News and Notes: May 17, 2024

Muddy York’s brewery mezzanine, affectionately known as “The Mezz,” is now OPEN for beer to stay. photo

You might question the wisdom of putting out a newsletter on the Friday before a long weekend. The reason we chose Fridays for this column was because we figure people are usually bored first thing in the morning. A few years back, most of the beer twitter slapfights would start Friday morning because people had functionally checked out of work sometime around 10:00 AM. I’m guessing most of you started the long weekend yesterday, and if we’re all going to be really honest about it, a lot of us checked out in 2021. 

Still, in the words of an increasingly inebriated Bruch McCulloch, “everybody’s got a job to do, everybody’s got to move and groove.


This week, the news broke that Brew Culture, a popular Canadian supplier of brewing ingredients, has announced their pending closure. The decision to close cites as reasons, “challenges posed by the global hops surplus, increased competition within the Canadian market, industry downturn, and overall economic challenges that continue to persist.” 

While this comes as bad news for customers who will need to realign their purchases with other vendors, it is worth noting that the contents of their inventory are being liquidated, including several comparatively exotic hop varieties at 50% off. 

Stouffville’s Muddy York Brewery has completed the seating area for their taproom, THE MEZZ, and is now able to accept guests in house. Stalwart observers will note that Nelson the Cat has been replaced by a Foosball machine which is, as of this report, unnamed. 

Coming soon: Bickford Brewing Co.’s taproom on Harbord Street. photo


Toronto’s newest brewery is Bickford Brewing Co. which has announced their residence as 292A Harbord, just west of Manning Avenue. The brewery should open later this year. When reached for comment, brewer Andrew McCready said:

“We’re excited to open our first location at 292A Harbord Street and officially call the Bickford Park neighbourhood home. I started home brewing soon after moving to the neighbourhood and when deciding on a brand name, Bickford Brewing Co. was a no brainer. The perfect little location on Harbord Street popped up in an up and coming part of the street next to other shops and restaurants, and we’re hoping our taproom will become a community hub for our beer loving neighbours.” 

Saturday, May 25: Barrie’s I Heart Beer & Taco Festival offers a fun filled day or night of beer, cider and spirits sampling, games, dancing and tacos. I Heart Beer photo


Several events have been added to the calendar, including Hop Stock at Bench Brewing in July, and the triumphant return of Toronto’s Picklefest to Henderson Brewing in October. 

Block 3’s Signor Vespa Italian Pilsner Clean has light crisp malt with a light earthy floral note from the dry hop with saphir and saaz hops. Daytrip to Rome, anyone?


Have you ever wanted to spend a lazy afternoon in Rome, sticking your hand in fountains and maybe doing a sick jump over the Spanish Stair on an underpowered moped? Maybe after that you can sit on the terrace at the Palazzo Enrico doing some people watching with an ice cold Signor Vespa. Made with Saphir and Saaz hops, this Italian Pilsner is a collaboration with the bottleshop Bevi Birra.

Featuring the Cryo Pop hop blend from Yakima Chief (which has a swirling website graphic that feels like falling into the void below Khazad-dum), Balrog features notes of peach, pineapple, grapefruit, and daiquiri. At 8.2%, it’s quite the powerful number. If you over-indulge, you may wake up several weeks later wearing an entirely different robe. 

Market Brewing has once again produced their Shower Beer, a lager which clocks in at 4.3% and 10 IBUS. If you’ve never had a beer while in the shower, there are things you should know. The first is that the correct glassware for a slippy environment is the can, since you don’t want to cut up your feet. The second is that you gotta try not to let any water get in the can. The third is that basically any beer can be a shower beer if you try hard enough, although wax dipped bottles are considered gauche. Save that for the hot tub.

25 cents from each can will be donated to Emily’s House. 

Talus, along with Nectaron, seems to be the hop of the moment. It’s a daughter of Sabro, which was the hop of the moment two years ago. This means that you can expect grapefruit, stone fruit, oak, pine, and coconut. Since Alta also contains Nelson Sauvin, you’re also going to get the light gooseberry and minerality that really shook the pillars of heaven all the way back in 2013 or so. Fairweather makes lovely stuff, so this should be a corker. 

The Exchange in Niagara On The Lake is somewhat under-rated in terms not only of their general quality, but also their barrel aging program. Take this saison blended Barrel Aged Sour that takes the Floridian key lime as part of its makeup. At 5.8%, it’s vibrant and refreshing. I’m going to bet that would go terrifically with calamari. 

Collective Arts have decided to do something really, really well. Adding a Pilsner to their lineup in a green livery might seem a tried and tested move for an Ontario brewery attempting to reach a wider audience on a more permanent basis, but Collective are still making a large number of IPAs and sours. I’m not going to worry about it until they start releasing annual keychains and develop a fleet of electric vehicles.

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