What I Learned Making a New Cookie a Week for a Year

That I will never, ever do it again.  Ever!

When I first started out with the concept of a year of cookies the first thing on my mind was guaranteed new content.  It was that incentive to make sure something fresh went up on the blog weekly without me feeling the pressure of being behind on my writing.  I also don’t really like cookies so I knew they wouldn’t all go to my waistline.  Because each recipe made several dozen I had one house critic and 30 plus on the street critics waiting to give me their opinions.  You have to love your co workers for that.

So what did I learn over this past year.

1. I’m overly critical of myself.

It’s funny how I think something is horrible only to be told the exact opposite. That being said…

2. Peoples taste preferences are all over the place.

Usually I baked 4-6 different kinds at a time and took them into my day job for a wide range of co workers got to enjoy.  It was guaranteed that each flavor would be LOVED by at least one person trying them.

3. Butter sales and Bulk Barn are my best friends.

Same goes with sugar, flour, and parchment paper.

4. I never measure my vanilla.

Does anyone?

5. Learn how you oven cooks.

Don’t be afraid to sacrifice one burnt dozen to get 5 gorgeous ones.  I also only baked one tray at a time.  Some days were really long.

6. Storage details important or not?

Who really has HOMEMADE cookies last more than a week. Sealed container, that’s it!

8. I don’t know what I would have done without my stand mixer.

Actually I do. Not make 52 different kinds of cookies, that’s for sure.

9. I still don’t like cookies.

There it is I said.

Click the photo of each cookie to get the recipe. I hope you find one you enjoy.

 

 

Watermelon Salad with Feta

It’s a hot, blistering kind of day and don’t want to cook up anything? This cool and refreshing salad is perfect!

Yields 8

Watermelon Salad with Feta
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 large watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl and let rest in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Recipe Type: Soups, Salads and Sandwiches
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Pairing Beer and Chips with Mackie’s Scottish Crisps

As any food and drink writer currently studying to be a beer sommelier (is there others doing this?) when you are approached by brands you take a look at how trying one thing can help with another. When an email dropped in my inbox with the opportunity to work with Mackie’s Scottish Crisps I knew I wanted to do something different all the while not adding any extra work into my already crazy life. Mackie’s comes in a bunch of wild and crazy flavours so why not find out which beer would taste best when you want to get your snack on? An adult beverage for an adult chip.

Deciding on the beers was pretty simple. I stayed away from the heavier beers like brown ales and stouts because who can really see themselves eating chips with those? Dessert more like it! Here are the 5 styles I experimented with.

Kolsch – This German style is a light, crisp beer with a low hop presence and some vinous characteristics. As a malt forward beer with a balance of sweetness and bitterness it works really well with  balanced flavoured chip like the sea salt and beef. When there are not as many flavours in play it compliments well.

Wheat Beer – These beers pair well with most food and have a full, grainy mouth feel. This beer style is great with salty snacks and its grain like flavour compliments the potato starch perfectly. (Note: All the chips paired wonderfully with the wheat beer)

Cream Ale– Similar to a lager, cream ales also contain a grain-like taste but with a crisp, refreshing finish. Also malt and hop balanced, this beer is a great choice for uncomplicated chip flavours.

Amber Ale– A malt forward beer with hints of caramel and toffee. It has very little bitterness. Being a little on the sweet side this beer is perfect for chips that you want a contrast in flavours. Mature cheddar versus dark sugar flavours.

IPA– The most bitter of the beers, IPA’s have a distinct resinous flavour and citrus notes. This beer is perfect for fatty foods as well as cutting through the heat on spicier chips.

I had group of foodies with varied beer consumption habits gather together on a warm summer day by a pool to make our chip tasting fun and delicious. Starting with the mildest flavour of chip and continuing through all the bags we sipped and chipped and judged our way to some very solid winners.

Mackie’s chips are made in such a way that it’s the flavour of the chip you are tasting the not the oil.  They are thick cut, crispy and hold up amazingly well with the beer.  And now on to the winners.

Chip Flavour: Sea Salt

Best Beer Pairing: Tie between Kolsch and Cream Ale

Chip Flavour: Sea Salt and Vinegar

Best Beer Pairing: Cream Ale

Chip Flavour: Crispy Bacon

Best Beer Pairing: Amber

Chip Flavour: Tangy Tomato

Best Beer Pairing: Kolsch

Chip Flavour: Mature Cheddar and Onion

Best Beer Pairing: Amber

Chip Flavour: Honey Mustard

Best Beer Pairing: IPA

Chip Flavour: Aberdeen Angus Beef

Best Beer Pairing: Kolsch

Chip Flavour: Haggis and Black Pepper

Best Beer Pairing: Kolsch

Chip Flavour: Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper

Best Beer Pairing: IPA

Keep in mind these decisions were based on our taste buds and may not work for everyone else. It was certainly a fun experiment.  Want to try some pairings yourself?  Lucky for us Mackie’s is available in Canada at these fine retailers: Farmland, select Foodlands, Bruno’s, Bloor Street Market, McEwan, Farm Boy, Nature’s Emporium, Denningers, and Organic Garage.

*this post was sponsored by Mackie’s Chips.  All opinions, however are my own.

 

The Top 5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of The Toronto Winter Brewfest

(photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

Beer festival season has officially begun and to kick it all off the Toronto Winter Brewfest has returned for it’s second straight year. After listening to their guests from last year about what could be improved it is guaranteed to better than ever.  For two days ( March 24-25, Enercare Centre, Toronto) you can join the masses of Toronto beer lovers, nibble on delectable eats, groove to the funky beats of local DJ’s and of course sample over 150 different beers from around our great country all while staying warm and dry. And for the first time they will be introducing a cashless system using a RFID wristband that will get you through the lines and the beer into your mouth faster.

There isn’t much I need to say to convince any beer lover to attend so instead here are my top five ways for you to get the most out of your day.

(photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

  1. Get There Early. 

    As the saying goes the early bird gets the worm.  In this case the early beer drinker gets the shortest lines and full kegs.  Don’t be that person who shows up three hours in and complains they can’t that special rare pour from their favorite brewer. Be the person who has tried it three times cause they came early.

    (photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

  2. Ease In.

    I know with all that variety it’s like being a kid in a candy store but don’t go running around gobbling up the Belgian quads and Imperial Stouts. Start light and work up. Don’t be that person who taps out an hour in.

    (photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

  3. Try Something New.

    I understand we all have our styles and breweries of choice. The ones we know won’t disappoint. But with over 150 different beers available right there in front of you step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Ask the brewery to recommend something. I like to say “surprise me” as I hand over my glass. Don’t be that person that spends all their money in one place.

    (photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

  4. Talk To People.

    It’s a long day pulling glass after glass, trying to keep up with the lines.  Make a point to say something to the person that is pouring your sample. Keep it quick and simple so you don’t hold up any lines. Or if a representative of the brewery is there ask them a question or compliment their work. They are the best resource to finding other beers you will enjoy and quite frankly deserve the extra love from the community for all their hard work.  Also talk to people around you. We are all there for the same reason. Beer. Don’t be the wallflower.

    (photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

  5. Remember We Are Not Saving The World Here.

    It’s a beer festival people. Get off your high horse. Leave your snobby beer terminology at home (trust me this will be a tough one for me). Just enjoy yourself. We are drinking beer. We are not curing diseases. HAVE FUN!!! Don’t be the person with less social media followers than when they arrived.

Tickets are still available so make sure you get yours today and say hi if you see me!

(photo courtesy of Ottawa Brewfest)

Around the World in 12 Plates: Brazil

Fun facts:

It takes about 21 hours to fly from China to Brazil. 

It takes 5 minutes to drive from my house to the grocery.

These Around the World challenges sure are efficient aren’t they?

This month our country is Brazil. (Check out last month’s feature on China). Home of gorgeous bodies and raucous carnivals. And the food. Glorious, scrumptious dishes influenced by Africa and Europe. Like most countries flavours and dishes vary heavily based on where in the location they are created. Coastal region favour fish dishes while in land hearty, more earthier foods are preferred. 

It was a bit like Christmas day waiting for the reveal for February’s cuisine of choice.Knowing I would be spending half of the month in my own southern destination I had to keep it simple and easy. And since my life is beginning to get foam heavy with several beer related projects on the go with a fridge stocked tight with bottles and cans from Toronto’s own craft beer scene I picked well with this Feijoada in my quest to cook more with beer.

 

 

Feijoada is a wonderful winter stew full of meat and beans and served with a fresh citrus burst of orange slices. Considered the national dish of Brazil the meats and types of beans used change based on region but the oranges always stay. Served over rice it’s a “keep you warm on a cold night” kind of dish.  This Smoked Porter from Bandit Brewery was a perfect addition. It’s roastiness cut the spice of the chorizo while elevating the body of the dish. 

Feijoada
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 4 slices bacon, cubed
  • 1.8kg pork shoulder, cubed
  • 2 links spicy chorizo, remove casings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Rice and orange slices for serving
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dark beer, porter, ale
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak overnight.
  2. In a large pot over medium high heat add the bacon.Cook until it begins to brown.
  3. Add the pork and chorizo and sauteed until browned. Remove meat to a bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil. Sauteed the onions and garlic and cook until just getting translucent. Pour in the beer to deglaze the pan and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot.
  5. Return the meat to the pan along with the water, beans and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer, uncovered for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  7. Serve over rice and topped with orange slices

Notes

You want to soak the beans overnight so plan ahead when making this dish. You can replace the beer with beef broth and if you don't like the spice use a milder chorizo. Kidney beans also work well. And don't forget the orange slices!

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Check out below what the rest of my travel companions have up their sleeves.  If they are enjoying themselves like I am it’s going to be a hell of a year.

Pray Tell

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Walking in the door of Pray Tell at College and Ossington I think I’m in a wine bar.  Dimmed lighting, 80’s modern decor and an abundance of greenery defy the snack bar concept I’m about to explore.

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The idea of a restaurant where you can have a few drinks and some nibbles instead of a full-fledged meal is not embraced nearly enough in the city. After the success of sister restaurant Track and Field owners Nickie Minshall and Dustin Keating decided they wanted something more food related and brought in Chef Sonia Mondino (Note Bene, Patois, Home of the Brave, Porchetta and Co.)

Travelling across Asia at the time Mondino had yet to star in a kitchen as head chef and knew this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.  Passionate not only about the food, Mondino cares just as much about her staff who she considers family. Her travels play a huge role in her seasonally changing menu.

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Crispy Dumplings are served with an au jus (from the braised short ribs) and they are exactly how you want your dumplings to taste. The crispy addition of the potato starch is both addictive and mind-blowing.

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Roasted Garlic in a Clementine oil, with honey and olives requires multiple requests for more sourdough bread as you want to devour every last drop.

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Mondino’s signature dish is by far the perfection that is her pizza pockets.  This college student staple has been updated using lemon herb oil alongside meat Bolognese and lot’s of melty cheese. A vegetarian option is also available.

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While at first glance it appeared wine bar-esque, Pray Tell is actually a brilliant spot to get a killer cocktail or pint of beer. Bar manager Max Brunke has created a perfect accompaniment to Mondino’s ever changing, outstanding menu. Soups, heartier mains and more are slowly finding their place.

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Pray Tell is one of those places that draws you in time and again.  A spot for a first date, late night snack, after work tipple or even a moment of peace on your own the warmth Mondino exudes to everyone through her hospitality and food makes everyone feel at home.

Pray Tell

838 College Street

Around the World in 12 Plates: China

Chinese Feast

Anyone who followed along when I made a new cookie every week for a year knows I love projects and themes. Partly because because it satisfies my mild OCD and also because it makes me cook more at home.  Despite having a food blog I struggle every week to cook at least 5 nights out of 7. My husband is an extremely picky eater and atrocious cook and the same dishes get rotated day after day.  And it’s boring. Really f$%@ing boring.  Which is why I’m more of a restaurant profiler than home cook nowadays. And as tempting as it is to order in or go out instead of cook it’s expensive and unhealthy. 

When I stumbled across Gabby Peyton’s blog post about her Around the World in 12 Plates adventure (read more about it here) I couldn’t have been at a more dejected place in my home cooking.  Could a challenge like this help me get back into the kitchen more and feel better about my talents? Whether I accomplish either of those things to the smallest degree I know I’m a step further than I was before. 

China is a perfect start. Or so I thought. At first glance you think you know all about Chinese cuisine.  Sadly what we really attribute to their culture has been westernized out the wazoo. What is assumed to be one style of cooking is actually broken down into eight modern cuisines based on where in the country you happen to be. Those are further broken down by towns and counties with unique ingredients and flavours that highlight both the dishes background and geography. It’s almost overwhelming when you think of the possibilities. 

Erase all ideas you have about what is “authentic” Chinese food.  A quick google search will educate you that you are in fact thinking about American-style.  Traditional dishes are not full of sweet, sticky sauces or oily, deep fried battered things. It’s fresh vegetables, quick cooking techniques and family style plates. It’s vibrant flavours and biting spice. 

Scallion Pancakes

Rumoured to be a favorite dish of Marco Polo and a possible inspiration for pizza (a loose rumour to be noted), scallion pancakes are a unleavened fried dough consisting of five simple ingredients; flour, water, salt, oil and scallions.  What can set this flatbread apart from others is your choice of dipping sauce. I used this foolproof recipe from The Kitchn and a simple mixture of teriyaki, soy sauce, honey and rice vinegar to create a sweet and sour dipping sauce. These savoury pancakes are perfect for sopping up sauces from main dishes and are extremely addictive.

General Tso Chicken

In my research to find some dishes to try I was surprised to see one dish, General Tso Chicken as being loosely authentically Chinese.  While North America has adopted it and adapted to our more basic tastebuds it is still a very simple dish to pull together at home. It has long been argued how this recipe came to be; whether it was named for a Hunan General or by a chef in one of the many municipalities in the country. Either way it is a wonderfully spicy dish using ingredients that are easy to find and may already be in your cupboard. I used the recipe from The Kitchn and substituted chicken instead of tofu and by not deep frying the chicken and bumping up the vegetables you have a flavourful and healthy dish.

I am not the only one who was drawn to this intriguing challenge.  Not knowing the next country until it is announced  at the beginning of each month obviously sparked the adventurous side of some other great bloggers as well.  Check out their links below and see what they discovered on their voyage through China.  And I look forward to you guys following along each month as I discover my inner culinary traveller.

Dish ’n’ the Kitchen: https://dishnthekitchen.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/chinese-red-cooked-beef-around-the-world-in-twelve-plates/ 

My Organic Diaryhttp://my-organic-diary.com/2017/01/crispy-tofu-rice-bowl/

All Things Nice! https://lifeisaboutallthingsnice.blogspot.ca/2017/01/asian-stir-fry-quinoa.html 

SugarLovesSpiceshttp://www.sugarlovespices.com/eggplant-asian-salad/ 

Korena in the Kitchen: http://korenainthekitchen.com/?p=9409 

The Food Girl in Town: http://thefoodgirlintown.com/2017/01/30/around-the-world-in-12-plates-china/  

Top 5 Soups for The Winter

Whether your climate is dry and cool, wet and damp or cold and snowy the winter months just screams cozy, steamy soups. Creamy, spicy or hearty no one soup is the same.  Here are my top 5 recipes to keep you fed and warm these next few months.

Creamy Potato Soup

This soup is perfect for kids who like to top ANYTHING with cheese and bacon.

Creamy Potato Soup (3 of 3)

Mushroom Wonton Soup

This meat free recipe provides you with lots of extra dumplings. Meaning soup for weeks!

Mushroom Wonton Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs in soup is brilliant! With a light broth and small little slivers of pasta you will want to make a big post of this soup.

Italian Wedding Soup

Mushroom Coconut Soup with Leeks and Paneer

While not technically a soup there is nothing to say you can’t eat this curry like one. Usually when I eat soup my nose starts to run. This is a whole box needed type of dish.

Mushroom Coconut Curry with Leeks and Paneer (3 of 5)

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

The addition of cream at the end of this recipes is what makes this velvety soup shine.

Squash Soup (1 of 2)

2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 24

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Wow! It’s really done. Twenty four days of some of my favorite beers.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.  Is there any I missed that you think should have been on the calendar or would be in your own? Comment below I’d love to hear your choices.

I leave you with the best beer for Christmas Eve. A smooth, creamy vanilla porter from Mill Street.

Merry Christmas everyone and a happy New Year. 

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 23

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The holiday season is all about food and drink.  Good food and drink. Gluttonous food and drink.  While family obligation usually make me a slave to other people’s dishes I still like to stock up on a few recipes of my own to give me a break from leftovers.  I’m just beginning to explore the world of cooking with beer and wow are there endless possibilities. Stay tuned in the New Year as new and delicious beer based recipes hit the blog. 

In the meantime let me introduce you to one of my favorite beers to cook with. This nut brown ale from Black Oak has totally changed my recipe game. I’ve used it in meat pies, desserts, as a gravy base. It’s only 5 percent and it’s deep roasted coffee and chocolate notes highlight any dish it is in.

Cheers to 24 days of craft beer!
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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar- Day 22

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Only a couple more days until Christmas and right now all I want is to be somewhere warm, like a beach in Mexico.  I wish I was back at Spring Sessions from a few years back where the day was cool but the sun so bright and warm that my friend and I didn’t even realize we were getting burnt to a crisp in April. Ahhh the warmth I remember from that day.

A beach would be the perfect place to sip this pilsner from Double Trouble. Prison Break is light and crisp and refreshing. And only 5 percent ABV.

Cheers to 24 days of craft beer.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 21

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You may have noticed that most of my beer choices are local to my area of Ontario or at least available at The Beer Store or LCBO.  I did that on purpose to make it easier for anyone wanting to try any of my choices.  In everyday beer life I like to try beer from everywhere.  That’s why it’s great to have friends all over the place that equally enjoy beer. I usually pack up a sampler of local beers to give and they return the favour.  The beer community is tight!

This Earl Grey Porter from Royal City is one such gift.  I love all things this Kitchener-Waterloo Brewery is doing. This porter is smooth with a light scent and flavour of bergamot. At 5 percent this beer a wonderful winter sip.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 20

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2016 brought an amazing new advancement for craft beer and really all beer drinkers. Beer in the grocery store. I know there is a lot of debate on the subject from both sides but quite honestly for incredibly selfish reason I love it.  I’m a very busy person and if I can pick up my beer at the same location as I can pick up the rest of my groceries I ‘ve just scored  a huge win in my find more time to do more stuff strategy.  Now I have to just try this LCBO delivery service.

It’s beer like Lake of Bay’s Spark House that I grab from my grocery shelf. This roasted and nutty flavour red ale is a beautiful copper hue. A really perfect holiday drinker. 5 percent ABV and 29 IBU’s. 

Cheers to 24 days of craft beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 19

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I am a late bloomer when it comes to beer.  I was a wine and hard liquor drinker until I realized my body just wasn’t reacting well to it. Wine gave me headaches, and the hard stuff hit me way to0 hard and I usually would get very hungover.  I was getting older and past the drinking to get buzzed part of my life.  But I still wanted something to enjoy in a social aspect; something that was a reasonable sipper with great flavour. My previous experience with beer was not with anything of great quality (remember my England story) so when I went to a food and drink event one year and tried Nickel Brooks Green Apple Beer I realized that not all beer tasted the same. Yes it was a weird entry into the massive flavour profile of beer but it gave me hope and bravery to keep experimenting. 

Fast forward many years later and I am a proud craft beer drinker.  Don’t let one beer set you off the whole group. I have a friend who says it all tastes like burn but in the past year have shown her some that she has surprisingly enjoy. 

So thank you Nickel Brook for your help in my beer loving discovery. Thank you for great beers like this Naughty Neighbour APA. With only 4.9 percent ABV and a moderate 38 IBU’s it falls perfectly into my beer loving criteria.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 18

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Funny and slightly TMI story for you folks.  Every year I participate in the Toronto International Film Festival. I go to three different movies, each with a red carpet and star Q&A.  It’s usually with one particular friend of mine however last year scheduling issues required me to bring along my beer friend instead. We hit up a downtown pub, put back some frothy beverages, lamented my previous day bee sting and subsequent infection before heading to see the movie.  It was not going to be a happy movie, child soldiers in Africa never are but the main actor Idris Elba was going to be there. Yes Luther, DJ extraordinaire, further James Bond (we hope). The movie was outstanding, sad of course but when the man himself came out in his tight black jeans and massive bulge we were gobsmacked. And glad we fortified with beer beforehand.

The beer? It was this easy going Barking Squirrel Lager from Hop City. An amber lager it has a IBU of 24 and 5 percent ABV.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 17

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All or Nothing Brewery is starting small. By crafting one beer and one only they are perfecting one thing at a time.  My beer friend and I like to get to beer festivals just as they open.  One off’s haven’t sold out, no lines and generally a great experience with lesser crowds.  One such festival we were also fortunate to find a comfy bench positioned right in front of All or Nothing.  For the first hour our tokens basically went to these guys. Not complaining though as their hopfenweisse is both refreshing and delicious.

4.1 percent ABV and 25 IBU’s we did pretty good staying in one spot that day.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 16

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The community that is small craft brewers is a tight group. While it may exist competitiveness is light and fun.  As a writer and drinker of all things beer I have had to reach out and communicate with many breweries and each and every time they have been gracious and quick to respond to any of my requests. They are so enthusiastic about their product and at every event they are the perfect people to engage with if you want to learn more about processes and beers.

Some of my favorite exchanges have been with the people over at Creemore Springs. They are doing great things over there and it’s my pleasure to include them in my calendar.  This Lot 9 is light and lovely czech-style pilsner. 4.7 percent ABV and 20 IBUs.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 15

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When I initially started thinking about creating this advent calendar I was a bit concerned I wouldn’t be able to find 24 beers to profile.  You forget over 365 days how many different beers you have tried. Standing in front of my fridge or at the LCBO I suddenly wished it could be 35 days long. Man I had some tough decisions to make. Beers needed to be cut. That’s where my beer bestie came in.  This friend has been my festival goers, photo shoot drinker, beer bar partner for a long time now.  We have very different tastes when it comes to our favorites but one thing is for sure she is just as enthusiastic to try anything as I am.  We have had many adventures together and there will be many, many more.

So this Detour from Muskoka Brewery is for her. She made the decision to keep it in the running and for that I dedicate this beer to her. 4.3 percent and 30 IBU’s with big hoppy flavours.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 14

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You can clearly see the dents in this can.  When I was taking all the photo’s I briefly thought about going a buying a newer and prettier sample for the advent. But you knw what? These are beers in my cooler, fridge or holding box (until it gets to fridge or cooler). They are dented cause I knock them around.  It’s not a model it’s a beer I plan on drinking. Today in fact. Dents and all.

Nickel Brook Brewery has come a long way and this blonde Cause and Effect is a great drinking beer. ABV of 4.7 percent and 19 IBU’s.

Cheers to 24 days of beers!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 13

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Saison’s are my favorite style of beer to try.  While wheats are my go to brew this style is one that brewers can have the most fun with experimentally.  More carbonated, fruity, herbal, spicy tastes, saisons are fun.  However with this much room for variety they all can’t be perfect.

I drink every beer I order.  Some are stellar; other’s not so much. There has only been two instances where I didn’t finish a beer and one saison that I drank but it was a cringe worthy event from start to finish.  My table mate was dying at all the faces I was making at each sip.  They actually became natural; myself not realizing I was doing it after half a glass. The things we do for beer.

This saison from Collingwood Brewery is amazing right to the last drop. Sweet and tart it’s a beautiful pour with a mild 20 IBU but leg wobbling 7.0 percent ABV.

Cheers to 24 days of beer! 

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 12

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The above photo is a bit deceiving.  Don’t get me wrong I  love me some Dead Elephant from Railway City.  It’s a fruity and hoppy pour with a ABV of 6.5 and IBU of 46. Such a strong and robust IPA to drink. What I really wanted to showcase however is their Double Dead Elephant. It’s a double smoked IPA with a kickass 7.5 ABV and 90 IBU’s. These style of beer is the least of my favorite but this beer in particular blows my mind. (I partially blame the ABV). Unfortunately it has a small brewing window and is only available late fall. And as you can tell by my lack of photo I missed it again!

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 11

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I’ve talked previously about the how much fun craft brewers have with names but let’s talk briefly about can design. Gone are the days of labels with the brewery’s name and beer moniker.  Graphic designers and artists alike are having a hell of a time creating eye catching and creative wrappings. There was even an art exhibit this fall featuring some of the best out there.

Double Trouble’s Hops and Robbers is a trifecta; cute name, stunning design and killer beer.  This IPA is strong on the caramel and malt taste spectrum and hits at 5.7 percent ABV and 50 IBU’s.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 10

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To follow up on my awful choices on my England trip I’ll show you an example of how I’ve improved on my decision making skills.

Our neighbourhood local is a 5 minute walk from our house. Perfect right? It also happens to be an Irish pub. Even better. It also has a decent selection of craft beer. And while yes I again am ignoring all those wonderful ales and draughts at least I’m drinking stuff like this Pompous Ass English Ale from Great Lakes Brewery.

A favorite craft ale of mine it has 28 IBU’s and 4.2 percent ABV.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 9

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There are a lot of beer festivals all over the city and surrounding areas.  I attend about 85 percent of them.  They are the best way to try so many different beers and find new breweries in one central location.  Maybe you think you don’t like IPAs but want to be completely sure. 1 or 2 bucks later you may find they aren’t all bad. Of all the events I highly recommend The Toronto Festival of Beer Spring Session. (summer session is too fratboy for me) It’s a really chill atmosphere, all craft brewers shaking off the winter blues and showing off some great seasonals. It’s perfect for your everyday beer drinker.

For the more hard core drinker I encourage you to check out Cask Days.  A totally beer-intense experience it’s not for the faint of heart.  A couple of years ago I had a cask version of the ever popular Beau’s Tom Green Milk Stout.  I’m not a coffee drinker therefore I have a hard time finding a stout I enjoy.  This creamy, velvety, chocolatey stout is by far my favorite of this style. A mild 27 IBU’s and 5.0 percent ABV.

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

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