A quick post as I write after almost 12 hours of travel from Toronto to Chicago to San Diego. I’m here until Wednesday and glad to have my feet on the ground.
It’s an exciting trip for me – a conference that I am thrilled about attending in addition to receiving a wonderful honour (thanks to my team at work for that one!) and I am having a tour and dinner at Stone Brewery tonight! Stone are the people behind I am a Craft Brewer (I maintain it’s the most inspirational 4 minutes on the Internet for beer fiends and some foodies), Vertical Epic (the beer you collect for 11 years before drinking in a single night) and Stone World Bistro & Gardens. They are consistently named as one of the best (if not the best) brewers in the world and certainly in North America.
In short, these guys are the superheroes of beer.
I offered to take a few samples of Canadian craft brews to them without thinking. Once I realized that opening my mouth to offer a taste of our local product to some of the best in the world I realized the enormity of the task. I also struggled with the 100ml limit of liquids in your baggage. A few phone calls confirmed it was worth a shot and I packed with a lot of garbage bags – Im thrilled that all 8 made it in tact!
Here is what I brought – picked on interest as much as anything else:
Neustadt Springs 10W30 Malty Grain Premium Dark Ale 473 ml can. 5.5%
Possibly the ugliest website in the world (even “better” with sound): http://www.neustadtsprings.com/
Claim to be the oldest brewery “building” in Canada. This beer is based on engine oil. The draft handle (which was rarely in pubs/bars) was shaped like an oil can for a long time. Big flavor and dark as sin.
Great Lakes Brewery Devil’s Pale Ale – 666 – 473 ml can. 6%
They seemed to put every 6 they could in this one. 6 malts. 666 kilograms of malt. 6.66 kilos of hops. 66.6 minutes of boiling. You get the idea. They also claim they came up with the idea on June 6, 2006. So it’s my shoutout to the Vertical Epic…
St Ambroise Vintage Ale 2009 – 20th Anniversary Edition – 341 ml bottle. 9.8%
From Quebec (the French region of Canada) this is a special batch of their Vintageline which they package once per year. This can be cellared or drank immediately. Should age well.
The rest come from a single brewery – Mill Street Brewery out of Toronto.
I think you’d get along with these guys – the brew master knows I was bringing these to you and I’ll pass on his contact if you’d like. They have a public brewery in a fantastic area of Toronto and a decent pub to match with it. Canadian Brewer of the year in 2007 and 2008 and multiple winners for their beers… Mill Street is in the heart of Toronto in 150+ year old brownstone district of Toronto.
Tankhouse Ale – 341 ml bottle. 5.2%
Peoples Choice Winner 2009 Ontario Brewing Awards
Gold Canadian Brewery Awards – North America Style Pale Ale or Bitter
Belgian Wit – 341 ml bottle (2 of them). 5%
Gold Medal 2009 Ontario Brewing Awards.
Coffee Porter – 341 ml bottle (2 of them). 5.5%
Gold Canadian Brewery Awards – Porter.
Proof that beer is a breakfast food again.