News and Notes: April 5, 2024

Don’t bother shoveling. It’ll be gone by the time the sun gets swallowed by a vengeful moon next week. ALL HAIL THE PATH OF TOTALITY!

With the promise of warmer weather and with patios about to open across the province, the spring represents rebirth and renewal for a somewhat beleaguered Ontario Craft Beer industry. Some of us are feeling the sap begin to flow and are waiting to get out there and enjoy life. Some of us are groggily fumbling about like dormice emerging from a particularly brutal torpor. 

Whichever camp you fall into, here’s what’s happening. 


4 Degrees Brewing in Smiths Falls has had a change in ownership. While the original branding was developed by a group of five friends, some of whom worked as first responders in Smiths Falls, the new branding, under The Tap Room Inc, sees a shift to 4 Degrees Brewing and Distilling. The product lineup remains unchanged for the time being. 

Folly Brewing in Toronto at College and Dovercourt shuttered on Wednesday last week, although the sale of the brewery to new owners suggests that there will be a fourth iteration of the space in the near future. I, for one, can’t wait to see who the sixth brewer will be this decade. It’s like Doctor Who over there.

Louis Cifer Brew Works in Toronto has announced their sale. It is unclear at what point the current ownership will be handing it over, but given that they have announced a friends and family night for April 12th, one imagines it’s likely to be shortly after that. 

Bayfield’s River Road Brewing is closing April 14th after 8 years in business. The news comes alongside the sale of the farm attached to the property as River Road had grown their own hops. 

Barrel Heart Brewing has acquired a new taproom location: 104 King Street West in Dundas. It will likely provide them with a little more foot traffic for their fruited Saisons. 

Big Rig Richmond Hill quietly closed at some point recently. This comes as comparatively little surprise after the closure of their Mississauga location. Both locations had previously been a part of the French owned 3 Brewers chain.

Photo courtesy Left Field Brewing


Back in the bad old days when people sent samples, it was easy to tell what to promote and what to ignore. However, with the number of breweries currently floating around, I just aim for six newly released beers that look interesting to me. It’d be more interesting if I had a gimmick to help me with this, but management said that the blueprints for the WHEEL OF ZYMURGY were prohibitively expensive and they won’t trust me with a dartboard. On y va. 


Back in the deadball era, if you wanted Passionfruit flavour you had to add Galaxy Hops. Left Field has opted 190kg of Passionfruit puree in addition to Citra and El Dorado hops. Have you ever seen a Passionfruit? Do you know how many of them go into 190 kg? I’m going to guess they borrowed a weed whacker from the grounds crew for that one. 


The peril of including a Badlands product in a roundup like this is that the faithful Badlandians out there (Badlandinistas?) are quite likely to scoop all of this up before you get your shoes and socks on. This one is made with Citra and Nectaron. Nectaron sounds like something that powers the Autobots. 


Beer! Heavenly bodies! Orbits! Apogees! Waxing! Waning! Riwaka! Citra! Nelson Sauvin! BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF STARS! Look, a lot of people are really excited about something Mark Twain would use as a plot device and honestly who can blame them! Art by Justin Broadbent!


Hopped predominantly (and heavily) with an Australian varietal that fittingly goes by the name Eclipse, this hazy IPA brilliantly shines with fruit forward notes of sweet mandarin, zesty citrus peel and ripe mango. So grab your pinhole camera and a can of this liquid sunshine, but please, whatever you do, Don’t Look Up!


You were holding out for a beer? Oh, I’ve got something for you. Total Eclipse is a natural force. Made with dehusked Carafa Malt to remove roast astringency, It’s faster than the speed of night. Total Eclipse is probably something you want to drink out of a Stein, Man.

That’s right. I made all the other Bonnie Tyler references. I turned it around on you, bright eyes. Also, I learned that she’s Welsh!


I love the idea of using dandelion roots to make a Pilsner that much more floral, and since 50 cents a can go to support the Windsor Cancer Foundation, you can feel good about the return of this annual addition to Walkerville’s garden. You don’t actually need to drink a beer named after a brief interplanetary phenomenon. You could just have a nice time with a gently floral beverage.


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