Last week I visited Thin Man Brewery, the great brewery and restaurant in Buffalo, New York and had a beer on Bar Towel Radio with owner Mike Shatzel. Mike, who could easily be nicknamed the “Beer King of Buffalo”, oversees eight bars in the city, including the legendary Cole’s, Moor Pat, Colter Bay, Allen Burger... > READ MORE

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Chatting Buffalo Beer with Mike Shatzel

Chatting Buffalo Beer with Mike Shatzel

Last week I visited Thin Man Brewery, the great brewery and restaurant in Buffalo, New York and had a beer on Bar Towel Radio with owner Mike Shatzel. Mike, who could easily be nicknamed the “Beer King of Buffalo”, oversees eight bars in the city, including the legendary Cole’s, Moor Pat, Colter Bay, Allen Burger Venture and more.

In this episode we chat about the beer and brewing scenes in Buffalo and Ontario, Mike’s history in the bar and beer industry, how Thin Man got started and about their beers, and some other beery reminiscing and storytelling including the now-legendary Bar Towel Bus Trip to the Blue Monk.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:

Great Lakes Brewery Reflects on 30 Years of Beer

Great Lakes Brewery Reflects on 30 Years of Beer

Recently I sat down for a beer and a chat for Bar Towel Radio with Peter Bulut and Mike Lackey of Great Lakes Brewery, as they celebrate the 30th anniversary this year. In this episode we chat about their favourite GLB and collaboration beers from the past and present, some memorable stories from the brewery’s past, their new pilot brewing system, and their thoughts about how the Ontario beer scene has evolved and where it’s going.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:

 

As a part of their 30th anniversary celebrations, Great Lakes Brewery will be doing a Tap Takeover of the Brewer’s Backyard on Canada Day, this Saturday, July 1st at the Evergreen Brick Works, from 11am until 5pm. They will have six booths set up with almost 20 beers available. Check out the full tap list below and we hope to see you on Saturday!

[…]

Talking German Craft Beer with Marc Rauschmann

Talking German Craft Beer with Marc Rauschmann

In our newest episode of Bar Towel Radio, we go continental with a conversation with Marc Rauschmann, Master Brewer of BraufactuM in Frankfurt, Germany. Marc was recently in Toronto to launch a number of his beers at beerbistro, which will be available on draught in Ontario. During our chat we discussed his background and the beer scene in Germany, plus his beers coming to the market here, including the smoked wheat Roog, pale ale Palor, IPA Progusta, weizen IPA Indra and saison Soleya.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher:

 

Elliott Brood on Bar Towel Radio

Elliott Brood on Bar Towel Radio

At Toronto’s Festival of Beer Spring Sessions a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a beer with the Juno Award-winning band Elliott Brood. In this episode of Bar Towel Radio I chat with band members Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso and Stephen Pitkin about their favourite beers and breweries, some of their beer memories from the road and what’s coming up from this great Canadian band.

You can listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunes or Google Play:

 

Introducing Santa Monica Yacht Club

Introducing Santa Monica Yacht Club

Santa Monica Yacht Club LogoWe are thrilled to announce the launch of Santa Monica Yacht Club (SMYC), a boutique agency for the drinkers of Ontario, representing imported craft beers, wines and spirits. SMYC is a re-imagination of Bar Towel Imports, the agency brand created by The Bar Towel.

SMYC is meant to be an open importing agency, one where we involve the drinking public in what we do.  We call ourselves the Santa Monica Yacht Club as we think of ourselves as a collective of passionate beverage enthusiasts, providing drinkers with access to premium products and unique events, and providing breweries, wineries and distilleries with creative representation and distribution within the Ontario marketplace.

If you are a drinker, we invite you to Join the SMYC, and we’ll keep you in the loop for the latest releases, events and opportunities with our importing partners. We also want to want to hear about the best beer, wine and spirits that you wish you had access to in Ontario, and we will endeavour to import them. If you are a brewery, winery or distillery and would like to expand your business in Ontario, we would love to discuss this with you. We are a full-service agency and can work with you across sales, marketing, events and branding in Ontario.

We are very excited to also announce a partnership with À la Fût of Quebec for representation in Ontario. À la Fût is a renowned brewery with numerous sour and barrel-aged beers, and has won Beer of the Year in the Canadian Brewing Awards, World’s Best Kriek at the World Beer Awards and has medalled in the World Beer Cup. We are in the midst of some initial plans for À la Fût in Ontario so please join up so we can keep you updated about the debut of this great brewery here, along with our other partners including Hartfield & Co. from Kentucky and Ruhstaller from California.

We look forward to enjoying some interesting and unique beverages with the drinkers of Ontario!

A Beer At…La Quinta Brewing Co.

A Beer At…La Quinta Brewing Co.

La Quinta Brewing Co.

The La Quinta Brewing Co., and palm trees.

The Bar Towel continues our series entitled “A Beer At…”, where we feature a single bar or restaurant, have a beer or two and get a feel for what makes it special. This visit is to the La Quinta Brewing Co., located in the Coachella Valley of California.

Good beer is everywhere. From big city to small village, it seems nowadays that there’s a small brewery there now, and thriving. This is no different in the desert region of California, where although the heat can be unlike anything we see this side of the border, plenty of good beer is available to help cool things down.

In the Coachella Valley, probably most well known around these parts for the music festival named after it, contains a row of small cities including Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Indio, about 130 miles inland from Los Angeles. It was here recently where I spent a few days in La Quinta, a golfer’s haven and home to the La Quinta Brewing Co. which I was able to visit.

La Quinta Old Town Taproom draught lineup

The draught lineup at the Old Town Taproom.

La Quinta Brewing Co. is actually comprised of two locations, the actual brewery which includes a taproom, and a second, non-brewing taproom. The brewery is located in an industrial area just off Interstate 10 in Palm Desert, with the views of the Joshua Tree mountains in the distance. The brewery’s taproom has about a dozen beers available – during my visit there was a wide range of styles including a blonde, amber, honey wheat, brown, American IPA, coffee porter (plus the bourbon barrel aged version, which won the gold medal in the Wood and Barrel Aged Beer category of the 2016 World Beer Cup), session IPA, blood orange ale, maibock and Irish red. The brewery taproom was a cozy spot with samples, flights, glasses and merchandise available.

Their second location is in an area of La Quinta called Old Town, a quaint little walkable area with shops and restaurants. Walking into the Old Town Taproom is a respite from the usual heat that is common in the region, with a direct line right to the bar, where the orders are taken. Similar to the brewery taproom plenty of beer options abound here, as La Quinta eschews traditional seasonal choices for a wide range of styles, as it’s always hot here. There was much overlap from the offerings at the brewery taproom, but with the additional of eight guest taps accompanying the house beers, including offerings from Pizza Port, Anderson Valley, Hangar 24 and others.

La Quinta Old Town Taproom.

The Old Town Taproom.

It’s a simple place, made for drinking. It’s a fairly stark interior, marked by a concrete floor and metal tables and chairs. But it’s a warm spot, where’s a long bar around the taps, communal high top tables, TVs and board games. It has the definite feel of a locals place, with folks at the bar on a weekday afternoon chatting about happenings about town, tales from working at the local resorts and previous nights at the taproom.

A side door access leads to a nice patio facing some of the other shops of Old Town, where you can sit at a table and get occasionally misted with overhanging mist ropes. It’s a nice touch when you’d like a little heat and sunshine but with some relief from time to time.

While I was at the brewery I was fortunate to have a quick chat with Mychal Renteria, Sales Representative from La Quinta Brewing about the history of the brewery, what it’s like to have a brewery in the desert and other great craft beer spots in the area. Give a listen to this episode of Bar Towel Radio below or on iTunes or Google Play:

 

The Coachella Valley area is a great destination – quite literally unlike anything in Canada. It’s a resort community built up from the desert, where it is easy to spend the days taking in the perpetual warmth. But with La Quinta Brewing and the area’s emerging scene, there is now some great beer to savour in the sunshine.

The La Quinta Brewery Taproom is located at 77917 Wildcat Drive in Palm Desert, CA and is open Sunday-Thursday from 2pm-8pm, and Friday-Saturday from 2pm-9pm. The Old Town Taproom is located at 78-065 Main Street #100 in La Quinta, CA and is open Sunday-Thursday 12pm-10pm, and Friday-Saturday 12pm-12am. Note that minors (under 21 years of age) are not permitted, and food is not served at either location.

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