Archive for the Travel 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.

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The Collective Arts Brewery in Hamilton

Posted in craft beer, Travel with tags , , , , , , on April 10, 2017 by beertruckdriver

Yesterday I went to visit a friend in Hamilton, Ontario. We made a trip to to The Collective Arts Brewery.

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Souvenir t-shirt I got at Collective Arts

My friend and I bought a flight each. My flight consisted of Their Collective Project IPA #1 and IPA #2, their pumpkin saison (which is no longer on their web site. Perhaps at the end of its run? I mean, it’s not exactly pumpkin season) and State of Mind. I also hears an interesting story about Stash from the locals. Having a “straight up” blonde ale was put into play due to the local market in Hamilton. When you think Hamilton beer you might think of those big-ass cans of Steeler or brands like Lakeport. I’m stereotyping here, but Hamiltonians are often blue-collar people who want a straight up beer to drink “like Canadian?” so Stash, though a lot more flavourful than Canadian, offers that.

Briefly, one pilsner I’ve been enjoying lately has been Collingwood’s Rockwood. When I first tried it I asked my LCBO clerk about it and he told me he was really picky and did not prefer it to Urquell. Personally, I like it over Urquell, though there’s a little bit of appley sweetness, which is a surprise. I could see this not being for every pilsner drinker, but I find it clean, smooth and definitely drinkable.

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.

Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival

Posted in Domestic Beers, Travel with tags , , , , on August 13, 2013 by beertruckdriver

This past weekend I made it out to the Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival at Roundhouse Park. Overall, it was a fun time. The music acts were not the stars you’d see at the Toronto Festival of Beer, but there was still a lot of great local craft beer to sample. You probably wouldn’t be able to sample everything there without leaving in rough shape. A glass was $15 ($10 in advance) and sample tokens were $1 each. This is where I got annoyed. Some brewers would take one token for a sample and some would give you half a sample for one token and charge two for a full sample. $2 for a sample (five ounces, plus I already paid to get in) seems too much, though I understand the event did benefit the Toronto Railway Heritage Museum. My other beef was that I was required to buy tokens in increments of five. I was on my way out and wanted to sample one or two last beers, but didn’t want to buy a whole pack on tokens.

Would I check it out next year? Probably. It was a good time. There are other good festivals taking place in the summer and with the growth of craft brewing who knows what next year could look like?

Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival. The crowd got a lot larger after the Blue Jays game across the street ended.

Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival. The crowd got a lot larger after the Blue Jays game across the street ended.

The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival sampling glass. In the glass, Flying Monkeys City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat. At 11.5% I found it to be a maple-infused hard mixed drink. I didn't enjoy it, but can understand why others would.

The Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival sampling glass. In the glass, Flying Monkeys City and Colour Imperial Maple Wheat. At 11.5% I found it to be a maple-infused hard mixed drink. I didn’t enjoy it, but can understand why others would.

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.

Black Creek Historic Brewery

Posted in Travel with tags , , on May 12, 2013 by beertruckdriver

When I was a kid I went on a class trip at least once to Black Creek Pioneer Village, located near York University and Jane and Finch (I find it funny that it would be there). I once went to a wedding there. The reception was dry (the bride and groom’s choice for reasons  I won’t get into here). But I have found a reason to make a road trip to that grey, depressing part of the city. Black Creek Pioneer Village is also host to Black Creek Historic Brewery. All beers are brewed in methods used in Ontario in the 1860s. Black Creek’s beer is available in some LCBO outlets, but they are open for tours! This is my kind of educational field trip!

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Arizona Beer Week

Posted in in the news, Travel with tags , , , , on February 16, 2012 by beertruckdriver

I haven’t posted here in awhile, so let’s take a trip to a far-off place in the desert of the southwestern United States.

This week is Arizona Beer Week and as part of that, the 12th annual Arizona Strong Beer Festival happens on Feb. 18 in Phoenix. It’s a festival dedicated to more hearty, stronger beers (higher alcohol content). Definitely leave the keys at home for that one. However, organizers promise more than just strong beer. Many other craft brewers will make an appearance. Perhaps in Arizona they’re a little less PC than here in Canada (they get away with a festival called the Strong Beer Festival for one. You’d see some complaints about that here). But what was absolutely BAFFLING to me is the venue: Steele Indian School Park.  Maybe I’m wrong, but this just seems like a bad PR move.

Perhaps at Arizona Beer Week, you’ll be able to sample Cave Creek Chili Beer. That’s right, an Arizona Mexican-style beer with one serrano chili in each bottle.