At least not last night as LD and I took the first step in our journey towards the ultimate dream: drinking for a living. And there was no time for batting eyelashes.
We were at the Premium Beer Experience at the Berkeley Church, an official event of Toronto Beer Week 2011. Ten of Toronto’s best local beer makers were there to showcase their latest creations in brewing.
Hits and Misses
Hit of the night was most definitely the Muskoka Cream Ale. It was nicely balanced, refreshing on the palate and would be a good pair with a variety of food. This was followed closely by Wellington’s Home Grown Bitter. Fresh, perfectly hoppy and the “bitter” really made it stand out from the rest. Bonus points for using local hops.
Beau’s, a not-so-local, well-known for their Lugtread (You know, that one with the tractor), brought an excellent new dark addition to their family, the Dunkel Buck. A traditional Bavarian wheat beer that will be sure to keep us warm all winter. We also give it extra points for the homage to John Candy (check out the logo).
Miss: Great Lakes Brewery’s Bananarama. While they get points for bravery and creativity, this beer was murky and flat, resembling apple cider in the glass. But without any of the fresh fruit taste. Undrinkable. LD had to chuck the majority.
Another miss: Thumbs down again for GLB on another attempt at a fruit beer, this time the Peach Wheat. As a general fan of fruit beers (when done well), I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, another fail. Too much fake fruit flavour and the wheat-yness was overdone.
On a higher note, their seasonal Pumpkin Ale was tasty and smelled great. Although a little heavy-handed on the spice, it was their best offering that we tried. I think their downfall was that they just did too much. When trying something new, it’s generally best practice to focus on one or two rather than five. Quality over quantity, my friends.
Hit: As always, local favourite Amsterdam brought the big guns in their new (416) Urban Wheat. How can it get better you ask? How about taking that (416), cask-condition and dry-hop it then, add a hint of honey and you’ve got their Funky (416). Faaaantastic. This beer had curves in all the right places. GLB, that’s how you do wheat. Take notes.
So-so’s: Newcomers Spearhead brought their signature Hawaiian Style Pale Ale. I’ve seen this on tap at a few places in the city but had yet to try it. So LD and I both saddled up for a glass. While overall it was quaffable, it too erred on the side of fruity.
Almost every other beer we tasted was in the “I’d drink no more than a pint of this” range. While we liked the Muskoka Harvest Ale and the Mill St. Oktoberfest, they didn’t stand out.
In all, LD and I agree it was a night well spent and we got a lot of “research” done on the local beer scene. Only question left is: Can we write this off as a business expense?
Stay tuned for our continuing adventures and the launch of our Tasting Series, blog and Twitter feed!