Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beering in Ontario: Toronto

Absurdly late I know.

Beer Log: July 2009

So I got into Toronto around 10PM at the Strathacona hotel. Lovely hotel. Kind of one of the classic old style hotels in downtown that everybody likes so much. Those hotels are like the best place for a tourist visit to a new city, yet it's cheap enough for a one night stand.

The next day I have a nice breakfast and take a very long run along the harbor on Lake Ontario. So long in fact that I was sore for days. But it was gorgeous run. Cool architecture on your right, and a non-Hurricane producing body of water on your left. Anyway, I clean up and whatdoyaknow, it's Beer 30.

I decide to walk it out and make the 0.7 KM trek up to the Beer Bistro for lunch and *gasp* beer. Kinda sucks I gotta roll on the solo, but whatever. I've traveled by myself a lot, but it's too early for me to get all chatty at the bar, which is what I normally do. I get there and this place is very classy. This is what we need, great beer and a lot of class. I counted about 20 beers on tap, tons of bottles, and about 30 rare find/cellar beers. The snob in me was very satisfied. I actually opt to sit outside. It's like 74 deg, sunny, perfect.

The only and the Don mean ONLY time I'm ordered Saison right out of the gate is when I'm feeling like I'm big money. This one had lots of fruit, banana and some sourness on the smell. The color is tinged gold with a white head (I'm guessing the blackness of the oats didn't make it). The taste starts off with banana and ends wheaty. The bitter aftertaste develops then dissipates. It's a rather dry beer with moderate carbonation. Low 3 Star.

Moving to something a little more to my liking. This beer has a banana and vegetal nose. Not sure how bananas mixed with green beans would smell, but something like that. Cloudy gold with a lasting thin white head. Moderate body with a good witbier taste, but it doesn't do much for me. Just too dry again. Low 3 Star. Didn't help that my last drops were watery.

Somewhere in here, I got the mussels with french fries. Time to turn up the juice with a hoppy beer. Strong malt and hop nose. The taste is a very strong grassy hop with a low malt. Somewhat unbalanced toward the hops. Low carbonation and very smooth (probably some wheat in there). Hoppiest beer I've had in the province thus far. Guess I forgot the ranking.

OK, when the mussels and fries made it out here, I had to REALLY amp it up with one of their rare find beers. They had this one in the cellar and it was so good I drank the whole bottle. I think it was 750 ml, 11.5% ABV.

I'm a big fan of having champagne with mussels, but word is that this beer is the perfect substitute for champagne. Turns out BeerAdvocate says this beer is in the Biere de Champagne style. I didn't know anyone was actually trying to make a beer like this.

Gold color, lots of head, very expensive. YES YES YES, spicy flavor, high carbonation, perfect for my Belgian White Mussels. The waitress has this bottle in an ice bucket on the side of the table, and she came back and refilled my champagne flute for me. Sweet. Acid, apple, and grape flavor notes throughout. A perfect foil. 5 Stars for sure.

This is what we need. Some fantastic high end beer, the perfect answer to the foolishness you see for 99 Cents for a 6 pack. Fast forward to September 2009 and we have a bottle of DeuS in our house now that we bought from a wine shop in Houston. Fantastic.

So good infact I downed the whole bottle. I make it back to the hotel, send a couple of notes, and consequently pass out for about 5 hours.

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