Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Column: The top five places for (good) beer in London

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In addition to the ol’ blog, some of you might be aware that I write a bi-weekly column for the local publication Our London. About a month ago, I wrote a column detailing the scant places you might find a good beer in town. I thought I’d repurpose it here as it might be helpful to any thirsty blog readers who might be headed to The Forest City soon.

1. Milos’ Craft Beer Emporium

Anyone who drinks good beer in London won’t be surprised to see Pub Milos atop this list. With an owner who goes out of his way to bring unique Ontario beers to his Talbot Street locale, Pub Milos’ 27-tap draught menu is unparalleled in London and is arguably among Ontario’s best. The food is very good, the staff are all either certified cicerones or working to become certified, and it’s right downtown. The place does beer the way I wish all bars would. ‘Nuff said.

2. The Morrissey House

In 2014, owner Mark Serre stopped buying draught from The Beer Store and now deals directly with local brewers. The result is 18 draught options that feature options you can’t find elsewhere in the Forest City, including offerings from London’s breweries and beer from Windsor to cottage country, including regular options from the excellent Great Lakes Brewery in Etobicoke. There’s an increasingly decent selection of 35 craft bottles and cans and a decent menu. Occupying a converted “London Brick” mansion, “The Mo” offers a somewhat dated ambiance, but is suitably cozy and offers a great patio.

3. Bungalow

Frequently packed thanks to being the only pub in convenient walking distance for those who live in Old North, the seriously-good burgers and respectable draught lineup are certainly as much to blame for its popularity as its convenience. A welcoming watering hole, Bungalow offers a draught lineup that skews toward craft but won’t frighten the uninitiated. Approachable craft beers like Steam Whistle and Samuel Adams Lager abound with occasionally experimental offerings like Muskoka Brewery’s rotating Moonlight Kettle series or a Beau’s All Natural one-off. The place promises a “neighbourhood hub” and it delivers.

Read the rest of my column over on the Our London site here.


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Muskoka Brewery celebrates 20 years

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Muskoka Brewery was probably part of your discovery of Ontario craft beer, even if you don’t think they were.

Since they opened the doors in 1996 with a cream ale and steadily became more adventurous as Ontario beer drinkers’ palates evolved, their growth as a company has essentially mirrored the growth of Ontario’s craft beer scene. It’s almost certain that they’re responsible for bringing people on board with the idea that supporting local beer is rewarding and then, by degrees, that beer can be a little more adventurous than the shit people typically buy at The Beer Store.

This year Muskoka Brewery is celebrating their 20th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, they have a handful of cool things going on. Continue reading


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Cans vs. bottles: Further perspective from Steam Whistle Brewing

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On Thursday, in a post I wrote about Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour coming to can format, I offered up a bit of my own opinion along with the news.

In addition to a tangent about unions and my excitement that a great session ale was coming to a larger format, I offered up my two cents on why I prefer beer in cans over bottles. Among the insightful, humorous, and signature delightfully entertaining points I made in that post were my observations that cans offer the best protection against both light and oxygen and therefore offer the freshest possible means to enjoy a beer. 

Today, in response to my points, I received an email from Sybil Taylor, who is the Communications Director of Steam Whistle Brewing. Incidentally, she’s also married to one of the guys listed as a co-founder and she was the brewery’s first official employee. Sybil took some issue with my assertion that bottles can’t offer as fresh a beer, notably given Steam Whistle’s particular attention to detail in this area. In order to present both sides of this argument, with Sybil’s permission, I’ve opted publish the email she sent me. 

I wanted to write to set the record straight on this fact – at least as far as Steam Whistle is concerned. I’m not certain if what I’ll explain is the same for other brewers but in our case, our bottles do probably offer the best form of beer packaging out there. Our cans would run a very tight second. Continue reading


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Contest: Win two tickets to the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival

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UPDATE: Contest closed. Thanks everyone for your interest in this contest, but I’ve chosen a winning entry. Congratulations to Vanessa Neshevich for the following  winning beer and food pairing suggestion. She lost points for excessive exclamation marks, but made up for it by quoting Homer Simpson:

Tallboy’s Koreatown burger (kimchee, bacon, cucumber and green onion mayo AUGH!!!!!!!!) paired with a King Vienna Lager to go with the creamy mayo and delicious kimchee flavours!

“I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer.”
-Homer Simpson-“

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival.

Now in its third year, the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival is organized by Steam Whistle and its laid back vibe, grassy setting, and the ability to attend both days for the cost of one ticket has had at least one local beer writer speculating publicly that it might be one of Toronto’s best craft beer festivals.

As is sometimes the case, beer festivals can become less and less appealing as they get older and grow increasingly corporate-minded, but it looks to me that this one, with its focus on Ontario craft beers and local food trucks, is determined to remain true to what makes a good beer festival, in my opinion.

That’s why I’m happy to offer up two free tickets to the festival to one lucky reader of Ben’s Beer Blog.

In keeping with my theme this month of celebrating the relationship between food and beer, I want you to tell me what food and beer pairing available at the festival you’re most looking forward to and why. Pick a beer that’s being poured and a dish that’s being served and tell me in the comments below why you just can’t wait to cram them both in your suckhole.

On Monday July 28th the contest closes and I’ll pick the best/most entertaining entry to receive two free tickets. Preference may or may not be given to people who spread word of this contest via twitter.

Photo credit: Jesse Milns


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Six Things You Didn’t Know About Steam Whistle

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Arguably no beer is more implicitly associated with Toronto than Steam Whistle. Their easy-to-drink style and prominence in most bars in the city makes Steam Whistle a reliable go-to beer for a lot of beer-drinking Torontonians and the tourist-friendly location of their brewery means that Steam Whistle is a requisite stop for a lot of visiting Jays fans looking to get a bit of a buzz before surrendering to the $9-for-a-watery-macro-lager nonsense that is the Roger’s Centre. Like it or not when people think beer and Toronto, they most likely think Steam Whistle. But how much do you really know about Toronto’s biggest craft brewer?

Here are six things you probably didn’t know about that beer in the distinctive green bottle. Continue reading