September 2020 Meeting
VIVA LA QUEBEC…….BEER, THAT IS
We invoked them all, all of the gods of beer that is. From the Norse god Aegir, to Bes and Nephthys of ancient Egypt, Ninkasi of Sumeria or Siris of Mesopotamia. The day and the weather, the setting, the food and the company; it was all so perfect that surely each of these ancient gods must have contributed in some way to bring us luck.
The scene was the backyard of John and Linda Spence, where 14 of the brightest stars of the Applewood Probus Craft Beer Group assembled to taste beers from five Quebec micro brewers and one from the Ottawa area. Guess what …. Ontario won out.
Only two of the beers are available from LCBO, and even then, with limited distribution, so it was a unique opportunity to taste something not tasted before or, perhaps, never will again.
John was the perfect host. BBQing some great burgers and offering up a terrific potato salad and coleslaw and even some delicious squares for dessert. The setting allowed us all to be easily physically separated and safe.
We tended to enjoy the darker, maltier beers most, however, some of that could have been because of the order in which we tried them.
Here is what we tasted in order of preference:
- Calibogie Brown Cow Milk Stout 5.5% ABV LCBO# 13827 81.6 pts.
- La Knowlton Co. Porter Anglaise 4.9 % ABV 79.1 pts.
- Brasserie Vrooden Alter Ale Rousse 5 % ABV 67.6 pts.
- Brasserie Artisinal Maltstrom Farmhouse Blanche 5.3% ABV 62 pts.
- Simple Malt Brasseurw Blonde D’Abbaye D’Oka 5.9% ABV 61.4 pts.
- Brasserie Dieu du Ciel Moralite IPA Americaine 6.9 % ABV LCBO# 742618 56.8 pts.
Thanks to the incredible wealth of trivial knowledge that was displayed by a plethora of the assembled crowd, many of them went home with cans of beer as their winnings.
Unfortunately, unless climate change affords us the opportunity to extend the summer backyard season, that will be the last of our beer events for a while. Sadly, Covid has interfered with our ability to gather indoors so our meeting prospects will be limited for the foreseeable future.
June, July and August 2021 Meeting
THE BEAT GOES ON
The craft beer tasting group hasn’t slowed down a bit, in fact, we’ve just been chugging along (pun intended). We have remained active and committed to tasting our way through this crazy pandemic.
We have had two very well attended Zoom meetings. In fact, we had to limit the number of participants to keep it manageable, so we were “sold out” for each. The first featured a random selection of beers but some of the group were not able to get hold of all beers and some, wisely, elected not to go to LCBO for safety reasons. We were able to find a solution for our second meet. The host got an online order from Great Lakes Brewery , picked them up at the store and delivered them personally to all 16 tasters. This worked out a lot better as everyone was able to taste each beer.
Our first outdoor event was held, socially distanced, in John Mark’s backyard. It was a “stinkin’ hot day” but undeterred, ten of us tasted our way through a nice variety of beers and enjoyed some great sausages BBQ’d by our multi-talented host.
Our second BBQ was at Joe Reid’s place where we were able to spread out under the shade of some beautiful trees and again wolf down some sausage and beer.
Both events featured some great conversation and sparkling entertainment….baseball trivia at John’s, beer jokes at Joe’s.
We will be hosting a third BBQ event in September at the home of John Spence. More details to come.
Many thanks to our hosts for making it possible for us to enjoy these great social occasions during this unusual time.
Here’s what we tried:
Zoom Meeting 1 Zoom Meeting 2
1. Barking Squirrel - Hop City 1. Shinny Pants Session Stout - GLB
2. Hazy State IPA - Collective Arts 2. Blonde Lager - GLB
3. Cause & Effect IPA - Nickel Brook 3. Red Leaf Lager - GLB
4. Monty’s Aged Ale - Old Tomorrow 4. Pompous Ass English - GLB
5. Freakshow - Flying Monkey’s 5. Canuck Pale Ale - GLB
6. Zodiak IPA - Omnipollo 6. Meanwhile Back in Moxee - GLB
1. Shindig - Blyth Cowbell
2. Bang Bang Ale - Left Field
3. Hockley Amber Ale - Hockley
4. Hawaiin Pale Ale - Spearhead
5. Highlander Scottish Ale - Highlander
6. Across the Pond - High Park
1. St. Ambrose Apricot Wheat Ale - McAuslan
2. Farmer’s Daughter Blonde Ale - Whitewater
3. Spark House Red Ale - Lake of Bays
4. Downtown Brown - Amsterdam
5. Traditional Brown - Big Rock
6. Cheeky Bastard Stout - Nickel Brook
November 2021 Meeting
The Craft Beer group had their first, in-person breakout event since we did “Wings & Beer” in Marty’s backyard eons ago. Despite the rainy day, nothing could dampen our spirits and joy at finally enjoying each other’s company, face to face (actually, mask to mask).
The venue was Mascot Brewery, a converted warehouse on Advance Rd. in Etobicoke. Mascot has an outlet in downtown Toronto but opened this site about eighteen complicated months ago to house their production facility. They have a tasting bar and large serving area where you can taste a beer or two and have a great sandwich from Fidel Gastro’s, the food truck and catering business next door. (hint- try the Cubano Hoagie and Pad Thai Fries for something completely different)
Their beers tend to be uncomplicated with a big emphasis on lagers that have been dry-hopped. These are all well suited to casual sipping and would match any light food dish. They also have a great Stout, Chocolate Daddy, which would stand up to more hardy fare.
Mambo Italiano - 5.6 % - dry hopped giving a lemon peel nose and crisp clean taste with a hint of sweetness
Pilly - 5.0 % - a crisp, hoppy Czech style Pilsner
Big Lager - 5.5% - lots of citrus and pine notes
Enchante - 5.6 % - a Belgian style wheat beer with notes of Blackberry and All Spice.
They offer a few IPA’s and the aforementioned, Stout as well, which some of our members purchased and took home for further research (talk about a keen group, eh?).
Of course, we had our obligatory beer quiz, which despite the fact that the very same quiz had been given in previous beer events, most of the attendees struggled with. We are not sure if the reason for their problems in answering the questions was the quiz master’s (a certain Applewood Probus past-president) garbled and incoherent presentation, or that our members are not very scholarly where beer is concerned. Doug Brien and Marty Wanat proved that, indeed, they have been paying attention or they are very good guessers, as they took home the top prizes.
Stay tuned for our next great event!
HIGH PARK BREWERY - 939 RUNNYMEDE RD. TORONTO
High Park Brewery was started by 4 hockey buddies with a passion for beer and was founded with the principles of inclusion, sustainability and community involvement in 2015. In 2021, they brought Lost Craft Brewery into the collaboration. They have a common brewmaster and are producing a wide variety of styles under both brand names. As an expression of their community involvement, some of the profits of one of their brews goes to support the High Park Zoo. They are the only Toronto brewery to be designated a Certified Benefit Corporation.
They were prepping for a wedding in one of their tasting rooms (the one with the table tennis and foosball games) and the spacious covered and heated outdoor patio was not inviting because of the dampness of the day so we were welcomed in their primary tap and tasting room where we were treated to a flight of 4 beers and an overwhelming amount of hot, delicious treats ( two kinds of beautiful flatbreads, tasty chicken wings, french fries and seductive grilled brussels sprouts). I’m fairly certain that none of the group was hungry for dinner that evening. Each of the participants took home a can any beer of their choice.
The wife of one of the owners, Margaret, took us through a tasting of the following beers: Revivale Lagered Ale (light and crisp), Winter Warmer Brown, (smooth and tasty), Peacock Czech Pilsner ( clean and mildly spicy) and Neapolitan Ice Cream Stout (full, sweet and rich). The imbibers present enjoyed the tasted beers in the following order:
Neapolitan Ice Cream Stout - ABV 6, IBU 23
Winter Warmer Brown - ABV - 7, IBU 10
Peacock Czech Pilsner - ABV 4.6, IBU 23
Revivale Lagered Ale - ABV 4.9, IBU 19
April 2022 Meeting