Beer Diary: Day 4 – Still Toronto

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Decided to wander westward to the Kensington Markets this morning. It’s work the trek, but there’s a few things the weary traveller should be aware of: 1. These aren’t ‘markets’ as you may know them, with stalls set up in a large building like the St Lawrence markets. It’s just a few blocks of random shop fronts. 2. When you get there and the first thing you see is run down buildings covered in graffiti tags with homeless people yelling gibberish at you, you’re going to think you’ve stumbled into the wrong part of town, your instincts will be screaming at you to run in the opposite direction ASAP. Don’t! Just follow the trendy young Uni students and trust they know what they’re doing. 3. Don’t get here early, because most places are shut all morning. Otherwise it’s a pretty funky little area, with plenty if cool street art and eclectic little shops. I had breakfast at “Our Spot” which had the best home fries I’ve ever tried.

From there we trekked down Spadina Ave through Chinatown, and ended up on Queen St West. This is where I had a decision to make: do some shopping at the many boutique and designer shops on Queen St, or find a bar on King St. Kings always win. So I headed back to what is now my Toronto local, Bar Hop, since it’s the only place I’ve visited twice now. With 36 taps and 2 hand pumps, it’s definitely my kind of place. I perched at the bar and ordered a Rosรฉe d’Hibiscus by Dieu du Ciel, which is a hibiscus witbier and THE FIRST NEW BEER OFF THE EPIC LIST FOR THIS TRIP! Soft, subtle, smooth, seductive, special, sexy, creamy mouthfeel, even a creamy nose, and just a little funky, makes me think of the strawberries and cream ice creams you get at the Ekka. It’s a little watery, but this works with the overall softness. A little white pepper towards the end. Some angostura bitters and a hint of citrus. A complex brew from start to finish, and a great way to kick off the day.

Next I asked the bartender to recommend an Ontario brew, and he suggested the Collective Arts Rhyme and Reason North American Pale Ale. Damn, this guy has fantastic taste. The smell coming of this baby is RIDICULOUS! I’ve smelled fruity beer in my time, but the pineapple and grapefruit wafting from this glass would make you swear you wet drinking a cocktail. There’s also a good earthy bitterness under the fruit juice, and some Sid resin notes towards the end. This is another one of those Pale Ales that many IPA’s could learn from. On a day when I was drinking nothing but great beer, this was the winner.

The last beer was another Dieu du Ciel offering, the Aphrodite, a Stout with Cocoa and Vanilla. Yeah, it’s as good as it sounds. Dieu du Ciel have a fantastic pedigree when it comes to dark beers (the Aphrodisiaque is almost perfect) and this beer comes pretty damn close. This one was on nitro as well, so it was smooth and creamy, and looked just like a long black with a wicked cremรจ. The cocoa and vanilla come right through, with a good toasty bitterness balancing everything out. (Note: when I got back to the hotel and checked in on Untappd, I found out the Aphrodite IS the Aphrodisiaque! I swear there was some slight differences, but it has been a year between drinks)

From there it was off to the New Era store to purchase my first hat of the trip (a wicked Raptors black on red claw logo) and to get some of the best Italian I’ve eaten in a while at Hey Lucy’s on King St. Awesome food, even if the beer list is non-existent.

Then it was back to the hotel for a 4pm snooze to prepare for the night…a snooze that lasted until 12:30am. Fuck, this jet lag is killing me. At least it’s given me time to do the daily post. Maybe I’ll go and hit a bar now…

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