Archive for the bars and restaurants Category

My trip to New York

Posted in bars and restaurants, Travel with tags , , , , on June 6, 2017 by beertruckdriver

I should’ve posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t. I went to New York over Victoria Day weekend. We actually stayed in New Jersey and took the train over each day (I don’t recommend this, for many reasons). This wasn’t a “drinking trip,” the way a trip to Northern California, France, Bavaria or Belgian monasteries might be. But we (meaning my old man and I) did stop by the Heartland Brewery’s brew pub near Times Square and had a couple of Cornhusker Lagers (each). I like lagers, but this was more malty than I expected. Still alright though.

We also made it to a New York Mets game. Ballpark beer in New York is better than Rogers Centre/SkyDome, but it is not cheaper. They have your standard tallboys of domestics at $9.50 US a can, “Big Boys” (25 Oz cans) for $12.50 US (I think I saw these at a Jays game last week, but didn’t inquire about prices. But they do offer A LOT more craft beer options than SkyDome (don’t correct me on SkyDome).  I ended up grabbing a pint of Sierra Nevada. It was $12.50 US. You get to keep the Mets-branded hard-plastic cup, but do you want the second cup if you order a second beer?

One other interesting thing I saw in a Sam’s Club:

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A brewery called Blue Point, also has a beer called Hoptical Illusion. I wonder if the guys at Flying Monkeys are aware. Though, according to RateBeer, many brewers have used this name. I didn’t pick up a six-pack, but look at the price. Eight-something.

A couple of notes

Posted in bars and restaurants, craft beer, Domestic Beers with tags , , , , , , on November 13, 2016 by beertruckdriver
  1. I’m as pissed off as many that an indisputably racist pig is the next president of the United States. If you’re going to argue he’s not a racist, I’d like to know your definition of racism.
  2.  That’s out of the way. Now on to beer. I was happy this week to find Driftwood Brewery’s Fat Tug IPA at my LCBO. A few years ago (and possibly still) this was all the rage among beer snobs in BC. It’s a strong beer at 7% and at $6 for a 650 ml bottle, it’s not cheap, but I had to treat myself as this beer is that good. It comes in a really cool bottle too.img_20161113_175942687
  3. Last night I went to the Victory Cafe on Markham St. in downtown Toronto for a bite and tried a pint of Collective Arts Sour Pumpkin Saison. I love pumpkin ales, and this one kind of disappointed as the aroma sets you up for a standard sweet pumpkin ale, but the taste of this is a tart traditional saison. Josh Rubin of the Toronto Star explains how this beer gets its taste here (plus he reviews other pumpkin beers). I have to give Collective Arts bonus points for originality.

Wow, another Tales from the Beer Truck post? IT’S TRUE!

Posted in bars and restaurants, Domestic Beers, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by beertruckdriver

I have not posted here since May and decided tonight was as good of a night as any to fix that.

I guess I should start by talking about my trip to Vancouver at the end of May, because there are a lot of beer-related things to share with that. The main reason, as I mentioned the last time I travelled to BC, is that BC has a far superior craft beer industry than Ontario. It seems every town has its own brewery.  I can speculate a lot of this has to do with more than two retailers in province. There’s the BC Liquor Store and other private beer and wine stores, though you can’t buy beer at your corner store. Beer is considerably more expensive than in Ontario, however. I saw Mill Street Lemon Tea going for $5 a can at one private store.

Some highlight beers tried include Parallel 49‘s Banana Hammock Hefeweizen, as you could guess, a  Hefeweizen with strong hints of banana. There was Bottle Rocket ISA from Victoria’s Philips Brewing Company. You’re starting to see Philips in Ontario LCBO’s, and I recommend trying their works. Not to confuse one with Toronto’s Steamwhistle, Vancouver’s Steamworks produces good beer, and also great food in their brew pub (Yeah, yeah, it also shares its name with a famous Toronto bathhouse, but that’s for another blog). The Tap and Barrel also has a great beer menu.

I should also give mention for Fernie Brewing’s What the Huck, a huckleberry wheat ale, just for the name.

There were also West Coast American craft beers I enjoyed including Rose City Red by Alameda Brewing Co. in Portland and Loser Pale Ale from Seattle’s Elysian Brewing. Originally Loser was released as a 20th anniversary tribute to Sub Pop Records.

Well that trip was over two months ago now. I should mention a local beer I’ve tried lately and enjoyed. I met a friend at The Only on the Danforth last weekend and really enjoyed Farmer’s Market Rhubarb Saison, a small-batch “Welly One-Off” from Wellington. This is a refreshing summer beer made with locally grown Rhubarb (from Guelph, where Wellington is located). I recommend trying it if you can find it.

Wallace Gastropub

Posted in bars and restaurants, Domestic Beers, foreign beer with tags , , , , on March 8, 2014 by beertruckdriver

First off, I apologize for not posting a lot here. As I’ve mentioned, I’m really busy with a day job at this time of year. I also have a book of poetry titled Lessons in Gravity coming out in April, so I am occupied with work surrounding that.

Last weekend I went to a newer establishment in Toronto, the Wallace Gastropub. The Wallace is in the location of the old Twisted Kilt pub in Midtown Toronto, at Yonge and Davisville. I ate beforehand, but the place seems more like a fine dining place than a lot of pubs, though there are your amenities of several TVs if the Leafs are playing on a Saturday night. The beer list is great, but if you’re looking to try a lot of beers there, the number of green bills in your wallet better be great as well. The place is good for a night out and the staff are fantastic, but the night out won’t be cheap.

I managed to find a beer there called Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, by a brewer called Ommegang, from Cooperstown, New York. My parents took me to Cooperstown as a kid for my birthday. Cooperstown, New York is the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and I was and am a big baseball fan. When one says “Cooperstown,” the thought of baseball comes to mind, as football would with Green Bay, Wisconsin or motorcycles with Port Dover, Ontario or Sturgis, South Dakota. But after researching Ommegang, they have nothing to do with baseball in their marketing and are dedicated to craft-brewing Belgian style beers, including Hennepin. Personally, I’m also a fan of their website.

This isn’t just about beer snobs

Posted in bars and restaurants, Domestic Beers, foreign beer with tags , , on August 20, 2013 by beertruckdriver

Last week I met a gentleman who works in the kitchen at Indie Alehouse, a microbrewery and brew pub in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. We got into a discussion about beer and I told him I wasn’t a fan of the City and Colour Maple Wheat from Flying Monkeys.

“Well, that’s OK. That’s allowed,” was his response.

He explained to me about Indie Alehouse a lot of friends think they’ll offend him if they say they don’t like the beer and they don’t. Indie Alehouse speaks of the very same attitude about their beer on their website. I confess I don’t get that far west often, but I will have to visit now. The discussion moved to beer festivals and how some will appease customers by offering larger brands like Moosehead or Keith’s. He told me that there was nothing wrong with people who like macro beer. “They just have a different palate that likes that stuff.”

He’s absolutely right and I don’t think this has dawned on a lot of beer drinkers. Just because someone likes lighter beers and isn’t a fan of the taste of Rochefort or other Trappist beers, doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate beer. They just don’t appreciate the beers you might appreciate. Are they supposed to fake it and be a poseur to be a true beer lover?

But really, this applies to so many tastes. If someone prefers American League baseball over National League baseball, it doesn’t make them less of a baseball fan. The list could go on for a long time with so many of the arts. Having been involved with the Toronto literary and poetry community, I know there have been nasty arguments about this. You like what you like and there’s no need to try to force people to become “more educated” into liking other things. Absolutely it’s great to broaden your horizons and try new things. But if you try a variety of new beer and craft beer and go back to your trusty Pabst Blue Ribbon, power to you.

Olde Stone Brewing Company

Posted in bars and restaurants, Domestic Beers, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by beertruckdriver

Last week I spent a few days in my hometown of Peterborough, Ontario. I was intending to go to see ’90s Can-rock band Sloan play a free concert in Crary Park Saturday night, but the show ended up being postponed to Sunday due to some sort of flight delay in Halifax.  I wound up at the Olde Stone on George St., a brew pub with a variety of craft beers made in the establishment. A pint of Olde Stone beer is $6.05, very reasonable for a micro-brew. I recommend going for the sampler tray at $7.10. You get a tray with five four ounce glasses; one each of Or Dubh (a stout), Red Fife (a pale ale), Wilde Olde Ale (brown ale) and Pickwick’s Best Bitter (English-style bitter ale). Pickwick’s is named after the Dickens character and Wilde Olde Ale is named after Oscar Wilde. Wilde’s line of “work is the curse of the drinking class” is displayed through out the bar.

Now if you’re good at math you might ask what’s in the fifth glass. The Olde Stone has a seasonal beer they switch out every few weeks.  This one was Cascade Blond, a light blonde ale at 4%. If you think it sounds watery, it’s quite flavourful for a light beer. It was odd how beers I didn’t used to like I now do like and vice versa. I used to dislike Red Fife, but this was my favourite one. Also, I used to love Or Dubh as a stout. I’m now less keen on it in comparison to Guiness, Cobblestone, etc.

The Olde Stone also offers other beers from other brewers on tap, but if you’re travelling through Peterborough, why not just drink something you can’t get elsewhere?

Also, if you’re into vinyl records, I highly recommend checking out Bluestreak Records up the street. This is an awesome place to buy vinyl. It’s owned by Tim Haines. Yes hipsters wondering, Tim is the brother of Emily.

Premature Ejac-O-Lantern

Posted in bars and restaurants, Domestic Beers with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2013 by beertruckdriver

I tried this beer on the weekend. I won’t do a proper review as I wasn’t taking notes, however I was impressed with possibly the best name for a beer ever (even though it is a little dirty, but super clever), and I was also excited to drink a pumpkin ale outside of one month in the year. Yes, Premature Ejac-O-Lantern is a summer pumpkin ale. Its colour is not as orange as a traditional pumpkin ale and some bitterness and fruitiness does replace the sweetness and spice of a traditional pumpkin ale, but I was glad to find this on tap. It only seems to be in limited bars and only on tap right now. I tried it at the Only Cafe on the Danforth, but I’ve also heard about it being at Barhop. It appears to be a collaboration with the folks at Nickel Brook and Great Lakes Brewery.