Tag Archives: Craft Beer Festival

I’m soooo gonna Tap That Cask, bro!!!!

Now, since Doug Ford shut down large gatherings in Ontario (even tailgate parties serving Buck-a-Beer!), it meant that there weren’t too many folks at Duke’s Refresher for their Tap That Cask Festival yesterday. Which just means more craft beer for me, bro!

This awesome event brought over a dozen cask beers from breweries all over Ontario, and sample cups were just two bucks. Let’s just say I did my part to support the provincial economy…

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My first flight, from left to right:

  • Nickel Brook Gold & Glory Cuvee — barrel bourbon aged, very sour, definitely a bit of tang, also a bit of a pruney Farmhouse taste
  • Innocente Irish Red Ale brewed with Lucky Charms — solid red ale with a bit of sweetness, but doesn’t taste like Lucky Charms
  • Halo Event Horizon Stout with lactose — milkier Guinness with a bit of a kick, chocolately notes a la Lions Winter Ale, but a bit smoother
  • Black Lab APA with lemon, grapefruit & orange — very fruity, citrusy, crushable
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Flight number two, coming right through…
  • Muddy York Best Bitter — English pub style beer, right combo of malt and bitter
  • Elora Raspberry Lodestar Sour — very fruity, definitely taste the raspberry
  • Blood Brothers Fruity DIPA — very citrusy, grapefruit or passion fruit flavour, not super hoppy
  • Beau’s Wag the Wolf White IPA — nice hoppy, citrusy flavour. Solid IPA

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Flight number three still tastes good to me!!!

  • Left Field Rally Cap Hibiscus Pale Ale — Not as tart or as sour as Side Launch, a more balanced, refreshing fruity beer
  • Skeleton Brew Crew Knucklebone IPA — another typical IPA, nothing more, nothing less
  • Rorschach Hawaiian Punch Reverie DIPA — definitely get the fruit punch, tanginess
  • Collingwood Downhill Pale Ale — Pretty standard IPA, nothing wrong with that

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Of course, you KNOW I couldn’t crush all those cask beers on an empty stomach, son! Now, the best onion rings I’ve ever had were at this funky burger bar in Buffalo, but this tall tower of super-crispiness, with a nice side of chipotle donkey sauce, might just be second best!

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Holy guacamole, bro! This guac rocks with big, creamy chunks of avocado goodness, to go with some nice, lightly seasoned chips…and they even throw in a tin of salsa roja for that double-dipping action!

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Now, it’s hard to pick a favourite among so many great brews, but if I had to choose, it would be Halo’s Event Horizon Stout — I liked it so much, I ordered a full pint! Dude, this is like Stouts Gone Wild — super-creamy, with the lactose adding an extra richness that you don’t get with Guinness. And since St. Patty’s Day is probably cancelled, this might be the only stout I slam until April, bro!!! 😦 😦 😦 😦

Pounding back some Alberta brewskis at the Winter Craft Beer Fest!

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!!!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!!!!

Five funky food pairings from the Roundhouse Craft Beer Fest

I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Old Style Pilsner. Or gimme six Bud Light Strawberry Daiquiris and the bill, bro. I won’t go outta my way to buy craft beer unless I’m stuck at some hipster dive bar on Ossington where I’ve never heard of anything on tap. Then maybe I’ll order a Steamwhistle, or something…

But when I heard that there was gonna be all kinds of funky food trucks at the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, I knew I had to come check it out. It’s 20 bucks to get in, but then the drinks are super-cheap–they’ll fill up your cup for just two beer tokens:

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Now they don’t take craft beer tokens at the local food trucks, so you still gotta have some cash on hand. But with most culinary offerings selling for 10 bucks or less, I really can’t complain. So I started off by hitting up the FeasTO food truck. These cats are known for dumplings, but when I saw they were serving up some popcorn chicken, I knew they’d be kickin’ it up a notch:

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The chicken is crunchalicious, straight from the fryer, and they’ve got a nice sriracha mayo on top. I paired this with a Righteous Rockwell Pilsner, which is so underground, you can’t even Google it, bro! The beer had a nice, rich flavour, with even more bite than Saskatchewan’s national brew. It deserves to be called righteous, for sure!

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Now, I dunno about you, but whenever I see a sign for Bloomin’ Bacon, I always give them my money. This funky Hungarian food truck Chimney Stax makes this crusty, doughy, mass of goodness, then puts a buncha bacon on top. What could possibly be bad about that? And then you’ve got this Forgotten Lake Blueberry Ale beside it. This stuff’s super-strong–7.5 per cent, son! And it’s got a nice tartness from the blueberries, too. I’ve never had a purple beer before, but I gotta say, this shit’s super legit!

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Now, the last time I went to The Pie Commission, I had an outta-bounds beef ‘n beer pie. This time, I switched it up with some smokey steak ‘n cheese…and a side of beer. This pastry is equal parts flaky and steaky, with super-tender beef that just melts in your face. And you gotta have a dark beer with such a rich dish, so I went with Wellington’s Imperial Russian Stout, which tips the scales at 8 per cent. Just three beers in, and I’m already all tipsy like Jon Montgomery after winning a medal in Whistler… Oh, wait!

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So now I’m heading past Dobro Jesti, my favourite Slovenian food truck, when this guy says to me, “Hey buddy, do you want a garlic donut?” Do I want a garlic donut!? Dude, Garlic Donut is my middle name! After devouring his doughy offering, I immediately went and bought more. Can you believe they give you this many for just six bucks?

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These bite-sized garlic bites are outta bounds, bro! You’ve got a hot, puffy pastry, deep-fried to perfection, with enough garlicy goodness to make Guy Fieri cry. Paired with a Little Norway pale lager from Sawdust Brewing Co, which is crisp and refreshing, with just enough hops so you know you’re not drinking Coors Light. Werd to ya mora!

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Now, at this point I was getting pretty full, but when I saw the Koi Gourmet food truck serving up some real-deal Korean meals, you know I had to make room for bulgogi, son! This funkalicious sandwich is served open faced on a scallion pancake wrap, with pickled carrots, mango, daikon, cucumber and cilantro, sorta like an outta-bounds bahn mi. The best way to attack this monstrosity is to fold it up and shove it down like an oversized taco, all while chugging a refreshing Radicle Wheat Beer from Henderson Brewing Co. The citrusy flavours go nicely with the pickled veggies to make this a righteous Korean-German experience, kinda like Psy jamming with Kraftwerk. All that’s missing are the pistachios, bro!