Habits Gastropub rebrands as Folly Brewpub with a new menu and greater emphasis on house-brewed beer.

standard Habits Gastropub rebrands as Folly Brewpub with a new menu and greater emphasis on house-brewed beer.

Folly Brewpub isn’t as grandly built or slickly marketed as many of the new Toronto breweries that opened this summer. Instead, the focus is more tightly placed on a strong list of adventurous and well-made beers brewed by Christina Coady and Chris Conway. And it’s also not technically new. After sampling Coady and Conway’s homebrewed beer, Michelle Genttner and Luis Martins, the owners of Habits Gastropub, convinced the two to turn pro. Between summer 2014 and when the license to brew arrived in January 2015, they piloted recipes that they would eventually produce on Habits’ nanobrewery system. As of last […]

Craft Beer: Embracing autumn with a hint of pear

standard Craft Beer: Embracing autumn with a hint of pear

We’re going to take a slight diversion for this month’s craft beer column. Cider would be a seasonally appropriate change from beer, but I feel like it already gets its fair share of attention. I’d rather try to write this month about perry, cider’s lesser known cousin. In many ways it is the stage actor to cider’s movie star; Christopher Plummer to Paul Gross, if you prefer. For more on the pear-accented beer and cider I had a look at this month, head over to Food Bloggers of Canada.

Canada's Craft Beer: Taste testing pumpkin beer for Thanksgiving

standard Canada’s Craft Beer: Taste testing pumpkin beer for Thanksgiving

Is it time for pumpkin beers already? Absolutely. It’s now officially autumn and that means time for the best-selling seasonal style of craft beer. Even more than IPAs or craft lagers this category is a gateway into well-made beer for those who usually drink wine or spirits, but can get behind a festive push. This month on Food Bloggers of Canada I name my two of my favourite pumpkin beers that are available this year in central Canada.

LCBO launches Craft Beer Zone at Summerhill store

standard LCBO launches Craft Beer Zone at Summerhill store

Beer is coming to grocery stores in Ontario — at some point — and the LCBO is obviously doing whatever it can to shore up its head start when things become more competitive. The Ontario Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, was at the Summerhill LCBO today to open the store’s new craft beer section that includes the government-owned retailer’s first growler-filling station. It may be happening slowly and much more timidly than I’d like, but change is afoot for how beer is sold in Ontario. You can read more about one of these changes — growlers at the Summerhill LCBO […]

Off the wheaten path

standard Off the wheaten path

My early 20s were dark days for my taste in beer. Price was king and it was difficult to justify anything better than a bar’s “finest cheapest” offering. But the dreariness started to clear the first time I tried a wheat beer on a muggy summer day. It was probably festooned with a slice of orange (please, don’t do this), but was also brightly flavoured and clearly made the case that some beers are made for sunny patios. You’ll find the rest of this month’s post on the Food Bloggers of Canada site.

Indie Ale House’s Barnyard IPA

standard Indie Ale House’s Barnyard IPA

July is just around the corner and even though the calendar says it’s summer we still haven’t been subjected to any truly blistering days. This comfortably warm weather strikes me as an invitation to get on my bike and venture out to one of the city’s thriving craft breweries for a beer you can only find at the source. Indie Ale House’s Barnyard IPA is delicious and unusual enough to justify the trip to the Junction. Click through to read the rest of this week’s First Draught on

Holiday Beers

standard Holiday Beers

“Oh, a bottle of Yellow Tail sparkling, that’s just what we hoped someone would bring us!” That’s the reaction of exactly zero hosts and hostesses when their holiday party guests present them with yet another generic knock-off champagne. Don’t get me wrong, I think offering a ribbon-wrapped bottle is a perfectly appropriate way to say thank you to someone who has invited you into their home this December. I just wish we would show a little more originality with our selection. Head over to the Food Bloggers of Canada site for the rest of my post on holiday beers.

Spearhead Sam Roberts Session

standard Spearhead Sam Roberts Session

Compared to “what is craft beer?” the slightly less nebulous “what is a session ale” is an easier question to answer. These are beers well-suited to a several-pint night because they are lower in alcohol than usual and have a balanced flavour profile. The idea grew out the British tradition where a session at the local pub has friends take turns buying a round (hence the lower ABV), so the beers usually are also made to stylistically nod in the general direction of England. The full First Draught for this week is over on

Red Rocket Stout

standard Red Rocket Stout

A food and drink critic should have no absolute aversions. Short of an allergy or potentially poisonous pufferfish, if it’s on your beat, you should be willing to put it in your mouth. As Jeffrey Steingarten wrote in 1996, while reflecting on his own food phobias, “I feared that I could be no more objective than an art critic who detests the color yellow or suffers from red-green color blindness.”  Beers with chilies are my yellow. The rest of this week’s First Draught is available on