In Blog on March 22, 2012 at 8:46 am
If it was possible to fall in love with a beer, I can honestly say that Shock Top might just be the one that steals my heart. A while back I lamented about how an American beer I love called Blue Moon – a fantastic Belgian-style wheat ale – isn’t available in Canada. Well, it seems that a simple little thing like crossing the border isn’t going to stop Shock Top from bringing their take on the Belgian-style wheat ale to the Great White North.
Available in select bars and most LCBO stores, Shock Top arrived in Canada with their signature brew, Shock Top Belgian White and I’m really impressed. The beer has a distinctive citrus taste, but isn’t overpowering. It’s stronger and smoother than most mainstream white beers in Canada (Alexander Keith’s and Rickard’s White) and is the closest I’ve seen to Blue Moon so far. In fact, dare I say it gives the ol’ Blue Moon Brewing Company a run for its money for the title of best Belgian-style wheat ale.
Although some Canadian beer lovers might find Shock Top too intense, I personally love the flavor and taste. It’s a welcomed change and I’m hoping more places start carrying it soon, especially with the warmer months just around the corner.
There are two other flavors Shock Top offers: Shock Top Raspberry Wheat and Shock Top Wheat IPA. Neither of which I have been able to locate at any bars in or around Toronto and neither are available at the LCBO, but I am very much looking forward to trying.
The Shock Top web site also offers some company information as well as some recipes and menu pairing ideas to help those who enjoy a good meal with their brews become more acquainted with the beer.
In Beverages, Life in the City on March 17, 2012 at 10:18 am
I’ve always loved Saint Patrick’s Day. There’s just something festive and upbeat and fun about the day. You get to wear green, everyone seems to be in a good mood and yes, the green beer (for those old enough to enjoy it) doesn’t hurt either.
Although as many true Irishmen (and women) will tell you, green beer is simply a cheap North American marketing ploy. (After all, the “official beer of St. Patrick’s Day” is Guinness and it surely isn’t green.) Still, while the green beer might be cheesy to some, it’s a fun part of the day.
An annual tradition for my friends and I is to go out and do our own pub crawl around the city, seeing how many pubs we can visit. The rule is simple; one beer per pub, then we move on. (Although in recent years we have switched to half pints or have just become lazy and stayed at the second or third bar we come to.)
March 17th also happens to be the day two of my friends celebrate their birthdays, so that has become an added bonus. Then, by the end of the day, my wife and I go out for our annual St. Patrick’s Day burger. Usually by then, I’m asking for green soda water instead of beer.
In Blog on March 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm
If there’s two things I really love in this world it’s chicken wings and a festival. And as luck would have it, the best of both worlds is about to happen. The First Annual Toronto Wing Festival is set to take place on Friday, April 20 from 6 to 11PM at the Beverly Halls on Beverly Street in downtown Toronto. From the looks of things, it’s shaping up to be an interesting showdown to crown the best wings in the city. And as far as I’m concerned, a competition like this is long overdue.
The event, organized by the Rotary Club of Toronto Skyline and proudly sponsored by Steam Whistle will pit six (so far) of Toronto’s best wing joints (Wild Wing, Hard Rock Cafe, Sneaky Dee’s, Pour House, Hooters and The Right Wing) against each other. According to the Toronto Wing Festival web site, they are still looking for additional competitors.
Unfortunately, it seems that the competitors are limited to restaurants and vendors, so I’m guessing that means I can’t enter my “award winning” Perfect Breaded Football Wings, but I can certainly sample the ones being showcased at the Festival. Although it would be a fun idea for future festivals to have non-restaurant competitors and to see how many “best kept secrets” are out there.
For those interested in attending, tickets are available at a reasonable price of $25 per person until April 6. After that the price goes up to $30. Did I mention that it’s all you can eat? There will be live entertainment all night and the good folks at Steam Whistle will make sure nobody goes thirsty. Now that sounds like a festival to me.
In Blog on March 2, 2012 at 8:45 am
Of all the barware out there, I love the American pint glass the most. It’s a 16oz thing of beauty. Sleek lines making a perfect conical shape, and when filled with a perfectly poured beer, a sight for sore eyes.
Traditionally known as a “bar mix glass” the pint glass surpassed the traditional beer mug as the preferred choice of beer glass in most bars and restaurants. (Although one could argue that a beer mug has a handle and thus allows the beer to stay colder longer.)
When I asked why it is the unofficial beer glass for draft beer, I was told it happened when bartenders saw that the bar mix glasses were more durable than the promotional glasses given out by breweries and could hold more than a traditional beer mug. Before that, bar mix glasses were used as the top to metal shakers, hence the name.
In Canada, where “going for a pint” is national pass-time, we are used to the more curvaceous pint glasses, known as a Nonic Glass or a “tulip” shaped glass that look similar to a Guinness glass. Often our beer glasses hold roughly 16 to 20 ounces.
Yes, the average “hoser” might argue in the States you’re being robbed of two ounces, as Americans use the American system and we use Imperial system, but since beer is cheaper down there and has the same alcohol content (despite what some might think) I’m sure I can find a way to make up for those two lost ounces.