Sunday, 29 January 2017

Santa Don arrives bearing gifts

Catching up with old friends is fantastic. Catching up with old notes to write about it when you've moved and can't find them is ... less fantastic.

I was all set to write about Santa Don and our lunch together pre-Christmas when I discovered the notepad I was using somehow found its way into one of the many boxes stored in the garage post-move. But I couldn't just say the hell with it (well, I could. I just decided not to) and push on to the next blog I've been neglecting since 2016 ended.

After all, my old college roomie and Beer Bro Don - henceforth to be named Santa Don - had brought a Christmas gift for my boy, a bunch of delicious beers from Hamilton's Collective Arts Brewery for myself (Jake is only 14 - he can't have any. I am a responsible parent) AND bought me a beer glass.

That St. Nick-like act of generosity could not go unmentioned.

So I'll go from memory.

Don. In a limo. Drinking beer.
I let Santa Don (you know what? I'm just gonna call him Don. So much shorter) decide on the place and he chose Indie Ale House. Good choice. I told him the secret place to park (just look for the pigeons), which he discovered before also discovering the brew pub was closed.

Where to now? he texted me. After safely and legally pulling over on busy Dundas in Toronto's west end, I texted him back: "Rainhatd. I mean Rainhard, bro. It's just around the corner." And despite the fact I was ten minutes behind him and the other fact that Don was now in his old stomping grounds, I beat him to Rainhard (located in the old Stockyard district) by nearly ten minutes.

Where I made the discovery that this brewery was also closed. No worries, the dude said. I can still sell you some beer.

I love craft beer people.

Don eventually shows up and I apprise him of the situation while we exchanged gifts. For the record, I did bring gifts as well. Sort of. I sacrificed my last can of Life Sentence, the awesome Triple IPA from Great Lakes, as well as a never used gas pump thing that dispenses beer (I wish I had taken a picture) that had been gathering dust in a place of honour in my apartment but now, with my move underway, had to go.

Rainhard's most delicious Hearts Collide
 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
From Collective Arts I got their Imperial IPA and their Black IPA, which are both new and both amazing. The Black IPA jumped right to the top of my list for best Black IPA of 2016, in fact.

(Great beers. Boring names. I hereby offer my services as a beer name writer, because that should be a thing. It's a thing in New Zealand, where this luck skill has helped Neil Miller achieve legendary status. And deservedly so.)

So we went inside, where Jordan Rainhard and his staff were doing those important things brewers do when they're closed. Eat lunch and talk about beer-y things.

And we bought beer. A six-pack of Jordan's excellent Armed 'N Citra Pale Ale and a bottle of Daywalker (my all-time favourite Session IPA) each, while I chose the Hearts Collide Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and Don opted for the Pilsner. And he bought me a Rainhard-branded glass for my massive (a dozen, maybe?) beer glass collection.

And then we were off for lunch at nearby Bryden's, which boasted great service, decent food and an extensive beer list. I remember both of us having Headstock, Nickel Brook's world class IPA which I have had a few hundred times and Don - who lives around the corner from the brewery - a few thousand times. But never in a bar.


Anyway, that's all I remember about the day. If you need to fill in the blanks read Don's Brew Ha Ha blog from December 22 . Twas the Night Before Christmas. Fair warning: Don makes fun of me and makes several references to my great age. I just want you to know that Don is, in fact, much older than I.

For the record.

Glenncore at Manantler

My buddy Trevor - the world's sexiest cellarman - messaged me in early December to tell me there was a new beer at Manantler that had my name on it. Figuratively, anyway.

Eldo, it was called, a Pale Ale made from Eldorado hops, and he warned that I better "come by and get some of this before it's gone."
Manantler Eldo. It's Glenncore good

And then he added the kicker: "It's total Glenncore."

I chewed over that statement for a minute, finally arriving at the conclusion that he meant it was something I would love. Hard core Glenn, if you will.

Then he elaborated. "I think I know Glenncore and I'm certain this is what your blood would taste like. Blood type IPA-positive, right?"

I'm fairly certain Trevor is not a vampire so I took that in the best possible way and told him he was right (I lied - it's really A-Negative) and said I would be at the brewery forthwith. Or something like that.

Was it Glenncore? I dunno, but it was damn good. Tropical fruit, a hint of pineapple and something a little more exotic on the nose, along with a bit of sweet malt. Some stone fruit (maybe apricot?) on the tongue with something milder. Pear, I think. A tasty brew.

For safety purposes I told Trevor that if he ever saw me bleeding out on the street to administer blood first. Then beer. In that order.


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