Monday, November 16, 2009

Beering in Ontario: C'Est What

I knew I wasn't that much of a lightweight. Before I went to the Beerbistro for some really classy beering, I made it to the brewpub C'Est What(SAY WHAT?!?!) on Front Street in downtown Toronto.

I barely found the joint as the majority of the spot is underground. Despite the fact that the area on Front Street looks to be very popular. The interior was dark with a blue, green, and amber lighting. 35 beers on tap with 6 of their own. They had 5 beers on cask, and 3 on nitro. That's what I'm screaming.

Beer Log: Hanging in Toronto
State: Thirsty, dry throat

I started out with some samplers of the brewpub's own stuff, and a couple of full pints.

Al's Cask Ale
Straw colored with a muffiny nose. The beer is very smooth on the mouthfeel with a hoppy aftertaste. Low carbonation as is normal with cask beers. The taste has a light grass and bread thing, with a 60 second bitterness in the aftertaste. I'll give this a 2 Star on the plainess of it all.

Homegrown Hemp Ale
I saw this one all over interwebs when I was looking up beers to try in Toronto. The name says it all, this beer has some hemp in there. Doubtful you'll get high or anything, but just to try: Straw colored beer with a white head. Very light veggie nose. The taste is a little spicy with light pilsner character to it. The carbonation is low again yet it leaves my mouth feeling slightly sticky. Not sticky-icky-icky ooh-wee. But just a little sticky. The body is medium and smooth like a wheat beer. 3 Stars.

Not feeling to blitzed I burned through the sampler of the

Caraway Rye Beer

Thick mouthfeel you notice first, then it leaves you dry. I got a low spice and malt. 2 Stars as the last few sips are kinda sour.

At this point I wrote this passage in my notebook
"My palette is too American for this Canadian Beer. Ironically this beer would be fantastic in Texas with these English styles and the abundance of pilsner." I figure the irony comes from the fact that it's usually cold as all get out in Canada, and they would be well served with warming stouts and high gravity stuff. Anyway, time for another three beer sampler, but I'm going darker with the nitro beers.

Coffee Porter
I just need some stronger flavors here. Low sour and medium carbonation. A good mix of chocolate and coffee. The beer has a nice softness to it. 3 Stars.

Hazelnut Chocolate Ale
Nose is strong cocoa powder. Soft bitterness sneaking into a strong chocolate flavor. Very smooth and surprisingly dry. 3 Stars.

Old Town Brown Ale
Medium cinnamon and spice, as well as a little gritty on the tongue. Smooth again but loacking in flavor after the last two. Should've got this one first. No rating.

Excuse me... had to put the baby in her crib and grab a Lagunitas Brown Sugga, damn thats good beer. Like an idiot, I didn't think there was any affect with those samplers, so I few full pints of some other Canadian craft beer wouldn't hurt.

St. Ambroise Pale Ale
The only St Amb I've had was their Apricot Ale, which was on a dusty shelf at a beer store in Lafayette, LA. Then I held on to it for nearly a year before drinking it. Needless to say it was pretty terrible with a pinch of apricot. Anyway, the pale ale was copper/amber color, with a reddish white head. Rather malty nose. The taste is a light caram-malt and spice, with a pinch of grassy hops in the back of the tongue. Basically a Low 3 Star American Blonde ale.

My kingdom for a bock. Cinnamon, malt, bread nose on a dark ruby colored beer. Low tan head. Fruity flavor (like sweet cherries) right up front, that seems almost peachy/apricoty on the second sip. Low carbonation. A few more sips and I get the light bread and notice the moderate body, followed by a very light hoppy aftertaste. 3 Stars. Feeling this one for sure.

Some random rock due came in looking like 140 pound versions of the Undertaker and I asked the waitress for her favorite beer. Although I'd rather not try a pilsner at this late in the game, why not? Clear, straw and a touch of sourness on the nose. Good hops and low malt. Light-medium odies. GOes down really easy. 2 Stars.

Overall, C'Est What was pretty nice. The beer was okay, but is probably the balls for the Canadian pallete. Just love the selection


assurbanipaul said...

C'est What? was my favorite place when I visited Toronto years ago. Four or five beers on cask can't be beat!

And don't dismiss St. Ambrose (MacAuslan Brewing) so quickly. It was the best Canadian microbrew I found my entire trip.

The American Don said...

I'll keep working my way through the St Ambrose. I would say Unibrou has them beat with the Maudite and Trois Pistoles alone when it comes to Canadian breweries.

I'll have to see if I can grab some S-A when in Louisiana next time I'm there.