Category Archives: personal beer

Looking Back at 2012

So looking back at 2012.

My favorite beers I tried for the first time were (no particular order):

My Favorite beer events were:

Now looking back at my 2012 beer resolutions. Since I wrote them a year ago I never referred back to them and forgot most of them! I only fulfilled 6/13!

New Year 2012 Beer Resolutions

1. Do the Beer Makes History Better Toronto tour *nope

2. Do a Northern Ontario Brewery road trip – Lake of Bays, Muskoka Brewery, Flying Monkeys and Sawdust City. *nope

3. Visit The Blue Monk in Buffalo again. *sadly no

4. Road trip to Southern Tier Brewery. *agh..again no

5. Continue to facilitate corporate beer tastings *yes I did this year! whoot

6. Attend 2 out of province/country beer festivals. *yes – mondial and Great British Beer Festival

7. Read Last Call: Rise and Fall of Prohibition (which I bought 4 months ago!) *crap…no

8. Re-read Hops and Glory. *yes I did in England

9. Brew beer (kind of) – At Black Creek or using a Beer Making Kit. *YES!

10. Attend more beer dinners to expand my knowledge of food and beer pairing. *didn’t attend any in 2012

11. Attend a Cameron’s cask night. *nope

12. Beercation trip to California. *no!!!!!

13. Go to Granite brewery. Believe it or not I’ve never been !!! *yep

14. Blog more often. *yes

15. Drink more beer 🙂 *i want to say yes 🙂

I have some work to do this year…and I’m looking forward to another great year!! Happy new year all!



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2012 Beer New Year’s Resolutions

The last day of 2011 I spent brunching and blogging for After we finished our blogging we headed over to Bar Volo to try to take advantage of the fantastic beer and bottle selection.

2011 was a fantastic year and I’m looking forward to an even better one in 2012 (if that is even possible).

Here are a few beer resolutions I set for myself and I’m sure this list will get longer and longer as the year progresses.

New Year 2012 Beer Resolutions

1. Do the Beer Makes History Better Toronto tour

2. Do a Northern Ontario Brewery road trip – Lake of Bays, Muskoka Brewery, Flying Monkeys and Sawdust City.

3. Visit The Blue Monk in Buffalo again.

4. Road trip to Southern Tier Brewery.

5. Continue to facilitate corporate beer tastings

6. Attend 2 out of province/country beer festivals.

7. Read Last Call: Rise and Fall of Prohibition (which I bought 4 months ago!)

8. Re-read Hops and Glory.

9. Brew beer (kind of) – At Black Creek or using a Beer Making Kit.

10. Attend more beer dinners to expand my knowledge of food and beer pairing.

11. Attend a Cameron’s cask night.

12. Beercation trip to California.

13. Go to Granite brewery. Believe it or not I’ve never been !!!

14. Blog more often.

15. Drink more beer 🙂

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for being apart of my beer life.

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January 1, 2012 · am

2011 Wrap up

Just looking back at my beer related events this year. The best of them all was Volo Cask Days by far. I can’t stress what a great event it was – atmosphere, beers, people!!! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

Some other favorites were:

  • Brewing with Paul Dickey – I had the greatest opportunity to help brew a beer with Paul Dickey, a brewer that definitely knows his beer and what he’s doing. On top of it all he’s an awesome guy.
  • Toronto Beer week – In particular the bars staying open ’til the wee hours of the morning created an amazing atmosphere.
  • My Prud’Homme beer dinner at Beer Bistro. Roger treated us to Sam Adams Utopias and Brian Morin treated us to a few bottles of Westvleteren 12!
  • Facilitating various corporate tasting – love introducing people to craft beer.
  • Montreal pub crawling with my drinking buddy.
  • The American Craft Beer festival in Boston.

Best new beer I had in 2011?!! Black Oak’s Cafe au Lait – Black Oak night @ Volo!

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Ontario Dark Beers

I wanted to do a tasting of 3 dark beers I buy on a regular basis. My buying decisions for these beer are completely random and is almost solely based on which one I come across first as oppose to taste. So I thought I would be tasting of all three of these beer back to compare them all.

Here are my tasting notes all 5%:

Hockley Valley Dark – light brown head, dark cherry color; aroma is dominated by chocolate, and vanilla and has hints of espresso: taste again has chocolate flavors up front and molasses sweetness that isn’t too overpowering.

Muskoka Dark – medium brown tight head, dark brown with red highlights; aroma has roasted and woody notes with faint sweetness; roasted and nutty notes dominate in flavor and there is a slight sweetness from beginning to end; this beer has a lingering bitter flavor to it.

Wellington County Ale Dark – a light brown foam with some big bubbles, medium cherry wood; the aroma is very subtle but pumpernickel and cherry flavors come through; the taste has a lot of biscuit, bread and nutty flavors with some cherry notes and faint caramel sweetness.

From a comparative stand point:
Color – Muskoka Dark was the darkest followed by hockley Dark then wellington County Ale.
Head – Muskoka has the darkest head and then Hockley Dark followed closely by Wellington County Ale.
Mouthfeel – Muskoka has the heaviest and Wellington County Ale had the lightest (and most carbonation) with Hockley Dark being in the middle.
Taste/Aroma – the Muskoka Dark and Hockley Valley Dark have the strongest aroma and taste. Hockley Dark being the most sweeter out of the two. The Wellington County Ale is the lightest beer in both taste and aroma. This would be a great beer to give to someone to introduce them to dark beers.

Overall I loved the Muskoka Dark. I could see myself drinking a few of these in a row. The Hockley Valley Dark is also an excellent beer however it’s slightly sweet for my palate to drink more than one.

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German Style Wheat Beers

This week I facilitated a tasting on 4 German Style Wheat beers for my  Level 3 Prud’homme Beer Certification Course.
To help me prepare I facilitated a tasting at home first. In this picture you have (from left to right) Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Schneider Weisse, Paulaner Hefeweissbier and Muskoka Summer Weiss – then they repeat going in the opposite order.

The BJCP guidelines for German Weissbier:
Appearance: Pale color that ranges from straw to very dark golden amber.
Taste: Strong banana and clove flavor, some flavors of citrus, bubblegum and vanilla might be in existence.

Here is a bit about German wheat beers:

  • They have 50-65% wheat.  Germans insist that at least 50% wheat is included unlike other wheat beers that can have as low as 40%.
  • The original wheat beer is from Bavaria known as Hefeweizen.
  • in 1516 the Bavian Purity Act stated that beer be made with hops, barley malt and water – Brewing wheat beer was illegal!
  • The German Royal family were the only ones who were exclusively allowed to brew and consume wheat beers.
  • in 1872 Georg Schneider (Schneider and Sohns) acquired the rights to brew wheat beer and started up his own brewery with his son.

A bit about each beer and the brewery:

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier  – Weihenstephaner  is the oldest operating brewery in the world. it has been operating since 768. It acquired it’s brewing license in 1040. This beer smells and taste like banana bread. Has some nutmeg upfront and slight salty notes in the last sip. It has a big finish to it.

Schneider Weisse is the oldest wheat beer brewed in Munich. In 1944 it was bombed during the war and relocated 2 hours north to the city of Kelheim. This beer was the darkest beer of all four. Its aroma smelt more like ripe bananas. There was a bit of clove in the inital sip and in the end had an orange peel flavor to it.

Paulaner Hefeweissbier – Paulaner brewery has been in existence since 1634. Monks use to brew beer with a high alcohol content (known today as Bock beer) to help them get through Lent. They would sell the leftover beer in their taverns and it became vastly popular in Germany. In 1800 the Monastery was taken over by the State of Bavaria. Six years later a brewer bought the monastery and turned it into a brewery and continuing brewing this original Bock beer. This hefeweissbier has been brewing since 1984. What is interesting to note about this brewery is it is the first brewery in the world to brew a non-alcoholic wheat beer. Both the aroma and the taste in this hefeweizen are dominated by clove flavors. It is also very spicy and grainy. The banana is in existence but very faint.

Muskoka Summer Weiss – This is Muskoka’s summer seasonal release. You can read my review here. An excellent summer beer that is true to style.

Out of all of them preferred the Paulaner Hefeweizen the best. I liked that it was more spicy over sweet and didn’t seem as heavy as the other 3.

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Belgian Style Wheat Beers

Last night I did a presentation on Belgian style wheat beers in my Level 3 Prud’homme Beer Certification Course.

I facilitated a tasting on 4 beers and gave a short presentation.

From left to right are Kiuchi Hitachino Nest White Ale, Mill Street Belgian Wit, Rickard’s White  and Shock Top Belgian White.

While preparing for this presentation I learnt a lot about the person responsible for reviving Belgian style wheat beers (White beers) in Hoegaarden. Here is a bit of history about Pierre Celis and Hoegaarden beers:
The village of Hoegaarden had been known for its witbieren (white beers). In the 1700 and 1800s they had 36 wheat beer breweries. Due to the post war economy and rise of lager production and consumption, the last wheat beer brewery closed in 1957 (Brewer – Louis Tomsin). Pierre Celis (a villiage milkman) wanted to revive the style of white beers and bring it back into the village. He spend the next few years brewing white beer by using equipment that that he used for milk processing.

Once he perfected the white beer receipe which was called Oud Hoegaards Bier (Old Hoegaarden Beer), Celis opened up his first commerical brewery called Celis Brewery (which changed it’s name to De Kluis in 1978). The demand for white beer increased rapidly and by 1974 Celis was brewing 10,250 hectolitres of Hoegaarden. The demand grew outside of Belgium and spread all over Europe.

In 1985 there was a fire in Brouwerij De Kluis and Celis lost everything. Due to lack of financial funds to rebuild the brewery and no financial aid, Celis sold the brewery to the brewers at Stella Artois. Stella Artois, who were taken over by Interbrew in 1988, immediately registered the name Hoegaarden as a  trademark.

With the proceeds he made from the sale Celis moved to Texas and started up his own Brewery called Celis Brewery (again) so he could continue making witbier with the original Hoegaarden receipe. At the same time the original Hoegaarden receipe was still being brewed in Belgium by InBev. Celis Brewery in Austin was short lived. It was taken over and closed by Miller.

In 2005 InBev announced they wanted to close the brewery and move it to Jupille. The announcement sparked protests from Hoegaarden locals and the move never happened. InBev had also changed the original Hoegaarden recipe by removing oats and changing the hops.

Pierre Celis is often referred to as The King of Belgium Wheat Beers. Unfortunately Pierre died this year on April 9.


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Beer in Asia – 啤酒, bia, เบียร์

For the past 3 weeks I’ve been backpacking in Asia. I visited China (Guangzhou), Hong Kong, South Vietnam, All of Cambodia and Thailand (Bangkok and surrounding area).

I had no idea what to expect when it came to my beer options. I knew it would be majority lager choices similar to my previous trips in Asia – Indonesia and India.

Here are the list of beers I  tried in each country:
China/Hong Kong – Tsingtao, Pearl River, Sam Miguel, Asahi, perhaps a few others that had but the label in Chinese that I couldn’t read.
Vietnam – Saigon, 333, Tiger Crystal, Biere Larue Export, BGI
Cambodia – Angkor, Leo, Phnom Penh, Bayon, Ankor Smooth, Black Panther, Beerlao
Thailand – Tiger, Singha, Chang

Here are some of my observations on beer in SE Asia:

China/Hong Kong

  • Price = $0.75
  • Percentage = 3.3% to 3.6%
  • The beers came mostly in cans.
  • There was a European options in Hong Kong (ie. Tetley, Kronenbourg 1664)  however it was very expensive – $6-$7.
  • Beer service – you had to ask for a glass everytime you ordered a beer, even at an expensive/high end restaurant.


  • Price = $0.75 to $1
  • Percentage = 4.0% to 4.7%
  • Beers came mostly in bottles and you had the option of a big or small bottle. I didn’t find too many places with draft beer.
  • Beer service – all beers game with a glass. Inside the glass was a big piece of ice taking up half the glass! At first I thought this was for touristy places. However we ate lunch at a local cafe and even the locals were served beer this way! When I took out the ice or asked for no ice they found this a bit puzzling.


  • Price = $1.50 to $2, happy hour draft = $0.50
  • Percentage = 5% to 8%
  • Beers came in bottles and cans and were named after big cities! In Cambodia I had my first Ale – Black Panther (8%)! It was in a local food market and was recommended by a local as being ‘The best beer in Cambodia.’
  • In the local restaurants they serve salted fried worms as a beer snack.
  • Beer service– Again no beers came with a glass unless you asked or if it was happy hour draft beer.


  • Price = $2.00 to $3.00, Pitcher = $6
  • Percentage = 5% – 7.6%
  • Beers came mostly in draft form in almost all restaurants – Usually only one option – Chang, which apparently won a Gold Metal at the Australia International beer awards, as indicated on the pitcher.
  • Beer service– Almost all Pitchers came with 2 frozen glasses !!!

 In General I observed that all restaurants we went to you have the option of beer or cocktails. Wine wasn’t readily available. Our final night in China we were looking for a place that served wine. We went to 3 places and we were unsuccessful! We were told if we want wine we need to bring our own.

I think the best beer I had was Ankor Smooth which I found in North Cambodia only and came in a can. The second best would be Chang – served in a non-frozen glass.

Lastly, here are a few beer pictures: 

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