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BAR TOWEL NEWS | Got a beer news tip? Send it to news editor Greg Clow at news@bartowel.com

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October 25, 2009

Black Oak Oaktoberfest & 10 Bitter Years

Etobicoke's Black Oak Brewing has a new seasonal beer available now, and another limited edition beer to follow next month.

Black Oak Oaktoberfest is an unfiltered organic Oktoberfest beer made using all German ingredients. It's now available on draught at select locations in Toronto including beerbistro, C'est What, The Embassy, Twisted Kilt and The Rhino. Bottles will be available soon.

Black Oak 10 Bitter Years will follow in late November to mark the brewery's 10th anniversary on November 18th. It's described simply as a strong beer coming in at 8%, made with reverse osmosis water, malt, hops & yeast. Like the Oaktoberfest, it will be released on draught to select outlets, and in bottles at the brewery.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:29 PM

September 23, 2009

Collaborative Beers Coming From Great Lakes, Cameron’s and Church-Key

Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto), Cameron’s Brewing (Oakville) and Church-Key Brewery (Campbellford) have announced that they will be working together on a pair of collaborative brews.

Crafted by John Bowden of Great Lakes, Jon Graham of Cameron’s, and John Graham of Church-Key, the first of the beers will be a fresh hop pale ale that will be available at the next Great Lakes Project X night on October 8th, and the next Cameron’s Cask Night on October 29th.

The second beer will be Triple J Barley Wine, set to be released in the spring.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:13 AM

Railway City Dead Elephant Ale

Railway City Brewing in St. Thomas have just released their first seasonal beer, Dead Elephant Ale.

Named in honour of Jumbo, the world famous elephant that was killed on September 15, 1885 by a freight train, the beer is described by the brewery as follows:

A full bodied golden Pale Ale which presents with a linen white medium density head. On the palate there are slight grassy notes which fall away to reveal a hint of biscuit with rather pleasant grapefruit and perfume undertones. To the nose there is a mild malt aroma which accentuates the robust floral bouquet which is derived from the hops. IBUs 46.6 ABV 7.1%

Dead Elephant Ale is available in 1.9 litre growlers at the brewery, and will also be available on tap at Bar Volo and C’est What in Toronto, and the Winking Judge in Hamilton.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:11 AM

September 04, 2009

Trafalgar Hop Nouveau

Trafalgar Brewing is set to become the first brewery in Ontario to sell a “fresh hop” ale via the LCBO.

The beer, to be called Hop Nouveau, will be brewed this coming weekend using hops picked the same day. It will be available at select LCBO outlets on or around September 23rd.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:46 AM

Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale Returns

Great Lakes Brewery have just bottled up the first batch of their autumn seasonal Pumpkin Ale, and have put it on sale at their brewery store (30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd., Etobicoke), with a limited release at select LCBO outlets planned for later in September.

As in previous years, the beer is being brewed using real pumpkin and spices including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and allspice.

The beer sold out before Thanksgiving last year, so the quantity being produced is being increased this year in hopes of it lasting until Hallowe’en.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:41 AM

Upcoming Seasonals at Mill Street Brewpub

Mill Street Brewery have three seasonal beers set to be released soon at their brewpub in Toronto’s Distillery District.

On September 19th, they will be tapping the first keg of this year’s Oktoberfest Märzen, an annual seasonal described as a “classic golden malt-accented 5.5% alc./vol lager.”

Following in early October will be the debut of Nightmare On Mill Street Pumpkin Ale, “brewed with real pumpkin in the mash along with a number of spices to make a sunset-coloured wheat beer that is perfect for the fall.”

Finally, Mill Street Roggenbier is due to appear at the brewpub in October/November. It’s described as “a mid-copper coloured rye based ale made with German Weizenbier yeast”, and a “a spicy, clovey, slightly sweet, classic German-style rye beer.”

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:34 AM

March 08, 2009

Two New Beers from Amsterdam Brewery

Amsterdam Brewery has just released two new beers - one new year-round beer, and one special seasonal.

The new brew in their regular line-up is Big Wheel Deluxe Amber, which is described as "combining the boldness of a pale ale with the smoothness of an easy drinking lager". It's brewed with a blend of imported Pale and Crystal malts, and dry hopped with a blend of UK hops. Watch for it to soon start appearing on tap around town, and in 473 ml cans and 6x355 ml bottles at retail.

The seasonal brew is Amsterdam Strong Spring Bock, a limited run beer brewed by Amsterdam brewmaster Jamie Mistry using a recipe developed by homebrewer and Bar Towel regular Derek Hyde. The full story of this doppelbock-style beer can be read on the Bar Towel Forum, and the beer is available now at the brewery (21 Bathurst St. near Front St.).

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:22 PM

February 15, 2009

Great Lakes Green Tea Ale

Great Lakes Brewery have just released their newest seasonal beer, Green Tea Ale. Sold in their custom 650ml stenciled bottles, Green Tea Ale is now available at the Great Lakes retail store, and will be part of the LCBO spring beer release, on shelves the first week of March.

Brewed with Organic Green Tea and Ontario ginseng, it’s refreshing and deceptively full bodied for 4.2%. The fresh green tea flavour comes through in the middle with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Look for it on draught at a number of bars in the next few days.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:41 PM

December 29, 2008

F&M Stonehammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout

Guelph's F&M Brewery will soon be releasing its first seasonal beer, Stonehammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Concocted by brewmaster George Eagleson, it will be about 5.5% abv and available in keg and cask form only starting in mid-January, just in time for the Victory Winter Cask Festival. The beer was brewed using a fair trade, organic coffee blend from the Planet Bean roastery in Guelph.

F&M will also be holding a Brewersfeast at the Borealis Grille & Bar in Guelph on January 13th at 7:00pm. The final list of beers to be featured as pairings is yet to be confirmed, but it will definitely include the Harvest Ale and Harvest Lager that F&M brews for the Arrow Pub Group, as well as one or two Stonehammer beers and possibly Maclean's Pale Ale.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:59 PM

October 21, 2008

OCB Discovery Pack No. 2 To Be Released

The Ontario Craft Brewers have announced that their second Discovery Pack sampler will be released to more than 170 LCBO outlets across the province starting in early November.

Beers in this new six-pack will include: Robert Simpson Confederation Ale, Mill Street Tankhouse Ale, Trafalgar Elora Irish Ale, Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, Cameron's Auburn Ale, and Nickel Brook Apple Pilsner.

More information on OCB Discovery Pack No. 2, including tasting notes and recipes using the beers in the package, can be found on the OCB website.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:10 AM

October 11, 2008

Roland + Russell Signs Nørrebro Bryghus & Nøgne Ø

It appears that the recent trip taken by import agents Roland + Russell to the Copenhagen Beer Festival was fruitful, as they've recently announced the addition of two Scandinavian breweries to their portfolio.

Norway's Nøgne Ø and Nørrebro Bryghus from Denmark are both well-regarded breweries who have played a key role in the rapidly developing Scandinavian craft brewing scene.

Watch for future announcements about R+R's plans for these breweries on their website, as well as the Bar Towel forum.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:45 PM

May 11, 2008

New Local Brews

Several new local brews now available on various taps around town:

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:01 AM

May 04, 2008

Import Report

There are a few new imports on the shelves (or soon to be) at the LCBO and The Beer Store - here's a quick round-up:

  • Carlsberg is now available in Canada as an imported version for the first time in 40 years. Brewed domestically by Moosehead/McAuslan for the past 4 years, and by Labatt and Carling O'Keefe in the years prior, this month will see the Danish version arriving here in distinctive green bottles and other formats.

  • Originally released here last fall but getting a big push now for the spring and summer months, Grolsch Premium Blond is a 4% lager available in 500 ml cans exclusively at the LCBO.

  • Several beers in the long-anticipated US micros release will be arriving at the LCBO this month, with all but one being new year-round general list items:
    • Sam Adams Summer Ale ($12.65 / 6x355 ml) - one-time release
    • Anchor Steam ($10.35 / 6x355 ml)
    • Rogue Dead Guy Ale ($13.95 / 6x355 ml)
    • Southern Tier IPA ($12.00 / 6x355 ml)
    These will be joined by Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA later this year.

  • Also coming soon to the LCBO are the following, all available initially as one-off releases, but with the potential for becoming general list products:
    • Ursus Premium (LCBO 74450) - from Romania
    • Cisk Lager (LCBO 71316) - from Malta
    • Nektar Pivo (LCBO 75309) - from Bosnia
    • Mahou Cinco Estrellas (LCBO 75275) - from Spain
    • Keo Pils (LCBO 350918) - from Cyprus
    • Yanjing Beer (LCBO 77974) - from China
    • Ochakovo Premium (LCBO 70920) - from Russia
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:16 PM

April 01, 2008

Great Lakes Orange Peel Ale Released

Great Lakes Brewery have announced the return of their popular seasonal Orange Peel Ale for the second year. Here's what they have to say about it:

With the snow slowly melting and spring officially here, we're proud to release our spring/summer seasonal once again, Orange Peel Ale.

Pouring a beautiful copper colour, it boasts a subtle aroma of orange (a touch more than last year) that carries through in the flavour with a pleasant bitterness in the finish. We think it's the perfect beer for the warm weather, especially on a patio (which isn't that far off!)

Bottles are now available at our brewery, and it should be on tap at a number of familiar licensees in the coming days and weeks. The LCBO will also be carrying bottles in late May as part of their Summer Beer Release, but until then, you can only get it directly from us.

You can find us near Royal York and the Queensway, just a field goal away from Costco.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:27 PM

February 06, 2008

Beau's Bogwater Dirty-Brown Ale

Beau's All-Natural Brewing of Vankleek Hill (near Ottawa) are pleased to announce the release of their first seasonal beer, Beau's Bogwater Dirty-Brown Ale. Here is their description of the beer:

This strong & dark beer, inspired by the Alfred bog, is our very first seasonal offering. Featuring bog myrtle, or sweet gale, harvested from the wilds of northern Quebec. Rumoured to be an aphrodesiac, this ancient herb was used in brewing hundreds of years ago and offers bitterness, a sweet aroma and herbal spicy notes.

Bogwater is expected to be released next week, and will be available at the brewery and select draught accounts in Ottawa and area.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:59 PM

November 04, 2007

Ontario Craft Brewers Discovery Pack

The Ontario Craft Brewers are introducing their first ever OCB Discovery Pack. The six pack was designed by the OCB to educate consumers about different styles of premium beer and help beer lovers discover the world of Craft Beer available in Ontario. The first of a series, the pack will be available exclusively at more than 150 LCBO stores across the province for $11.95 starting November 12, 2007.

Featured beers in this inaugural pack include: Wellington Special Pale Ale, Great Lakes Red Leaf Smooth Red Lager, Walkerville Amber Lager, Mill Street Original Organic Lager, Lakes of Muskoka Cream Ale and Brick's J.R. Brickman Pilsner.

For more details on the Discovery Pack including tasting notes, recipes that use the beers as ingredients, and your chance to offer feedback on the pack, visit the Discovery Pack page on the OCB website.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:23 PM

May 20, 2007

Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner

In 1987, Creemore Springs Brewery launched with a single beer: Creemore Springs Premium Lager. It took them 10 years to add Creemore Springs urBock to their line-up, and even then it's only a seasonal beer, available from fall through spring each year.

Now, a further 10 years on, the brewery is celebrating their 20th anniversary with their third beer, Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner, a spring-to-fall seasonal that they describe as follows:

Similar to original pilsners, our direct fire brewing process and combination of specialty malts yield a beer with a deep golden colour and delicious malt flavours. Our very own spring water creates a soft pure background on which Czech hops impart a fresh fragrant aroma and bitter finish.

Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner is available now at the LCBO in 473 mL cans.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:08 PM

April 03, 2007

Great Lakes Orange Peel Ale

Great Lakes Brewery have announced the details of their latest seasonal release, and it sounds like another good one. Here's the scoop straight from GLB:

In our quest to bring you the most flavourful and unique beers possible, we are proud to release this tasty spring beer. Handcrafted with five specialty malts and five varieties of hops, along with just a touch of honey, we added heaps of fresh oranges and peels into the boil. A little different, you say? We sure hope so. Orange Peel Ale balances the unique flavour of oranges with generous amounts of hops to achieve a slightly fruity and refreshing taste. We are proud to offer this limited edition beer as we celebrate our 20th anniversary of brewing excellence. Orange Peel Ale will be available at over 100 LCBOs from Ottawa to Niagara Falls beginning in the second week of April until the end of July as part of the spring seasonal beer program. And as always, it will be available at our retail store and on draught at a select number of licensees shortly.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:54 PM

March 14, 2007

Seasonals from Trafalgar and Hockley Valley

Trafalgar Ales & Meads and Hockley Valley Brewing are both getting into the St. Patrick's Day spirit with some seasonal-themed releases.

Trafalgar has teamed up with the St. Patrick's Day Parade Society to release special commemorative label editions of Paddy's Irish Red and Celtic Irish Ale which are available now at selected LCBO outlets in Toronto ($3.75/650 mL), as well as at the brewery. (Note: If you're searching for inventory on the LCBO website, the Celtic is being stocked under the Elora Irish Ale SKU of LCBO 684894, while the Paddy's is under it's own SKU of LCBO 894824.)

Trafalgar is also giving advance notice that they will be doing a province-wide release for their Maple Bock in April as part of the LCBO's spring beer promotion. This bock is brewed with real Ontario maple syrup, and was very popular in it's initial limited release last spring.

And also coming soon to select LCBO outlets is Hockley Valley Stout. This limited edition release will be available in 1 litre swing-top bottles.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:32 PM

Additions to Roland + Russell Import Portfolio

Import agents Roland + Russell have announced two new additions to their beer portfolio. Joining their current line-up of O'Hanlon's Brewery/Thomas Hardy's (UK) and Schloss Eggenberg (Austria) are France's Les Brasseurs de Gayant and Western New York's Southern Tier Brewing.

Several Gayant beers are now available for private ordering - for more information, contact R+R at 416-801-9885 or 905-399-5885, or email sales@rolandandrussell.com.

St. Landelin La Divine (Bière de Garde) - $39.00 (6 x 750mL)
St. Landelin Blonde (Belgian Ale) - $39.30 (6 x 750mL)
La Goudale (Bière de Garde) - $80.40 (24 x 500mL)
Amadeus (Witbier) - $36.90 (6 x 750mL) and $72.00 (24 x 500mL)
Tequieros (Tequila & Lime Lager) - $72.00 (24 x 500mL)

Details on which Southern Tier beers will be available in Ontario should be announced soon.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:09 PM

January 30, 2007

Eggenberg Coming to Ontario

Hot on the heels of the announcement that they were bringing Thomas Hardy's Ale and other O'Hanlon's beers to Ontario, word has come that import agents Roland + Russell have added Austrian brewery Schloss Eggenberg to their portfolio.

As with O'Hanlon's, Eggenberg is known as a brewery that revived a classic strong beer: Samichlaus, a 14% abv Doppelbock that was once the strongest beer in the world. They also produce the slightly less potent Urbock 23°; MacQueens Nessie, which is brewed with Scottish Highland whisky malt; two unique liquors made by distilling beer; and several other brands.

UPDATE: Details on private ordering prices and availability of these beers have now been announced. All prices are for cases of 24 x 330 ml bottles:

Samichlaus - $84.00
Urbock 23 - $62.40
Doppel Bock Dunkel - $62.40
Mac Queens Nessie - $55.20
Eggenberger Hopfenkonig - $49.20
Spirit of Hemp - $55.92

Distilled spirits Samichlausbrand & Zigarrenbrand are also available. Interested customers are asked to contact Roland + Russell for more information - phone 416-801-9885 or 905-399-5885, or email sales@rolandandrussell.com.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 02:30 PM

January 10, 2007

Thomas Hardy's Ale Now In Ontario

In today's edition of his What's Brewing column, Josh Rubin reports that the world-renowned Thomas Hardy's Ale is now available in Ontario.

Roland and Russell, a company that previously specialized in importing wines and spirits from Eastern Europe, have recently become agents for O'Hanlon's, the brewery that has produced Thomas Hardy's since the brand was revived in 2003.

Several vintages are currently available at beerbistro, with prices ranging from $15.99 to $19.50, and Smokeless Joe & Volo will be receiving stock when the next shipment arrives in a month or two. Roland and Russell are also accepting private orders at a cost of $112.80 per case (24 x 8.5 oz). They can be contacted at sales@rolandandrussell.com or 416-801-9885.

In addition, O'Hanlon's Wheat, Port Stout, Royal Oak, and Yellow Hammer are available at Smokeless Joe, and the LCBO will be including O'Hanlon's Royal Oak in their Fall, 2007 seasonal release.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:22 AM

January 06, 2007

Sleeman Brews Bard's Beer

In honour of the Shakespeare: Made in Canada festival which will be running in Guelph from January to May of this year, Sleeman Breweries have brewed a limited edition ale called The Bard's Beer.

Launched this past week at The Shakespeare Arms, the beer will be available on tap at various bars and restaurants in Guelph for the duration of the festival, with all proceeds from its sales being donated to the event.

Not much info has been made available about the beer itself has been made available, aside from the following excerpt from an article in the Guelph Mercury:

(Sleeman brewmaster Ed) McCallum said he started doing research in September after being directed to create a beer in honour of the festival.

He said he planned on creating an old-fashioned English beer with a strong bitter taste. But he wanted to find more creative links to Shakespeare to make the promotion more authentic.

"It's the fun part of my business and the fun part of my job," McCallum said.

"It's the part I really enjoy."

He said he used two different roasted malts after reading that Shakespeare was a grain dealer who sold malts in England.

And because Shakespeare's father had a penchant for ale, McCallum used ale yeast in his recipe.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:31 PM

December 30, 2006

Brooklyn Beers at LCBO & beerbistro

As mentioned here a month or so ago, Toronto's Fine Beers Agency have recently added Brooklyn Brewery to their portfolio of premium imports.

After a slight delay, the brewery's flagship beer, Brooklyn Lager, will be delivered to the LCBO next week and should arrive in stores later in January.

In addition, the following Brooklyn beers are now available exclusively at beerbistro:

Black Chocolate Stout
East India Pale Ale
Post Road Pumpkin Ale
Pennant Pale Ale
Monster Ale Barley Wine

To celebrate the arrival of their beers in Ontario, Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver will be hosting an special dinner and beer presentation at beerbistro in late February. Full details will be announced here once they are confirmed.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:40 PM

December 26, 2006

Scotch-Irish Santa Claws Christmas Cake Porter

Christmas may be over for another year, but there are still some great local holiday beers available on tap at various spots around town.

Joining the selection this week is Santa Claws Christmas Cake Porter, a one-off cask ale created by Perry Mason at Scotch-Irish Brewing. Described as tasting like "a Christmas cake in a glass", this holiday treat is a porter flavoured with currants, plums, raisins, figs, dates and cinnamon.

A single firkin of the beer has been dropped off at Volo, where it will be tapped on Friday, December 29th. It's unlikely to last long, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:27 PM

December 08, 2006

Great Lakes Winter Ale Now Available

Great Lakes Brewery have officially released their newest seasonal beer, Great Lakes Winter Ale. Here is the announcement originally posted here back in November:

In light of the great response to our Devil's Pale Ale, we've brewed a brand new beer that will be ready just in time for the holidays. Appropriately named Great Lakes Winter Ale, it will be our seasonal offering for the next few months. Inspired by the long, cold, and seemingly endless Canadian winter, our Winter Ale is a true winter warmer, weighing in at over 6% alcohol and with a rich amber colour. Handcrafted with a variety of specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is brimming with flavour! A limited edition stencilled bottle (750ml with a cork stopper) will be available only at our retail store by the second week of December. As with our Devil's Pale Ale, we hope to have it on tap at some of the city's finest beer destinations before Christmas.

A limited number of bottles are now available for sale at the brewery, and kegs will be dropped off next week at various GTA bars and restaurants.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 12:18 PM

November 22, 2006

New Releases from Fine Beers Agency

Fine Beers Agency - the import reps for such breweries as Paulaner, Fischer and Ceylon (Sinha) - have two new products available to Ontario beer drinkers.

Arriving at the LCBO in early December will be Brooklyn Lager (LCBO 26997). Other Brooklyn brands will be available at beerbistro and other bars & restaurants, and Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver will be making a visit to Toronto to help promote the launch of the beer.

Now available at The Beer Store is Fürstenberg Premium Pilsner, a lager in the classic German Pilsner style that is brewed in the Black Forest region of the country. It retails for $2.50 per 500 ml can, and is available primarily at self-serve Beer Store locations (click here for a complete list).

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:31 AM

October 03, 2006

Paul-Bricius Beers at Volo

As part of their continuing quest to bring Toronto beer fans some of the rarest and most unique brews from around the world, Volo has just received a shipment from Italian microbrewery Paul-Bricius & Company.

Currently in stock are the PB&C Dark Strong Ale & Red Strong Ale, and the Special Ale should be clearing the LCBO lab soon.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:24 AM

October 02, 2006

Rogue Beers at Various Bars

Peter from Esprit Agencies reports that several bars around town have recently taken delivery of various Rogue beers, most of which have been unavailable in Ontario for quite some time:

Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Chocolate Stout
Brutal Bitter
XS Imperial Stout (limited supply)
XS Imperial IPA (limited supply)

Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Chocolate Stout
Brutal Bitter

Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Chocolate Stout
Brutal Bitter

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:15 PM

September 23, 2006

Taps Wine Barrel Lager

Taps Brewing in Niagara-on-the-Lake have announced the release of their newest beer:

Our Seasonal "Wine Barrel Lager" (WBL) is finally ready for tasting and purchase at the brewery. Taps Wine Barrel Lager was aged in used red wine barrels for about 6 months. It has a subtle oak aroma and flavour with a distinct hint of red wine on the palate. WBL is only available in 6 packs at our brewery retail store. We only produced a single batch so it won't last long. Come in a sample the 2006 WBL.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:58 AM

August 10, 2006

Great Lakes Devil's Pale Ale

As mentioned here a few weeks back, Toronto's Great Lakes Brewery have concocted a new limited edition brew to be launched at Toronto's Festival Of Beer. They were keeping quiet on the details, but now the dark secrets have been revealed:

The Devil Made Me Brew It! Brewed for 66.6 minutes with 666kg of malt and 6.6kg of hops, Devil's Pale Ale is a robust ale weighing in at 6.6% alcohol (notice a theme yet?). Darker than traditional pale ales, Devil's Pale Ale has an unmistakable hoppiness both in aroma and taste, balanced by a selection of 6 choice malts. Stop by our tent to be one of the first to try this limited release beer from Great Lakes Brewery.
Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:26 AM

July 17, 2006

Great Lakes Mystery Beer Coming Soon

The folks at Great Lakes Brewery have something up their sleeves:

Just wanted to let you know about something new and exciting that's happening here at Great Lakes. Although we can't divulge all the details yet, we have a new beer aging at the brewery, ready to be unveiled at the Toronto Festival of Beer. What we can say at this point is that it is a robust ale, weighing in at more than 6% ABV and in a very limited release. We hope to have it on tap at select bars and restaurants in the city by the end of August, and perhaps a few bottles or kegs at our brewery store. Stay tuned for further details as the beer matures...

Needless to say, as soon as we know more, we'll pass along the info to you.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 07:11 PM

July 04, 2006

Local Summer Beers Return

Local breweries Black Oak and Mill Street have their summer beers ready for release.

After taking last year off, Black Oak is bringing back their Summer Saison. It will be available in a limited bottling of 60 cases for sale only at the Black Oak retail store, and on tap at selected bars and restaurants in the GTA. Home delivery can be arranged for orders of 2 or more cases - see this Forum post for details.

From the east end comes word that Mill Street's Belgian Wheat is returning, first in kegs that are just now hitting local beer spots, and soon in bottles that will be a permanent addition to the Mill Street line-up.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:39 PM

June 29, 2006

Scotch Irish Ginger's Ale

Scotch Irish Brewing will soon be releasing a summer beer called Ginger's Ale. According to brewmaster Perry Mason, it's a low-gravity, 30 IBU ale brewed with a homemade ginger extract. It should be available sometime in July on draught and a limited edition bottling.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:53 PM

May 12, 2006

Heritage Maple Bush Lager at Volo

Maple Bush Lager, the latest seasonal release from Heritage Brewing, is now available at Volo. The brewer describes it as "a springtime special with maple sap fresh from the forest. A smoked malt adds a touch of the woods to this maple flavoured brew."

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 10:56 AM

May 07, 2006

Delirium Tremens on Tap at beerbistro

Some time this week, beerbistro will be tapping the first-ever kegs of Delirium Tremens seen in Ontario. This strong Belgian beer was notoriously pulled from LCBO shelves in December, 2004 due to concerns about its name possibly offending consumers. The draught version will be exclusive to beerbistro for the first month, after which it will begin turning up at other locations including Smokeless Joe.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 03:49 PM

April 21, 2006

Nickel Brook Apple Lager

Burlington's Better Bitters Brewing will be releasing their newest beer, Nickel Brook Apple Lager, in early May. This is the fourth beer from this small brewery, whose Nickel Brook line already features an Ale, a Lager and a Light Lager. The Ale is currently available at select LCBO outlets, and all four beers will soon be available at Smokeless Joe.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:09 AM

April 14, 2006

Scotch Irish Vanilla Bean Porter at Volo

Perry at Scotch Irish has done a special one-off cask Vanilla Bean version of his Black Irish Plain Porter. It was dropped off at Volo yesterday, and should be tapped this weekend. He also dropped off some of the original Black Irish which will be available soon as well.

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 05:13 PM

April 04, 2006

County Durham Hop Addict

County Durham Brewing has just released their newest beer, a Pacific Northwest style Pale Ale dubbed Hop Addict which clocks in at around 70 IBU with an alcohol content of 5.3%. It is now available on tap at Smokeless Joe (125 John St.).

Discuss this topic in the Bar Towel Forum

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 06:50 PM

Heritage Maple Bush Beer

Ottawa's Heritage Brewing have announced the latest beer in their seasonal series will be Maple Bush Beer. Due to be released later this spring, the beer will be brewed using maple sap fresh from the forests of Lanark County, as well as smoked malt to "add a touch of the woods to this maple flavoured brew".

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:42 AM

March 18, 2006

Church-Key Biere de Garde

Church-Key Brewing has announced the release of their newest beer, Church-Key Biere de Garde. This 7% abv farmhouse ale is the first example of the style brewed in Ontario, and has been made using hops from Prince Edward County and Northumberland County barley. It is currently available on draught at Volo and will soon be available in 750ml bottles.

More information about this unique beer style appears below.

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Biere de Garde - The Best Kept Secret of French Flanders

The Northern region of France, known as Nord Pas-de-Calais, shares a border with Belgium, one of the greatest brewing wonderlands in the world. As is the custom of French Flanders, beer is the traditional drink, a love that displays the style and finesse of the people, along with their dedication to artisanal tradition. This is the center of bieres de garde, or beers for keeping, the ales that were brewed to last throughout the summer months.

Like the saisons of Belgium, these bieres de garde were farmhouse ales brewed for the farmers and their fieldhands, but were vastly unique in flavor. They were intense, invigorating, strong ­ and stored in traditional champagne bottles.

You might interpret the champagne bottle, with cork and wire hood, to be a statement about an elitist cultural attitude toward beer in this region of Europe. However, the champagne region of France lies fifty miles to the south, and the convenience of using the same bottles led to the tradition for biere de garde.

These beers may be flattened gold to intense amber in color, the result of lightly kilning the barley malt. They generally have an earthy character, with anise, exotic spices and herbal wood undertones. You may find a sweetness or fruitiness in the center, along with flavors of biscuit, and the warming splash of alcohol. It has a rounded smoothness, the result of the process of warm fermentation, followed by cold maturation.

Bieres de garde are the ideal complement to the well stocked table in the Nord Pas-de-Calais. These marry well with the famous moules-frites, waterzoi, coq a la biere, Maroilles cheese tarts, and carbonnade flamenade.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 04:19 PM

March 15, 2006

Headstrong Munich Lager

Premier Brands - the Canadian license holder for Headstrong Pale Ale - have taken the unique move of using the brand for a new beer that is not brewed at the original home of Headstrong, Montana's Big Hole Brewing. Headstrong Munich Lager is their new offering, and like the Pale Ale, it is contract brewed at Wellington for the Ontario market. It is now on tap at Smokeless Joe, with more locations presumably soon to follow.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:34 PM

March 03, 2006

King PilsBock

The fine folks at King Brewery have just released their newest beer, a 7.4% alc/vol lager called PilsBock. Kegs and bottles of this limited edition brew are now arriving at various locations around town - including Volo and beerbistro - and it will be officially available in the next week or so.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 09:16 AM

January 24, 2006

Heritage Brewing Passion Brew

Following on last autumn's unique Black Currant Rye Lager, Ottawa's Heritage Brewing have announced their next seasonal release:

PASSION BREW: Available for a limited time, just in time for Valentine's Day.

We are delighted to introduce our second seasonal beer, Passion Brew. A tangy infusion of passion fruit in a lightly hopped lager. Perfect for sharing with someone you love or keep it for yourself.

Sold in 650 ml bottles for $4.95 or $54.00 per 12 bottle case (only at the brewery). Available soon at the brewery in limited amounts. To reserve your Passion Brew email donna@heritagebrewing.com.

For those who are unable to make the trip to Ottawa, Passion Brew will likely be available at some Toronto bars and restaurants, including Volo.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 11:44 AM

January 19, 2006

Glenora Springs Red Coat Pale Ale

Beer blogger Alan McLeod reports that Glenora Springs Brewery have re-launched their Red Coat Pale Ale. He says in a recent blog entry:

New to the LCBO in a 650 ml bomb. The graphics are very nice and honour a Loyalist unit from the era of the American Revolution that operated in northern New York and the Canadian St. Lawrence river valley.

LCBO availability of this and other Glenora Springs beers is limited to Kingston and area.

Posted by Bar Towel News Editor at 08:48 AM