Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.

Leave a comment

The Friday Four 12/15/2017

The Friday Four is a weekly feature where I mention some beers I either drank this week, am currently drinking, or am looking forward to drinking.

Kensington Brewing Co. 
Mango Low Boy, Neu Rodes, and Temper Temper

My craft beer journey actually started with Kensington Brewing Company.

It was 2011 and Toronto’ foremost digital journal of record, blogTO, had put out a call for a beer writer. I was a writer who liked beer so I threw my hat in the ring and submitted an application.

Then,  I had a lot to learn about beer.

Thankfully, as anyone with experience in craft beer will know, most of the folks working in or enjoying craft beer are happy to chat so I quickly found people eager to school me and share some insight. One of the very first people to do so was Brock Shepherd, who, at the time, was the founder and sole employee of the eight month-old Kensington Brewing Company. He was also the owner and operator of Burger Bar, which even as late as 2011 was something of a rarity in that it was a restaurant where the beer on tap was entirely local craft beer and there was even a cask engine. There were also occasional health code violations, but I considered that all part of the charm.

I met Brock under the guise of digging for a story–and eventually wrote this one, about how Augusta Ale was soon to arrive in bottles (even though I’m not entirely sure it ever actually did)–and I ended up sitting and chatting (and drinking) with Brock for at least a few hours.

Brock was one of my first interactions with someone who had that certain passion for craft beer–the kind where some annoying wannabe writer shows up when you’re trying to run a business but you end up chatting with him for hours just because you dig craft beer. At that time, Brock was getting some media buzz for attempting to grow usable hops around Kensington Market and was planning to open a nano-brewery in the back of Burger Bar while continuing to contract brew his production beer under the watchful tutelage of Paul Dickey (at the time, this was still a novel idea and not a marketing plan they teach you at Niagara Brewing College. I kid, I kid). Continue reading

1 Comment

Big Rock SAAZ Republic Pilz is coming to Ontario

*an earlier, stupid version of this post was written as though SAAZ Republic Pilz was Big Rock’s first foray into Ontario. As Toronto Star Beer Columnist Josh Rubin helpfully pointed out, Big Rock beers have actually been here for about 20 years. This post has been revised to reflect the fact that this Big Rock Brewery is indeed the same Big Rock Brewery that currently has Big Rock Grasshoppper Wheat Ale, Big Rock India Pale, Big Rock Light Lime, Big Rock Traditional Ale, and Big Rock Warthog Ale all listed at The Beer Store. Yes, the entire conceit of this post–which was intended to be a transcript of my initial thoughts on the news–has essentially been destroyed, but I’m going to try to salvage the thing anyway because I don’t have time to rewrite it and oh great the baby’s crying I have to go. 

Saaz PPilsner

A couple weeks ago, the interwebs were all a-twitter with news that one of Canada’s oldest craft breweries–Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery–was bringing some new beer to Ontario.

The obligatory press release explained that the first of a series of new beer releases here would be SAAZ Republic Pilz, a pilsner with “a distinct but mild bitterness on the front end followed by a slight hop middle and a clean, refreshing finish.” It also explained that this release represented the first of of a total of three new beers slated for release in Ontario.

I don’t really know how I feel about this release, so, in order to convey my thoughts on the news, I’ve attempted to transcribe the conversation that occurred between the conflicting optimistic and typically dominant cynical voices in my own brain whilst drinking one last week.

Continue reading