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 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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Niagara Craft Beer Fest

Remember that apple galette I made that had my house smelling of booze?  And the beer fest I mentioned happening in Niagara?  Well that happened over this past weekend and for a summer full of beer events similar to this I have to say this was my favorite.

For one thing this event happened to focus solely on the craft brewers.  No big name beer companies turning it into a giant beer pong and hula skirt frat party.  Therefore it was a lot less messy.  People were a bit more civilized and the atmosphere much more inclusive.

The drinks were top rate, the food killer and bands rocked out.   What a better way to cap off a busy, festive summer.

Check out my photos below and make sure you keep The Niagara Craft Beer Festival on your list of events for 2015!

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Flying Monkeys

 

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Mill Street

 

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Turtle Island

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Say Yes

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The Trews

Mini Apple Galette’s with Brown Sugar Cider Sauce + The Niagara Craft Beer Festival

Right now at this very moment my house smells like booze. If the step kids were here, probably not a good idea but since I’m all alone with the house to myself things just got real.

It also smells like apples and cinnamon and pie crust but really what’s most important here?  And why, you ask, does my house smell this way.  Because of these.

Apple Galettes

Kicked up, boozy adults-only apple galettes.  Now you get it!

I’ve been wanting for a while to create something using the currently popular alcoholic ciders on the market and after talking with the owner of the Brickworks Ciderhouse and trying his refreshing product back in the Spring at an event I knew this was the drink for me. There are a lot of brands of cider on the market and it may be hard to choose which one to purchase but trust me when I say you can’t go wrong here.  Small batch, hand crafted cider from a company hoping to repurpose the old orchard around the Evergreen Brickworks for their own apple source.  But until then apples used in each of their batches never travel more than 300 kilometers meaning local and sustainable.

Apple Galettes

Craft is a word you hear loosely thrown around beer drinkers and you may be completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of brewers out there. It is a term generally used to describe beers made by a small, independant brewers using traditional means to create great tasting beer.  Simple.  And the best way to navigate through all the varieties?  Attend a beer event like The Niagara Craft Beer Festival being held at Montebello Park in St. Catherines August 22-24. With more than 20 vendors on site you can taste to your hearts content and I can 100% guarantee you will find at least one new beer you will absolutely love.  I’ve been to many beer events like this one and thanks to cheap and small sample sizes I have stocked my fridge with an abundant variety to drink over the summer.

Another great thing about Craft Beer Festivals is it usually brings out some stellar food vendors that offer up eats that always pair well with a cold one.  And to top everything else you can enjoy live music from artists like The Trews and USS while enjoying all this great food and drink.

This is how recipes like this happen.  By attending beer festivals and sampling new and sometimes eccentric flavors my taste buds begin conversations with the recipe developer in me and before you know it my house smells like booze.

And one last thing.  My rule when cooking with alcohol: always serve it with the dish for maximum taste.  If it’s good enough to go in the dish, it’s good enough to serve along side it.

Yields 6

Mini Apple Galette's with Brown Sugar Cider Sauce + The Niagara Craft Beer Festival

Frozen pastry shells can be substituted if you are not comfortable with making you own dough.

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Ingredients

  • For the Galettes
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced ( I used Granny Smiths)
  • 1/4 cup Brickworks Cider
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • For the Cider Sauce
  • 2 cups Brickworks Cider
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the Galettes
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until flour resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Adding a tablespoonful at time stir in the water until the dough begin to come together and form a rough ball of dough. Store in fridge until ready to use.
  5. In another bowl stir together the apples, cider, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. To make the mini galettes separate the dough into 6 even sized pieces.
  8. Using a rolling pin roll out the dough into 6" round circle. (you can use a bowl to get the shape and size you want.
  9. Arrange the apples in a pretty spiral in the center of the dough, or simply pile them in the middle making sure a 1" edge is maintained. Fold the edges up and on to the apples leaving the center open faced. Repeat with remaining dough and apples.
  10. Brush the edges with the egg white and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. They are ready when the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven.
  11. While the galettes are baking, make the Cider Sauce.
  12. In a saucepan over med-high heat bring the cider to a boil until reduced by half.
  13. Quickly whisk in the cornstarch, butter and brown sugar and bring everything to a boil, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes and the sauce has thickened.
  14. You can serve the galettes warm or cold and drizzled with the warm sauce.
Recipe Type: Dessert
7.6.4
138

*Disclaimer- This is a sponsored post.  I was asked to create a recipe using any of the beer vendors participating during the Niagara Craft Beer Festival. Had I not been asked I still would have created this eventually!