It’s November, and all across Ontario people are gettin’ hygge with it. Yes, I know that’s not how you pronounce that. With evenings getting colder, we’ve somehow decided to deprive ourselves of an hour of afternoon sunlight so that we can sit indoors and bask in the warm glow of our 400 sq ft. condos starting from the low 750’s.
At least there’s beer.
This month we’ve got a range of guest contributors here to tell you what beverages they’re enjoying. We’ve got a new beer judge, an established beer judge, a legendary Grand Master beer judge, and one man who actually homebrews so that the others have something to judge. Not everyone’s a critic.
Name: Paul Dickey
Occupation: Retired, formerly owner/brewmaster of Cheshire Valley Brewing Co. Contract brewer for Double Trouble Brewing & North American Craft. BJCP Grand Master judge.
Beer of the Moment: A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon “An IPA” by Bellwoods Brewery. It was fantastic—a well balanced beer with a long citric finish. Unfortunately this beer, one of the series of “An IPA” is sold out, so I went to the Bellwoods Brew Pub on Ossington to talk to the Head brewer, John Gallagher—and sample some beer with him.
Among other specialty releases Bellwoods does “An IPA, An APA, and An Double IPA”. These are all beers with a similar base malt with different combinations of hops. The latest, soon to be released is “Beer Lab Co-Lab” An IPA collaboration with Milos of London. As we discussed these we tasted their Bine Hunter—a wet hopped IPA. Wow! This was a great beer—again sold out but will return with a different hop.
Be sure to visit their website www.bellwoodsbrewery.com and sign up for their newsletter. This way you will be among the first to know of the new releases of An IPA—and others. (ed note: plus, it’s very well written.)
Name: Deaglan Walcarn
Occupation: I have been in the craft beer and service industry for roughly 15 plus years (Victory Cafe, Porter House, Bar Hop, etc). Currently working at People’s Pint Brewing, Pullsteam Coffee, and Otto’s Bierhalle. In addition, I make beer with the rest of my brew team, Bent Mallet.
Beer of the Moment: Godspeed Nonbe Oktoberfest Bier
Now that we can drink inside restaurants and bars again it’s a treat to have draught beer. Especially in all the fun alternative ways of serving it (i.e. Czech style side pour, cask ale, etc). I had this served in Czech style side pour in a classic dimple stein.
This Oktoberfest lager pours with a soft copper colour with a pretty white and lasting head. Aroma comes across with a pleasant gentle aroma of spice, mint, noble hop character and toasted biscuits. This generally malt-forward lager has a lovely toasted quality of bread crust, biscotti and caramel. It finishes with strong pronounced but inoffensive bitterness to create a tasty balance. Though my palate has been craving things on the hoppy or strong side lately, this beer is a great example of how a paler style of lager can be easy drinking all the while having so much depth to it.
Name: David Lee
Occupation: Photo editor by day. World Beer Awards and Royal Agricultural Winter Fair beer judge at other times. I have also done consulting work for the Terroir Symposium and judged the Ontario Tourism Awards. I love anything food and drink!
Beer of the Moment: Henderson Export Stout
I’m really into anything stouts or porters right now. While I drink both these styles year-round, this is the time of year when drinking a stout just feels RIGHT. This lovely export stout from Henderson is especially right. Brewed to style, it delivers a dark roasted flavour without tasting burnt like a lot of porters and stouts can be guilty of. There’s also no oxidation which is another flavour I tend to get in a lot of imperial stouts.
There’s also just a wee bit of dark fruit going on which is great to round out all the other typical notes you get on a beer like this like chocolate, coffee and some biscuit.
And finally, the 7% ABV is great for a mellow evening at home but not so high that you’re falling asleep after a can. Would be right at home as a dessert after dinner too. People might think of stouts as being heavy, but one as well-attenuated as this stays light on the palate and the hop bitterness and roasted coffee notes are super-refreshing.
Name: Ady Floyd
Occupation: I am the VP of Client Success and a Futurist at Trend Hunter, a trend research firm in Toronto. I’m also excited to say that I’ve turned my admiration for beer into a hobby/side hustle. As a self proclaimed beer influencer I run my own “beerstagram” @JustBeerBanter where I provide refreshing images, tasting notes and fun facts about the beers I try. In 2021 I became a Beer Specialist and a World Beer Awards judge. Both have helped lead me to some very cool opportunities to work with various breweries, analyzing their products and pouring for them at beer festivals. Most recently I joined the Craft Brand Co. team as a Beer Ambassador and cannot wait for more amazing opportunities—like being featured in The Growler!
Beer of the Moment: Recently, my family and I were able to escape the busy city of Toronto and head North to Kawartha Lakes. While there, we made a point to visit a local brewery called Fenelon Falls Brewing. Inside the 200-year old building on the Trent Severn at Lock 34, we sipped some delicious beer flights. Before scooping a few bottles to go, I asked for a taster of the Belgian Tripel—this is my beer of the moment and it is drool-worthy. I’ve been a fan of this style since my first sip many years ago and I love it for its sweet but dry, boozy, and complex profile. Fenelon Falls’ rendition of this classic brew is everything I hoped for and more. It has a lightly spiced and sweet aroma that carries into the taste, adding earthy notes and an evident high ABV quality that’s warming and inviting. Though you only need one of these beers to be completely satisfied, you’ll want a few more for good measure. Sipping this beer with the waterfront view at the brewery is well worth the drive!
I’ll admit I’m more prone to a hopped-up IPA on most days or a nice stout on a Sunday, but this Tripel was a treat. At Fenelon Falls you can expect a plethora of options but if you ask me, you know what I’d recommend.