The Northumberland Hill Brewery

During my trip to Cobourg, I decided to swing by the 9 week old Northumberland Hill Brewery. The brewery is located at 1024 Division St, in a small unit just off the main street. Upon arriving at the brewery, I was greeted by two gentlemen, one being Rick Bailey, the brewmaster and owner. Rick, who was very busy helping the flood of customers walking into the retail area of the brewery, was very friendly and was able to talk to me about the brewery and business inbetween helping others.

The brewery has a small footprint but utilizes the area very well. Upon entering, you will notice the bottle fridge, which was full with 5 beer selections. As the brewery is very new, things are slowly starting to come together. The retail area is being built, where they will offer flights, glassware, and apparel. The sampling area was a bar top infront of a large chalkboard which displayed all the brewery news, it also displayed beer that are coming soon and what they are currently sampling. During my time there, I sampled all their offerings, all of which were very different and unique.

When the brewery died down, Rick took me into the brewhouse. The brewhouse uses 300L tanks, which after the brewing process, ends up with about 250L of beer per batch. Though the brewery isn’t large, they have a wide range of beers that they are currently offering, and the list is always growing. Northumberland Hills Brewery (NHB) has truly been found by the locals. During my time there, the customers never stopped coming in, and Rick tells me the brewery was busy all weekend. Its great location combined with their well balanced beers, will surely make for a successful combination.

I wish I had a chance to spend more time there and speak to Rick longer, but my short time there has me wanting to go back. With their ever growing new beers being brewed, you’ll be sure to get something new everytime you head into the brewery. So be sure to head over to Northumberland Hill Brewery and pay the guys a visit, you won’t be disappointed.

William Street Beer Co.

I had a great opportunity to take a trip out to Cobourg, Ontario recently. While in town, I decided to pay William Street Beer Co a visit. William Street Brewery is located at 412 William Street, which is a prime location at the corner of William Street and University Ave. The brewery isn’t hard to miss as you can see the sign, which is high in the air, as you drive down William St. The brewery is located in a old automotive shop, which really suits the brewery well. During my time at William Street, I had the opportunity to be shown around and to speak with Sean Walpole, who is the brewmaster. Sean welcomed me with open arms. Sean was very knowledgeable about brewing, the beer industry and business. I left the brewery having learned a lot from him.

William Street Beer Co is a nice small local brewery. As you walk in the door to the right, you will see the stores two fridges, which house all the beer that the brewery is offering at the time. The fridges themselves have great graphics, which are some of the beer labels, displayed on the sides. The designs are very well done and with everything William Street does is very consistant. Just down the hall, you enter the tasting room, where you have the chance to sample selections of their beers. The tatsting room incudles a bar that runs the length of the room. A garage door, which in the summer, opens up to wlecome everyone into sample. As the tour continued, we ended up in the brewhouse, which is a 3BBL brewing system. The brewhouse is able to brew 300L batches of beer at a time. On the day of my visit, Sean was just releasing their pumpkin beer, Peculiar Pumpkin.

William Street has been open for about 8 months, and like most breweries going through their ups and downs. At first, the brewery was having troubles keeping up with demands for the beer. This forced them to close down for a few weeks to catch up and perfect the beers. Now, the brewery is fully stocked and very busy. While in the tasting room, I had the chance to try 3 of the breweries beers, Red Sky Amber, Cliff Top Pale Ale and Peculiar Pumpkin. All three of the beers were very good and unique. I will review a couple very soon. Sean was very helpful in telling me all about the beers and the process in which they were made. During my hour or so at the brewery, I could see how well William Street fits into Cobourg. There was a steady stream of customers coming in, not only for their new beer offering but for some of their staples, which are the Cliff Top and Red Sky. A lot of the customers that were coming in, Sean knew by name. Currently you can only pick up their beers at the brewery and your able to order a pint at a handful of local bars.

Sean’s main message to me was “We are committed to brewing simple, high quality and hand crafted ales for Cobourg and the surrounding communities. In addition, we make our beer with premium ingredients with preference always given to local, natural or homemade products over extracts, chemicals or shortcuts.” So, if you are ever in the Cobourg area be sure to check this place out and go and pay Sean a visit. You will get great beer and very friendly and knowledgeable service.

 

Hungry Brew Hops Visit

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I finally had the opportunity to check out Hungry Brew Hops! It’s a gastropub that I have been hearing about for months from friends and fellow beer lovers, and all I can say is it was worth the wait.

Hungry Brew Hops is located at 211 Main St. in Newmarket, Ontario. The restaurant is placed among little boutique stores and cafés and fits in very well. When you wilk in the door you get taken away with the rustic décor and large scale art on the wall, but it’s the little touches that make this place special. The details that went into the design are amazing, from the warm rustic tables, to the wall of kegs at the front entrance. As you walk past the bar, you will notice the 28 tap handles including 4 wines on tap. One thing you can’t miss is the “Hungry” light sign hanging on the wall of the bar. This is definitely an eye catcher!
My girlfriend and I, were seated near the back of the restaurant by the open kitchen. Once seated, we got to see the full beer list with brews from around Ontario and the world, but our eyes were easily taken away from the menu when we noticed the beautiful chalk art on the wall displaying all the beer styles. It is truly a work of art.
Once we ordered our first set of beers, myself a GLB Saison Dupump and my girlfriend a flight, the service was excellent. Our beers came promptly and our orders for food were taken. The food menu at Hungry Brew Hops is quite vast. There is definitely a great selection of food to pair with the amazing beers that they offer.
The food was delicious. Very good portion sizes and full of flavour. Even though I was full I had to order dessert and another beer. I went with their apple cheesecake and a Sawdust City Skinny Dipping Stout. It was truly the perfect pairing.
My overall experience was great! The food, service and beer were on point and the décor was so welcoming it made you want to stay. It was definitely worth the trip and I will for sure making another trip out there.

Review: Oktoberfest (Mill St. Brewery)

DSC02713Origin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Marzen/Okoberfest

Alc./Vol.: 5.6%

Suggested Glassware: Dimpled Mug

Suggested Serving Temperature: 5-8° Celsius

Availability: Mill St. Brewery, Select LCBO Locations in Mill St. Fall Sampler

This review features a beer from Mill St. Brewery in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Mill St. is located in Toronto’s beautiful distillery district, where they have two locations, Mill St. Beer Hall and Mill St. Brew Pub. The beer that I chose to review is one of the beers in the Mill St. Fall Sampler, Oktoberfest. This beer is true to the great traditional Bavarian lagers. The beer stays true to its roots by being brewed with German malt, hops and yeast

The beer came in a 355ml bottle that I purchased from the Brock Road LCBO, but it can also be found at the brewery. Like I previously stated, the beer was included in their fall sampler pack. Included in the sampler was 3 bottles of the Oktoberfest and 3 bottles of the Mill St. Nightmare on Mill St. Pumpkin Ale, which I will review next time. For my review, I poured the beer in a dimpled mug, but it can be also enjoyed in a shaker glass.DSC02723

When the beer is poured into the glass it has a copper tone. The beer was very clear with no settlement at all. The beer poured with little to no head. The aroma that I smelled from this beer was sweet, yet had notes of bread and yeast. At first, I noticed the sweet smell of honeyed malts and sugar with a hint of bread in the background. The smell was very light and not overpowering to the nose.

At first taste, the beer had a good balance of sweet and dry. I noticed sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar. The beer also had nice characteristics of bread and yeast. It is a very smooth beer that is medium bodied. When the beer was in my mouth, I noticed a high micro carbonation that slowly turned into a creamy harvest taste. The Mill St. Oktoberfest was very true in taste to the Bavarian beer you would find at the Oktoberfest in Germany.

My overall impression of this beer is that it is the perfect beer to drink to celebrate Oktoberfest without having to travel to Germany. This medium bodied lager is very smooth and easy drinking with a well balanced taste that you will enjoy to the very last drop. With the beer sitting at 5.6% it is very sessionable, so make sure you have some pretzels and bratwurst to go along with the beer.

I give this beer an overall score of 42/50. Be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself. Shoot me a message or follow me on Twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and let me know what you think.

Prost!

Review: Nightmare on Mill Street (Mill St. Brewery)

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Origin:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Pumpkin Ale

Alc./Vol.: 5%

Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass

Suggested Serving Temperature: 5-8° Celsius

Availability: Mill St. Brewery, Select LCBO Locations in Mill St. Fall Sampler

This review features another beer from Mill St. Brewery in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Mill St. is located in Toronto’s beautiful distillery district, where they have two locations, Mill St. Beer Hall and Mill St. Brew Pub. As many of you already know, it’s pumpkin beer season. There are some people out there that hate pumpkin beers and many wait all year for them. This is definitely a beer that is worth the wait. Nightnare on Mill Street was brewed using the brewmaster’s wife’s pumpkin pie recipe, so let’s just say based on the beer, I really want to try her pie.

The beer came in a 355ml bottle that I purchased from the Brock Road LCBO, but it can also be found at the brewery. This beer is available in the fall sampler from Mill St., along with Okoberfest. Being that this beer is a seasonal beer, if it is something you are interested in trying, don’t delay. The seasonal samplers don’t last long and usually sell out quickly. Having had this beer before, and many other pumpkin beers, I decided to use a tulip glass for my review as I feel it does the best job bringing out all the aromas and notes of the beer. DSC02752

Once the beer was poured in the glass you could see the beautiful dark copper colour. This beer poured with a thick white head, which slowly thinned, and left little to no lacing on the glass. Instantly I noticed all the smells of a great pumpkin pie. You get hit with sweet pumpkin, spices including cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and a touch of vanilla.  The aroma fills your nose as you bring the glass to your mouth.

At first taste, you will notice the bold pumpkin notes, which is the main character of the beer. Even though the pumpkin is the main feature, it does not overpower all the other flavours of the beer. As the sweet pumpkin starts to fade in your mouth, the spice of the beer has some time to shine. You will start to taste the nutmeg and cinnamon, which really bring this beer together. But the Nightmare on Mill Street isn’t finished there. As the beer settles in your mouth, it finishes with the perfect amount of vanilla which gives you a very creamy finish to the beer. 

My overall impression of this beer is that if you like pumpkin beers, then you will love this one. Since the beer is a medium body with little carbonation, you will have no problem having a few of these watching the leaves change or carving your halloween pumpkins. It is a very balanced pumpkin beer that is not overly sweet. Its pretty much the perfect pumpkin pie in a glass.

I give this beer an overall score of 44/50. Be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself. Shoot me a message or follow me on Twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and let me know what you think.

Cheers!

Beer: The Kidney Stone Killer

Kidney stones are intensely painful and overwhelmingly afflict men. A study in 2011 showed that drinking one beer per day reduced the risk of developing kidney stones by 40%, primarily because the high water content helps keep kidneys clean and in working order. Drinking beer can also temporarily expand the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder, which might help a stone exit less painfully. In Poland and the Czech Republic, there’s even a “medical beer” program. If you drink beer to treat urological condition, the government will refund the money you spend on beer.

Old Flame Brewing Co. coming to Port Perry

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Tuesday June 3rd I had the privilege of getting a sneak peek of Durham Region’s newest brewery., Old Flame Brewing Co. Old Flame is located in the Historical District of Port Perry, Ontario. Housed in a building that was built for the former Ontario Carriage Works in 1884 gives the building a vibrant history adding to the charm of the brewery. Prior to becoming the Old Flame, the building was used as an LCBO location.

As the renovation process started, and the interior drywall was removed, the true beauty of the building began to appear. The original post and beam structure, the century old brick and even burnt timber from a historical blaze appeared from behind the modern façade. The charm and history shines of this building shines through as you arrive. Jack Doak, the breweries founder, stuck with his visions and gave the old building a beautiful rustic look.

As soon as you walk in to the brewery, you are blown away by the decor and the appearance of the tasting room. Old Flame has done an amazing job in keeping their theme consistent as well as the branding all the way through. As you walk into the room you will see “A History Wall” with pictures, articles and stories about the old building and historic Port Perry. Like Jack said “This is all about creating an emotional attachment to a brand.” and truly Jack and his creative director have done an amazing job achieving their goal. I could go on and on about how beautiful the tasting room is, but I will let you go have a look and experience it for yourself. Old Flame Brewery has received approval to add a patio at the back of their building. This will allow its customers an opportunity to enjoy one of their signature beers outdoors just steps from the lake. People will be able to come and go into the brewery through either the front or back door.

The brewery offers a tasting room experience. You will be able to go up to the counter and get a flight of beer. The flight consists of 3-4oz servings of their signature beers. Being a tasting room the brewery will also offer its customers an assortment of local cheese along with some bread and crackers. Since the brewery closes at 9 pm, they encourage their customers to head to one of the many local restaurants for a bite to eat after the Brewery closes. These restaurants will of course have Old Flame on tap.

The brewery will have 3 signature beers. The way Jack puts it is “Everyone has an old flame.” So their 3 beers are called Blonde, a Red and a Brunette. The Blonde is more of a Hellas style lager. Which will be a very seasonal, Oktoberfest style beer. The Red will be a Vienna lager, and the Brunette will be a Munich dunkle style lager. The Brunette is already an award winner bringing home a Gold Metal from the Niagara College BrewingCompetition. I was lucky enough to try some of the first beer ever made at Old Flame, which was a Dirty Blonde. It was a very easy drinking patio beer that will certainly be a huge successfullocal beer this summer. Old Flame has 6 Taps in their tasting. 3 taps will be set aside for their signature beers, one tap will be for their “Brewers Discretion’ Series beer (which will be one-off beers of the brewmaster’s choice, and the other two will be for a couple of the breweries other brews. Their beers will be able to be purchased in t750ml mini growlers. Old Flame also has plans for expansion into cans for the LCBO in the near future. The bottles are the perfect size to pick up one of each and share with friends. There are no current plans for a 2L growler. The growlers are priced at $5.25 with a $1.25 deposit on the bottle.

Old Flames Brewmaster is Scott Pautler. Scott is a graduate of Niagara Collage Brewing program. Not only does Scott have a breweing degree, but also has a degree in accounting from Brock University. Scott started out as a home brewer like many brewmasters before moving on to work at several breweries including F&M Brewery, Lake of Bays, then helped to get Oast House setup. From there he went on to work at Mill St. Brewery and that’s when Jack stole him for Old Flame. Scott comes with of ton of experience in the brewing industry and a huge amount of passion for beer. Scott like any people in the craft beer industry have lofty goals “It’s my goal to make a brew that’s both delicious and consistent.” Scott provides extreme attention to detail so that ever beer is consistent, including the water which goes through a reverse-osmosis in order to keep each beer pure from the very start.

The brewery will be open to the public as of Tuesday June 10th. Be sure to head over to the brewery have a flight or two of their great beer. Then pick up some bottles and share with your friends.

Farmhouse Classic (Bellwoods Brewery)

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Origin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Alc./Vol.: 7.0%

IBU: N/A

Malts: Pilsner, Pale, Wheat, Flaked Wheat

Hops: Bravo, Styrian Goldings

Suggested Glassware: Oversized Wine Glass

Suggested Serving Temperature: 3-5° Celsius

Availability: LCBO, Bellwoods Brewery or at Bellwoods Bottle Shop

This week’s beer review features a beer from Bellwoods Brewery in Toronto, Ontario (124 Ossington Ave) called Farmhouse Classic. This brew is a Saison style beer that has been bottle conditioned. 

I had picked up this bottle (500ml) at Bellwoods Bottle Shop located in the brewery. The brewery is a great place not only for beer but also good. If you haven’t already been there you need to check it out. Also be sure to try the Duck Hearts, simply amazing. Farmhouse Classic is one of the first beers that Bellwoods has brewed, it is also a very popular beer at the brewery. 

When the beer is poured you instantly get a very fresh smell of citrus and lemongrass. The beer has somewhat of a champaign smell to it. I also noticed light notes of sour dough and spice in the aroma. This Sasion truly reminds me of Spring with all the fresh notes to it. The appearance of the beer is a straw yellow colour, that is a bit hazy in the glass. There is a great head on this beer that is a true white color. The head slowly thins out as you are enjoying this beer. DSC02452

At first taste, you get notes of sweet malt and citrus. You really start to taste the champaign characteristics of the beer. With each sip I started to notice different flavours in the beer. At points I started to taste lemongrass, as well as clove, and light peppery notes. The beer fills your mouth of a light bodied brew with somewhat if a grassiness to it  I really noticed the freshness of the beer. The bottle conditioning give the Farmhouse Classic a very unique taste that stays with you through the drinking experience. As you’re drinking the beer you will get a slightly bitter after tastethat really finishes the beer off well. 

My overall impression of this beer is that it is extremely well balanced. Even at 7% I could easily drink multiples of the Farmhouse Classic and still enjoy each one. It makes for very easy drinking brew to be enjoyed on a nice spring or summer day. It is a very crisp beer that is smooth till the very last drop. 

I give this beer an overall score of 46/50. Be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself. Shoot me a message or follow me on twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and tell me what you think.

Cheers!

Beer and your Body

The health benefits of the world’s second most drunk beverage

1. Strong Bones
Beer contains a rare nutrient, silicon, which strengthens bones. Drinking beer has even been found to decrease change of getting none diseases.

2. Strong Heart
The Nutrition Journal did a study on beer and found that beer reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems. Other studies have found similar heart benefits of beer.

3. Healthy Cells
Beer contains antioxidants which rebuild cells and contribute to long life.

4. Lower Chances of Cancer
Hops contain polyphenois, which lower bad cholesterol levels, kill viruses, and even fight cancer. Micro beers contain more hops than commercial canned beers, so these contribute greater health in these areas.

5. A Plethora of B Vitamins
Each beer contains many B vitamins, which are to, among other things:
-Ease Stress
-Reduce heart disease risk
-Aid memory
-Build and strengthen muscle

So go and enjoy great local craft beer and say cheers to your body!

Sources:

http://www.wholeliving.com/134086/benefits-b-vitamins

http://news.discovery.com/human/health/beer-healthy-bones.htm

http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/s0899-9007(13)00108-1/abstract

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442463947

http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-drink/6-surprisingly-healthy-beers

http://www.esquire.com/the-side/food-and-drink/healthiest-beer#slide-1

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/15/surprising-health-benifits-beer/

Review: Spring Bock (Amsterdam Brewery)

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Orgin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Beer Style: Dopplebock

Alc./Vol.: 7.3%

IBU: 30

Malts: Munich, Vienna, Pils, Melanoidin, Caramunich

Hops: Hallertau

Suggested Glassware: Stem Glass, Dimple Mug

Suggested Serving Temperature: 10° Celsius

Availability: Feb – May at The Amsterdam Retail Store and the LCBO and on tap at finer bars and restaurants.

This review features a beer from Amsterdam Brewery in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Amsterdam Brewery is located at 45 Esandar Drive Toronto, and also has a Brewhouse in Downtown Toronto. The beer that I chose to review is the Spring Bock. This “Bock” has been aged 6 weeks, which is 3 times longer than a regular lager. The longer aging is what gives a “Bock” it’s strongerbody and greater malt taste than a lager.

The beer came in a 500ml bottom that I bought from my local LCBO, but it can also be found at the brewery or downtown Brewhouse. It is an all-natural beer with no additives, no preservatives and is non-pasteurized. I
used a pint glass for this review, but Amsterdam recommends a dimpled mug or stem glass.

When the beer is poured into the glass it has a deep mahogany colour. You instantly get the smell of roasted malt and caramel. As the beer sits in the glass you start to smell light notes of fig or raisins with a hint of
citrus. This “Bock” has a very sweet smell to it despite it being a strong beer. There is little to no head on the beer, which as I was drinking also left no lacing on the glass. The clarity on the beer is very good, no hazing or clouding.DSC02462

At first taste, you get hit with full bold flavors of sweet bread with hints of dried fruit and caramel. You really notice the malt from the 6 weeks of extended aging. Despite its very bold malt flavors it balances out well with a light amount of citrus and sweet chocolate. At the proper drinking temperature you get this perfect creaminess that acts as a great compliment to the malt and bitters. This “Bock” has an amazing aftertaste that begins with the roasted malt but finishes with a lingering bitterness that sits on the palette. The light carbonation really helps to combine the two very different tastes.

My overall impression of this beer is that it is that is full of very bold yet, balanced notes that complement each other greatly. It was very clean and fresh to the very end of the beer, never tasting bitterer than it should. I feel that it would be a great beer for a cool spring day, sitting on the patio. In addition, with a little age, maybe a year, this beer could really take on character and have a whole different taste profile.

I give this beer an overall score of 41/50. Be sure to go and pick up a couple to try for yourself. Shoot me a message or follow me on Twitter (@_bottomlesspint) and let me know what you think.

Cheers!