Now, I don’t always drink beer outside in the snow, but when I heard that the Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival was bringing six of Alberta’s best brewers to town for two days only, you know I was there with hiking boots on (cuz nobody wears flip-flops in the snow, bro)! You’ve got Big Rock, you’ve got Brewsters, and even a couple I’ve never heard of before…cuz I took a wrong turn somewhere in Moose Jaw and ended up in Toronto back in 2005. But man, this was like a trip down memory lane in Boozy Flavourtown, dude!
But unlike last summer, I wasn’t about to start drinking on an empty stomach. So I giddy on up’ed to Evviva, this funky little brunch spot on Lower Simcoe Street. It looks like a few other craft brew bros had the same idea, cuz the place was pretty packed by 10 am! But you don’t even hafta wait till lunchtime to order this honkey tonk redonkadonk sammish, son! They call it the Crown Burger, and it’s pretty much the King of Brunch. You’ve got a nice, thick, flame-grilled patty with crispy lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles, along with some prepare-to-party Havarti and a fried egg on top! I’m not sure if this counts as breakfast, lunch or dinner…but they close at 3 pm, so it’s probably not dinner, then.
Once I made it through the gate, I kicked off my beerventure with my old friends at Big Rock, who now have their very own brewpub in TO, bro! (Remind me to check that place out sometime soon.) They were serving up Grasshopper, an old Flavourtown favourite, but I decided to try something new, instead. They call this one Cashmere Crooner, which must make it the Rhinestone Cowboy‘s cousin, or something. A lighter, single-hop lager, it’s got a bit of a fruitiness to it, but can still belt out “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie” like nobody’s business, bro!
Next, I hit up Grizzly Paw, this funky little brewery from cross-country ski country–coming straight outta Canmore, son! I went with their Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat Beer, which is kinda like Lakeport Honey Lager…if Lakeport actually tasted good!
Now, I remember hanging out at Brewsters Brewpub in Crowfoot Crossing back in the day. They used to have unlimited soda pop refills, and this killer dry-ice sundae for dessert! But one thing they weren’t serving up back then was this Hawaiian Coconut Porter. It’s like they put a coconut in the Guinness then they shake it all up!!!
Blindman Brewing is this little local brewery up in Lacombe serving up tallboys of some pretty righteous stuff, son! This here’s their Long Shadows IPA, which has a nice, hoppy, citrusy taste and packs an unexpected kick at 7.1 per cent!
Now, The Dandy Brewing Company definitely wins the prize for best beer name. They call this Une Vieille Maitresse, but while she may be old, she’s hardly a cruel mistress. A light, Belgian-style ale with just four per cent alcohol, I could probably pound seven of these and still finish reading Le Petit Prince!
And finally, we’re saving the fruitiest for last with the Aprikat, from Edmonton’s Alley Kat Brewing Company. They use natural apricot extract in this wheat beer to make it actually taste like apricots, bro! And apparently they use it to make Apricot Beer Waffles–gonna hafta get me some of those next time I’m in Deadmonton, son!
Now, you wouldn’t think I’ve still got room after pounding a buncha Alberta craft beers and a righteous, real-deal brunch burger, but you know I’ve always got room for pulled-pork pierogis! And there’s this saucy little joint on Dundas, just west of Dovercourt, that was doing ’em up right before your eyes! Because when haven’t you wished you could get some righteous BBQ inside a pillowy soft potato? I know I have, bro!
But of course, I left just a little bit of room for dessert. Can you say deep-fried cheesecake balls, bro? Even with the warm, cripsy coating, the cake inside stayed cool ‘n creamy. It’s like a Christmas Day miracle in Flavourtown, son!!!!