3 January 2016

Beer of the Week - December 27th to January 2nd

Back to my favourite subject. Beer! This was a crazy week for us here at the Polkaroo household. Post Christmas border shopping, work and a very fine New Year's Eve party combined to wear a fella down.
First up was our soon to be annual drive down to the Queenston bridge and a visit to our neighbours to the south. I love going over and shopping for beer in the States. The Wegman's has an unreal selection that we can only dream of here in the frozen tundra. I bought 46 new beers, so for me that was a pretty successful search.
One half of the haul
The ease of access and amount of choice available at an American supermarket surpasses that of even my own beloved LCBO. While I always try to support local craft brewers, I find it acceptable to also try beers from anywhere in the world. I wish we had access to more choices from all different countries, but we are limited by what is imported to the local LC.
So many new beers!
Working at a grocery store that is in a mall during the holidays is always a treat and I love the rapid pace and crazy busyness that run rampant through our store as we near the end of another year. A little more than a month until Super Bowl and then maybe I can look forward to a little vacation time.
Finally, New Year's Eve was a blast. Spending time with friends and family was a goal of mine during the Christmas season and I tried my best. We spent NYE with Mrs. Polkaroo's sister and her family. Lovely people and such a good time. I managed to keep my wits about me and did not go crazy as I would have in the past. Although I think next year I wont go with so many big beers. I went a little heavy on the stouts and porters. Lesson learned and when the calendar turns over next year, I will have a few lower ABV beers in the old cooler for refreshment, But I am proud of not cramming macro lagers at a ridiculous pace in pursuit of blackout drunkenness. Tasty beers made for wonderful conversation and a delightful New Year.
All of this leads to my Sunday morning ritual of trying to pick the beer that stood out among the pack this week. It was a unique week with all my new acquisitions and some old favourites making an appearance. That doesn't happen very often as I am pursuing my perfect beer, as I usually try to go for new beers every day. Bit despite all the beauties I tried this week, it is a local brewery that grabbed me by the throat and made my eyes bulge out.
Mill Street is a Toronto brewer that was bought by Labatt's last year but remains a quality beer maker and I hope retains some independence. I struggle with buying their products only in the sense that my love for craft beer means I need to make sure my dollars, for the most part, make their way to support the little guys. But a well made and tasty beer is what it is and I wont turn my back on anyone unless they let their commitment to quality brews lapse.
Having said all that, I saw a gift pack at the liquor store that contained two Tankhouse Ales and something called Bierschnaps. Reading a little on the box, I discovered that the schnaps is distilled from the Tankhouse ale and they compliment each other. Sounds great, different, but that's the spice of life.
It took me a week or so to build up the courage to try this little bottle that is 45 % ABV. But with the encouragement of my partner in crime, we dove in. When you poured it into the tiny mug-like shot glasses, you are smacked in the face with a grain alcohol smell. It is quite overpowering, The flavour is that of a paint thinner with a hint of malt sweetness in the back. But when we sipped on the beer with it, you could feel that punch slide away as it combined with its predecessor to create a warming feeling in your belly. It took the usual bitterness out of the Tankhouse and together made a pretty unique experience. We only did a small portion of a shot, so rest assured I will have some for you to try if you drop by Merle's for a pint in the next little while.
Just bring your sense of adventure and an open mind. But no open flames, this stuff is boom city.
Cheers to Mill Street for trying something new and the innovations we see hopefully mean they are going to stay true to their roots.
A truly different winner of the first BOW of 2016, but that is what I am after. Entice me and lead me to challenge what I think I know about beer and you have a fan. This is going to be an interesting year.

First BOW of 2016 and it packed a punch!

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