Why right now is a great time to drink Canadian beer

Gauge this
ave you  been down at the pub lately and noticed that your favourite pints are tasting a little better than usual?

Maybe you picked up a six pack at the LCBO and your usual two evening beers turned into three evening beers because your regular brew was just tasting so darn great right now?

Well, as easy as it is to think that the vague scent of spring in the air might be the culprit for your improved drinking experience, I’m going to suggest to you that there’s another reason.

The reason that your beer tastes better than usual is probably that your beer actually is better than usual right now. Continue reading


Filed under Craft Brewing

The Friday Link Roundup 4.11.14

The Friday Link Roundup is a [newish] feature wherein Ben’s Beer Blog lazily points you to other beery things worth reading on the interwebs this week.


Geog In what is probably the most detailed study of its kind, these academics analyzed almost a million “geocoded beer tweets” to determine what beer brands most get discussed on social media all across the United States. via Pacific Standard.
Stouts A year after making a glass (allegedly) perfect for IPAs, Spiegelau has teamed up with Left Hand Brewing Co. and Rogue to craft this glass that`s (allegedly) perfect for stouts. 
wilderness Esquire takes a look at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., aka RateBeer’s best new brewery in the world.
jsj And in local news…dissatisfied with biased polls commissioned by both sides in the Beer Store vs. OCSA debate, Jordan St. John just went ahead and commissioned his own neutral poll.
fridge On the foodie front, The New York Times takes an enlightening look inside the fridges of 11 of the NY’s top chefs.


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Ben’s guide to talking like a beer snob

photo 4

Last week, I hosted an event organized by Orchestra Marketing that looked to combine the typically forced act of “networking” with the slightly more enjoyable act of drinking beer. Appropriately, they called the event “BeerWorking” and what it boiled down to was essentially non-romantic speed dating wherein the participants received a different beer each time they rotated to a new table of people to meet.

My job, as the evening’s host, was to fill the participants in on some of the finer points of beer tasting (disclosure: I was paid to do this. I don’t wander the streets looking for people to preach beer stuff at [much]).

The event was pretty laid back and pretty much guaranteed to be a success (easy money for me! *mimes guitar solo*) given that the organizers were on the ball, the space was decent, the room was full of people eager to meet other people, and we were all sampling tasty beer from the good folks at Black Oak Brewery; who make some downright decent beverages. Continue reading

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Filed under Beer

The Friday Link Roundup 3.28.14

The Friday Link Roundup is a [new] feature wherein Ben’s Beer Blog lazily points you to other beery things worth reading on the interwebs this week.


Over at The New York Times, famed graphic designer Milton Glaser sounds off on craft brewery label art. If you’ve ever wanted to read things like “It’s also sort of dealing with masculinity, heroic figures and death,” in relation to beer labels, click away!
 Evil Twin Also in The New York times, author Jonah Weiner explores the interesting relationship between the twin brothers responsible for Danish brewery Mikkeller and Brooklyn-based Evil Twin brewery. Featuring a lead image of Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso in a Bellwoods Brewery t-shirt. Coolness.
2014321-steam-whistle-blue-jays There’s been a lot of hullaboo this week about Steam Whistle getting the boot from the Rogers Centre. Check out the article that AHEM first broke the story over on blogTO. It’s probably best to avoid the comments section.
DOCKST There’s a Walking Dead-themed beer brewed with actual brains in it. West Philly’s Dock Street Brewing Co. made a 7.2% American Pale Stout that contains wheat, oats, flaked barley, organic cranberries, and smoked goat brains.
dude-food On the foodie front, Alan Richman of GQ talks about the pretension of egotarian cuisine–the self-indulgent dishes currently arising from the male-dominated, competitive school of cooking.


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Scotchy scotch scotch: Tasting the Balvenie line-up

Three Balvenies

Unlike my discovery of craft beer, which can pretty handily be traced to the time I started writing about beer and has therefore been well documented, I’m not exactly sure how or when I started to like scotch.

Perhaps it’s true that a taste for scotch is something that you simply develop as you get older because without even noticing it over the years, I seem to have gone from someone who didn’t drink scotch, to someone who has a relatively decent assortment of the stuff.

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Filed under Liquor

Bar Hop announces new “Hop Talk” series

Bar Hop bartender Matt Bod laughing at something hilarious I said

Bar Hop bartender Matt Bod laughing at something hilarious I said

Bar Hop, the craft beer destination that won the Golden Tap award in 2013 for the Best Bar for Draught Beer Selection in Ontario, has announced a new monthly event series.

Billed as “Hop Talk,” the series will be a mini tap takeover of sorts wherein a featured brewer will not only have five of their beers on tap, but will also be present to talk about the beer with customers.

The event will be free to attend and in addition to the standard 5oz sample portion sizes, the organizers have mercifully allowed patrons to also order an actual effing pint. Continue reading

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Filed under Events

The Ontario Craft Brewers enjoy their ninth annual token gesture at Queen’s Park


Last night, the Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) were welcomed to Queen’s Park for their ninth annual tasting event wherein the attendees vote to choose the beer that will be featured at the Legislative Assembly for the next year.

In theory, the event is a great way for OCB members to get face to face with provincial politicians and the fun voting process is a nice show of support from provincial pols and the Speaker of the House for the province’s craft brewers. The truth is, the event is not much more than a token gesture and it’s one that’s ultimately frustrating for anyone interested in seeing actual change to the province’s beer industry.

First, it needs to be said, the OCB is doing some great things. They help promote their members (for a fee) and have created marketing campaigns and initiatives that have had real results growing the province’s craft beer scene, creating jobs, and spreading the word about the great beer that is made here. At the same time, the OCB seems at times out of touch and their continued participation in events like this one speaks to the very real disconnect that exists between the province’s only official craft beer advocacy group/lobby and the governing body making decisions that affect the industry. Continue reading


Filed under Beer, The Politics of Drinking