Saturday, 8 November 2014

10 beery things I haven't blogged about in the past two months

And just like that, almost two months went by and I didn't post anything on this blog.

Here are ten beer-related things I probably should have blogged about in that time, and still might one day, but this is what you get for now because really people only read Buzzfeed nowadays anyway so might as well put 'em in a list, am I right?

10. I went to the Toronto Festival of Beer

Yes it is as douchey as you imagine it would be and yes I had a wicked fun time with good friends!

9. I went to San Francisco and back to Denver.

Flight at Breckinridge Brewery
Five days, two cities, many beers, much exploring, and my first NFL game. Must upload my "real camera" pics and do some posts on this.

8. Durham Craft Beer Fesival - Ciders & Seasonals happened!

YES! I missed Durham's first craft beer festival so I was so excited to go to this one. It was a perfect day and I will definitely post more about this soon (I realize it will no longer be timely but oh well).

7. I ate a bacon-wrapped alligator at Buster Rhino's paired with 5 Paddles Brewing Swamp Water.

It happened.

6. I toured Underdog's Brew House, a brand new brewery in Oshawa.

They don't sell beer on site yet, but you can find their brew on draught at a few local restaurants; learn more about Underdog's on their website.

5. My favourite weekend of the year, Beau's Oktoberfest, happened and it is still firmly ranked as my favourite weekend of the year.

Full blog post to come on this one for sure.

4. Paint Nite!

It's this thing where bars host an artist to talk you through painting a picture and there's beer. If you're local and interested in this, view upcoming Durham events right here!

3. I went to a wine and cheese fundraiser for Kiwanis and the guys of 5 Paddles made it 100x more awesome.

Spencer and Ian being beauties.

Right. Also, the guys are moving to a new, bigger brewery right now! Can't wait to check out the new space.

2. My lovely friend Kristina (remember when she guest blogged?) got engaged and had a beer-themed engagement party.

Soulmates or what? (I meant me and Kristina, but she and Jason are too;))

1. I'm obsessed with Sawdust City's spiced stout and it might be all I drink for the rest of the winter.

And as of TODAY, it's in the LCBO (I picked some up at the Oshawa Centre location this afternoon!)... you're welcome!

OK I promise to post more here!!! Bye for now.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Buster Rhino's / Durham Craft Beer festival wins Golden Tap Award

Last night, as part of Toronto Beer Week, the annual Golden Tap Awards were handed out, honouring the year's best craft beer achievements in Ontario.

You can read the full list of winners right here, but I'm super excited to share that Buster Rhino's & the Durham Craft Beer Festival (run by Darryl Koster) was honoured with an Editor's Circle award for significant achievements in the Ontario craft beer industry. The Editor's Circle awards are separate from the main voting and categories, and are determined by a selection committee made up of Bar Towel members and associates.

Darryl Koster (Buster Rhino's & Durham Craft Beer Festival) and Matt Chellew (Durham Craft Beer Festival)
Last year around this time I wrote about how much our local craft beer scene had grown in just one year. Since organizing his first tap takeover last spring, Darryl and his team have hosted dozens of Ontario craft beer-focused events, including our first Durham Craft Beer festival in downtown Oshawa (psst: the second one is this weekend!). And in this time, our local beer scene has exploded. Not only are there new breweries-in-planning being announced all the time (see the full list here), but the community is recognizing that good beer is better than cheap beer - and other local restaurants are following suit.

Cass Enright, organizer of the Golden Tap Awards, says that the Editor's Circle recognized this growth in the area thanks to Buster Rhino's and the Durham Craft Beer Festival:

"We gave Buster Rhino's an award as it is important to us to see craft beer thrive in every part of the province," said Enright via email. "When it succeeds in areas that aren't the downtown cores of the major cities, it demonstrates how craft beer is becoming an integral part of our culture all across Ontario. Buster Rhino's and Durham Craft Beer Fest are helping to bring craft beer to a market that hasn't seen much of it in the past, and we felt that's worthy of recognition."


And to think, two years ago it was tough to find a Steamwhistle around these parts. Thanks, Darryl, and congratulations!



PS Congrats also to my friend Eddy who is part of the crazy-talented design team at Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.. They won a Golden Tap award for best packaging design & label artwork.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Durham Craft Beer Festival: Ciders & Seasonals is Sept. 20

It's baaaaack...

The first-ever Durham Craft Beer festival was such a success that organizer Darryl Koster is hosting a fall session! The theme is Ciders (Amanda is thrilled!) and Seasonals. Tickets are available right here.

See you on Sept. 20 in the glowing heart of downtown Oshawa.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Colorado: Denver Beer Company

Throughout our ten days in Colorado, through trying lots of different beers, exploring the city of Denver and meeting friendly Denverites, I was told to go to Denver Beer Co. and try the "s'mores beer" -- aka Graham Cracker Porter, more times than I could remember to count.

Hops vines run over the patio.
We actually didn't make it out until the last day - it was the last place we went before catching our flight home on Sunday evening. But I'm so glad we did! This place had such a cool Sunday afternoonv ibe, with live jazz playing the corner, long picnic tables lining the patio, big sliding garage doors letting the breeze into the tasting room, and a big selection of board games to play. :)

And the Graham Cracker Porter... yes! It was everything it was built up to be! Just sweet enough and the perfect way to wrap up a great trip.


PS Click here to read all posts about our trip to Colorado.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Mirella Amato Beerology book signing at 5 Paddles Brewing this Thursday

Heads up, Durham beer fans:

Mirella Amato, Canada's first Master Cicerone, is coming to our neck of the 'burbs this Thursday, Aug. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., to talk beer and sign copies of her book, Beerology. Buying your ticket in advance will also get you a bottle of 5 Paddles Rum-Oak-Soaked Belgian Midnight Paddler (the event takes place at 5 Paddles Brewing Co.).

Pretty damn cool event for a place that was a craft beer wasteland a year and a half ago. Look how far we've come! Let's show Mirella what we're made of.

See you Thursday.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Colorado: White-water rafting through the Rockies

While vacationing in Denver, we went on a white-water rafting adventure through the Rockies. 

James and Cory are in the front, in the middle was a sweet vacationing father and daughter from Nashville, and I'm in the back.
We booked our tour through Geo Tours in Morrison, Colorado. Although you arrive at Geo Tours in Morrison, you then load into a van with your guides, and after a scenic 25-minute drive, they drop you on Clear Creek for your adventure.

According to our guide, Clear Creek is entirely fed by melting snow from the tops of the Rockies--no other water source. What I am saying is: THIS WATER IS COLD. It may have been a 90-degree day in Denver, but the below-40-degree water sure still takes your breath away when your body is submerged in it! 

You have the option to rent a wetsuit (we didn't), and you are provided with a splash jacket, helmet and lifejacket. If your noggin is too big for the regular helmets like Jamesey's was, you get a sweet old-school JOFA!:

The guide told James he rocked it better than Gretzky, to which I corrected him that Jagr was the player who rocked a Jofa. He was impressed with my hockey knowledge, so I told him I was Canadian. He said: "well that makes sense."

We loaded into the creek at the same time as many other tour groups, but we didn't bump into (or even really see) any others once we got going.

We had driven through the mountains the day before, so winding around the bases of them was a really cool perspective. 

While some of the trip was easy floating down the river, once we hit the rapids, things got much more intense (and cold, and hilarious).

Basically you are mostly underwater as you paddle through the rapids. We hit one so hard that it launched our tour guide (on the back, steering and guiding us on how to paddle) face down into the middle of our boat (mostly on top of me, haha). Good laughs save for my broken sunglasses!

We got quite soaked and more than a few mouthfuls of water. Pure, rocky-mountain-fresh Coors Light ;)

Speaking of our tour guide, he was awesome. Through our hour-long tour, he talked geography, explained the geology, pointed out mountains and landmarks, and made cheesy (but in a fun way!) jokes. After the tour, in chatting with him and some of the other guides on the bus ride home, I discovered that not one of them was from Colorado--they all were drawn there, to work in the beautiful mountains. Actually, many people I met throughout the week were not from Denver, but "came for the mountains." I imagine it is similar to how folks move to California for the beaches/surfing, or Montreal for the smoked meat (kidding, kind of).

We chose the "beginner" tour level because we weren't really sure what to expect. If I did it again, or was recommending it to a friend, I would go up to the intermediate level. Although the rapids were fun and thrilling, with the intermediate level, the tour is a little longer and the rapids are a little more challenging. Our tour guide noted because we were all athletic and adventurous, we could have gone straight to the intermediate.

James in his "special" helmet



P.S. Click here to read all posts from my trip to Colorado.
P.P.S I obviously didn't take most of these pictures. The tour company offered a CD for purchase, as they had a photographer follow your raft and stand on bridges to take pictures. I have full rights to use these photos with my purchase, which I am so glad I made.


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