Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Scotland’s Brew Dog is coming to Ontario

Brewdog

Innovative Scottish brewery, Brew Dog, who have become famous across the pond as much for their beer as for their antics–having participated in the race to make the world’s strongest beer, winning that race by brewing a 55% beer that they packaged in road kill, made a beer at the bottom of the ocean, projected themselves naked onto the British Houses of parliament, sold shares of their company online to over 14,000 “shareholders” and, in just a few short years have become Scotland’s largest independent brewery–have announced their next adventure: they’re coming to Ontario.

I spoke to Stefan Milo Cornish of Premier Brands, the agency representing Brew Dog, who confirmed the rumours about which Ontario beer nerds have been speculating. Draught offerings of a handful of Brew Dog beers will be available here as early as next week. Continue reading


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Sierra Nevada is coming to Ontario

sierra-nevada-pale-ale

There is exciting news for Ontario’s pale ale fans: Chico California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Pale Ale will soon be available on tap in Ontario bars and sometime a little after that, on store shelves in your LCBO.

This weekend, I spoke with Andrew von Teichman, the president of Von Terra Enterprises Ltd, the agency responsible for bringing Sierra Nevada to Ontario, and von Teichman confirmed rumblings you may or may not have heard at Cask Days when that event’s organizers brought Sierra Nevada to Toronto along with a handful of other California beers for the event.

Von Teichman confirmed that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale will be available on tap in Ontario in February and that an LCBO launch will likely follow in March. The beer will launch exclusively on draught at all six Bier Markt locations on February 9th and then will roll out to other accounts in March. No other accounts are confirmed yet, but von Teichman tells me that they’ve talked to a number of restaurants and bars and, not surprisingly, they’ve basically just said ‘let us know when and we’re all over it.’ Continue reading


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Documentary on Ontario’s alcohol laws will stream online

Capture

As has been posited by fellow beer scribe Jordan St. John, it once seemed like roughly every six months we were inundated with a slew of articles about the makes-you-want-to-smash-your-head-through-drywall-it’s-so-frustrating world of beverage alcohol in Ontario.

Six months seemed to be roughly the amount of time it would take people to forget that one company was allowed to have 440 retail beer stores in this province while the people who actually make beer in Ontario were still only legally allowed to have one. And so this was the amount of time that would pass before some article would pop up, cause some outrage, make the rounds on social media, then quietly die with nothing ever coming of it. Some beer writers may have even used this cyclical outrage to build a reputation as something of a shit disturber. Ahem. Continue reading


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It’s OK to love the LCBO

Summerhill LCBO
(Image: Sina Gorge)

Frequently, when I write articles about the province’s retail alcohol industry (i.e. my slew of recent Beer Store rants), I receive supportive comments in response along the lines of “Hear, hear! The Beer Store and the LCBO need to go!” or “Yes! The time for TBS and LCBO is over,” and while I appreciate your support, I encourage you to read my articles in a little more detail, please.

I never said I wanted to dismantle or sell the LCBO and I think it would be insane to lobby for such a change.

In fact, I love the LCBO.

It’s probably one of my favourite stores and rivals only bookstores for its ability to consume far more of my time and money than I anticipated every time I walk into one. And, while I share some of your concerns related to the way the LCBO conducts its business, if you’re lobbying to get rid of the LCBO, you need to give your fucking head a shake. Continue reading


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Hogtown Ale Cans Are Coming to LCBOsHo

Hogtown Ale

Good news for fans of Toronto’s own easy-drinking Kölsch: Cans of Hogtown Ale will soon be coming to the LCBO.

Yesterday the guys from Hogtown hosted a little shindig at the Duke of Devon to celebrate their first anniversary and to announce the arrival of their beer in cans. They also just received their LCBO product number, which means you could see their cans on store shelves very, very soon.

Incidentally, the Duke of Devon–the watering hole of choice for the company’s proprietors–was the first place to pour Hogtown Ale, so it’s good to see the lads have stayed loyal (also incidentally, the original Duke of Devon launch of Hogtown Ale was the first story I ever wrote for blogTO way back in January 2012–and yes, that makes the “first anniversary” math a bit hazy here so let’s not dwell on it). Continue reading


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Never mind the LCBO strike, here’s the local brewers

Never mind the LCBO strike

As we rapidly approach the long weekend that unofficially marks the start of summer here in Canada and one that quasi-officially requires that we drink beer in order to celebrate it, we are also faced with the looming threat of an LCBO strike.

As has been repeated in the media ad nauseum as of late, the LCBO is urging us to “stock up” now lest we be caught without any other options for booze this weekend.

I’m growing fairly tired of this refrain for a couple reasons. First, I’m inherently suspicious of any solution being offered by an organization that stands to profit massively from said solution. Perhaps they really are just being nice, but hearing the LCBO say “You better come spend a lot of money at our stores ASAP!” really turns me off actually doing it and, given my tendency to leap to unlikely conspiracy theories, is almost enough to make me think that maybe the whole strike is just a massive, brilliant marketing campaign to get us all hoarding booze (Whether or not the ghost of Elvis is involved remains to be seen). Continue reading


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Black Oak Brewing’s Ten Bitter Years is coming to the LCBO year round

10 Bitter Years Glass

There’s even more great news for bitter beer fans (that is fans of bitter beer, not people who drink beer who are angry at the hand they’ve been dealt in life): Black Oak Brewing Company’s award-winning Imperial IPA Ten Bitter Years is coming to the LCBO.

Originally brewed as a one time only offering in 2009 to celebrate the brewery’s tenth anniversary, Ten Bitter Years proved so popular with local beer drinkers that Black Oak has opted to bring it back once a year every year since. Each year, however, the small batch that Black Oak brewed was available only at the brewery’s retail store and typically sold out in a hurry; leaving the majority of the beer’s fans, well, uh bitter, I guess. Continue reading