The lost barrel of “Trombsterdam”

This is actually the best picture I took of the beer. Make of my phone's choice of focus what you will...
This is actually the best picture I took of the beer. Make of my phone’s choice of focus what you will…

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be among a select group of “media influencers” chosen to attend a private dinner at the still-under-construction second location for Toronto’s Rock Lobster. Now if hearing “media influencers” and “private dinner” makes you picture an intense session of social media junkies instagramming the shit of their meals, you should know this: 1) You’re absolutely right, and 2) I don’t care what you think I ate an amazing seafood dinner and got an article out of the deal.

You should also know this: In addition to the aforementioned delicious meal, the evening provided some excellent libations. Barrel-aged cocktails are the name of the game at Rock Lobster so it was no surprise when a handful of good ones ended up in my belly that evening. What was a surprise though was the appearance of a collaboration I had heretofore never heard of: Trombsterdam, a seemingly-right-up-my-alley joint effort from Tromba Tequila and Amsterdam Brewing Company.

Now I’ve since learned that the collaboration was actually released last year as part of Ontario Craft Beer Week, but somehow or other I completely missed all reports of its creation, existence, and subsequent drinking. Lucky for me, an extra barrel has magically surfaced (just in time for this year’s OCB Week…).

As the legend has it (aka the story that Rock Lobster’s beverage director, Robin Wynne told me as he made drinks), the collaboration last year between Wynne, Amsterdam’s head of sales Rob Mulvihill, and Tromba’s founder Eric Brass, yielded two big barrels. One of them got kegged and used during last year’s OCB Week, but evidently the second barrel got lost in the shuffle when Amsterdam was packing up to move to Leaside and has only now been discovered.

Now we don’t need to get into fact-check mode about any of the details about this miraculous discovery that seems tailor-made to enthrall beer nerds like me because, let’s face it, stories like that make the beer taste better–and quite frankly, this beer tastes pretty good to begin with.

For those, like me, who aren’t in the know, Trombsterdam is made by aging Amsterdam’s Oranje Weiss in Tromba Tequila barrels (well, actually, in an American oak Tromba barrel along with a case of Tromba Tequila for added flavour). The result is a great, light-tasting but interesting beer with orange flavour, a little bitterness, and in the finish, a little of the sweetness of the agave from the tequila. I’d assume that an extra year aging in the barrel has smoothed this year’s offering out even more so than the version that was first released, but I never tried last year’s so I can’t confirm that.

 As for where you can get some, I imagine that the rest of that barrel will be popping up somewhere else during Ontario Craft Beer Week and I’m sure the folks at Amsterdam will let you know about it, but you can definitely find Trombesterdam at the new Rock Lobster, which will open at 538 Queen Street on June 12. The lobster rolls ain’t too shabby either so why don’t we make a night of it? Give me a call, we haven’t been out for dinner together in ages!

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