Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Beer is supposed to be fun, remember?

Beer is fun.

Right? Beer–that is, drinking it, learning about it, making it–is fun! That’s why we’re all talking about the stuff and it’s why you bother to take time to read a beer blog (Thanks, by the way).

But man, sometimes it seems like we forget that and every once in a while we turn into a pretty cynnical bunch of snifter-swirling, stout-sniffing snobs (see: most of the things I write, for example).

And so sometimes it might be worth taking a considered look at the impact and target of our collective snark and maybe reign in the spray, just a touch.

Case in point, the Old Fashioned Cocktail Beer from Toronto’s Henderson Brewing, released last night at a party with the Martini Club at Dominion in Toronto.

A few days ago, the folks over at blogTO slapped together a post about the beer that noted it was “the country’s first official beer cocktail” and the beer nerds on twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere were pretty quick to pile on.

What makes this a cocktail beer, they asked each other, noting that it sounded much like a common rye beer. The gimmicks, others mused, are just too much. Continue reading


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A new beer resolution

I recently made an important resolution in relation to my consumption of alcohol and I thought it was a subject that seemed prudent enough to share with readers of my blog. I also figured if I shared this resolution publicly, I would be more likely to stick to it and thought it might even inspire some of you to make similar resolutions.

I hereby resolve to only drink beer on the weekend.

Given that alcohol is, of course, an intoxicant and is best enjoyed with some degree of moderation, I feel like it’s important to set limits on my consumption of beer. Furthermore, reducing my beer intake is likely to help both my waistline and my budget. Continue reading


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Kensington Market is about to become a serious beer destination

kensington market beer

Back in 2013, it was with some degree of fanfare that Kensington Brewing Company, then a contract brewing company producing its beers at Wellington Brewery in Guelph, announced they would be opening an actual bricks and mortar brewery in their namesake neighbourhood.

At that time, a brewery in Kensington Market, one of Toronto’s most vibrant and eclectic neighbourhoods, seemed like a novel idea.

Fast forward to 2017 and Kensington Brewing Company, still under construction at 299 Augusta Avenue, is now practically in a race to be the first brewery in the neighbourhood as two–count ’em two!–other brewing facilities are potentially in the works on the very same street in the market.

Both Mike Duggan, a craft beer pioneer who helped found Mill Street brewery, and Collective Arts, a Hamilton-based operation with ties to the art and music scene, are seeking to launch brewing operations on Augusta Ave. Continue reading


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Ontario is getting tanked

Left Field Brewery New Tank

Apparently there was a sale on brewing equipment this month.

That seems to be the most valid explanation for the fact that a handful of Ontario breweries all opted to up their capacity and production capabilities this past couple weeks by adding a considerable amount of volume to their respective brewing operations.

Toronto’s Muddy York Brewing upped their capacity by 33% this week when they got in three new 7bbl (10hL) jacketed fermenters. Owner Jeff Manol tells me that this will give him the ability to lager things a bit more and do some bigger beers that can age (yay and yay). He hopes to have the new tanks in once they repaint their floors and finish the new glycol lines, and after that he says the company is set to build their taproom bar and hopefully have a tasting room open by June at the latest. Nice.

Left Field Brewery, also in Toronto, celebrated a fourth anniversary this month by not only coming to visit me (and other people) in London for an 11-tap takeover at Pub Milos, they also put in three 40bbl (40!)  fermenters and a 40bbl brite tank–upping their game from five fermenters and one brite. NICE. Continue reading


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Hamilton welcomes MERIT Brewing

MERIT Brewing Tej Jesse and Aaron

Hamilton is cool.

It feels weird to say that, but it is becoming increasingly harder to deny. The place has some great craft beer bars like Brux House, a good festival scene with great events like the Because Beer festival and a growing selection of breweries in the surrounding area. While it’s not saying all that much, it’s enough to make a thirsty writer in London a little jealous.

And now I have one more reason to be jealous. Yesterday it was announced that MERIT Brewing Company  would be opening its doors at 107 James St. North. Continue reading


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Let’s talk about sexist beer marketing

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Women drink craft beer.

It seems like a pretty obvious statement, but apparently it needs to be said.

So I’ll say it again, this time with dramatic punctuation: Women. Drink. Craft. Beer.

They drink a lot of it and the number of women who are discovering the craft beer industry is growing every single day.

As of 2013, women account for 25% of total beer consumption by volume in the United States and they account for 37% of total American craft beer consumption.

A recent poll suggests that beer is now actually the first choice of alcoholic beverage for US women aged 18 to 34 (Take that, white wine).

Women work in craft beer, too. According to a 2014 Auburn University study, the United States brewing industry is now roughly 29% female.

And while statistics on gender-specific drinking habits here in Canada aren’t quite so robust as those recorded by our YUGE neighbours to the south, even a cursory glance at our local brewing scene would suggest that here in Ontario women are embracing craft beer just as wholeheartedly. Continue reading


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A Canadian-made Sierra Nevada beer comes to Ontario today

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In August, 14 beer-loving Canadians traveled to the Mills River, North Carolina brewing facility of famed pioneer craft brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. for a collaboration.

The result of that collab, the unfortunately named “The Eh! Team” beer, is a peppercorn-spiced farmhouse saison that has just hit the draught lineups of a handful of great Ontario beer bars, all of whom were on hand for the beer’s creation.

The beer was made as part of Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp collaboration series that welcomed Ontario beer writer Crystal Luxmore and the owners of Picton’s County Canteen, Kingston’s two Red House pubs, Toronto’s beerbistro, Birreria Volo, Bar Hop, and the Indie Ale House. Continue reading