Archive for the Domestic Beers Category

Book Review: 150 Years of Canadian Beer Labels

Posted in Domestic Beers, Retail with tags , , , , , on December 31, 2016 by beertruckdriver


Over the holidays, I received this book as a gift from a friend. I will say it was really a unique and thoughtful gift. And, this book is amazing.

I50 Years of Canadian Beer Labels, from Touchwood Editions, is an art book, with its art being beer bottle labels. Each folio contains a print of beer label on the right page and a description on the left explaining who brewed it. Most of the breweries are long gone, though a few beers may still exist, but are produced by a macrobrewery (think Lucky Lager). Randomly opening to a page leads us to Cosgrave Export Brewery Company’s Old Munich Lager Beer, which, according to the book, was brewed in Toronto in the early ’30s. The label features cartoon elves at different stages of the brewing process. Old Munich’s disappearance was possibly due to its German name around the time of World War II.

Just in time for Canada’s 150th birthday, you can see its history. In beer labels.


Maple Butter Tart Ale

Posted in craft beer, Domestic Beers with tags , , , on December 23, 2016 by beertruckdriver

Maple butter tart ale? I found this at the Summerhill LCBO and reluctantly decided to try it. It’s brewed by Gravenhurst’s Sawdust City Brewing Company.

It really is an all right beer as a curiosity. The body is a dark reddish brown with a thin off-white head. From the second I opened the can I smelled the aroma of, well, butter tart. The flavour definitely has a butter tart taste, but a watery texture and a hint of toasted nut to make you not feel like you’re drinking a can of syrup. The finish has a lingering flavour of maple syrup that isn’t too strong. The sweetness is here, but I still feel like I’m having a beer. I don’t regret trying this, but it’s not something I think I would drink on a regular basis.


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.

Collective Arts Hefeweizen

Posted in craft beer, Domestic Beers with tags , , on November 11, 2016 by beertruckdriver

Yes, I’m reviewing another beer from Collective Arts. A friend brought me a bottle of their hefeweizen from the brewery. Hefeweizens are German wheat beer that will usually have a fruity sweet flavour to them.

It looks how you would expect a hefeweizen to look, with a hazy orange body. The fruity aroma that comes with a hefe is there. What amazed me about this beer is the flavour. Yes, I know a hefe is supposed to have flavours of sweet fruit, but the long lingering sweet banana flavour was much more than I expected, added in with a bit of spice. The surprising and lingering finish reminds me my experience with Stash, the Collective Arts beer I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

Another example of an Ontario hefeweizen is the popular Side Launch Wheat.

Slingshot California Common

Posted in craft beer, Domestic Beers with tags , , , , on October 24, 2016 by beertruckdriver

Slingshot is brewed by Toronto’s Radical Road Brewing. It’s a California Common style beer, better known as a steam beer. According to Beer Advocate:

“The California Common, or Steam Beer, is a unique 100% American style lager. It’s usually brewed with a special strain of lager yeast that works better at warmer temperatures. This method dates back to the late 1800’s in California when refrigeration was a great luxury. The brewers back then had to improvise to cool the beer down, so shallow fermenters were used. So in a way the lager yeast was trained to ferment quicker at warmer temperatures. Today’s examples are light amber to tawny in color, medium bodied with a malty character. Mildly fruity with an assertive hop bitterness.”

Probably the most famous example of a California Common is San Francisco’s Anchor Steam.

Slingshot pours with a caramel body with quite a bit of carbonation. The head is thick and white. The aroma is malty with hints of fruits. The taste is quite malty and has an overall creamy mouthfeel. The finish lingers with a bit of spice and bitterness. I don’t have a lot of experience with California Commons, but personally prefer Anchor Steam. This beer’s a pretty good one though.

Collective Arts Stash

Posted in craft beer, Domestic Beers with tags , , , on October 17, 2016 by beertruckdriver

Hamilton’s Collective Arts Brewing has gained a following in the craft beer market in the last few years with its bold and excellent beers, as well as its packaging. Bottles feature prints of art by current artists and independent album covers.

Stash, a “straight-up ale,” is a blonde ale and a departure from creations like the American Pale Ale Rhyme & Reason or the very strong American IPA Ransack the Universe. Stash is not as straight-up as you would think though. It pours blonde yellow with a light head and a grassy aroma. So far, as expected. The palate has a grassy taste, but it’s the finish where this beer takes a sharp hairpin turn like in a police-chase scene in an old movie. I didn’t expect a hoppy grapefruit taste that lingers in a blonde ale. This isn’t quite a straight-up ale, but if you have an open mind, you should like this.img_20161016_194531637

Roman Candle and Illiterate Librarians

Posted in Domestic Beers with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2016 by beertruckdriver

It’s been nearly two years since you’ve heard from the Beer Truck Driver. This blog fell on the back burner when I took on freelance writing projects on top of my day job and then took time to deal with personal and family issues. But recently people have told me they’ve missed this blog and would like to see its return. So I’m back for right now with a review of two bears beers; Roman Candle by Bellwoods Brewery and Illiterate Librarians by Sarnia’s Refined Fool Brewing Company.


Roman Candle is a strong IPA with 6.8% ABV. It has an orange-hued body and a white head. The aroma has strong grapefruit notes as well as more subtle notes of melon and pine. The flavour has hints of spice and pineapple and is rather bitter. The finish is strong and hoppy. If you’re looking for a strong IPA with spice and a real fizziness to the flavour, this is good.


When Refined Fool says Illiterate Librarians (interesting name for a beer) is a grapefruit IPA, they are not kidding. I poured the beer at least a good foot away from my nose and smelled the overpowering grapefruit aroma. The aroma is like Amsterdam Boneshaker on steroids. The body is orange-amber with a cream-coloured head. The flavour is malty, with grapefruit flavour and a bitter finish. One reviewer at RateBeer called this a turbo-charged radler, which is rather accurate. Illiterate Librarians has an ABV of 5.7%. It’s not for everybody, but it’s at least interesting.