Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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In praise of awful bars

There’s something great about an awful bar.

As a beer writer, and one that has—admittedly—adopted tastes and a tone of voice in my over half a decade of semi-professional drinks writing that some folks have interpreted as rather snobby, I am almost as surprised to admit it as you might be to hear it: I sometimes love going to terrible bars.

And make no mistake, I’m not talking about “dive bars;” that subset of drinking establishments that are sometimes (and more often than not, intentionally) a little rough around the edges, but have a redeeming quality like amazing tacos, great draught, cool cocktails, etc.

No.

I mean that much larger swath of establishments that pepper most north american landscapes both suburban and metropolitan and that, from a snobby alcohol-enthusiast’s point of view at least, really have no redeeming qualities. Continue reading


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A Nice Little Saturday

Saturday, as I’m sure the handful of beer nerds who might read this are already aware,  Montreal brewer Dieu Du Ciel took over the taps at WVRST. It was set to be an epic evening replete with 16 great beers from arguably one of the country’s best brewers.

And I didn’t go.

I had every intention of going, I really did. Not only are DDC’s beers phenomenal, but I happen to big fan of WVRST’s selection of sausage too. And yet, I didn’t make it.

Instead, what began as a casual walk around the city killing time before a craft beer event turned into an impromptu craft beer event in and of itself. It started with a few Mill Street Lemon Tea’s on a patio with my wife, then we worked our way over to Bellwoods Brewery, where they were having the first of a handful of scheduled retail pop-ups where they’ll offer some of their amazing beer in bottles. Saturday they were selling select styles of their beer in 650ml bottles and growlers.

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Your Roadmap to Craft Beer in Toronto

There’s probably nothing more frustrating than being out in the city, suddenly struck with a powerful thirst and you find yourself surrounded by nothing but franchise bars pouring macro-lagers.

It’s these rage-inducing times–when servers offer up Blue when you ask for something local–that led me to create this, a Roadmap to Craft Beer in Toronto.

It’s just a custom Google map (so you may find it easier to navigate through Google as opposed to in this embedded map), but I endeavoured to include the finest bars offering up craft beer in the city, as well as local breweries, and Toronto-area LCBOs so that you’ll always be able to find the closest craft beer.

May you never be forced to drink a Stella again!

This should probably be an iphone app or something (if it isn’t already) but I don’t have the technical know-how or patience for that (I drink a lot). If you’re an app developer, please feel free to steal this idea so that I may a) use it and then b) sue you.

Got a great beer bar that I missed? Let me know about it in the comments section.