Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Putting away pints: Are cellars worth it or just expensive beer purgatory?

This piece originally appeared in print and online for the first edition of The Growler, Ontario’s Beer Guide.

When I mention my beer cellar, my wife usually rolls her eyes.

Mainly she does this because she knows when I say something like, “I’ve got some really good stuff in the cellar right now,” I’m actually referring to rows of dusty bottles on the metal shelving that I bought at Home Depot and put in our basement.

And while, of course, it is a tad pretentious to refer to these shelves next to the laundry tub as a “cellar,” it doesn’t take much more to have a functioning beer storage space. Indeed, the ideal conditions for storing beer are essentially just a cool, dark place where you can fit a bunch of big bottles.

Tomas Morana is the co-owner of Birreria Volo, arguably one of Canada’s best beer bars. He’s also a co-founder of Keep6Imports, a company that works to bring rare and funky imports to Ontario. At Birreria Volo in Toronto’s Little Italy, the cellaring program is very much part of the venue’s draw and he takes it seriously. Continue reading


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‘International destination’ beer bar coming to Toronto’s Little Italy

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Tomas and Julian Morana, two brothers whose family is behind Bar Volo, Cask Days, and–through their import business Keep6Imports–a large chunk of the cool import beers you can find in better Toronto restaurants and bars, have confirmed that they are opening a new bar.

As Toronto Life pointed out yesterday (damn you for scooping me! *shakes fist*) the location of the long-rumoured “second Morana family bar” has finally been revealed as Little Italy. Specifically, the bar will be at 612 College Street in the former home of Souz Dal Tiki Bar next to The Royal Cinema.

I spoke with Tomas Morana and he filled me in on some details. Continue reading


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Evil Twin Brewing coming to Toronto bars

Evil Twin Beers

Keep6Imports, the small, Toronto-based beer import company responsible for bringing brands like Trou du Diable, Dieu du Ciel! and Howe Sound Brewing into Ontario, announced tonight via their instagram account that they would be adding another famed brewer to their lineup of imports: Brooklyn-based contract brewery, Evil Twin Brewing.

But don’t get too excited if you live somewhere outside of Toronto. Tomas Morana, proprietor of Keep6Imports, tells me that they only brought in a very small amount of Evil Twin beers so it has all been allocated to bars and restaurants–and while Morana and Co. are happy to sell to any licensee that wants to come pick up the beer in Toronto, for now Evil Twin will only be available at spots in the Centre of the Universe.

Continue reading


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Stepping up the game: A conversation about beer and food with Bar Isabel’s Guy Rawlings

Bar Isabel

Appropriately, when I first try to contact Guy Rawlings, he’s busy hoarding beer.

The self-proclaimed “General Manager in a chef’s body” has just learned that Les Trois Mousquetaires’ Hors Serie Gose, part of the LCBO’s long-delayed 2014 summer beer release, has finally hit store shelves and he’s loading up. When I reach him, he’s pushing a shopping cart full of the stuff, having just cleaned out the Dundas and Dovercourt location of the liquor store, and he’s juggling a cell phone trying to get his haul home.

“Sorry,” he says. “Can I call you back?”

His ability to seek out (and covet) good beer is one of the reasons I want to talk to Rawlings.

A chef by trade, Rawlings’ name has been attached to a handful of the city’s best restaurants in the last few years including the Black Hoof, the now-closed Lucien, the also-now-closed Brockton General, and Room 203, his own “event space and food lab” where he threw intimate, multi-course, private dinners featuring elaborate, collaborative and foraged menus. Continue reading