Between work and Taste T.O. and other life stuff, this poor blog of mine has been sorely neglected the past couple of months, and I’m feeling a little guilty about it. I actually considered just shutting it down completely, but I still like the idea of having a place to stick up my writing – beer-related or otherwise – that doesn’t quite fit at Taste T.O. or Gremolata, so it’s safe for now.
My lack of time, however, means that it may still look a little sparse, at least for the foreseeable future. So in order to make it seem not quite so dead, I’ve decided to start cross-posting my articles from Taste T.O. and Gremolata – or rather, portions of those articles, with a link to the source so you can click through and read the whole thing if you’re interested.
As an introduction to this, are segments from my last couple of Beer Of The Week posts at Taste T.O., as well as links to all previous ones. Watch for future instalments to be previews & linked here each Tuesday:
Back in 1987, just as Canada’s modern craft brewing scene was kicking off, a small brewery called Creemore Springs opened in their namesake town of Creemore, Ontario. Unlike most of the other microbreweries launching around the same time, they decided to concentrate their efforts on a single brand, Creemore Springs Premium Lager.
This flavourful lager with a rich amber colour has been praised by beer drinkers and writers from around the world, and is often listed with Brooklyn Lager and Samuel Adams Boston Lager as being a landmark lager in the North American craft brewing scene.
It took ten years from the brewery to add a second beer to their line-up, the dark and malty Creemore Springs urBock which is available during the fall and winter months. Another ten years on, and they’ve decided to mark the end of their second decade with a second seasonal brew, Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner (LCBO 53686, $2.55/473 mL), which will be available from May through October.
It probably goes without saying that I’m not a discount beer drinker. It’s not that I have a problem with the idea of saving money, but as someone who drinks beer in order to enjoy the aroma and flavour rather than to serve as an alcohol delivery mechanism (well – most of the time, anyway), I’ve found the few “buck-a-beers” that I’ve tried have generally failed to satisfy me.
However, while flipping through the latest President’s Choice Insider’s Report this past weekend, I came across a blurb for a new addition to the PC discount beer line-up: PC Blanche. Considering that every other beer in the PC portfolio is a knock-off of some macro-brewed lager or other, from Genuine Lager to Dry to Honey, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the idea of them tackling the decidedly non-mainstream Belgian witbier style.
As noted in this column a month or so ago, I’m quite a fan of Hockley Dark, an authentic UK-style brown ale brewed by Orangeville’s Hockley Valley Brewing. So when I caught wind earlier this year that they were planning a dry stout to be released for St. Patrick’s Day via the LCBO, I was obviously very interested to try the results.
Well, they missed the St. Patrick’s Day target by a month or so, but Hockley Stout (LCBO 615625) finally started appearing on shelves a couple of weeks ago as part of the LCBO’s spring beer promotion. And having now tried all six of the beers in the rather meagre little release, I’m happy to declare this stout to be the best of the bunch.
In fact, I might go so far as to say that this is a quintessential example of a dry stout. Although the style is pretty rare around here, so aside from Guinness, there’s no real point of comparison.
Earlier “Beer of the Week” Reviews
Great Lakes Orange Peel Ale
Atlantic au Pineau
Duchy Originals Organic Ale
Wellington Arkell Best Bitter
Fuller’s Cask-Conditioned ESB
Gayant La Goudale
Trafalgar Celtic Pure Irish Ale
Fuller’s London Pride
C’est What Mild Brown Ale
Heritage Passion Brew
Steam Whistle Pilsner