September 1 - Golden Tap Award Winners Announced!

On August 19th at the Academy of Spherical Arts, the inaugural Golden Tap Awards were announced. As voted upon by the general public, the Golden Tap Awards recognize the best in beer that the GTA has to offer. There were five awards categories this year:

Best Microbrewery in the GTA: Black Oak Brewing Company
Best Brewpub: Granite Brewery
Best Beer Bar (Draught Selection): C'est What
Best Beer Bar (Bottled Selection): Smokeless Joe
Best Locally-Produced Beer: Granite Best Bitter Special

Congratulations to all the winners, and special thanks to the Academy of Spherical Arts for hosting the event, and to all who voted and attended the event. Looking forward to next year!

June 23 - New Bar Towel on the Road!

A couple of months ago we debuted what was, at the time, our most exotic Bar Towel on the Road report, Greg Clow's report to Waikiki and Honolulu, Hawaii. Well this has definitely been bested. We are proud to unveil our newest Bar Towel on the Road, from Hong Kong, written by my good friend Peter Smyth. Check it out here!

June 23 - Summer Beers Arrive!

The newest LCBO themed release, Summer Beers, has shown up on shelves. Here are the beers in this release:

St. Peter's Summer Ale, 500 mL
St. Peter's Lemon & Ginger Spiced Ale, 500 mL
Samuel Smith's Organically Produced Lager, 550 mL
Samuel Smith's India Ale, 550 mL
Hook Norton Haymaker, 500 mL
Belhaven Classic Choice Fruit Beer, 500 mL
Curim Gold, 500 mL
Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre, 355 mL
McAuslan Apricot Wheat Ale, 6 x 341 mL bottles
Fuller's London Pride, 500 mL
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, 500 mL

May 17 - New Bar Towel Brewery Profile!

We are happy to present our first new brewery profile in quite some time, of the was-Toronto now-Oakville Cameron's Brewing, complete with multimedia fun of video and audio clips! Check it out here.

May 6 - Spring Beers Arrive!

The newest LCBO themed release, Spring Beers, has started to show up on shelves. Here are the beers in this release:

Liefmans Kriekbier, 375 mL
Munchner Kindl Weissbier, 500 mL
Floris Ninkeberry Gardenbeer, 300 mL
Floris Passion Gardenbeer, 330 mL
Mort Subite Framboise Lambic, 375 mL
Christoffel Blond, 330 mL
Holsten Citrus Fusion, 275 mL
Edelweiss Weissbier Hefetrueb, 500 mL
Jenlain Biere Blonde Speciale, 650 mL

April 15 - New Bar Towel on the Road!

We are happy to present probably our most exotic Bar Towel on the Road report yet. Greg Clow has generously written a report about his recent trip to Waikiki and Honolulu, Hawaii. Check it out here!

March 26 - Bar Towel Pub Walk featured in The Toronto Star!

We are thrilled to announce that the latest Bar Towel Pub Walk to the Rebel Chop House was reprinted in the Metropolis section of The Toronto Star on Sunday, March 23rd. The section was dedicated to walking in the city, and the pub walk was featured as an interesting way to explore the city. Please take a look at the article on the Toronto Star's web site here. Thanks go out to The Toronto Star for reprinting the article.

March 2 - New On The Road Report!

We are proud to present a brand new Bar Towel On The Road report for Quebec City - please take a look here. This Quebec City report nicely complements our Montreal brewpub guide for those venturing to our eastern neighbours to find some great beer.

March 1 - New Pub Walk!

It's been a little while, but we're happy to present a brand new Pub Walk, this time through Bloor West Village to the Rebel Chop House. Please see it here.

January 3 - New On The Road Reports!

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a great holiday season. To start the year off right, we are proud to present three new Bar Towel On The Road reports. First, our resident Albertan screw2000 has written a 2002 update for Calgary, Alberta. Also, we have new reports for Chicago, Illinois and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hope you enjoy them.

December 15 - More Upcoming Beer Releases!

Some new beer releases to report in the coming months, but first, we are proud to present a review of the recent Royal York Canadian Premium Craft Beer Celebration, generously written by Josh Oakes. You can read it here.

Now, for the upcoming beer news. The LCBO is unveiling a Stouts & Porters themed release in January, 2003, which will include:

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, 550 ml
Marston’s Oyster Stout, 500 ml
Old Growler, 500 ml
Propeller London Style Porter, 650 ml
Smuttynose Robust Porter, 355 ml
Burton Porter, 500 ml
St. Peter’s Cream Stout, 500 ml
Rogue Chocolate Stout, 650 ml

In addition to these, there will be some new releases in spring added to the General List, including: Staropramen (Czech Republic), Tyskie (Poland), Zlaty Bazant (Slovak Republic), Baltika Classic (Russia) and Wychwood's Black Wych Stout (UK).

December 8 - Lots new beer releases!

On the new beer front, beer lovers in Toronto can look forward to a delicious winter. First up, the LCBO's Winter Beer release has started to show up on shelves, and it includes:

Weltenburger Kluster Asam-Bock, 500 ml
St. Peter's Winter Ale, 500 ml
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome, 550 ml
Paulaner Salvator, 330 ml
Daleside Morocco Ale, 500 ml
Slavutich Christmas Beer, 500 ml
Mahr's Brau Wheat Bock, 500 ml
Duyck Jenlain Biere De Garde Ambree, 330 ml
XO Beer, 375 ml
Leffe Brune, 330 ml
Corsendonk Pater, 750ml

Not only that, the LCBO's annual gift pack selection has also been released, and it includes gift packs from Chimay, Duvel, Orval, La Trappe, Maredsous, Corsendonk, Christoffel, Petrus and others.

And that's not all. Very exciting news comes from Unibroue, who is releasing in Ontario a brand new 8-pack in self-serve Beer Stores, which will unfortunately replace the current mix-pack. This new 8-pack, the Ephemere Collection, features 2 bottles of each Ephemere that has been released in Quebec: Apple, Peach, Cranberry and the Original Recipe. The bottles are currently undergoing lab testing and hopefully will be out by Christmas.

You can also find a special-edition Amsterdam Framboise available in ceramic, swing-top 750mL bottles at the brewery and select LCBOs.

Last but not least, Toronto's newest microbrewery, Mill Street Brewing is almost finished, and should have their first beer, Original Organic Lager, available in December. Watch out for it.

September 1 - Fall Beers Arrive!

The LCBO's September beer release has started to show up on shelves around the city. Here are the beers contained in this release:

Pinkus Muller Alt (Germany), 330 mL
Black Wych Stout (England), 500 mL
Badger Tanglefoot Ale (England), 500 mL
Daleside Old Leg Over (England), 500 mL
Castle Eden Special Ale (England), 500 mL
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog (New Hampshire), 355 mL
Brakspear Ted and Ben's Organic Beer (England), 500 mL
Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Oregon), 650 mL
Strong Suffolk Ale (England), 500 mL
Aecht Schlenherla Rauchbier (Germany), 500 mL
Wells Bombardier Ale (England), 568 mL

June 22 - Bar Towel News & Updates!

We have a number of updates and news notes today. Firstly, the LCBO is set to release its summer beer release, which will be hitting the shelves soon:

Mort Subite Gueuze Lambic (Belgium), 375 mL
Mort Subite Framboise Lambic (Belgium), 375 mL
Victory Whirlwind Witbier (United States), 355 mL
Brussels White (Belgium), 330 mL
St. Peter's Lemon & Ginger Spiced Ale (United Kingdom), 500 mL
St. Peter's Wheat Beer (United Kingdom), 500 mL
Floris Passionfruit Gardenbeer (Belgium), 330 mL
Floris Ninkeberry Gardenbeer (Belgium), 330 mL
Munchner Kindl Weissbier (Germany), 500 mL
Edelweiss Hefetrueb Weissbier (Germany), 500 mL
Ayinger Ur-Weisse (Germany), 500 mL

We have also updated the McAuslan Brewery Profile with their current Toronto draught listing. This is an excellent resource if you'd like to find a McAuslan in the city.

Also completely updated and revised is our profile of Smokeless Joe. One of Toronto's finest pubs is as great as ever, and an update to our profile has been long overdue.

The Consignment Section has also been updated, with a couple of new beers available from importer Rubaiyat.

Also, it should be noted that the Esplanade Bier Markt has recently launched a new beer menu, complete with a number of exclusive and rare draught and bottled beers. As we prepare a full profile of the Bier Markt, The Bar Towel is proud to present their new beer menu available for PDF download. Please note that the menu is about 3.5 megs. Thanks go out to the Esplanade Bier Markt for providing the menu.

June 1 - New Toronto Pub Walk!

What better way to celebrate June than with a new Pub Walk. The Bar Towel is proud to introduce our newest walk, through the neighbourhoods of University of Toronto and Grange Park to the new Frecklebean Cafe. Please take a look here.

May 5 - New On The Road Report!

The Bar Towel is proud to welcome another guest author, local beer afficionado and frequent Bar Towel Forum participant Josh Oakes. Josh has generously written a report on Hamilton's fabled Winking Judge, including a review of the recent spring beer festival. Please take a look here.

April 8 - The Bar Towel returns!

First off, an apology. It has been quite some time since any new content has been added to The Bar Towel. However, we promise to make up with lots of new articles and tidbits over the coming weeks.

First up is a new Bar Towel on the Road report from Calgary, Alberta, written by our newest guest author, Screw2000. Screw2000 is an ex-Calgarian now living in Toronto, and has some interesting thoughts on the beer scene out west. Please check it out here.

April 8 - March beers arrive!

The LCBO's latest beer release showed up in stores last month. Here are the beers that were released:

Marston's India Export (England), 500 mL;
Rogue Brutal Bitter (Oregon), 650 mL;
St. Peter's Best Bitter (England), 500 mL;
Samuel Smith's India Pale Ale (England) 550 mL;
Brakspear Bitter (England) 500 mL;
Victory Hop Devil India Pale Ale (Pennsylvania), 355 mL

A quick update from The Beer Store - they now stock another Unibroue product, Trois Pistoles. This brew is an excellent addition to The Beer Store, joining Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly, Maudite, Raftman, Fin du Monde and their 8-beer mix pack Unibroue Collection. Trois Pistoles is priced at $12.95 per six pack. Stay tuned to the Bar Towel for news regarding the upcoming releases for the summer and fall at the LCBO.

January 26 - New Toronto Pub Walk!

The Bar Towel is proud to introduce our newest Pub Walk, wandering through the exclusive neighbourhood of Rosedale, with two pub choices, either the Rebel House or the Quail & Firkin. Please see the updated Pub Walks section for this and other Toronto Pub Walks.

January 24 - Stouts & Porters arrive!

The LCBO's latest themed beer release, Stouts & Porters, began to show up in stores at the beginning of the month. Here are the beers in this release:

Marston's Oyster Stout (England), 500 mL;
Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout (England), 355 mL;
Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter (England), 550 mL;
Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout (England), 550 mL;
Old Growler Porter (England), 500 mL;
Rogue Shakespeare Stout (Oregon), 650 mL;
Smuttynose Robust Porter (New Hampshire), 355 mL

November 24 - Winter Beers arrive!

The LCBO's newest themed beer release, Winter Beers, is beginning to show up in stores. Here are the beers in this release:

Liefmans Glühkriek (Belgium), 250 mL;
Orval Trappist Ale (Belgium), 330 mL;
Corsendonk Pater (Belgium), 330 mL;
Kasteel Dark (Belgium), 330 mL;
Daleside Morocco Ale (England), 500 mL;
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome (England), 550 mL;
St. Peter's Cinnamon and Apple Spiced Ale (England), 355 mL;
St. Peter's Winter Ale (England), 500 mL;
Duyck Jenlain Bière de Garde (France), 330 mL;
XO Beer (France), 330 mL;
McAuslan Vintage Ale (Quebec), 341 mL;
Orkney Skullsplitter Strong Scottish Ale (Scotland), 330 mL

Lots of interesting beers in this release, so be sure to grab some before they're gone.

November 22 - LCBO gift sets have arrived!

Every year when the holiday season approaches, the LCBO releases a number of beer gift sets from around the world. This year is no exception, with a number of interesting sets hitting the LCBOs now:

Van Steenberge mix pack (Belgium) - 6x330mL, $13.95
Berliner Burgerbrau big jug (Germany) - 2000mL, $34.95
La Trappe mix pack (Belgium) - 4x330mL and glass, $15.95
Interbrew mix pack with three glasses (Belgium) - $18.95
Historic Ales of Scotland - 4x330mL, $12.95
Broughton mix pack (Scotland) - 4x500mL, $15.95
Petrus pack (Belgium) - 6x250mL and glass, $13.95
Mort Subite mix pack (Belgium) - 5x250mL and glass, $12.95
Heather ale pack (Scotland) - 4x330mL, $12.95
Duvel pack (Belgium) - 2x330mL and glass, $9.50
DAB pack (Germany) - 4x500mL and glass, $11.95
McAuslan Taste Pack - with St. Ambroise Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Extra Pale Ale and Scotch Ale (Quebec), $10.95
Inveralmond mix pack (Scotland) - 2x500mL and glass, $13.95
Corsendonk Agnus canister (Belgium) - 750mL, $8.50
Brugse Tripel tin (Belgium) - 750mL, $8.95
Christoffel mix pack (Belgium) - 2x330mL and glass, $8.95
Corona pack (Mexico) - 710mL, two glasses and bottle opener, $9.95

The LCBO has also set up an online ordering site for their gift sets. Through this site, you can order any of the gift sets (not just beer) and have them delivered to your home. You can find this new service at LCBOgifts.com.

October 14 - Recap of the Buffalo BrewFest!

For a second consecutive year, the Buffalo BrewFest offered beer lovers an excellent opportunity to sample many interesting and unique brews on September 1st. Please see The Bar Towel's recap of the Buffalo BrewFest 2001 here.

October 6 - New beer releases for October!

Vintages comes back to release a couple of popular lambics on Saturday, October 6th:

Mort Subite Cassis (Belgium), $3.95, 375mL;
Mort Subite Kriek (Belgium), $3.95, 375mL

September 18 - Fall Beers arrive!

The LCBO's newest themed beer release, Fall Beers, is beginning to show up in stores. Here are the beers in this release:

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier (Germany), 500mL;
Badger Tanglefoot Ale (England), 500mL;
Badger Golden Champion Ale (England), 500mL;
Brugse Straffe Hendrik Brune (Belgium);
Liefmans Goudenband (Belgium), 375mL;
Ommegang Hennepin Ale (New York, US), 355 mL;
Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Oregon, US), 650mL;
St. Peter's Strong Ale (England), 500mL;
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale (England), 550mL;
Samuel Smith's Pale Ale (England), 550mL;
Van Steenberge Bruegel Amber Ale (Belgium), 330mL;
Wychwood Black Wych Stout (England), 500mL;
Wells Bombardier Premium Bitter, (England)

Since the LCBO's Beer and Special Markets Category has taken over specialty beer importing duties from Vintages, they have been unveiling themed releases every few months, the last one being Fruit Beers in April. Future releases include Winter Beers in November, and Stouts & Porters early in the new year.

September 4 - Recap of Toronto's Festival of Beer!

The beer festival season in Toronto has come to a close, with Toronto's Festival of Beer during the weekend of August 10th-12th and the Buffalo BrewFest on September 1st. Please see The Bar Towel's recap of Toronto's Festival of Beer 2001 here.

Church Key's vintage bottle openers
Church Key saving ale and vintage bottle openers at the brewery in Campbellford.
August 26 - Microbrew tour of East/Central Ontario!

There is something of a microbrewing revitalization currently underway in East and Central Ontario. Kawartha Lakes in Peterborough has been producing fine beer in the region for a number of years now, but there have been a couple more micros popping up and adding interesting beer to the landscape. The Bar Towel is proud to unveil a mini-tour of the region, with profiles of the newest micros in the area, Glenora Springs Brewery and Church Key Brewing. As well, a number of good pubs are profiled in the report, including the Olde Stone, Peterborough's only brewpub. You can find the report here.

August 18 - Premier Gourmet beer listing!

Premier Gourmet, the outstanding beer and fine food store in Buffalo, has generously provided The Bar Towel with their beer inventory listing. This list makes for a great shopping planner for your next jaunt down to Buffalo and Premier. You can find the Premier Gourmet beer list here. One word of warning - the page is quite large, so please be patient as it might take a couple of moments to load.

If you are having and problems viewing the page, or would like a cleaner version for printing, there is a PDF version (approximately 100k) of the list here. Also, you can find a profile of Premier Gourmet, including detailed information on the taxes associated with bringing beer across the border here.

August 4 - Great Canadian Beer Guide review!

Stephen Beaumont, one of Canada's leading beer writers, has recently published the second edition of his Great Canadian Beer Guide. This book details the state of Canadian beer today, with reviews of virtually all of the brewpubs and breweries in the country. Please see the Bar Towel's review of Stephen's new book here.

August 1 - New beer releases for August!

Vintages has a couple of beers coming out on Saturday, August 11th:

Marston's India Export Pale Ale (England), $2.95, 500mL;
Hopback Summer Lightning (England), $3.65, 500mL

It is sad to report that this is the final beer release from Vintages, as all premium beer importing responsibilities have been tranferred to the LCBO's Beer and Special Markets Category. Luckily, we have the Fall Beers release (see below) coming up in September to look forward to. In the meantime, enjoy these fine English brews and the Toronto and Buffalo beer festivals this month!

July 14 - New Toronto Pub Walk!

After a short absence, The Bar Towel is proud to introduce our newest Pub Walk, strolling through the neighbourhood of Forest Hill with a stop at the excellent uptown pub the Bow and Arrow. Please see the updated Pub Walks section for this and other Toronto Pub Walks.

July 7 - Lots of new beers coming in the fall!

The Bar Towel has learned of a number of upcoming releases coming to Ontario through the LCBO's Beer and Special Markets Category, the division that assumed specialty beer importing duties from Vintages this year.

As mentioned before, Cooper's Sparkling Ale from Australia has arrived, and is now beginning to show up in stores. Very interestingly, the LCBO will also release in the coming months Czechvar, the North American-branded version of the Czech Republic's Budweiser Budvar. For obvious reasons, they cannot use the same name in North America. This beer is nothing like its American namesake, the Czechvar/Budvar being a world-class lager. A highly anticipated release.

On the local front, it looks like Kawartha Lake Brewing of Peterborough is getting into the seasonal beer game. Festival-goers of the Toronto fest for the last couple of years undoubtedly know of their Alien Ale, a barleywine-style strong ale that was brewed for the festival alone. It looks like the Alien Ale will be getting a release outside of the fest, perhaps in a few select pubs in Peterborough and Toronto. But that's not all from KLB. In October they will be unveiling their newest brew, Blue Moon Stout. As always, stay tuned to the Bar Towel for the latest on where one might be able to sample these new brews in the TO.

June 29 - New beer releases for July!

Vintages has a couple of beers coming out on Saturday, July 7th:

Bank's Ultimate Curry Beer (England), $1.95, 330mL;
Elbrewery Hevelius Classic (Poland), $1.95, 400mL

Vintages continues to wind down their beer releasing with a couple of new brews in July. Luckily, the month is saved with one interesting beer that is now available through through the Consignment Program: Floreffe Dubbel from the Brasserie Lefebvre in Belgium. It is available for $3.10 per 330mL bottle in full cases of 24. For more information on this brew and how to order through the program, please see the Consignment Program section.

June 29 - New beer event coming up!

The Bow & Arrow is hosting a McAuslan beer dinner on Wednesday, July 11th. Please see the updated Events section for more information.

June 21 - The Bar Towel Forum returns!

After a long absence, we have re-opened The Bar Towel Forum, with a new philosophy. The Bar Towel is Toronto's Premier Beer Resource, and with your help and participation the forum can maintain that status!

If you would like to share any pub or restaurant reviews you have written, please post them into the Good Pub Reviews forum. Please use the Beer Reviews forum to share your beer reviews and ratings with fellow Toronto beer connoisseurs. The Homebrewing Recipes and Tips is for your favourite homebrew recipes, or advice on how to create the finest brews. If you know of a beer event in the Toronto area that is not listed on the Bar Towel Events page, please post it into the Beer Events forum.

Please respect the goal of these forums - that they are content areas, not simply discussion threads. We would like these forums to be an area that contributes to and enhances the overall content of the website. If someone comes to the site looking for a review of a particular restaurant or beer, they should be able look in the forum as well as the main site itself.

However, we have created an area for fun discussion - the Random Talk forum. In here you can chat about beer or anything else that comes to mind.

Have fun, and we hope you enjoy The Bar Towel Forum! Check it out here.

June 21 - McAuslan draught listing updated!

We have updated the draught location listing for McAuslan Brewery, listing all the pubs and restaurants in Toronto that serve McAuslan on tap. However, we have an added bonus - the listing also features the specific McAuslan beers that are available at each pub. McAuslan features four of their beers on draught in the Toronto area: St. Ambroise Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout, Griffon Brown Ale and Apricot Wheat. Seek out your favourite.

Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly
Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly, now on tap in Toronto.
June 21 - Blanche de Chambly has arrived!

Unibroue's delicious draught Blanche de Chambly has now arrived on tap in Toronto. It is now or will soon be available at Smokeless Joe's, the Esplanade Bier Markt (58 the Esplanade), Le Select Bistro (328 Queen St. West), and La Palette (256 Augusta). Draught Blanche de Chambly is a real treat; be sure to enjoy the summer months with some refreshing pints.

June 9 - Sneak peek of upcoming beers!

The Bar Towel has learned of a number of interesting beers coming out in Ontario over the coming months. The long-awaited Coopers Sparkling Ale of Australia has arrived in Canada and is currently en route to Toronto from the west coast. It should be in stores by late June or early July, priced at $1.95 for a 375mL bottle.

Other brews coming this fall include the return of Rogue's Dead Guy Ale from Oregon, the retail debut of Ommegang's Hennepin from New York, Brugse Straffe Hendrik Brune and Liefmans Goudenband from Belgium, another brew from St. Peter's of the U.K., this time their Strong Ale, and the Ontario debut of a large-format (550mL) Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale and Pale Ale.

June 4 - New beer releases for June!

Vintages begins winding down their beer releasing with a few new brews on Saturday, June 9th:

Chimay White (Belgium), $3.25, 330mL;
Chimay Blue (Belgium), $3.35, 330mL;
St. Joseph Opiter Brussels White (Belgium), $1.90, 330mL;
Eggenberg Hopfenkönig Pils (Austria), $1.95, 330mL

Vintages officially notified their circular subscribers of something that Bar Towel readers knew long ago - that Vintages was to cease importing beer. Vintages will not be releasing any more beers after the end of the summer, and all future premium beers will come through the Beer and Special Markets Category of the LCBO. In the meantime, we have a couple of remaining months of Vintages releases, including the return of the popular Chimay Blue and White.

On a local note, there are a couple new beers of interest to Toronto connoisseurs. Denison's Brewing Company has unveiled a new beer, a second Weisse, in the Berliner style. Also, Black Oak Brewing has debuted its newest seasonal, a Saison, exclusively on draught at the Esplanade Bier Markt (58 The Esplanade). Worth a taste.

May 13 - Unibroue update!

The Unibroue Collection, Unibroue's mixed 12-pack available in Beer Stores, is changing formats later this summer. It is downsizing to an 8-pack, with eight different beers featured. The Collection has been a definite hit in Beer Stores, and this new 8-pack should do even better. The final shipment of the 12-pack has recently arrived in Ontario, so if you are a fan of the larger version, go out and get some soon.

April 28 - The Fruit Beer release has arrived!

The LCBO's newest themed beer release, Fruit Beers, is beginning to show up in stores. Here are the details:

St. Peter's Lemon & Ginger Spiced Ale (England), $3.60, 500mL;
St. Peter's Grapefruit Beer (England), $2.45, 355mL;
Mort Subite Cassis (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Mort Subite Framboise (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Mort Subite Kriek (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Mort Subite Peche (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Timmerman's Cassis (Belgium), $2.95, 250mL;
de Troch Chapeau Kriek (Belgium), $3.55, 375mL;
de Troch Chapeau Peche (Belgium), $4.35, 375mL;
Lefebvrer Newton Apple Beer (Belgium), $2.35, 330mL;
La Choulette Framboise (France), $2.95, 330mL;
Quidi Vidi Kriek (Newfoundland), $5.40, 2x351mL.

Pick up some while you can; the LCBO's themed releases never last very long.

April 21 - New section on The Bar Towel!

The Bar Towel is happy to announce the creation of a new section: Beer Reports. The purpose of this section is to house various articles of interest to Toronto beer connoisseurs, which do not fit into our other categories.

Our first series of reports will follow a theme entitled Bar Towel On The Road, documenting the Bar Towel's travels outside of Toronto. Toronto is a great beer city, but there are others. The first two On The Road reports discuss the beers and pubs of Whistler/Blackcomb ski resort, and the brewpubs of Montreal, Quebec.

Also, we will be soon be unveiling an original report on homebrewing, to assist Torontonians in making their first beer.

As an aside, we have collapsed the original Beer Library page into our new Beer Reports section. You will be able to access it in the Beer Reports section.

April 21 - New beer releases for May!

Vintages is releasing a couple of beers on Saturday, May 12th:

Wieselburger Bier (Austria), $3.40, 500mL;
La Trappe Dubbel (Netherlands), $2.60, 330mL;

Only a couple of beers coming from Vintages this month. However, May sees the debut of the LCBO's newest themed beer release - Fruit beers - on May 2nd. We will post more information on these beers as it becomes available closer to the release date.

March 25 - New beer releases for April!

Vintages is releasing a few interesting beers on Saturday, April 7th:

Rochefort 8 (Belgium), $2.80, 330mL;
Bear Beer (Denmark), $1.65, 330mL;
St. Peter's Organic Ale (England), $2.80, 355mL

April sees the arrival of a couple of unique beers from Vintages. St. Peter's, a brewery whose Cream Stout and Winter Ale vanished off the shelves when released a few months ago, returns with their Organic Ale. This brew is accredited by the "Soil Association" by its use of organically-grown barley and hops. Look for a few more St. Peter's brews in May (see the Fruit Beer announcement just below). And another Belgian Trappist beer is arriving in April, Rochefort's 8.

March 16 - New beer events coming up!

There are a couple of interesting beer events coming up in the next couple of months, with something for just about every beer lover. The Bow & Arrow is hosting the Toronto launch of Taylor & Bate's IPA; Steam Whistle hosts a breweriana show; Weekendtrips.com is arranging a beer bus trip to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines; the Granite hosts another Brewer's Banquet; and the Great Canadian Homebrew Conference is approaching. Please see the updated Events section for more details!

Just a quick new beer update - the Bar Towel has received word that the LCBO will be releasing Cooper's Sparkling Ale from Australia this spring. Cooper's is one of Australia's oldest small breweries, and the Sparkling Ale is one of their most enjoyed brews. A highly anticipated release, for sure.

March 3 - New beers in Toronto update!

It looks like the Anchor Steam Beer and Liberty Ale will be in LCBOs earlier than expected. As reported in the Bar Towel in January, the LCBO was to release the delicious Steam Beer and Liberty Ale from the Anchor Brewery of San Francisco in the spring. However, the LCBO has confirmed that the beers are in their warehouse, and will be shipping to stores in a week or so. The Steam will be available in 6-packs for $11.25, and the Liberty Ale will be available in 650mL bottles for $3.80.

March 3 - New pub review - Castro's Lounge!

The Beach is a region of Toronto where residents are very passionate about their neighbourhood. The Beach has a fairly condensed strip of pubs out on Queen Street East, past Woodbine Ave. Many Beach beer lovers have asked for a section in the Bar Towel - as it is being completed, the Bar Towel is proud to introduce the pub profile of one of the Beach's finer beer pubs: Castro's Lounge.

March 3 - New Toronto Pub Walk!

The Bar Towel is proud to introduce its first downtown Pub Walk, through the neighbourhoods of Casa Loma, the Annex and Wychwood Park, with a stop at Mayday Malone's. Please see the updated Pub Walks section for this and other Toronto Pub Walks.

February 25 - New beer releases for March!

Vintages is releasing a few more beers on Saturday, March 10th, including the return release of a St. Patrick's favourite:

Dupont Moinette (Belgium), $2.00, 250mL;
Trompe la Mort (Germany), $3.90, 330mL;
Berliner Burgerbrau Dunkler Bock (Germany), $2.85, 500mL;
Wild Irish Rogue (Oregon), $5.80, 650mL

March sees the return of the fabulous Wild Irish Rogue stout from the Rogue Brewery of Newport, Oregon. The Wild Irish has been released each March for a couple of years now, and it sells fast. It is a dark and hearty stout, perfect for St. Patrick's Day and these lingering winter nights.

January 27 - New beer releases for February!

Vintages is releasing a number of new brews on Saturday, February 3rd, including one very unique and interesting beer:

Liefman's Gluhkriek (Belgium), $2.40, 250mL;
Westmalle Tripel (Belgium), $2.80, 330mL;
Freeminer Trafalgar IPA (England), $3.95, 500mL;
Gordon Finest Gold Blond (Scotland), $2.95, 330mL

It is quite surprising (although extremely pleasing) to see that Vintages is releasing Liefman's Gluhkriek from Belgium. Liefman's is a brewery whose Kriek and Framboise were released in Ontario about a year ago, both very flavourful and complex fruit beers. However, the Gluhkriek is a cherry ale (based on their Kriek) meant to be served hot, similar to Unibroue's Quelque Chose. In fact, Liefman's was consulted in the development of the Quelque Chose. The Gluhkriek is a spicy brew, with cinnamon, clove and anis complementing its cherry flavour. Seek out this brew and enjoy some hot as our winter lingers for another couple of months.

January 16 - Unibroue update!

The Bar Towel has learned of some exciting new developments for Unibroue in the spring of 2001.

In the fall of 2000, the Beer Store unveiled perhaps its most unique product ever stocked, the Unibroue Collection. Originally slated to be a limited edition run of 2,500 cases only, the Unibroue Collection was such a popular item that it will now be stocked permanently at Beer Stores.

For fans of Unibroue or casual drinkers looking to experiment, this 12-pack was outstanding. This attractive 12-pack contained single bottles of Blanche de Chambly, Raftman, Maudite, Fin du Monde, Eau Benite and Trois Pistoles, and six brands new to Ontario: Sans Nom, St. Hubert, Gaillarde, Don de Dieu, 1837 and Kamouraska, all for only $21.95. Congratulations and thanks to Unibroue and the Beer Store for offering such a unique product to Ontario beer lovers.

Sales of Unibroue at the Beer Store have been so strong, that Unibroue has added their 9% tripel-style La Fin du Monde to their Beer Store portfolio. La Fin du Monde will be available in 6-packs in select Beer Stores, joining Blanche de Chambly, Maudite, Raftman (all available in 6-packs) and of course the Unibroue Collection.

A large percentage of Unibroue's sales come from export markets outside of Quebec. However, all of these sales are bottles only; Unibroue does not distribute their beers on draught outside of their home province. That is, until now. In the spring of 2001, Unibroue will distribute Blanche de Chambly on draught for the first time outside of Quebec, to Ontario. It will be very exclusive, with only about 20 pubs being given draught accounts in the Toronto region, with another 20 in the Ottawa area. Draught Blanche de Chambly is an experience that no beer lover should miss. Check back to the Bar Towel for Blanche de Chambly draught locations when the kegs arrive in Toronto.

Finally, the Bar Towel has learned that Unibroue will release through the LCBO their mainstream pilsner "U". This will be a one-time release to test the market. "U" is Unibroue's venture into mainstream brewing, to round their portfolio and complement their premium brands. "U" is a pale pilsner, packaged in a clear bottle. "U" is complemented in Quebec by "U2", a dark lager. Watch for "U" in spring.

For more information about Unibroue and their beers, please see the Bar Towel's Unibroue profile.

Anchor Libery Ale
Anchor's Liberty Ale, coming to Ontario in spring.
January 7 - Anchor coming to Ontario!

The Bar Towel has learned that the LCBO will release the outstanding Anchor Steam Beer and Liberty Ale from the Anchor Brewery of San Francisco, California in the spring of 2001.

These beers are being released through the Beer and Special Markets Category, the LCBO's beer division which recently assumed premium beer importation responsibilities from Vintages. These beers will be regular, permanent releases at the LCBO.

Microbrews from the United States are unfortunately one area that the LCBO and Vintages have not serviced very thoroughly in the past. Whereas plenty of fine Belgian, German and English beers are frequently released in Ontario, U.S. micros rarely see the province. There have been a few notable U.S. releases in the past year or so, including Rogue's Wild Irish and Dead Guy Ale from Oregon and Ommegang from New York. However, the U.S. produces many diverse microbrews, and most Ontario beer lovers do not realize this due to the mass distribution of American mainstream lagers.

Anchor Steam Beer
Anchor's famous Steam Beer.
Anchor is one of the most renowned and loved microbreweries in the United States. The brewery has been around since 1896, but was saved from closure in the 1960s by Fritz Maytag (of the appliance company). Their flagship brew, Anchor Steam, is a style unique to the United States and Anchor specifically (they own the trademarks). We have seen "steam" beers recently from Sleeman and Lakes of Muskoka, but Anchor's is the original. The Anchor Steam beer is almost a hybrid brew, possessing characteristics of both lager and ale.

The Liberty Ale, first produced in 1975 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Paul Revere's historic ride, is a classic American ale. The Liberty Ale is a delicious brew, with a nice hoppy aroma and flavour. Without question an excellent addition to the selection available in Ontario.

Anchor produces a number of other high quality brews, including the wonderful Old Foghorn Barleywine, a Porter, a Wheat, a Christmas seasonal named Our Special Ale, and most recently, Small Beer. Hopefully we will see some of Anchor's other beers released in the future.

This is a greatly welcome and anticipated release, which hopefully is a sign of increased support of U.S. microbrews by the LCBO. The Bar Towel will announce the exact release date of these brews when it is determined.

December 29 - New beer releases for January!

Vintages begins winding down their beer releasing with a few new brews, available on Saturday, January 6th:

St. Peter's Cream Stout (England), $3.50, 500mL;
RCH Firebox Bitter (England), $3.75, 500mL;
Samuel Smith Famous Taddy Porter (England), $2.80, 355mL;
Bischoff Falkensteiner Ur Schwarze (Germany), $3.30, 500mL

December 13 - The Bar Towel's Consignment Program section debuts!

After some unfortunate news in the Ontario beer marketplace last week, an existing LCBO service presents an interesting new method to acquire fine beers in the province.

Through the LCBO's Consignment Program, specific beers can be purchased through brewery agents directly, beers that are unavailable at LCBO stores. Unfortunately, the Consignment Program is difficult for casual beer drinkers to utilize, as full cases must be purchased. However, since Vintages is ceasing to import beer, this program is a welcome alternative to the selection of the LCBO and Beer Store.

Esprit Agencies, an Ontario importer, is offering a number of fine brews over the holiday season through the Consignment Program. Please see the new Consignment Program section, which details the beers currently available by Esprit through the program, and includes ordering information. Access to this section in the future can be found in the Buying Good Beer section.

Black Oak Brewery
Oakville's Black Oak Brewing.
December 9 - Black Oak Brewery Profile!

The Bar Towel is proud to unveil its latest brewery profile, of one of Ontario's newest micros, Black Oak Brewing of Oakville. The profile includes the pubs in Toronto where Black Oak can be found, and the LCBOs and Beer Stores that carry Black Oak's brews. Please see the updated Breweries section for profiles of Black Oak and other breweries whose beers can be enjoyed in Toronto.

December 9 - New beers in Toronto update!

There are a number of new beer discoveries that can be enjoyed at some fine Toronto pubs over the holiday season:

Rogue's delicious Shakespeare Stout
Rogue's delicious Shakespeare Stout.
Academy of Spherical Arts - One of Toronto's best places to play pool is quietly becoming one of the best places to find and enjoy good beer.

The Academy has signed a deal with the local importer of Oregon's Rogue brewery to be the exclusive seller of Rogue beers in Ontario. Rogue is a greatly respected brewery in the United States, and a favourite of the Bar Towel. Upon receiving this information, the Bar Towel quickly dashed down to investigate, and was throughly impressed. The Academy now offers virtually the entire lineup of bottled Rogue beers.

Vintages has in the past year brought in some Rogue beers - the excellent Wild Irish Rogue stout and Dead Guy Ale. However, Rogue brews a diverse slate of excellent beers, most of which have never seen Ontario. Until now.

The Bar Towel will be releasing a full review of the Academy in the near future. However, for a real treat, head down to the Academy and sample such fabulous Rogue beers as Old Crustacean Barley Wine, McRogue Scotch Ale, Shakespeare Stout, Brutal Bitter Ale, Mexicali Rogue, Mocha Porter and others. You will not be disappointed. Be warned - the Academy is virtually fully booked until the end of the holiday season. Give them a call before heading down - 38 Hanna Ave., (416) 532-2782.

Amsterdam Brewing Co. - Amsterdam's Christmas seasonal, Kerstmis Bier, is now available in bottles at their brewery store and pub.

Bow & Arrow - The Bow now features the McAuslan Griffon Brown Ale on tap, which is unavailable in bottles in Ontario. Coming soon to their tap selection is the renowned Taylor & Bate Porter, which will be cask-conditioned.

C'est What - One of Toronto's best draught pubs also features the McAuslan Griffon Brown Ale on tap. As well, they have recently added the 2001 edition of the Niagara Falls Eisbock.

Granite Brewery and Beer Street - Both locations now feature their seasonal Winter IPA, on tap for the remainder of the upcoming cold months.

December 9 - New Toronto Pub Walk!

The Bar Towel is proud to introduce its biggest Pub Walk yet, a dual-pub walk through the North Toronto neighbourhoods of Deer Park, Moore Park and Summerhill, ending up at either Wylie's or the Guv'nor. Please see the updated Pub Walks section for this and other Toronto Pub Walks.

December 7 - Vintages to cease beer importation

The Bar Towel has learned that Vintages, the premium wine and spirits division of the LCBO, will cease to import beer by the summer of 2001. For the full story on how this could affect beer selection in Ontario, please see the the updated Industry News section.

November 19 - New beer releases for December!

Vintages follows up their Holiday release with a few more interesting brews on Saturday, December 2nd:

Chimay Grand Reserve (Belgium), $7.65, 750mL;
Samuel Smith Imperial Stout (England), $2.90, 355mL;
Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout (England), $2.80, 355mL

Vintages is unleashing some quite intense and hearty brews in December. The Chimay Reserve is a large bottled, corked version of the Chimay Blue, the monastery's boldest brew. The Grand Reserve nicely complements the Chimay gift set released in November, which includes single bottles of each of Chimay's beers (Red, White and Blue), and a collectible glass.

Vintages is once again bringing back into Ontario the popular Samuel Smith beers from England. This time, it is the brewery's dark and chewy Oatmeal and Imperial Stouts arriving. Again, a nice complement to the just-released Winter Welcome from the same brewery.

November 19 - Moosehead buys into McAuslan!

The Moosehead Brewery of New Brunswick has purchased a minority position in renowned microbrewery McAuslan of Montreal. The deal will allow McAuslan to increase brewing capacity for their most popular brands, and at the same time giving Moosehead access to the Quebec marketplace for their Moosehead Lager.

According to an article in the Montreal Gazette (it can be found here), Moosehead has purchased a 45-per-cent share in McAuslan. As part of the deal, a new brewery will be build in Montreal, able to double McAuslan's current production capacity as well as brew Moosehead Lager. Currently, due to prohibitive interprovincial trade restrictions, Moosehead is not permitted to import into Quebec.

With voting rights still being held by McAuslan, it would seem that the current brands will not be affected by the partnership. Hopefully McAuslan can continue to brew the outstanding beers that they currently do, and perhaps even more. Please see the updated Industry News section for the complete press release.

Take a look at a larger version
Premier Gourmet quotes the Bar Towel!
November 7 - Premier quotes the Bar Towel!

Well, we wouldn't have said it if we did not believe it to be true. When we debuted the review of Premier Gourmet, a beer and fine foods superstore in Buffalo, we referred to it as "probably the finest beer store in the northeastern United States". Premier noticed this, and recently picked up this quote for a recent advertisement they placed in the "The Great Buffalo Niagara Getaway", a travel supplement distributed in community newspapers around the Golden Horseshoe, including Toronto.

As for what's new at Premier Gourmet, the new Christmas seasonals have been arriving in droves over the last few weeks. Interesting brews worth the drive down to Buffalo to pick up include: Victory Storm King Imperial Stout and Old Horizontal Barley Wine, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Anchor Our Special Ale, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Rogue Santa's Private Reserve, Rogue Yellow Snow Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Cave-aged Ommegang Hennepin and many others.

For more information on Premier Gourmet, including the customs and duty charges associated with bringing beer across the border, please take a look at The Bar Towel's Premier Gourmet profile.

November 21 - More new beers at the LCBO!

The new beers keep arriving in Ontario as the holiday season approaches. The LCBO has already released or is releasing the following brews during the upcoming weeks:

Duvel Gift Box (Belgium), $11.95, 750mL - includes collectible glass;
Belzebuth Gift Set (France), $15.95 - includes four 250mL bottles and two collectible glasses;
Moortgat Maredsous 8 (Belgium), $1.95, 500mL;
Black Sheep Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale (England), $3.25, 500mL;
Daleside Morocco Ale (England), $2.95, 500mL;
George Gale Prize Old Ale (England), $3.45, 275mL;
Marston's Oyster Stout (England), $2.95, 500mL;
Nethergate Old Growler Porter (England), $2.60, 500mL;
St. Peter's Winter Ale (England), $3.50, 500mL;
Rauchenfelser Steinbier (Germany), $3.60, 500mL;
Weltenburger Asam-Bock (Germany), $2.70, 500mL;
Hart Cranberry Special Holiday Reserve (Ontario), $3.45, 650mL;
Niagara Falls Eisbock 2001 (Ontario), $7.25, 750mL

Keep in mind that these beers, along with the LCBO's holiday beer releases listed below, are not all available at every store. If you are looking for some of these beers, give the LCBO Infoline a call at (416) 365-5900 and find out which stores have stock.

November 12 - More holiday beer releases!

The LCBO has unveiled their annual holiday beer releases, including a selection of special gift sets:

Chimay Gift Pack (Belgium), $12.95: This gift set features single bottles (330mL) of Chimay Trappist ales Red, White and Blue, and a collectible logo glass.

McAuslan Taste Pack (Quebec), $10.95: A sampler six-pack featuring two bottles (341 mL) each of McAuslan Scotch Ale (new to Ontario), St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout and Griffon Extra Pale Ale.

XO Beer (France), 330mL, $3.95: An interesting beer from France, brewed with cognac.

Broughton Organic Border Gold Gift Pack (Scotland), $16.95: Two bottles (500mL) of Broughton Organic Border Gold and two collectible logo glasses.

Van Steenberge Leute Bokbier (Belgium), 750mL, $11.95: This gift set also includes a collectible logo glass.

Broughton Beers With Character Box Set (Scotland), $15.95: This box set features single bottles (500mL) of Greenmantle Ale, Scottish Oatmeal Stout, Merlin's Ale and Old Jock.

Historic Ales from Scotland (Scotland), $12.95: This box set includes single bottles (330mL) of Grozet, Alba, Ebulum and Fraoch Heather Ale.

Van Steenberge Box Set (Belgium) $13.95: This box set includes single bottles (330mL) of Belgian ales Augustijn, Bornem Dubbel, Bornem Tripel, Bruegae, Guldeu Draak and Piraat.

Samuel Smith Winter Welcome (England), 500mL, $3.95
Gouden Boom Brugse Tripel (Belgium), 1500mL, $15.95

McAuslan Vintage Ale
McAuslan's delicious Vintage Ale.
November 3 - New beer releases for November!

Vintages follows up their outstanding October release with their annual Holiday release on November 4th, featuring one of Canada's new classics:

McAuslan Vintage Ale (Quebec), $3.95, 341mL;
Orval (Belgium), $3.75, 330mL;
Wood's Christmas Cracker (England), $4.90, 500mL;
Petrus Winterbier (Belgium), $1.90, 250mL

As reported in the Bar Towel some months ago, Vintages is finally releasing McAuslan's wonderful Vintage Ale. This strong (9.4%) ale was brewed in January of 1999 and released in the winter of the same year in honour of McAuslan's tenth anniversary. There were only a limited number of cases brewed, and each bottle is individually numbered and boxed. The '99 vintage has been available in Quebec for almost a year, so as it is now arriving in Ontario it is already somewhat aged. Buy some to drink, and some to cellar. For more information on McAuslan, please take a look at the McAuslan Brewery Profile.

Vintages is once again releasing the Belgian trappist brew Orval, from the monastery of the same name. As well, two Christmas seasonal brews from England and Belgium are also arriving.

October 29 - New Toronto Pub Walk!

The fall isn't over yet! As we are still experiencing cool and refreshing weather as winter approaches, it is a great time for a fall Pub Walk. For November, the Bar Towel introduces a detailed walk through Yonge & Eglinton's Sherwood Park neighbourhood, to Gabby's pub. Please see the updated Pub Walks section for this and other Toronto Pub Walks.

October 6 - New beer releases for October and fall!

Vintages kicks off fall with one of their finest beer releases in months, coming October 14th:

Boon Framboise (Belgium), $4.95, 375mL;
Boon Kriek (Belgium), $4.50, 375mL;
Boon Gueuze (Belgium), $3.95, 375mL;
Van Honsebrouk Vieux Bruges Gueuze, $2.95, 375mL;
Rogue Dead Guy Ale (Oregon), $5.70, 650mL

Vintages brings back, for the first time in a couple of years, the delicious Boon lambics of Belgium. The Boon lambics are known as being among the finest of Belgium, and are an absolute treat. The last time they were in Ontario they did not last long, and probably will not this time too. Be sure to rush out and pick some up.

Also, Vintages is releasing for the third consecutive year, Rogue's fall maibock, Dead Guy Ale. The Dead Guy Ale, packaged in a glow-in-the-dark silkscreened bottle, is one of the few U.S. microbrews we have seen this year. Recommended.

We have received an early update on some of the beers coming to Vintages & the LCBO in the coming months. In November, Vintages will once again release Belgium's Orval Trappist Ale. Also in November, the LCBO will launch a 'Winter Beer' release, including Maredsous 8 from Belgium, St. Peter's Winter Ale from the UK, and Rauchenfelser Steinbier and Weltenburger Asam-Bock from Germany.

November will also see the release of some interesting beer gift boxes as we approach the holiday season. The Duvel Gift Box will return again this year, featuring a 750ml bottle of Duvel along with an authentic Duvel glass, priced at $11.95. As well, for the first time the unique Chimay Gift Box is being released, which includes for $12.95 one 330ml bottle each of the Chimay Red Cap, White Cap and Blue Cap, along with an authentic Chimay goblet.

Beers to expect from Vintages in the future months include: Chimay Grand Reserve, Chimay Blue Cap, Chimay White Cap, Westmalle Tripel and Rochefort 8 from Belgium, La Trappe Dubbel from Holland, and St. Peter's Cream Stout, Gordon Finest Gold, Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, Oatmeal Stout and Imperial Stout from the UK.

September 29 - Lots of exciting beer news!

Lots of interesting beer news has arrived this week. Probably the most exciting is the announcement that the US-based Gordon Biersch chain of brewpubs is expanding into Ontario. As well, Sleeman has purchased another regional brewery, this time the Maritime Beer Company of Nova Scotia. And that's not all - for the first time in over 100 years, an Ontario brew will be made with Ontario-grown hops. And to round off the brew news, Canada's microbreweries are uniting to lobby the government to ease their tax burden. For full details, please see the Bar Towel's updated Industry News section.

September 19 - New beer event and beer releases!

C'est What is hosting their 12th annual Festival of Small Breweries on Friday, October 13th. The Festival is always a great opportunity to try lots of interesting brews from across Canada. Please see the updated Events section for more information on this and other upcoming beer events.

Also, there are a few notable beer releases to mention. The most exciting, and probably the most interesting product to ever be sold at The Beer Store, is the Unibroue Collection. This limited edition twelve-pack features individual bottles of twelve of Unibroue's brands. The pack includes four brands regularly available in Ontario (Blanche de Chambly, Raftman, Maudite and Fin du Monde) and eight new brands (Trois Pistoles, Sans Nom, St. Hubert, Gaillarde, Eau Benite, Don de Dieu, 1837 and Kamourakaska). However, only 2,500 cases were produced, and this item is becoming quite rare. They are only stocked at self-serve Beer Stores, and cost $21.50 per twelve. Please see the Bar Towel's Unibroue profile for more information on the brewery and their tasty beers.

Another welcome beer release to Beer Stores is the Kawartha Lakes Nut Brown Ale. The Nut Brown joins KLB's Raspberry Wheat and Cream Ale in Beer Stores, all sold in twelve-packs for $18.95. And to top it off, McAuslan has once again released the seasonal Spiced Pumpkin Ale in LCBOs, in three-packs for $5.85.

September 3 - New beer releases in September!

Vintages is releasing a trio of brews from England and Ireland on Saturday, September 9th:

Ash Vine Hop & Glory Ale (England), $3.95, 500mL;
O'Hanlon's Wheat (England), $3.95, 500mL;
Dublin Brewing D'Arcy's Stout (Ireland), $2.80, 500mL

...the Buffalo BrewFest's tasting glass.
The tasting glass from Toronto's Festival of Beer, and...
August 21 - Recaps for Toronto and Buffalo beer festivals!

We have finished our recaps of Toronto's Festival of Beer and the Buffalo BrewFest. Both events were very fun, and many fine brews from all over the world were enjoyed. However, as demonstrated by the tasting glass pictures to the right, little Buffalo dwarfed mighty Toronto in this and many other ways. Please read the recaps of Toronto's Festival of Beer and the Buffalo BrewFest. From now on, all event recaps will can be found in the Events section.

August 21 - The Bar Towel coasters have arrived!

After much anticipation, we finally received our new Bar Towel coasters! If you were at the Toronto beer festival, Kawartha Lakes Brewing and Black Oak Brewing were both kind enough to keep some stacks on their bars for pickup. If you were unable to get some, or would like some more, please email us at coasters@bartowel.com with your name and address, and we will be happy to send you a bunch (no charge!)

August 10 - More Kawartha Lakes coming to the Beer Store!

Excellent news has arrived from Peterborough's fine micro, Kawartha Lakes Brewing. In September, Kawartha Lakes' wonderful Nut Brown Ale will be available in Beer Stores. The Nut Brown will join KLB's Raspberry Wheat and Cream Ale, all sold in 12-packs at the Beer Store. Only the Pale Ale remains out of the Beer Store, and there is no word if this will follow. For more information on Kawartha Lakes, including tap locations of their beers in Toronto, please see the Bar Towel's Kawartha Lakes Brewery Profile.

July 29 - The LCBO enters e-commerce...sort of

The LCBO, Ontario's primary retailer of wine and spirits, has entered the realm of electronic commerce - sort of. The LCBO has partnered with Empori.com, a new e-com website located in Toronto, owned by real estate company Oxford Properties Group. Read about the LCBO's new venture in the updated Industry News section.

July 29 - New Toronto pub walk!

Linda E. is back with a new Toronto Pub Walk for August. This month's healthy stroll is through the scenic Mount Pleasant Cemetery and the neighbourhood of South Eglinton, with a stop at McSorley's pub.

July 29 - New beer releases in August!

Vintages finishes releasing the popular Mort Subite lambics on August 12th:

Mort Subite Cassis (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Marston's India Pale Ale (England), $2.95, 500mL

Vintages brought out the Mort Subite Framboise, Gueuze, Kriek and Peche lambics in July, and rounds off the slate with my personal favourite, Cassis. Flavoured with blackcurrants, the Cassis is a flavourful and fruity ale.

July 22 - New beer release news...

The Bar Towel has received an update from Peter Lopaty at Esprit Agencies on some upcoming beer releases. As reported in the Bar Towel in June, Cooper's Sparkling Ale from Australia was to be released through the LCBO this summer. Unfortunately, this release has been delayed, and is pushed back to September or October. We must wait a couple more months for this fine Australian microbrew.

In October, Vintages will once again release the Halloween seasonal Dead Guy Ale from Rogue in Oregon. The Dead Guy Ale is an excellent brew, and a regular Vintages release over the last couple of years. The fall will also see the release of St. Peter's Winter Ale and Stout from the UK; Maredsous 8, a Belgian abbey-style ale from the Moorgat brewery, producers of the world-famous Duvel; and the Rauchenfels Steinbier and Weltenburger Asam-Bock from Germany. Should be a tasty autumn.

June 24 - New beer releases in July!

Vintages brings back again the popular Mort Subite lambics on July 8th:

Mort Subite Framboise (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Mort Subite Gueuze (Belgium), $3.75, 375mL;
Mort Subite Kriek (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Mort Subite Peche (Belgium), $4.60, 375mL;
Ayinger Brau-Weisse (Germany), $2.55, 500mL

The returning Mort Subite lambics are a popular release, which last came to Vintages in June of 1999. They are light, fruity and refreshing. Also being released is Ayinger's Brau-Weisse, an unfiltered wheat beer from Munich.

June 10 - McAuslan update!

Due to the popularity of McAuslan's fine beers in Ontario over the last year, three new products will be coming to the LCBO over the coming months. Please take a look at the McAuslan Brewery Profile, which has been updated with details on the release of McAuslan's Vintage Ale, Scotch Ale, and Taste Pack.

Steam Whistle Brewing
The new Steam Whistle Brewing, located in downtown Toronto.
June 3 - Steam Whistle brewery profile!

The Bar Towel is proud to unveil the brewery profile for Toronto's newest micro, Steam Whistle Brewing. Steam Whistle has been gaining momentum since the debut of their first and only product, Steam Whistle Pilsner, in March. Their Pilsner is now available in an increasing number of pubs and restaurants in Toronto (locations available in the profile), and is widely available in Beer Stores and LCBOs. The brewery has also recently opened up to the public for tours. Please take a look at The Bar Towel's newest profile of Toronto's hottest micro.

June 3 - New beer releases for June!

Vintages is releasing a couple new beers on Saturday, June 10th:

Kaiserdom Weizenland Weissbier (Germany), $4.35, 500mL;
Elbrewery Hevelius Classic (Poland), $2.10, 400mL

Just two relatively unexciting new beers deubting in June, as the earlier reported Mort Subite lambics have been pushed back to July 8th. Also coming next month is Ayinger Brau Weisse from Germany.

However, I did receive some great news from Peter Lopaty of local importer Esprit Agencies. It seems that Australia's fine Cooper's Sparkling Ale will join the LCBO's General List in the summer (July or August). This is an excellent brew from one of the oldest independent breweries down under. This brew will be anticipated greatly.

May 24 - New section added to The Bar Towel!

A new section has been added to The Bar Towel today, Upcoming Toronto Beer Events. There are many beer-related events in and around Toronto, and The Bar Towel will strive to maintain an up-to-date schedule of beer festivities in our great city. If you know of an upcoming Toronto beer event, please email the details to events@bartowel.com.

May 20 - New Toronto pub walk!

The new pub walk for May is ready and available in the updated Toronto Pub Walks section. This month's healthy stroll is through the exclusive North Toronto neighbourhood of York Mills, with a stop at The Sailor's Dickey pub.

May 17 - Industry News and Media Watch updated!

The Bar Towel Industry News and Media Watch section has been updated today, reflecting a recently announced agreement between Sleeman Breweries and the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams), and the views of the Bar Towel being published in the National Post!

May 14 - The Bar Towel Beer Library opens for business!

A new section has been added to the Bar Towel today: the Beer Library. In this section, the finest beer books are reviewed, and links are provided for purchase at Chapters.ca. Beer books are invaluable resources for a beer connoisseur, and the Bar Towel would not be what it is without these great works for reference and inspiration. Please check it out!

On a side note, the Bar Towel has begun a push to add some visual flair to the site. Please take a look at the updated profiles for Beer Street, C'est What, Denison's Brewing Company, the Rebel House, the Reservoir Lounge, and the Bow and Arrow, all featuring new pictures. More pictures and reviews will be coming soon!

May 9 - Premier Gourmet profile updated!

The profile of Premier Gourmet, one of the finest beer stores in the northeastern United States, has been updated today. This update reflects more accurate information received regarding the duties and taxes associated with personal beer importation into Ontario. As well, since the calculation of the duties and taxes are quite complicated, a downloadable Excel workbook is available to assist.

May 6 - New section added to the Bar Towel!

A new section has been added to the Bar Towel today, dedicated to Canadian beer industry news, with a Toronto focus. The Industry News and Media Watch section will feature news from the business of beer and brewing in Ontario, and its impact on the Toronto beer scene. As well, links to media coverage of the Canadian beer and brewing industry are also featured. This will effectively split off all beer news to this section, and the Bar Towel News section will report updates and additions to the site, and local beer events and happenings. Please check out the new section, and read about the recent merger of the Hart and Robinson's breweries, and the latest developments with Unibroue in Ontario!

April 29 - New beer releases in May!

After taking a month off with no new beer releases in April, Vintages is back with a few new brews on May 6th:

Alexander Rodenbach (Belgium), $3.60, 330mL;
St. Joseph Opiter Brussels White (Belgium), $1.90, 330mL;
St. Peter's Lemon & Ginger Spiced Ale (England), $3.85, 500mL

Included in this release, as mentioned last month on The Bar Towel, is the Belgian cherry ale Alexander Rodenbach. Known for its sourness, this beer has been one of my favourite Belgian releases through Vintages over the last few years. Of note is that the Rodenbach Brewery's parent company, the Palm Brewery of Belgium, has confirmed that the Alexander Rodenbach will be discontinued. So be sure to pick up some of this great brew when it arrives, because when it's gone, it's really gone.

April 22 - Two new sections added to the Bar Towel!

First, is the Buying Good Beer section, dedicated to fine beer acquisition in Toronto. This section contains a Vintages information page, added earlier in the month, which explains what the LCBO's Vintages division is, where the stores are located in Toronto (with map links), and the latest beer releases. A new addition today is a profile of Premier Gourmet, which is probably the finest beer store in the northeastern United States, located just 90 minutes away in Buffalo. For those looking for a road trip to outstanding beers, this is the place to check out.

Also new today is the Toronto Pub Walks section. This section, written by Bar Towel correspondent Linda E., features monthly articles that detail a leisurely stroll through a neighbourhood of Toronto, with a good pub along the way. Toronto is a city of many interesting neighbourhoods, and the Toronto Pub Walks offer a great summer activity for some exercise, and of course, good beer. The first Pub Walk is through North Toronto's Lawrence Park and Sherwood Park neighbourhoods, with a stop at Mad Monty's pub.

April 16 - New pub review!

Read the new review of one of the finest places to have a draught microbrew in Toronto's club district - but only if you enjoy the beers of the Amsterdam Brewery: The Coloured Stone.

April 12 - The Ale Trail is back!

The Ale Trail, a self-guided tour of the breweries of Wellington and Waterloo counties, returns for its third year this weekend. The participating breweries are: Brick and Gold Crown of Kitchener-Waterloo, Sleeman, F&M and Wellington County of Guelph, and Old Mill of Elora. With the purchase of a $2 sampling passport, beer lovers can visit any or all of the six participating breweries during the open house weekends. Visitors can sample upwards of 60 available beers and be guided through the brewing process at the breweries.

The Ale Trail is a great beer activity, one which all beer lovers should check out. With such a high concentration of brewers in the area, assuming a driver can be found, some of the finest beers produced in Ontario can be sampled fresh at the brewery. Brewery tours are always fun for beer connoisseurs, as the brewery owners are always enthusiastic to speak with people who love good beer. The Ale Trail open house weekends are from 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday: April 15 & 16, May 13 & 14, June 17 & 18, July 15 & 16, August 19 & 20, September 16 & 17, and October 14 & 15. More details, including maps and things to do in the surrounding towns, can be found at The Ale Trail's website.

March 23 - The Beer Store unveils newest, biggest location

The Beer Store has opened its newest, largest self-serve facility, in the Dufferin Mall, located at 904 Dufferin St., between College and Bloor. The new store, with more than 6,400 square feet of beery space, offers 236 brands of domestic and imported beer, representing 49 worldwide brewers. Definitely worth taking a look.

March 22 - Steam Whistle Brewing is coming!

Steam Whistle Brewing, Toronto's newest microbrewery, is about to debut its first beer to the Toronto market. Founded by Frank Heaps, founder of the Upper Canada Brewing Company, and his son Cameron, the new brewery seems to be bringing the same principles of brewing and management to Steam Whistle that made Upper Canada so unique. Located in the historic John St. Roundhouse south of the SkyDome, Steam Whistle's first beer will be a Pilsner. The Steam Whistle Pilsner, to be packaged in non-twist off bottles, will be available by the end of the week.

For more details, check out an article on Steam Whistle Brewing in the National Post, printed on Saturday, March 18. You can read it here. The Bar Towel will have a brewery profile for our city's newest micro soon.

March 17 - Happy St. Patrick's Day! New brewery profiles from The Bar Towel!

The Bar Towel is proud to unveil two new Ontario brewery profiles: the Upper Canada Brewing Company and the Niagara Falls Brewing Company.

The Upper Canada profile, entitled "The Life, Death and Re-Birth of the Upper Canada Brewing Company", documents the history of this once independent Toronto brewery, now a unit of Sleeman's vast brewing portfolio.

"Mourning the Maple Wheat", the profile for the Niagara Falls Brewing Co., remembers the innovation that made this brewery great, and details the current state of the brewery.

As well, The Bar Towel is pleased to unleash a new feature for Toronto beer connoisseurs. As part of the new brewery mini-profiles for Kawartha Lakes Brewing of Peterborough and McAuslan Brewing of Montreal, the Toronto draught locations are provided for these fine breweries. The Bar Towel will strive to list up-to-date draught locations for all microbreweries available in Toronto, beginning with two of the finest to be found in the city, Kawartha Lakes and McAuslan.

February 28 - New pub reviews!

Read the new reviews of a couple of the club district's most interesting pubs: Smokeless Joe's and Al Frisco's. Also take a look at updated profiles for C'est What and Denison's Brewing Company.

February 18 - Impressive beer release in March!

Vintages is releasing a tasty slate of brews on March 4th:

Wild Irish Rogue (Oregon), $5.75; 650mL;
Lindemans Framboise (Belgium), $4.95, 355mL;
Lindemans Gueuze (Belgium), $5.20, 355mL;
Lindemans Kriek (Belgium), $5.20, 355mL;
Lindemans Peche (Belgium), $4.95, 355mL;
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen (Germany), $3.00, 500mL

The Wild Irish Rogue, from Rogue Ales in Oregon, last came to Vintages a year or so ago. And since it has disappeared from the shelves at Vintages, it has been sorely missed. This stout is one of the most flavourful I have tried, and is the perfect brew to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in March.

The Lindemans lambics are returning favourites, Vintages releasing four flavours next month: Kriek (cherry), Framboise (raspberry), Peche (peach), and Gueuze (unflavoured with fruit, a gueuze is a blend of old and young lambics). Props go out to Vintages for their continued support to releasing lambics, one of the world's most unique styles that deserves constant availabilty in Toronto.

Lastly, and most interestingly, is the release of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen from Germany. This beer, which I recall last in Toronto many years ago, is marzen version of Rauchbier. This dark, bottom-fermented beer, produced in the Bamberg region of Germany, is made entirely from smoked malts. The result is a smoky aroma and a full, similarly smoky flavour. Michael Jackson has said of this beer, "It is, not only among beers, but also among all alcoholic drinks, considered a classic" (Pocket Guide to Beer, 6th ed., pg. 65). Definitely a beer to pick up.

February 4 - New bar review!

Read the new review of Brass Taps, by the Bar Towel's newest on-the-beat bar reviewer, Zorbs!

January 23 - New bar review!

Read the Bar Towel's new review of the Granite Brewery's second location, Beer Street.

January 22 - New beers at Vintages

Vintages released a few new beers in January, and a couple more interesting brews are planned for February.

Released January 15th:
Bear Beer (Denmark), $2.40, 330mL;
Aass Bock (Norway), $2.35, 330mL;
Traquair House Ale (Scotland), $3.95, 330mL

A few interesting beers here, as Vintages is taking a step away from their recent (and welcome) Belgian beer kick, The Traquair House Ale has been in Ontario through Vintages before, a tasty ale from a manor house brewery in Scotland. Definitely one of the most strangely-named breweries (at least to English-speakers), Aass Bock from Norway. Evidently this is already a hot seller in Vintages by the name alone.

To be released February 5th:
Ommegang Abbey Ale (New York), $6.00, 750mL;
Maredsous Ambre 10 (Belgium), $2.95, 330mL

In February Vintages will bring some more Belgian beers into Ontario, after a one month hiatus. And this release, albeit small, looks very promising. The Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, New York, was conceived and built in the style of the traditional Belgian farm-house brewery. This is the debut of their first beer, simply titled Ommegang in Ontario, and I am very much looking forward to it. As well, from the same brewery in Belgium that produces the wonderful Duvel, Maredsous Ambre 10 is an Abbey-style ale. Definitely check these out.

January 9 - New bar review!

Happy New Year! Read the Bar Towel's new review of one of Toronto's best uptown beer pubs, the Bow & Arrow.

December 6 - Toronto's newest brewpub opens

Beer Street, the sister brewpub to the Granite Brewery of North Toronto opened to the public on December 1st. Located at 729 Danforth Ave. (at Pape), Beer Street is modelled after the Granite in terms of decor and menu. However, it is a more intimate pub, and offers all of the Granite's ales on tap. Thanks to some recent regulation changes to the Ontario Brewpub Act, brewpubs can bring beer from one owned location to another. This obviously opens the market up for sister brewpubs like Beer Street, or brewpub chains that exist elsewhere in North America. Beer Street is definitely a welcome addition to the Danforth and hopefully the first step in the evolvement of Ontario's archaic brewpub laws.

December 6 - Millennium beer update

A number of breweries have released special beers in commemoration of the holidays and the millennium. Locally, Hart Brewing of Ottawa has released a Cranberry Holiday Special Reserve (650mL, 5.0%, $3.45), available at LCBO stores. Niagara Falls Brewing has once again debuted their winter favourite Eisbock 2000 (750mL, 8.0%, $6.50), available at LCBO and Beer Stores. Both are worth seeking out.

For those travelling to our neigbour province to the East, a couple of breweries have produced extra special millennium brews. McAuslan of Montreal has released a limited edition Millennium Barley Wine, each bottle signed and numbered by brewmaster Ellen Bounsall. Also, La Ferme Brasserie Schoune has released a special magnum-sized Millennium, accompanied by two tasting glasses. Worth a look if celebrating the new year in La Belle Province.

December 6 - Brumour Mill

The Bar Towel has a couple of rumours to report of upcoming releases of tasty favourites. La Brasserie Seigneuriale, whose Belgian-styled ale Seigneuriale was a delight when released a couple of years ago, will hopefully get a re-release in spring. Let's hope that the purchase of the brewery by Sleeman has not altered their beer. As well, Unibroue's Trois Pistoles, currently available bottled in certain restaurants in Toronto, will hopefully get a consumer release soon as well.

December 6 - New beers at Vintages

Vintages has been on quite a roll in recent months, releasing quality beers for our drinking pleasure. On December 4, Vintages released a few more Belgians to close out 1999.

Dupont Biere de Miel, $5.95, 750mL;
Liefmans Frambozenbier, $5.70, 375mL;
Liefmans Kriekbier, $5.10, 375mL

The Liefmans lambics are regular releases in Vintages, but the Biere de Miel is new. As the name suggests, it is flavoured with honey, giving the brew an extra concentration of alcohol (8%). I guarantee that if you are a fan of Ontario's 'honey brown' beers, after this you'll never go back. Worth a try.

November 10 - Interesting new beers at the LCBO

There have been a few neat beer gift sets recently released, just in time for the festive season. First, two Unibroue gift boxes have arrived, for Blanche de Chambly and La Fin du Monde. Both sets come in a wooden box, with two 750mL champagne-corked bottles and two logo glasses. What makes this unique is that Unibroue follows the Belgian tradition of matching various styles of beer with different shaped glassware. Because of this, La Fin du Monde, being of the Trappist tripel style, comes with two wide mouth, slightly squeezed snifters, and Blanche de Chambly is accompanied by two fluted glasses. An extra side note with the Blanche de Chambly - since is not available in Ontario in 750mL bottles (only 341mL), and Unibroue beers tend to taste better in the larger champagne-corked version, this box set provides an extra treat. Be sure to read the Bartowel's descriptions of Unibroue's beers. These sets retail for $26.95 each.

Also released, from the Thistle Brewery in Scotland, is a four beer box set entitled "Historic Ales from Scotland". Included in this interesting gift set is one bottle each of: Fraoch Heather Ale, Grozet Gooseberry & Wheat Ale, Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale and Alba Scots Pine Ale. Each of these beers are uniquely flavoured, to say the least! However, they are all quite tasty and worth picking up a box for the holidays. Retails for $12.95.

Also re-released for the festive season is the Duvel gift box ($11.95), with a 750mL bottle and logo glass of this fine Belgian ale. Also available is the hefty Duvel magnum, 1500mL; $24.95. At 8%, this beast is perfect for sharing with friends or really drowning away the winter blues (the latter not recommended.)

November 10 - Vintages Holiday release!

After the tremendous Vintages release in October, Vintages would be hard pressed to follow the great beers which arrived last month. On November 6th, only two beers debuted, but they are a couple of interesting Belgians:

Dubuisson Bush 12, $2.90, 250mL;
Haact Tongerlo dubble brune, $2.70, 330mL

Of note is the Bush, a beer which has been to Ontario before. This beer measures in at a hefty 12% alcohol by volume, a beer Michael Jackson has claimed is the strongest in all of Belgium. Give it a try.

November 10 - New bar review!

Read the Bar Towel's new review of one of Toronto's live swing-jazz bars, the Reservoir Lounge.

October 26 - Brick beers now available online

In an interesting development, the Brick Brewing Company has entered into an agreement with Grocery Gateway and sell their products online. With a $45 grocery order, consumers can purchase Brick beers on the site and they will be delivered to their homes the following day. ID will requested upon delivery to ensure compliance with the Ontario legal drinking age. This is definitely an interesting development, since as far as I know Grocery Gateway is not associated with the Beer Store or the LCBO. Perhaps this is a step forward towards the goal of beer in grocery and corner stores? We shall see. If this venture continues, the web could be a good place for sprouting microbreweries to sell their products to Ontarians.

October 26 - Kawartha Lakes now available in Toronto

Much admired Ontario microbrewery Kawarta Lakes Brewing of Peterborough is finally listed in select Beer Stores in Toronto. Their tasty Raspberry Wheat and Cream Ale can now be found at the 10 Price St. (Summerhill), 720 Spadina Ave. and 2568 Finch Ave W. stores. No more trips up north required for their delicious ales! Now if they would only stock the Nut Brown Ale...

October 6 - New brewpub opening in Toronto (sort of!)

Great news has been received from the Granite Brewery. They are opening up a second location in Toronto, at 729 Danforth Ave. at Pape. The new establishment will be known as Beer Street - A Granite Brewery House, and is tentatively set to open on December 1st, 1999. The new pub takes advantage of some recent regulation changes to the Ontario Brewpub Act, allowing brewpubs to bring beer brewed at one establishment to another location and be served there. This is a tremendous step in the loosening of Ontario's liquor laws, and w will allow brewpubs to expand without having to set up new brewing equipment at each location. The new pub will be smaller and more cozier than the current Granite. I am definitely looking forward to the opening of Beer Street adding some warmth to our chilling winter approaching.

October 6 - New beer in Toronto update!

Fall is definitely upon us in Toronto, and our local breweries have unveiled some new seasonals to ease us into the impending winter on its way. Denison's Brewing Company, the fine brewpub on Victoria St., tapped its fall seasonal Marzen last week. The Marzen is a dark and flavourful lager. Go and have a pint before it runs out.
The Amsterdam Brewing Company on King St. has released a new beer, the Dogbolter. This is a beer that has not been seen since the old Rotterdam brewpub days. A beer with a most interesting name, the Dogbolter is a dark ale, sort of like a watered-down Nut Brown Ale. However, worth a try.
A sure sign of fall coming is when the Granite Brewery runs out of its Summer Ale. It has been replaced by the fresh cask-conditioned IPA. Be sure to check it out.

October 5 - Vintages Typo!

The new Vintages beer release, as reported below, will be arriving on Saturday, October 16th, not the 9th, as printed on the covers of their new circular. The agony of having to wait another week for these great beers!

October 3 - Great release at Vintages this month!

On October 9th, Vintages will unveil one of their best single-month beer releases in years. First, as reported on September 1, there will be a special Trappist Beer release this month. Five monasteries will be coming to town:

Chimay Blue Cap, $3.65, 330mL;
Chimay White Cap, $3.65, 330mL;
Orval, $3.75, 330mL;
Rochefort 8, $3.25, 330mL;
Westmalle Tripel, $3.35, 330mL;
La Trappe Dubbel, $3.90, 330mL.

As you can see, a great selection of the Trappist beers of Belgium and the Netherlands. However, as exciting as this is on its own, there are even more quality brews arriving!

Unibroue L'Eau Benite, Quebec, $5.25, 750mL;
Unibroue Quelque Chose, Quebec, $7.25, 750mL;
Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Oregon, $5.65, 650mL;
Hobgoblin Extra Strong Ale, England, $4.00, 500mL;
Pendle Witches Brew, England, $3.95, 500mL;
Broughton Merlin's Ale, Scotland, $3.80, 500mL;
Broughton Scottish Oatmeal Stout, $3.80, 500mL.

Quite a release. The Rogue Dead Guy, Hobgoblin and Pendle Witches Brew are Hallowe'en favourites, coming back for another year of frighteningly good drinking. Also seek out McAuslan's Spiced Pumpkin Ale, a quiet release that is in LCBOs now. The real treat, in my opinion, is the beers from Unibroue. L'Eau Benite is a wonderful Belgian-styled ale, finally getting commercial release in Toronto after being available only in select pubs and restaurants. Quelque Chose is one of my all-time favourite beers, a dark cherry ale meant to be served hot. I will sure be stocking up for winter with this one. Be sure to read the Bartowel's descriptions of Unibroue's beers. Rush out to Vintages on Saturday morning, this stuff won't last long!

September 1 - Advance beer news for October's Vintages release!

According to Vintages, the new beer release on October 16 will be very anticipated. Vintages is releasing beers from five of the brewing Trappist monasteries in Belgium and the Netherlands: Chimay, Orval, Rochefort and Westmalle in Belgium, and Schaapskooi (brewers of La Trappe) in the Netherlands. This should be a great release. Chimay, Orval and Schaapskooi are common releases at Vintages (Chimay Red is a regular stock item), but Rochefort and Westmalle are rare brews, and worth picking up some for the winter.

September 1 - New beer arrival at Vintages!

After no new beers at Vintages in August, this month brings back some old favourites to Vintages on Saturday, September 11th:

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout, England, $2.90, 355mL
Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale, England, $2.80, 355mL
Samuel Smith Old Brewery Pale Ale, England, $2.80, 355mL
Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, England, $2.80, 355mL
Samuel Smith Taddy Porter, England, $2.80, 355mL
Fraoch Heather Ale, Thistle Brewery, Scotland, $4.00; 500mL

August 8 - New beer bar opening in Toronto!

There is a new Belgian-styled beer bar and restaurant opening in Toronto on Monday, August 9th. It is the Esplanade Bier Markt, located at 58 The Esplanade, south of Front St. The Bier Markt desires to be an authentic Belgian food and beer experience, offering Belgian beers on tap and Belgian dishes. I went to the restaurant for a pre-opening dinner on Saturday August 7th, and I will have a review up soon. At the pre-opening, they had Belle-Vue Kriek, Hoegaarden White, Leffe Brune & Blonde and Stella Artois on tap.

July 30 - New beers at the LCBO!

There are unfortunately no new beers coming out from Vintages in their August release, but the regular LCBO has debuted some new Belgian beers, which will hopefully be permanent. They are Belle-Vue Kriek, Belle-Vue Framboise, Leffe Blond and Hoegaarden White. All are quality brews, all very refreshing during these humid summer nights.

July 10 - New beers at Vintages!

New beers this month arriving at Vintages on Saturday, July 10:

McAuslan Apricot Wheat Ale, QUEBEC, $6.80; 1023mL
Weissbier Hefetrub, Germany, $2.70; 500mL
Marston's India Export Ale, Great Britain, $2.95, 500mL

June 12 - Great new beers arriving at Vintages!

An excellent batch of international beers are arriving at Vintages on Saturday, June 12:

Fred Golden Special Ale, Hair of the Dog Brewing Co., Portland, Ore., $4.75; 341mL
Brussels White, St. Jozef-Opitter, Belgium, $2.00; 330mL
Mort Subite Cassis, De Keersmaeker, Belgium, $5.30; 375mL
Mort Subite Gueuze, De Keersmaeker, Belgium, $4.25; 375mL
Mort Subite Framboise, De Keersmaeker, Belgium, $5.30; 375mL
Mort Subite Peche, De Keersmaeker, Belgium, $5.30; 375mL
Chouffe Biere de Mars, Brasserie d'Achouffe, Belgium, $6.85; 750mL

It is assured that this will be a popular release - get some while they are still available!

June 2 - McAuslan beers officially launched in Toronto!

The Summit House Grill (40 Eglinton Ave. E), hosted the official launch of three of McAuslan's draught beers in Toronto. The Summit now taps all three available ales: St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Pale Ale and Griffon Extra Pale Ale. More pubs will follow soon, including the Summit's sister pubs (Acme Grill, City Grill, Vinnie's, Duke of Kent, Duke of York, Duke of Westminster, Duke of Richmond). C'est What? and the Bow and Arrow have had a McAuslan draft for a few weeks now. McAuslan's ales will soon be found in select Beer Stores, thanks to a new microbrewery-friendly pricing policy. Go out and sample some of Montreal's finest ales!

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