One clear winner

The beers I tried from Phillips Brewing were steadily awesome. While I was not fond of the dark IPA, Black Toque, I am not fond of that style. Bitter malts, coupled with bitter hops means there is a strong desire to not drink that beer on my part.

But (and what would this post be without one?) the Longboat Double Chocolate Porter tasted lovely, like milk chocolate only in beer form. It was velvety without being heavy, and a great beer. The Amnesiac IPA was one of the better balanced double IPAs I’ve had, and the Blue Buck sustained me in bars where my other options were Molsons or nothing.

I haven’t seen Phillips’ beers down in Portland, and I hope that changes soon.

A brief aside: I don’t see many beers from Canada in my section of the US. Why is that? I can find beers from German, Belgium, England, even Italy and Japan! Canada is right there! Seems like those microbreweries would send things our way. I can only assume that for some strange reason the laws for transporting alcohol between Canada and the US are stricter than the ones between the US and other countries.

Finally, one place I was told to check out but found very disappointing was Spinnakers. We got a sample of all their beers, and they seemed timid. It’s weird to describe a beverage that way, but it felt right; the beers all erred on the side of safety. The double IPA was balanced, but are double IPAs supposed to be? There was a scotch ale that was decent, but because it was cask conditioned, the carbonation element was missing, and I felt that I would’ve been better if the carbonation had been present. The last phrase in my notes is: the dunkel is good, but not pint worthy.

That’s not a good sign for a beer, nor a brewery.

But I don’t want to end this post on a sour note! I had a nice time in Canada, and drank at some excellent bars, getting to try some fantastic beers. Sure, it took me a little while to find my way, but the barkeeps and waitstaff were really helpful.

Big Bad John’s was one of those crazy places where they only play country music that’s at least 20 years old and everyone tries to leave a piece of their history there–business cards, pictures, bras.

The Sauce listed Heroic Drinkers on their wall; Belushi, Yeltsin, and a memorable quote from Tallulah Bankhead, “My father warned me about men and booze… but he never said anything about women and cocaine.” I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be warned or inspired.

Smith’s pub not only had a great selection of beers (most of which were potent enough that I forgot to write about them, but I do remember some were belgain inspired concoctions from Qubec) it had some kick ass chicken strips. Mmm…chicken strips.

There was also a kick ass place on Simcoe street called the Bent Mast which is rumored to be haunted in a friendly way. The food was tasty and the service was great, and though I didn’t see any ghosts, it had the vibe of a good place that meant to stay that way.