Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


When it comes to beer, all that really matters is taste

"They really should have served this in a stange."

“They really should have served this in a stange.”

Obviously I like the process of making great beer.

I appreciate the effort that goes into the act of making beer, the attention to details, the thought that goes into choosing the right ingredients, the adherence to traditional styles or conversely the use of innovative new techniques.

I have an appreciation of the work that goes into making good beer.

However, I feel it needs to be said that none of that shit actually matters.

All that really matters is taste.

You can worship at the altar of the beer-making gods, study techniques and principles of brewing and find new and crazy ways to forward the art of beverage crafting, but unless you can put your pint of beer in front of someone who will say “That’s a good beer,”….who cares? Continue reading


Goose Island Brewery Comes to Canada, Paul Aihoshi Gets Diarrhea

20130411 - Goose Island Glasses

If you’re a small, renowned craft brewery, the idea of being bought out by one of the big brewers is a  somewhat dubious prospect. On the one hand, it means you’ll report to a big corporation who might be a little more concerned with their bottom line than your company’s product. On the other hand, it means you’ll now have a wealth of resources at your disposal, allowing you to expand your beer into markets you may have never thought possible, sharing your beer with a new audience.

It’s a precarious balance, but it’s one that Chicago brewer, Goose Island, seems to be managing successfully as they look to expand distribution into Canada later this month.

Started as a brewpub which grew to include a full distribution brewery and, later, a second brew pub, Goose Island was purchased by Anheuser-Bush InBev in 2011 and, thanks in large part to AB InBev’s resources, will arrive on LCBO shelves this spring. Continue reading


An open letter to Sid the Kid


Mr. Sidney Crosby
c/o CAA Sports
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Dear Mr. Crosby,

This isn’t a letter about hockey. It’s about drinking.

My name is Ben Johnson and while you could classify this letter as “fan mail,” I must admit that I’m not technically a fan. I am, and have been since birth, a Detroit Red Wings fan and so, as I’m sure you can imagine, regardless of your talents, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever find myself rooting for you or your team (the exception being those times you don a team Canada jersey to represent our country).

I can, however, appreciate that you are a talented and physically impressive athlete. That is, I have seen you do things I find impressive–notably, during a Reebok commercial when I watched you do push-ups with one of your hands on a medicine ball, then push yourself up into the air and switch the medicine ball to the other hand as you came back down to repeat the task. Continue reading


The People vs. blogTO vs. The Only: On the nature of beer blogging


Earlier today, blogTO, the place where my weekly beer-related posts find their home, posted an article about The Only Cafe, noting that “the Danforth could be about to get its first big swig of micro-brewed ale if The Only Cafe’s latest expansion plans come to fruition.”

Shortly thereafter, a few beer bloggers responded on twitter, upset at the speculative language in the article–you’ll note that the article’s writer Chris Bateman sticks to “coulds” and “mights” and notes that nothing is set in stone because well, nothing is set in stone. They were also upset that blogTO appears to have broken the story before The Only was ready to go public with the news.

Now before I get into it, I want to note a few things: First, I didn’t write this article, I had no knowledge of it, and only found out about The Only’s plans when I read this article myself. (I actually wrote another fan-fucking-tastic article about the Junction for blogTO today that largely seems to have gone unnoticed–but I’m not bitter). Continue reading


There is no beer for Valentine’s Day


There is no “appropriate” beer for today.

In fact, you don’t have to shoehorn beer into every occasion and you don’t need to make beer relevant to whatever holiday/event/celebration might be occurring on any given day.

Perhaps today, on Valentine’s Day, that’s all the more clear.

Sorry, but beer and Valentine’s day don’t really go together; as much as a large swath of marketing people, beer writers, editors, brewers, etc. might want you to believe it.

Beer isn’t really romantic.

Beer is comforting, yes. Beer is delicious, obviously. Sharing a beer with a loved one can be a great experience. But beer sexy? No. Sorry, it’s just not.  Continue reading

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Drifting into the argument like wild yeast…

Opinions in Ontario brewing are a lot like assholes and IPAs: These days, everyone has one.

There seems to be a lot of beer writing occurring as of late on the subject of beer writing itself—so I thought I too would jump on the masturbatory, navel-gazing bandwagon and offer my two cents and pretend that this little space I’ve carved out on the internets has any sort of influence at all.

The “conversation” largely began on the prolific and insightful “A Good Beer Blog.” Author Alan McLeod had offered up his opinion (as beer writers are wont to do) on an interesting little project being conducted by a co-operative of Ontario brewers who, in a nutshell, are attempting to brew beer adhering to ancient Belgian techniques that will, hopefully, see the beer fermented by wild indigenous yeasts the Brewers are hoping will drift into the open brewing vessels.

This is a broadly simplified explanation, and many other media outlets have done a much more detailed job, so feel free to seek them out if you want more information on the project (though be forewarned, none of them seem to answer my first question about the whole process, namely, won’t birds poop in the beer?!). Continue reading


When drinking local becomes a problem: Locarexia Nervoso

I have a problem.

I didn’t realize it was a problem until quite recently but a couple events have made it quite clear that it’s real and it’s something I need to deal with.

The first time I knew I had a problem was following a softball game. My team, comprising a number of work colleagues, opted to hit a bar in order to drown our sorrows following a 20-10 routing and, since it was the nearest bar to the diamond, we had the unfortunate experience of visiting The Dog’s Bollocks on Queen.

Now, to be clear, I don’t really mean to slag The Dog’s Bollocks–I recognize that it is a pub and that its most endearing qualities are intended to be its cheap draft, bar food, and numerous TV screens.

I’m no dummy. I wouldn’t expect gourmet from an establishment named after an animal’s nut sack. But my experience was not great–and it’s largely due to my psychological issue. Continue reading