Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Let’s talk about gluten free beer

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Gluten free beer in Canada has historically been a problematic idea for one very important reason: It’s literally impossible.

To be “gluten free,” according to Health Canada and the Canadian Celiac Association, a product must have no deliberately added ingredients that contain any gluten proteins from barley, oats, rye, triticale, or wheat, including kamut and spelt and any gluten levels in the product from accidental gluten contamination must be less than 20 parts per million (ppm).

To be “beer,”  according to Canada’s Food and Drug Laws, something has to be “the product of the alcoholic fermentation by yeast of an infusion of barley or wheat malt and hops or hop extract in potable water and shall be brewed in such a manner as to possess the aroma, taste and character commonly attributed to beer.”

So if a product is truly gluten free, it isn’t actually beer and, if a product is truly beer, it can’t be gluten free. So that’s the final word on gluten free beer.

See you later!

Oh, you’re still here?

OK then. Let’s talk a little more about gluten-free beer. Continue reading


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Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour is now available in cans

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In case the title of this post and the image above didn’t make it abundantly clear: Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour is now available in cans.

You can find the 473mL cans now at the LCBO for $2.80.

Personally, I’m excited about this for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’m a big fan of the current trend toward sessionable pale ales. There has been an argument made as of late that “sessionable” is basically just a nice way to say the beer facilitates binge drinking. Frankly, I’m OK with that. Yes, I am a nerdy beer-sniffing snob and am capable of approaching beer with a discerning, critical eye, nose, and mouth, but there are also times I feel like drinking three, four, five, even six of the same beers in one sitting. And Naughty Neighbour is actually chief among my beer choices when I opt to do so. The 4.9% American Pale Ale is aromatic, with all the grapefruity, citrusy, bitter goodness I love in a pale ale but at wholly reasonable 4.9% (and I know it seems like I’ve been giving a lot of love to Nickel Brook lately, but let’s face it, they’re making some good beer). Continue reading


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Head Stock: Meet Ontario’s best IPA again for the first time

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Nickel Brook’s Head Stock IPA is the best regularly available IPA in Ontario–and it is finally getting a better look.

If you’re like me, the first time you heard someone positively mention Head Stock, you probably said, “You mean that beer with the terrible 60s-themed can with a Stevie Ray Vaguhan stand-in silhouette?”

Yes. That’s the one.

Like you, and I assume many others, for a long time I dismissed this beer out of hand for its can–quite literally judging a book (beer) by its cover (can)–and assumed it was another iteration of the ubiquitous crystal-malt heavy “Ontario Pale Ale.”

I didn’t even bother trying it.

I was very, very wrong. Continue reading