Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Toronto's Granite Brewery: A Great Place for a Party

Somehow, I had never gotten to Toronto's Granite Brewery, perhaps due to its non-downtown location, until two great friends decided to make it the location of their wedding.  Were they bribing me with beer?  They should have known I'd have attended even if it were dry, but I have to say this is a wonderful event location.

It offers a gorgeous urban courtyard with a fine patio, excellent service (special shout-out to Daniella who answered my beer questions and kept me well supplied all evening!), solid food, and an all-around excellent atmosphere for any event or, presumably, just any evening out.

Yet again however, this wasn't a pen-and-paper kinda night, but some overview thoughts are required and of some use, I am certain!

The Granite is known for its casks and they didn't disappoint.  The Best Bitter Special (4.5% ABV) was quite delicious with a finely hopped, drying finish that left me wanting more.  The cask IPA (5% ABV) was also fairly well-hopped (and dry-hopped) but was more balanced, akin to an excellent English IPA moreso than an American.  The Hopping Mad (6% ABV) was also good, but was extremely dry, bordering on astringency with a distinct grapefruit aroma and flavour that dominates the palate, though without an excessively long finish.  However, I often find a bit more carbonation is needed for this style of excessively dry, dry-hopped beer, but that is personal.  Still good, just not my favourite.

I tasted everything they had available, but would most recommend the following (aside from the casks, which are assuredly worth trying!):

Peculiar (5.6% ABV) a strong, dark English ale, apparently in a sort of ESB/Brown variation, that is less drying than the bitter, but with nice molasses notes.

Darkside Black IPA (6.75% ABV) was everything I like in a black IPA: malty(ish) sweet aroma with a bold lingering contrasting hoppy finish.  Someday, I will drink this pad in hand and offer greater detail!

Keefe's Irish Stout (4.5% ABV) was quite enjoyable, but having had this late in the evening, I can say little else except I anxiously await trying it first next time!

Though the Best Bitter is enjoyable, it is less so than it's cask alter-ego, so stick with that!

That's all for now folks, stay tuned for some thoughts on two excellent beers (numbers 600 and 601 on my list) that topped the previously blogged night: Achel Extra Bruin and St. Ambroise Vintage Ale 2007 Millesimee!

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