Beer Club – barrel aged beers

Beer club was a bit of flail. There was miscommunication and misunderstandings which meant we missed the deadline to get food arranged. Luke and Nate were picking up beer at the last minute. We were all set to get things arranged in the theatre classroom, only to find there was still a class going on in it.

But thankfully, it all worked out in the end. Well, all but the food portion. Lesson learned for next time.

My friend Robert brought a group of wine students, and it was great to talk to them about beer vs wine. I hope we see more of them. Suggestions were made to have a co-wine-and-beer club night, which I think would be pretty cool.

The theme of the night was barrel-aged beers, with a view to get different types of barrels to see what tastes each imparts to a final beer. We started with the Innis and Gunn gift pack which has just hit the LCBO (it’s not on the website yet or I would link to it). It contains

  • Toasted Oak IPA – uses oak unseasoned by any other spirits, nice mellow oak nose and taste that only slightly impacts the hop finish
  • Innis and Gunn Original – oak aged ‘Scottish’ beer, lots of toffee and vanilla as well as oak
  • Rum Finish – lots of rum, so much that aroma, taste and finish were more about rum than beer.
  • Bourbon Stout – I liked this one the best. The bourbon really complements darker beers so nicely.

We also had a selection of Ontario beer:

  • Nickel Brook Winey Bastard – this is what you get when you age Bolshevik Bastard Russian imperial stout in pinot noir barrels. I liked it, but now that I’ve done the comparison, I have to say that I like the wine barrel notes the least.
  • Cameron’s Deviator Doppelbock – I can’t report on this bourbon barrel edition as I was distracted during the pouring and missed it.
  • Nickel Brook & Sawdust City 11.05 – this barley wine was brewed in 2012 then barrel aged. Made me wish I had a snifter to do it justice. Lots of dark fruit and toffee. A little goes a long way, especially at 11.05% ABV.
  • Radical Road Wayward Son, Belgian strong ale in wine barrel. All dark fruit, spice and caramels on the nose, but surprisingly dry.

Day 36

There were no classes today (thank you, oh schedule gods!) so I caught up on sleep and homework until mid-afternoon when I headed to the school for beer club.

I had put my name in the hat to be the class rep for beer club, and was kind of surprised to find I’d been picked. A little sad too, as that meant that I was no longer able to apply for the Caps, Corks and Forks team. C’est la vie.

Beer club is broken into two parts, the first being the free part where some students bring in homebrew for a group tasting. I have to say that the stand-out homebrew was a milk stout by Nick, one of my classmates; smooth and rich with some great vanilla and caramel notes.

The second part of beer club comes with a small fee of about $5. Tonight was an Oktoberfest theme with a great spread of Oktoberfest German food prepared by the chef school – far more food than I had anticipated. Think dinner rather than canapes.

For the beers, Hugh and Nate had put together a selection of imported Oktoberfest beer as well as the Oktoberfest 4-pack from Beau’s. Once those had been opened and presented, leftovers from the last beer club came out. And this is where I learned that I quite like Saison du Pump by Great Lakes, even though I am not a huge pumpkin beer fan.

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Some of what I sampled