Tag Archives: craft beer

CHITOWN CHOWDOWN: Burgers and Beers of Doom @ Kuma’s Corner

Man, I have been wanting to go to Kuma’s Corner ever since I first heard about the heavy metal-themed craft beer & burger joint a few years back. So there’s no way I was gonna leave Chicago without checking this place out, bro!!!!

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With so many awesome burgers on the menu, it’s hard to pick just one…but I went with the Sourvein, named after the North Carolina sludgesters. Basically, it’s a thick n juicy bacon cheeseburger topped with fried chicken n waffles, smothered in maple syrup and a spicy donkey sauce, which I scarfed down to the tune of “Deadly Sinners” by 3 Inches of Blood. Man, even the chicken is pretty good on its own…but throw in the beef, bacon and a bite of that waffle, and that just takes it to the next level, bro!!!!

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When it comes to beer, we’re starting off with a Zombie Dust IPA from Indiana’s 3 Floyds Brewing. Clean, crisp and not too hoppy, checking it at 6.5%. Gotta love that awesome artwork too!

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This Blueberry Sleazecake from Wake Brewing is a fruited sour that tastes like blueberry juice, and is deceptively strong at 6.5%. Man, this would go great with some Motley Crüe on the stereo — but it seems like the playlist here is mostly modern melodic death and Viking metal. (They’re pretty heavy on Lamb of God and Amon Amarth.)

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But it only gets heavier from here, bro! This Imperial Blood of the Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing is a red IPA that checks in at 9.5%. This is quite tasty — a nice balance between the malt of an amber and the hops of an IPA. But let’s just say there’s a reason why they serve it in a little snifter…

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And since they don’t have a dessert menu, I am going for some liquid dessert with this Dino S’Mores Russian Imperial Stout from Off Color Brewing. Rich, chocolatey, and 2.5 times as strong as a Guinness — you ain’t drinking this one for breakfast, bro!!!!

CHITOWN CHOWDOWN: Brunching on French toast, bacon and beers, bro!!!

Before heading down to Wrigley Field, we’re hanging out in Wrigleyville at this funky little joint called Uncommon Ground. It’s not the closest bar to the ballpark, but people come here for some super-legit brunch and their own brand of organic craft beer from the in-house Greenstar Brewing.

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Their ham ‘n cheese stuffed French toast is fluffy, syrupy, with some nice bites of grilled ham. The cheese kinda gets lost here, though. I also added a side of bacon — first rule of Flavourtown is Always Add Bacon! — and the crispy bacon added a nice extra texture.

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They call this a Greenstar Beermosa, and it’ll cure yer Summertime Blues, bro! A malty Belgian single that checks in under 5%, with a splash of orange juice for a nice citrusy flavour, which does make it taste kinda like a mimosa. I could drink this all day, bro!!!

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But instead, I switched to a Certifiable APA, a nice, sessionable American Pale Ale that also checks in under 5%. It’s slightly hoppy, without being a total hop bomb — great for a warm day in the sun!

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And before heading out to the ballpark, I’m buttchugging this Flippin’ Bats Lager, a Mexican-style (don’t call it Corona) 3.8% brew. Go Cubs Go, bro!!!!!!

A feast from the Middle East that’s closer to the heart…

Here on Triple B, we’re no strangers to shawarma, and you KNOW this is body by brisket, bro… so when I heard about Fet Zun, this funky little joint on Dupont just a few steps from the subway, we totally had to check it out. This place is serving up a signature Fet Zun Feast with Tahini, Labneh, Whipped Feta, Charred Eggplant, Chirchi, Chopped Salad, Pickles, Olives, Hummus, Chicken Shawarma, Brisket Shawarma, Charred Broccoli, French Fries AND Saffron Rice — shut the front, back and side doors, son!!!!!

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Now, it’s hard to pick a favourite among so many great dips, but the real star of the show here has gotta be the bread. It’s baked fresh and hot to order, and just pulls apart like putty. Man, I could eat this bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner…but I gotta save room for the good stuff, bro!

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On this side, we’ve got a whole pile of brisket, with onions and pickles, some nice saffron rice and charred broccoli. I didn’t have any broccoli, though… Why eat broccoli when you can eat brisket????

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At the same time, they’ve also serving up chicken shawarma, with a nice variety of sauces and pickles, alongside a big bunch of crispy, salty fries. I think I ate about half of these fries by myself, bro…

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This is pretty much the perfect plate right here. You’ve got two kinds of meat, some fries, rice and pretty much no vegetables (unless a pickle counts). I managed to polish off two plates like this — and still had room for dessert!!!

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Dessert isn’t officially part of the Fet Zun Feast, but they do give you two desserts to choose from…so we ordered both. On the right, you’ve got knafeh, a Middle Eastern dessert made with phyllo pastry, stuffed with ricotta and topped with orange blossoms and pistachios. And on the left hand side, they’re funking it up a notch with a halvah cheesecake, a creamy take on a sesame cake with a pistachio crust and all kinds of shaved coconut on top. I liked this one a lot more than the knafeh.

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We’re pairing this food from across the pond with a true Canadian classic — Henderson’s Rush Canadian Golden Ale. I hadn’t had the chance to try this beer before, so when I saw they were serving it up here (for a couple bucks more than the other beers), I had to check it out. To be honest, I think this beer has even less flavour than Molson Canadian — it’s kinda like drinking Kokanee, or even Coors Light. As far as Rush albums go, this one is less 2112, more Signals, bro…

5 course tasting menu…at a BBQ joint!!!???

Now, The Carbon Bar has gotta be the swankiest BBQ joint I’ve ever set foot in. Forget picnic tables, butcher paper and lining up to the counter, this place looks more like some fancy nightclub. But that don’t mean the food ain’t legit — I ordered some real-deal ribs from them during second (or was it third?) lockdown, and even made a couple of their meal kits at home when I had to isolate while awaiting COVID test results after coming back to Canada. (Fuck, I’m glad that shit’s almost over!) So when I heard they were serving up a five-course tasting menu for the reasonable price of 75 dollars, I was all over that like beef on brisket. Dude, that’s like 200 less than I paid at Don Alfonso, bro…

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Now, this may only count as one course, but we’ve actually got three appys here: mozzarella sticks, shishito peppers and KFC — that’s Korean Fried Cauliflower, son! The KFC was nice ‘n crispy, and they added some chili flakes to the shishitos to give ’em a nice little kick. Believe it or not, but the non-vegan mozza sticks were my least favourite thing here…

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Course number two is also a two-for-one, as they put down some shrimp ceviche and pulled pork tacos at the same time. I’m pretty sure this is the exact same pulled pork taco kit I made at home a couple months back…except that they fried the tortillas, while I put them in the microwave. Carbon Bar 1, Greedo Catucci 0.

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Next up was a fish course, which you definitely don’t see at yer average BBQ joint. We only got one piece of salmon per person, but that’s OK with me, since I was saving room for the Pitmaster Platter anyways:

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Now, The Carbon Bar definitely deserves credit for giving their Pitmaster Platter an Extreme Makeover: Flavourtown Edition since I first set foot in here back in 2016. Y’see, six years ago they only gave you three meats — brisket, ribs and fried chicken — and there was hardly enough food to go around. But since then, they’ve upped the ante with smoked sausage and smoked turkey (which is exclusive to the tasting menu; the regular platter comes with pulled pork). Sure, they’ve raised the price to $38 a person for the platter alone, but I actually think that’s a steal, son. Just compare this sad little plate of food from 2016 to the following meaty monstrosity:

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And that’s not even all of it — there was enough food left over for me to go back for seconds! But you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro…

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OK, so these weren’t all just for me — everybody got a lil’ taste. We’ve got mini chocolate brownies, caramel fudge… but what makes it are the bourbon truffle skulls, bro!!!!!

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Dude, this might be the most badass dessert I’ve ever seen. You want my skull? You can’t have it, bro!!!!!

Now, this might already be the longest review in Triple B history, but you’re gonna wanna stick around for a few beers, cuz they’ve partnered with Blood Brothers Brewing to really kick their beer game up a notch…

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We’re starting off with an Autopop Cherry Sour, the only one of these three beers I’ve had before (it was in a smaller can, though). This one’s a nice way to ease you in, cuz it’s only 4% and tastes more like cherry soda.

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Now, I was trying to hold off on the heavy stout until the meat platter arrived, but the problem is, I drink beer too fast. So I polished off this Amaretto coffee stout, Under a House in Northern Italy, with the tacos and ceviche. Maybe not the best pairing… but dude, I could drink this with a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!!!!

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But we’re saving the most funkalicious (funkaliciousist?) for last with this Ajji Majji nitro sour. This beer smells like vanilla and tastes like peaches — I dunno how they do it, but they sure do it good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Thai lamb curry in a bit less of a hurry…

I dunno guy, but it seems like every time I order from Uber Eats, it takes about an hour for my food to get here. OK, so I’ve only ordered from them a couple times since this latest lockdown started…but both times, it took almost an hour. And the last two times before that took over an hour, too. Whatever happened to 30 minutes or it’s free, bro???

Anyways, after three failed attempts to redeem a Chinese New Year’s discount code with Skip the Dishes (I picked from the “featured restos” and ordered the right amount of food, but for some reason the code wasn’t eligible!!!???) I ended up opting for an Uber Eats offer where you save a lucky 8 dollars when you order 30 bucks or more — from certain participating restaurants. First one that popped up with Isaan Der, this funky little Thai joint at Queen and Broadview. I’m always down to try some Thai, so when I saw the Lamb Shank Massaman Curry, I knew it was heading straight down my piehole…some 53 minutes later. (Hey, at least I can start going back to restaurants tomorrow?)

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Now, as much as I love lamb, I would not put this down as one of my top 10 lamb dishes. (Especially not after coming back from Iceland, where they put lamb in everything!) The meat here was NOT fork tender or fall-off-the-bone — despite what it says on the menu, I definitely needed a fork and knife to get in there. As for the curry, I ordered mine mild, since I’ve had some mild Thai food before that was still pretty spicy… but at this place, mild really means mild; there was no heat at all. Well, except for the fact that I paid $1.50 for a container of fresh chilies to bump my order up to 30 bucks. Those babies really kicked it up a notch! And I didn’t realize this dish already came with rice, which is also sold separately, so I ended up with two kinds of rice — sticky AND jasmine. But hey, I can use that extra rice, as well as some of that leftover curry sauce, for dinner the next day… so it’s all good in the hood, bro!!!

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Now, Thai food is often served with a lighter, crisp lager — most typically Tiger Beer, when tends to be my go-to at Asian restaurants that don’t have many beers to choose from. But this heavier curry calls for a richer brew like Doc Perdue’s Bobcat, a West Coast Red Ale from the fine folks at Cowbell Brewing Co. (You KNOW I need more Cowbell, bro!!!!!) You get a nice, malty flavour that takes the heat off those side chilies without being too heavy at 5.5%. Plus, it’s named after some dude’s pet bobcat, which is pretty badass…

ICE ICELAND BABY: Feast fit for a Viking in Vik

Now, Iceland ain’t all about Reykjavik, bro! Sure, it might be to Iceland what Toronto would be to Canada — if Toronto had 20 million people and no other city was over 250K — but to see the sights, like the Black Beach or Skogafoss… you gotta head to Vik, this tiny town of 300 deep in the south of Iceland. And Hotel Katla, just a couple minutes outside of Vik, is ready to welcome you with a real-deal Icelandic dinner buffet, bro!!!

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Now, on this plate you’ve got classics like leg of lamb and dill & garlic cod, along with tater tots and carrots. Sure, there were some other veggies to choose from…but I’ll stick with tater tots.

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On the side plate, we’ve got funky hors d’oeuvres like bacon rolls — dude, this is body by bacon rolls! — pulled lamb blinis (no such thing as too much lamb, bro), smoked salmon, beetroot carpaccio and a few green things, for research purposes.

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert bro…but this chocolate mousse, red berry cake, white chocolate brownie, tiramisu square AND chocolate cake oughtta do’er.

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And we’re washing it all down with an Icelandic Winter Ale from Einstok. They brew this bad boy with smoked Icelandic barely and whiskey-soaked spruce tree tips — sounds like a balanced Icelandic breakfast to me!!!!!

ICE ICELAND BABY: I hope they serve THIS beer in Hell…

Hell may be for children, Pat Bro-natar, but this Hel Winter Porter is just for me. We’re hanging out at the Hotel Skogafoss Bistro Bar, within stumbling distance of the giant waterfall, where I’m crushing this bad boy from Olvishot Brewery. Or should I say bad girl — Hel was the daughter of Loki, after all. Anyways, this beer is pretty rich, and packs a decent punch at 7%, although it’s not quite as heavy as I thought it would be.
Then again, this hearty bowl of kjötsúpa probably took some of the edge off. This traditional Icelandic soup is made with braised lamb — you can never have too much lamb in Iceland!!! — and root vegetables like carrots and turnips, along with some rice. I’m not saying this soup gives you magic powers, but I did climb to the top of the stairs above Skogafoss after eating it…and I weigh like 300 pounds, so it’s kind of a Christmas miracle???
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ICE ICELAND BABY: 4-way Icelandic Christmas beer battle

In case you haven’t guessed by now, Iceland is my kinda place. Sure, it might be mighty cold and windy in the winter…but Icelandic Christmas beers help to make the season bright. It seems that every brewery in the country, from the big players like Gull and Viking to craft breweries such as Smidjan Brugghus, bring out some new festive brewskis every year for the holidays — I might hafta come back next year, bro!
 
In the meantime, here’s my take on four of Iceland’s finest Christmas beers from 2021:
 
 

JOLA GULL

Gull beer is kinda like Iceland’s answer to Molson Canadian — you see it absolutely everywhere — and it seems like people actually drink it; not just at Icelandic Men’s Hockey League games, either. I had one of these at the Blue Lagoon (where it was the only beer on tap), and can confirm that it’s pretty much the same as Canadian.
 
However, Jola Gull, their Christmas beer, actually ain’t bad. I first had one on my Icelandair flight over here, so I grabbed another one to wash down my awesome Icelandic lamb lunch at Geysir; later, it was the only beer offered to me at my last dinner in Reykjavik. It’s a pretty decent amber lager with a nice hit of caramel and a slightly sugary aftertaste. Hey, I liked it enough to drink it three times…
 
 

HALTA JOLA KETTI

The Yule Cat (or Christmas Cat) plays a big part in Icelandic Christmas folklore. Legend has it that this Kitty Gone Wild eats any kids who don’t get any new clothes for Christmas. So next time you think getting someone socks is a bad idea…think again, bro!!!
 
This festive beverage from Smidjan Brugghus is described (in English) as a “Double Dry Hop Kveik Milkshake IPA,” although it clocks in at a suspiciously low 5.5%. But the hazy colour is on point, and you can smell the hops as soon as you crack open the can. And I quite like this beer — it definitely tastes like a good, hoppy IPA…so I guess that low ABV just means you can crush more, bro?
 
 

CHOC HO HO 2021

Another entry from Smidjan. You can probably figure out what kind of beer this is from its name — a peanut butter chocolate milk stout. I mean, does it get much more Christmasey than that???
 
I really got a good whiff of peanut butter when I lifted this glass to my lips, but the taste is a lot closer to a Guinness… and there’s nothing wrong with that. If I was Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and grab a couple of these boys outta the fridge — although I might be slightly worried about incurring the wrath of the Christmas Cat in the process.
 
 

TVEIR VINIR & ANNAR I JOLUM

This might be the most interesting beer on the docket. This Christmas beer from Viking Brugghus, which roughly translates as “Two Friends & Another This Christmas” (according to Google) does not have any English on the can, so when I saw this “appelsinulager” I assumed it was apple flavoured. But, as it turns out, “appelsinu” is the Icelandic word for orange, so that really threw me for a loop…
 
Sure enough, there is a strong, zesty orange flavour to this beer. It’s like a good, summery wheat beer (wrong season, bro?) but with a bit more of a hoppy aftertaste. While it is nice and easy to drink, the flavour profile has got me asking, “Do they know it’s Christmastime at all,” Bro-d Aid???

This bar’s a poet, and they don’t even know it…

Now, beer and pizza are a few of my favourite things, so when I heard about Bar Poet, this funky little joint at Queen and Dovercourt, that was serving up both in ample quantities, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with some bacon garlic fingers, which is practically a whole pizza in itself. You’ve got pizza dough topped with roasted garlic butter, shredded mozzarella and bacon, with some hot sauce and donair sauce for dipping. But you know that’s just a light snack in Flavourtown, bro…

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Now, this place has got 13 different pizzas to choose from, but I had to go with the 3 Little Pigs. Dude, this is body by 3 little pigs! You’ve got bacon, sausage AND pepperoni, with a couple basil leafs thrown in for colour. I totally blew this house down, bro!!!

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We’re washing it down with a few pints of the house Bar Poet IPA. This place has got not one, not two but three house beers, but you can’t go wrong with this nice, hoppy boi. I think I crushed at least 5 of these…

Mother, tell your burger not to walk my way…

Now, I don’t always drink cocktails, but when I heard about Mother, this funky little cocktail bar named after my second favourite Danzig song (Twist of Cain FTW, bro!), you KNOW I gotta check it out! And it turns out they’re serving up a signature brisket and short rib burger…so I think I’ll have one of those.

Now their Mother Burger isn’t all that big, but sometimes good things come in small packages…like Glenn Danzig. Burger is nice n juicy, with minimal toppings on a soft brioche bun, and you can really taste that the meat is a cut above. Whoa-oh, bro!!!!

I was somewhat disappointed that they were sold out of the Lost Craft Neapolitan Stout, so I had to settle for their Skyline IPA, which was not a bad consolation prize. This brut IPA is light and dry, just a little hoppy, and packs an unexpected punch at 6.2% — kinda like that guy who knocked out Danzig.

Of course, you can’t go to a cocktail bar and not order a cocktail… This here’s called Porcelain, and it’s got all kinds of crazy stuff like dry sake, jasmine baiju and Italian violet liqueur, for a nice, sweet, and totally not evil taste. It can bang heads with me any day, bro!!!!

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