Flagship February

In case you weren’t aware, we are currently in the final throes of “Flagship February.”

Flagship February is an idea that sprang forth last year from the mind of professional drinks writer Stephen Beaumont to give some love to the flagship beers that we often overlook. Beaumont has written a baker’s dozen worth of books on beer and understands the beverage’s history and tradition.

I’ve seen him backhand a bartender for serving him a Kolsch that wasn’t in a stange. He once called in a bomb threat to a bar on St Patrick’s day because he knew they consistently poured pints with the tap nozzle touching the beer. It’s rumoured he once hobbled a server who had never heard of ESB. “You cut the achilles,” he told me once with fire in his eyes. “The limp will ensure he never forgets again.” He’s a man who takes beer seriously.

This February, as with last, Beaumont and a team are preaching the merits of mainstay beers with a series of essays. As Beaumont’s site explains,

a Flagship is the beer that defines a brewery. It’s the one that you immediately think of when you hear the brewery’s name, the one that most people associate with the business. In most cases, it is their best-selling beer and often the one that outsells all their other offerings by a wide margin. A good flagship also allows a brewery to be able to afford the seasonals, specialty beers and the other one-off beers in their lineup.

Continue reading “Flagship February”

A Canadian-made Sierra Nevada beer comes to Ontario today

sierra-nevada-nc

In August, 14 beer-loving Canadians traveled to the Mills River, North Carolina brewing facility of famed pioneer craft brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. for a collaboration.

The result of that collab, the unfortunately named “The Eh! Team” beer, is a peppercorn-spiced farmhouse saison that has just hit the draught lineups of a handful of great Ontario beer bars, all of whom were on hand for the beer’s creation.

The beer was made as part of Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp collaboration series that welcomed Ontario beer writer Crystal Luxmore and the owners of Picton’s County Canteen, Kingston’s two Red House pubs, Toronto’s beerbistro, Birreria Volo, Bar Hop, and the Indie Ale House. Continue reading “A Canadian-made Sierra Nevada beer comes to Ontario today”

Stone Brewing Co. is coming to Ontario

stone_arrogant

Something that has been a poorly-kept secret among gossipy Ontario hop fiends for a while can now finally be officially confirmed:  Escondido, California’s Stone Brewing Co. is coming to Ontario.

I spoke with Rob Hern, the Retail Sales and Marketing Manager for Horizon Beers, the agency that represents Stone in Canada and he confirmed that, yes, I can finally actually publicly state that Stone’s award-winning, West-coast-style, hop-forward beers will be here in February.

Stone IPA, one of the best-selling and well-respected IPAs in America will be joined on draught in the province by Arrogant Bastard, a beer that you probably don’t have a refined enough palate to appreciate. Hern says there will be a handful of launch events in the province the week of February 23rd (with obviously a majority here in Toronto, the centre of the universe) and, while he’s keeping the exact details under wraps for now, he suggested that visits from brewery officials and even a collaboration brew with an Ontario brewery might be in the works to publicize the beers’ arrival. Let the sexual favour offers from local brewmasters to Rob Hern begin.

The news of Stone’s arrival comes fairly recently on the heels of the news that both California’s Sierra Nevada and Scotland’s Brew Dog will be infiltrating Ontario’s beer market so this adds even further speculation to the oft-debated question of how Ontario beer will fare in competition with more established craft brands. For their part, Stone brings the credibility of not only being the the 10th largest craft brewery in the United States, but also one that was actually rated “the #1 All Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by the readers of Beer Advocate. No, seriouslyContinue reading “Stone Brewing Co. is coming to Ontario”

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 “Sierra Nevada is coming to Ontario”