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December 06, 2006

Beer For The Holidays

In Wednesday's Toronto Star Food section, beer writer Josh Rubin offers some gift ideas for the beer lover on your Christmas list. Some of his suggestions include Beer: The Story of the Pint by Martyn Cornell; the Mill St. Barley Wine Gift Pack; a Granite Brewery Gift Pack featuring an empty growler, a certificate for a fill-up, and four pint glasses & coasters; and the Canadian Edition of the microbrewery board game Brewopoly.

Over in the pages of Thursday's Metro, you'll find Aonghus Kealy getting some tips from Roger Mittag on throwing a holiday beer-tasting party for women - although plenty of men will enjoy his picks as well.

Also getting into the holiday spirit are the Ontario Craft Brewers, who have issued a press release touting their various holiday brews - including Amsterdam Tilted Kilt Scotch Ale, Great Lakes Brewing Winter Ale & Trafalgar Celebration Ale - as well as food & beer pairing tips for your holiday feasting, and some more gift ideas. The full press release appears after the jump below.

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The Ontario Craft Brewers
DECEMBER 4, 2006 - 10:59 ET

Spice Up Holiday Entertaining With Ontario Craft Beers

Ontario Craft Brewers Brew Up Unique Holiday Beers With Ingredients Such As Cinnamon, Orange Peel and Honey

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 4, 2006) -

Attention: news/assignment editors, lifestyle editors, food editors and beer writers.

T'is the season to be merry! The Ontario Craft Brewers are ready to help you celebrate the festive season in style with tips on how to enhance traditional holiday cuisine and add flavour to holiday get-togethers, and gift ideas for beer and food enthusiasts on your list.

Tips for Holiday Entertaining From Ontario Craft Brewers:

Looking for some holiday entertaining ideas? The variety and diversity of Ontario craft beers can add spice up your holiday entertaining. Craft beers will provide a perfect match to any holiday culinary delight.

Here are some quick tips for creating a memorable holiday experience from Ontario Craft Brewers:

- Don't forget to use beer in your food preparation. Craft beer can tenderize meat very well while providing a wide variety of flavours to your favourite recipes.

- Offer a tall narrow glass for your lager drinkers and a wide mouthed glass for the ale lovers in the crowd. Choosing the right glass for the right beer will enhance the overall experience.

Tips for Adding Sparkle to Holiday Cocktail Parties:

- Start off the evening with a refreshing craft lager, pilsner or ale. They are light and refreshing, and won't overwhelm your guests' palates. A few great examples of these styles include Mill Street's Organic Lager, King Pilsner, Robert Simpson Confederation Ale and Maclean's Pale Ale.

- When offering cheese to your guests, forget the wine and try craft beer! Ontario craft beer is a wonderful accompaniment to any cheese. Subtle bitterness and the rich flavours in beer act as the perfect complement to most cheeses.

-- Try Niagara's Best Blonde, Stratford Pilsner or Walkerville Premium Blonde with soft and gentle cheeses like Havarti or mild Cheddar;

-- Creamy cheeses like Brie go well with Amber lagers or Amber ales such as Brick's JR Brickman Amber, Paddy's Irish Red from Trafalgar, Lakes of Muskoka Cream Ale or Wolfgang's German Style Beer;

-- Stronger cheeses like Asiago, Edam or Jarlsberg are great with fuller flavoured beers like Scotch Irish Sergeant Major's IPA, Heritage Traditional Dark Lager, Black Oak Nut Brown or Wellington County Dark Ale;

-- Last but not least, full flavoured cheese like Stilton and Danish Blue are best served with a fruit beer like Amsterdam Framboise or a rich porter such as Glenora Springs Yuletide Cherry Porter.

- Looking for something to go with shortbread and a variety of desserts - try Great Lakes Blackjack or Granite Brewery's Keefe's Irish Stout with chocolates or Neustadt's Scottish Ale with Granny's shortbread.

Tips for Spicing Up Traditional Holiday Dinners:

- A traditional turkey dinner will require just the right beer - KLB Raspberry Wheat, St. Andre's Vienna Lager or Old Credit's Holiday Honey will cause the turkey to melt in your mouth and will accent the cranberries perfectly;

- If you start with a soup or salad, a light, refreshing craft lager like Beau's Lug Tread, Taps' Charleston Lager or Cool Millennium Buzz will ease you into the main course;

- For those of us that opt for one of Ontario's great hams, the match is easy - Nickel Brook's Apple Pilsner, Dennison's Weissbier or Winter Wheat from County Durham will create a memorable experience;

- How do we finish the splendors of the holidays - easy! If trifle is your choice of dessert, complement it with Cameron's Auburn Ale. Hockley Dark is an ideal mate for your favourite fruitcake.

Holiday Craft Beers

Many of Ontario's more than 25 craft breweries have been busy brewing holiday-themed beers with ingredients ranging from cinnamon, ginger and orange peel to honey and cherries. These holiday brews make unique gifts for hostesses and beer and food lovers, and are something special to serve at festive get-togethers at home or at local pubs or restaurants.

Among the selection of holiday beers from the Ontario Craft Brewers are:

- Amsterdam's Tilted Kilt - a sweet malt-based Scotch ale, Tilted Kilt is available at the brewery's retail store in downtown Toronto for $11.75 for a six-pack. Food matches include beef brisket, and leek and potato soup.

- Better Bitter's Nickelbrook Bock - aged for three months, this bock is available in select pubs and restaurants, and the Burlington brewery store for $11.95 for a six-pack. Food matches include stews and cheese.

- Glenora Springs' Yuletide Cherry Porter - available at the Picton brewery for $11.95 for a six pack, as well as at local restaurants, this light beer is made with fresh Niagara cherries and has powerful cherry accents. Food matches include chocolate desserts and fruitcake.

- Granite Brewery's Barley Wine - available at the brewery in a unique 1.9 litre growler for $16.90 (plus deposit) as well as in the brewery pub, this traditional barley wine can be enjoyed as an after dinner drink or with a roast beef dinner.

- Great Lakes Winter Ale - inspired by the Canadian winter, Winter Ale is a true winter warmer. Handcrafted with specialty hops and malts, along with cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is available at the Etobicoke brewery's store. Food matches include gingerbread.

- Heritage Blackcurrant Rye - Blackcurrant Rye is available at the brewery and LCBO stores for $4.95 for a 650 ml bottle.

- Maclean's Scotch Ale - this rich, malty amber ale is a traditional Scottish winter warmer. Currently aging, this draught beer will be available in mid December at pubs including Toronto's Bow & Arrow and C'est What, and Guelph's Woolwich Arms. Food matches include beef, game and desserts such as fruitcake.

- Neustadt's Big Dog Beaujolais Porter - available at the brewery store for $11.95 for a six pack as well as at select pubs and restaurants, this old fashioned English porter is sweetened up with Beaujolais wine. The brew master recommends matching this beer with sweet holiday desserts.

- Old Credit's Holiday Honey - a silver medal winner at the 2006 Canadian Brewing Awards, Holiday Honey is available at the Mississauga brewery's store in 680 ml bottles for $3.00 per bottle including tax. Aged for three months, the beer can be enjoyed with appetizers or dessert.

- Trafalgar's Celebration Ale - available in select LCBO stores and the brewery store in Oakville, Celebration Ale is brewed in the Belgian style, and is rich and spicy with citrus notes and complex flavours. Food matches include desserts and fine chocolate.

The special seasonal craft beers are brewed in limited quantities and only available during the holiday season, or through the winter as long as supplies last. Visit or call Ontario's more than 25 craft brewers to find out more about their holiday celebrations, beers and recommended festive food matches. For the locations, phone numbers and hours for all Ontario Craft Brewers, visit www.ontariocraftbrewers.ca.

Giving the Gift of Good Taste

Looking for that special holiday gift for the gourmet food or beer enthusiast on your list? Any of the more than 125 high-quality, distinctive beers brewed by the Ontario Craft Brewers will make a wonderful gift. The holiday craft beers are a special, limited quantity treat for beer and food lovers.

Many Ontario Craft Brewers offer holiday packaging and special gift packs. A few of gift ideas are: Walkerville Brewing Company and Granite Brewery beers in 1.9 litre growler bottles available at their on-site stores, and Mill Street Brewery's 2005 Barley Wine gift packs at Toronto's LCBO Summerhill store and the brewery store.

A wide range of Ontario's finest craft beers are available at LCBO stores, The Beer Store and directly at the breweries' retail stores.

The Ontario Craft Brewers

The Ontario Craft Brewers are 25 plus small brewers dedicated to brewing great tasting beer in Ontario. The Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally in communities throughout Ontario - from Carleton Place to Windsor and Niagara Falls to Bracebridge. For more information on The Ontario Craft Brewers, visit www.ontariocraftbrewers.ca.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at December 6, 2006 11:32 PM