From September 18 – 29, 2013 Lynn and her partner-in-crime Tanya Casole-Gouveia will join Ryan Malfara on a bike trek of 1,896 KM along the entire length of Yonge Street (aka Highway 11).

You can donate to the cause at If you would like to offer your support in-person there are two opportunities to do so.

On Thursday Sept 12 there will be a “Send-Off Party” at Alley Catz.

For the more actively inclined, the final 90 KM leg of the journey from Barrie to the Toronto Waterfront will be an open group ride. There will be a bus to take participants up to Barrie. More details are available on their facebook page.

Beaus Festivale Plus Sticke Alt

Deep cloudy amber. Faint hint of black liquorice on the nose. The alcohol is strong—approaching barley wine levels in taste if not ABV. This is a beer that coats the palate like lead paint—seeping in deeper and deeper with each swig. The barrel ageing has added considerable depth compared to the original Festivale with toasty oak notes throughout.