What Are You Drinking, April 2022 edition

Well, friends, it looks like there won’t be any more lockdowns. The bar is open and you know what that means: you’re going to have to wear hard pants. We here at The Growler Ontario have lobbied the province of Ontario to let us wear sweatpants in all settings, but we were told that we looked unkempt. Heavens forfend. We may be a lot of things, and massively situationally vain is one of them. If we’re going out to a classy establishment like CRAFT or Beertown, we’re going to try and find a shirt without sriracha stains on it. 

Our writers this month appreciate that kind of thing, especially since they work at those establishments. 

Quinn Penfound. Supplied photo

Name: Quinn Penfound

Occupation: I am currently the bar manager at CRAFT Beer Market Toronto, previously a sales representative for Rorschach Brewing Co. I found myself swept up in and enthralled by the beer world since I could understand that the craft beer industry was a thing and have been riding that wave ever since.

Beer of the Moment: One of my three go-to after-work beers (when I get the rare opportunity to actually sit down at my bar) has been the 3 Rocks IPA by Second Wedge, on my current rotational menu. It really blends a lot of what my palette has grown to enjoy over the years. as well as all of the nostalgic tastes that got me into this wonderful career in the first place. Growing up drinking English ales, nitro cream ales, and the infamous Boneshaker; the fine balance between a flavourful yet bitter brew has always given my eyes a glimmer.

Riding the line between the grapefruit and citrus notes of a West Coast IPA, and the malty, bitter backbone of a traditional IPA. It brims with grapefruit, pine and oak. It certainly doesn’t hold back on what it tries to achieve in the glass, lending to that familiar cycle of a lingering bitter finish and taking another refreshing sip. It’s one of those beers that reminds me of why I got into the beer world in the first place. Not to mention the joy of being able to shoutout an Uxbridge-based beer from an Ajax-raised boy.

In a world where our fridges, taps and palates are filled with excellence of every kind of style, and adjunct; it’s occasionally nice to just sit back and drink something a tad more traditional, simple, and albeit, nostalgic.

Jennifer Tamse. Supplied photo

Name: Jennifer Tamse

Occupation: As Director of Beer & Beverage for the Charcoal Group of Restaurants, I spearhead the strategic vision for our Beverage Programs at twelve of our restaurants – including Beertown, Sociable, Wildcraft and The Bauer Kitchen. Also called the “Beer Czar” (a title originating from a wild trip to  Belgium), I started with the group in 2013 to help build the Beertown brand. I oversee menu curation, financial planning, inventory management/costing, draught system design/maintenance, brand  development, and of course, leading the charge when it comes to our beverage education programs. It’s  an exciting time to be a part of the beer scene in Ontario, and an absolute honour to help lead the beer  revolution in spaces that live and breathe a “beer for the people” ethos. 

Beer of the Moment: Can I break the rules and list three beers? It feels almost impossible to list one when we work with so many amazing breweries in Ontario! (Ed. note: Sure. Why not? No one ever asked before.)

  • DOUBLE TOWN Double IPA with Nelson Sauvin, Wakatu, Mosaic & Rapidase Revelation Powder / Beertown XX Town (Whitby, ON) / 8.0% – Yeah, I’m going to be “that chick” and unabashedly plug our collab because my team and our friends at Town worked hard on it. And you know what? It  turned out great. We tapped our first keg today, and shared samples with the entire BOH and  FOH crew. After 2 years of opens and closes, it felt truly momentous! 
  • KATHERINE THE MILD English Mild / Shortfinger (Kitchener, ON) / 3.4% – While we don’t pour this at Beertown, it’s quickly becoming a staple in the Tamse household. English Milds are hard to come by in Ontario (I think we would all agree it is not the sexiest of styles), so I feel especially blessed to have access to something like this 10min away from my place. And boy, do Rob and  Kat have this recipe dialed in. Thank-you for keeping me sane! 
  • CALIFORNIA KING West Coast IPA with Cascade & Centennial Hops / Fairweather (Hamilton, ON) /  7.2% – This might show my age, but I miss West Coast IPAs. Why? It might simply be that I really  like them, or that I yearn for the glory days when I would hit up every craft beer festival that I  could find. What I do know is that beer brings people together, and West Coast IPAs helped  facilitate lasting friendships. Back in February when I was out for a ski, I cracked a can of Great Lakes’ 2010 West Coast, and those memories came flooding back. So, when Thom (sales rep  extraordinaire) waltzed through our doors with the California King in hand last week, I knew we had to order it. 

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