I just got home from Montreal. I am very full, and slightly sleepy, after this past weekend. So much fun. I flew in Thursday night, very much in need of relaxation and a few days with Lindsay. I had a nice easy ride from the airport, then we ordered pizza and put our damn feet up.


I needed a lazy, lie-about, do-nothing day. I got it on Friday. Man, it was nice. We grabbed some groceries, made a nice little breakfast of scrambled eggs with basil and tomato, sausage, fried potatoes, Belgian bread, and mimosas. After that we just hung out, watched TV, drank beer, played chess, ate leftover pizza, and tried to stay warm. Somehow we killed a whole day like this before going to dinner at Maison Publique. We’ve had a number of killer meals there, but this one was near the top of the charts. We had cocktails, house-made capocollo, pork belly salad with kimchi, garganelli grenoble, and a chicken pot pie the size of a chef’s hat. We had all this with a bottle of Domaine Queylus 2013 Signature Pinot Noir. We finished things off with a pot de creme and a pair of whiskies (Lagavulin 8, Glengoyne 10) before the staff surprised us with housemade ice cream. Helpful, since the rich food and whisky had given us a bit of heartburn.


Our heads hurt a little after that dinner, frankly, but we still got up early and had another lazy-ish morning. We had a bit more on the agenda this day though, the centerpiece being Péché Day at Dieu Du Ciel, where DDC offers a dozen or so one-off variants of the world famous Péché Mortel. First we wanted another Montreal staple: a smoked meat sandwich. We uber’d against the cold to St. Laurent, but skipped Schwartz’s and instead hit Main Deli across the street, which had no lineup, no cramped tables, and (arguably) better smoked meat sandwiches.

We felt a little full-sleepy from lunch so we stopped in at Dispatch Coffee, where both the decor and espresso were top-notch. We ducked back outside into deep freeze to catch another Uber, arriving at Dieu du Ciel. There was a huge lineup inside, extending another dozen or so outside, and the line was moving much less quickly than our hands and feet were freezing in the -35° cold, so we bailed. So did my battery: it was so cold that my battery suddenly drained from ~80% to 0% in seconds. We got ourselves home with a plan to warm ourselves before heading back out to dinner.

Unfortunately some sudden illness came over Lindsay; luckily she has a remarkable ability to know in advance when she’s gonna vom. And she did. So our planned dinner at Le Filet was out. Luckily Lindsay’s roommate was cooking chicken and vegetables, and offered to share. To round out the meal I girded myself for a quick excursion to the nearby Metro to pick up some white wine. While there I noticed a special 4-pack of Péché Mortel, including some of the variants they would have served at the brewpub…so I bought one and had myself a little mini-Péché day. The peach one was decent, as was the special edition (made with a lighter coffee), but the bourbon barrel-aged variant was tops. Meanwhile we had a lovely meal and fantastic conversation and listened to loads of good music which, several drinks in, turned into a bit of a dance party. Until 2am.


Between the late night and losing an hour to daylight savings chicanery, we woke up a little later than planned. We pulled on some clothes and went straight to The Sparrow, once again back on The Main, for some brunch. We’d timed it perfectly too, taking the last available table; a long line formed shortly after we sat down. Brunch was excellent: Lindsay had a hot toddy(!) and house-smoked trout with spinach & green onion pancake, soft boiled egg, beet salad, and whipped crème fraiche. I had shakshuka: two poached eggs in a Moroccan-spiced tomato sauce, with merguez sausage and sourdough toast. We ended with three fresh, tiny donuts: lemon curd, nutella, and pb+j. Then: back out into the cold.

We bought some Fairmount bagels, withdrew some cash, grabbed espressos and a churro at Barros Luco, and did a little shopping before getting to Dieu Du Ciel just as it opened. We’d hit on a nice little compromise: most of the one-offs were gone, sure, but the one I’d really wanted — the Péché Latte imperial coffee milk stout — was still there. It was beautiful, sweet and creamy like a dessert. Lindsay had a Rosée d’Hibiscus.

We split a sample of a few more, and finished with a final glass (a Paris Thé saison with green tea for me; a Nativitor Weizen Bock for Lindsay) before ducking back out into the Arctic. We knew we’d need a little more food, so we got burgers from Burger de Ville and Ubered home. I showered and packed; we ate and watched a few minutes of TV. Then it was off to the airport and home.


Myriad(e) delights

Work took me to Montreal last week, and I stayed through the weekend to enjoy a city I see far too rarely. Fortunately I’ll have an excuse to see it a lot more now, so everything described below just represents a sampler of what’s to come.


A dim sum food truck pulled up right outside my work event, so some pork buns got demolished while I talked to startups and VCs.

Dinner was at Modavie wine bar in the old city. The live music was pretty outstanding…the lady had pipes. I ate rillette de canard and crème brûlée and felt very French indeed.


First up: coffee and food from nearby Café Veritas. Pretty solid.

I kind of skipped lunch after meetings at the Montreal office, instead just heading to Café Myriade for a cappuccino and croissant.

After going back to the office for a bit it was time for a quick stop at Brutopia for a brown ale and a bowl of sausage.

After some research, Bocata was the dinner choice, and it was goddamn outstanding: unbelievably soft bread + oil; beef carpaccio; octopus a la gallega; lobster roll w/ fennel, endive, and pear salad; plenty of good wine; and a lemon tart for dessert. I still feel full thinking about it now.


More coffee, this time from the Espace Café. The croissants here were even better.

A morning of work deserved a big-ass brunch, so Maamm Bolduc it was. My omelette was full of chorizo (yay!) and mushrooms (what?) but some careful surgery saved the day.

The day’s true objective, though, was the Dieu du Ciel! brewpub. Oh, the flights!

  1. Ultra Mosaika (pale ale w/ mosaic hops)
  2. Déesse Nocturne (dry stout)
  3. Nativité (blonde hefeweizen)
  4. Rosée d’hibiscus
  5. Résurrection (porter)
  6. Voyageur des brumes (bitter)
  7. Sul’ pouce vers une autre galaxie (IPA w/ galaxy hops)0
  8. Pionnière (imperial black IPA)
  9. Solstice d’été aux cerises (cherry sour wheat)
  10. Rigor Mortis double (abbey double)
  11. Isseki Nicho (imperial dark saison)
  12. Route des Epices (spiced ale)
  13. Tête de Corbeau (pale ale w/ denali hops)

The day’s beerventures weren’t done though, as friends were met at Brouhaha, another top-rated Montreal beer joint. I had three; I honestly can’t remember what anyone else had. I very much remember the food though: Alsacienne flatbread (lardons, caramelized onions, crème fraîche, cheese) and smoked duck wings.

  1. Charlevoix Bootlegger (brown ale)
  2. Brouehaha Saison Voatsiperifery (peppercorn saison)
  3. Charlevoix Vache Folle (imperial milk stout)


Grey, rainy, quiet. A bunch of amazing pastries, coffees, shockingly good beer procured from a Metro grocery store (Péché Mortel! Maudite!), and not wanting to come home. Alas.



So, my 40th birthday was last week. I’m not one to particularly care about birthdays, even milestone birthdays, but I was excited about this one. Nellie had something planned to celebrate my birthday, and I had no idea what it was. It was a complete secret. Well, almost complete — the night before we left, from my desk as I tried desperately to wrap up work before taking two days off, I saw her waving around a Porter boarding pass. That narrowed the field somewhat.

I’m writing this five days after the birthday festivities ended, in part because work insanity resumed immediately, and in part because it’s taken me that long to recover. Here’s what happened:


We got to the island airport, excited to use the new tunnel. Sadly the tunnel wouldn’t open until that afternoon, so the ferry it was. While waiting in line for the ferry I was surprised to see Kaylea & Matt appear. For a second it seemed like a coincidence, and I thought, “Where are they going?”. Then it clicked — they were coming to wherever my birthday weekend was happening! Traveling companions! Amazing!

Once we checked in and got through security Nellie revealed where we were going: a tour of Quebec breweries, starting in Quebec City and ending in Montreal. Badass! We boarded a little late and took off for Quebec City.

After a wait for our bags and a slight snafu with the rental car (which worked in our favour — we were given a much bigger car for the same rate) we piled in and drove downtown, listening to an awful 80s/90s mix on french radio.

Nellie and I haven’t been to Quebec City since our honeymoon, but Matt & Kaylea knew their way around, so we dropped them at their hotel, checked in ourselves, and walked back to meet them near the Chateau Frontenac. We saw Matt walk around a corner just ahead of us, and when we caught up…boom, there were Jeff & Steph! (Talking to a cop for some reason.) Jeff gave me a full-on bear hug and we all went to find some lunch.

Kaylea knew this place called L’Inox where they make their own beer, so that’s where the adventure started. We sat on the sweltering patio and drank tasty beers and tried to get a little food down our necks before our limo (more on that later) arrived. As we sat there, another surprise: CBJ+M arrived. What the? Deceit! Skullduggery! What great friends. I have great friends.

It started to pour, so we ducked inside, finished up, and then got into the stretch limo Nellie had rented. We were headed north to Baie-Saint-Paul to visit Microbrasserie Charlevoix, but first we had a stop to make. On the way out of town our driver Felix (who was 12) stopped at an SAQ, dropped Nellie and Kaylea, and executed an 8-point turn in tighter quarters than I could even imagine a limo being able to fit. Bubbles aboard, we took off north.

We drank Veuve Clicquot, passing Montmorency Falls and Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, eventually arriving in Baie-Saint-Paul and the Charlevoix bottle shop. The cashier confirmed that we were the first limo ever to pull into their parking lot. There’s no tasting room, but we loaded up bottles, including a bunch of Vache Folle milk stout. Jeff insisted on buying an expired bottle of rye pale ale from a display out front.

To sample their beers we drove into town to Le Saint Pub for dinner. Or late lunch. Or something. I didn’t eat enough, but did drink another 9% milk stout. We left there, and admired the pretty little town while Felix fetched the limo.

Felix drove us down to the St. Lawrence, where the Rivière du Gouffre empties into the bay which gives the town its name, and we took in the view before jumping back into the limo home.

Back to Quebec City we drove, drinking Charlevoix beer as we went (the expired ryePA? Delicious.) and checked into our respective hotels. Frankly, the rest of the evening is a blur for me. I’d had too much to drink, and not nearly enough to eat. I remember meeting everyone in the bar at the Hotel Clarendon. I remember grabbing cabs to get to Le Projet, which seemed like a really cool place for the few seconds I was there. And I remember the day getting completely away from me, if you know what I mean, and needing to go home immediately. Nellie and I managed to get ourselves into an Uber and I conked out. Way to ruin your birthday, Dan.


The next morning was a rough one, but I got some coffee and a bagel in me, and we got on the road. It was raining when we left QC, but the clouds soon broke and the sun appeared and we drove through the beautiful Quebec countryside. Nellie needed some fluids and I needed some grease, so we stopped in a little town called Donnacona and she got a vitamin water and I got McDonald’s drive-through fries. Those fries saved my life, yo.

Not long after we pulled off the highway at Fromagerie des Grondines for some cheese, then got back on the highway and continued on to Shawinigan. The plan was to visit Trou du Diable, another brewing favourite. Again, no tasting room per se, but WHAT a cool shop: an almost overwhelming selection of bottles available, and great swag. Nearly everyone bought a tshirt or a hat — I’m wearing mine as I type this. We could have stayed there all day if we didn’t have places to be. I still had no firm idea of where those places were, mind you; I was just along for the ride.

Oh yeah, and I got another surprise when we pulled into the TdD parking lot: brother #2 and his wife, who flew in from Nova Scotia the night before. Incroyable! I didn’t see that one coming. I got a little choked up. Had to wait a second before getting out of the car.

So now we were ten, and loaded up on beer, and — after a grocery stop in Trois-Rivières — on our way to a town called Sorel-Tracy on the Richelieu River. We arrived around 4, at a house called Le Maison Relaxio, and I promise that I am NOT making that up. Once we walked through we understood the name. It’s a beautiful, modern five-bedroom house with a big indoor pool, a games area, outdoor patios with decks and grills and stoves, a sauna, a hot tub, an enormous kitchen, a home theatre in the basement…it felt like we were in Beverly Hills. And it was ours for the night.

We snacked on an enormous charcuterie board and cracked craft beers and blasted hip-hop. We went for swims, and swung in hammocks, and battled at air hockey. We sat on docks, played pool, sipped wine. Matt and Jeff did every activity station in the place, like they were at camp. Before long Matt and his line chefs began preparing dinner: burgers made of beef and pork, stuffed with confit goose, and topped with local cheddar. Also: potato salad and grilled corn, and (obviously) wine and beer.

There was much more swimming after dinner. Nellie made friends with a plastic dolphin. Kaylea and I drank expired milk stout straight from bottles. Jeff swam around with the pink umbrella. Steph crashed early as she is wont to do. No one wanted to leave or let the day end, but eventually we all crashed. We needed three more days here at least.


Today it was back to Montreal, so everyone fueled up on a giant pork-ridden breakfast. I drove in a leftover burger for good measure and THAT GOOSE my god almighty god. Anyway, it was a short drive, but no one really had the wherewithal to tackle either Unibroue or a long drive to Brasserie Dunham. We just wanted to get to Montreal. We dropped CBJ+M at their hotel, and drove a few more blocks to our own: the Hotel Place d’Armes.

Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready yet, so we left our bags and went out in search of coffee. I found an espresso at Café Différance, and we found fresh local beer at Les Souers Grises, a brewpub on the site of an old nunnery.

We walked back toward our hotel along the Promenade du Vieux-Port, stopping for some tacos (me: chorizo; she: lobster) at Taco Box.

We walked in the hot sun to our hotel, where our room…still wasn’t ready. So off we went to the hotel bar to cool down with wine and gin, until suddenly…CBGB showed up! Nellie told me the surprises were over! Tricksy! False! We had a drink with them, but only one, as we all needed to clean up and now our room was ready. And what a room it was: a two level loft suite. Nellie had gone all-out, no doubt. We put on some tunes, showered, changed, and were ready for a drink when Andrew & Denise popped over.

We walked up the flight of outdoor stairs to the rooftop patio. Well, the lower one; the upper one was full and featured no shade, which is no place for two Dickinson men. We took over the corner couch, ordered a bottle of Möet et Chandon, and enjoyed the views.

We needed a drink locale to rally prior to dinner in the plateau, so we picked Gorge Rouge, a fairly hipster hangout a block from our restaurant. My French isn’t quite up to the task of a complex drinks list, but we muddled through, and got another surprise when two more friends showed up: MLK! In fact, they’d driven to Montreal just for this dinner. What a pair of beauties.

When it was nearly time for our dinner we walked the block to La Salle À Manger, and filled a table for 14. No, wait, make that 16: JP+Sue had just arrived. NOW, Nellie promised, there were no more surprises. This was it: the finale, the apex, the ne plus ultra. So we tucked in to dinner. And oh my. Dinner.

There were oysters. There was house-made charcuterie. There was seared tuna. There was some sort of enormous concoction of shrimp and salad and tomatoes and onion rings piled on a single huge loaf of bread. There was boudin noir. There were probably things I’ve forgotten now one week on. And finally, there was an entire suckling pig, including the head (which I held up Lord Of The Flies style, and which JP ate). Through it all there was a never-ending supply of goddamn outstanding wine, hand-picked by Kaylea. The Loire cab franc she ordered nearly stopped my heart. She gets me.

We bought a shot for the kitchen staff — they came out of the kitchen to thank us — and then we killed the lemon dessert which signaled the end. What a meal. What an event.

The adventure ended here for a few people: MLK, CBJ+M, and Andrew & Denise who had to leave early the next morning. For our part, we didn’t have much left in us either. We hailed an UberX and sped home.

One friend who knows me well (too well?) whispered an instruction to me that night: to look around the table and never again doubt that people love me. My insecure brain will never fully believe it, but there they all were. Those words glowed in my head as I drifted off to sleep.


Sunday we slept in, because of course we did. We ordered a big greasy room-service breakfast and headed back up to the Plateau, because it was time for church: a visit to the Dieu du Ciel brewpub. I had somehow, criminally, never been to this place, the home of Canada’s best brewery and maker of my favourite beer, Péché Mortel. The intrepid ten left over from dinner the night before were all here, and we enjoyed a tour with one of the brewmasters  (who actually sat with us for hours and talked beer…such a great guy) followed by a tasting flight. Then we basically just killed the rest of the board. I’d started feeling ill while in the brewing room (humid, no air moving, not enough food in my stomach, etc.) and had a bit of a slow start, but the chai beer seemed to save me. I sampled three or four more, and was starting to rally.

CBGB departed for their train, and three of the remaining little piggies went to market (Marché Jean-Talon, that is) to fetch dinner for the evening. The rest of us went around the corner to Dépanneur As to buy some beer. There was so much Quebec beer there I’d never heard of that I didn’t know where to start. Jeff, JP, and I each loaded up a box, waited forever for a cab, suffered through said cabbie’s ridiculous roundabout route, and arrived at Matt & Kaylea’s Airbnb rental.

Their place had a beautiful (and dinosaur-ridden) back patio, so we drank cold beer and wine, and put Ben Harper and Nina Simone and NoFX and Bob Marley records on the turntable (!), and ate another Matt-feast: shrimp, oysters, duck bacon & goat cheese, scallops & chanterelle mushrooms, seared yellowfin tuna, a maelstrom of king crab, and (since we were in Quebec) a tarte au sucre. That was it. I could eat no more. We hugged it out and caught our last Uber of the trip.


The fairy tale was over. Time to go home. We collected our steed, dropped our beer off in the trunk of JP’s car, drove to the airport in the most clusterfuck-y manner possible, and checked in to our flight. Not that we were in a time crunch, but it’s still nice to sail through that Nexus line at security.

Our flight home barely even seemed like a thing, it was like a thought. We arrived back in Toronto barely 100 hours after we’d left, but it felt like we’d been gone for weeks. We walked through the island airport tunnel for the first time, and a few minutes later were home, suddenly feeling very lonely.


Of course, I needed that alone time. Not that I’d have traded it for anything, but the constant social interaction and being the ostensible reason for the festivities was just as exhausting for me as the rich food, heavy drink, and lack of sleep. Much like our other epic adventures with friends, I needed a vacation after our vacation.

But like all great adventures, they turn more brilliant as a day or two passes. Only today, after an especially intense week at work, do I really feel like I’m able to see the arc of the thing. During the weekend itself I was so busy being shuttled around, and then so overwhelmed by everyone’s arrival and attention, that I was barely reacting or getting excited. It took almost a week for the emotions to hit me. Gratitude. Appreciation. Joy, outright joy.

I can’t, and certainly didn’t, thank anyone enough for coming all the way from Toronto and Barrie and Ottawa and Nova Scotia. I’m bad at things like that, but I think they know that about me by now. I think they also know I love them whether I say it or not.

I also didn’t (and almost never do) thank my wife enough. The sheer logistics of what went into this trip was incredible, let alone the care and thoughtfulness. I might have guessed the destination, but never could have expected the company. I could never have anticipated the memories I now have.

I am so lucky. And what else could a man want on any day of his life?

In Soviet Russia, XBox plays you

Seriously, somebody stop us. This has been our past five days:

Wednesday: after a long day in the office we met for tasty deliciousness at Beerbistro. I introduced Nellie to Dieu du Ciel’s Dernière Volonté.

Thursday: I took some co-workers to Fieramosca. It was, as usual, delicious. At some point (probably after the fifth shot of Limoncello) I was a little worried about how I was going to feel the next morning. Especially since I had an 8AM meeting. Also, this was my second visit to Fieramosca in less than a week; the previous Saturday Nellie and I took our friends Kaylea and Matt there to celebrate their engagement.

Friday: Nellie had after-work drinks with co-workers, which meant I had a night to myself. “Solo Dan eve” involved shooting a lot of XBox Russians (<– not a euphemism, by the way, dirty!), eating pizza and blasting The Dandy Warhols.

Saturday: errands, errands and more errands, followed by a few hours in the office, but it took a decidedly more positive turn when Nellie and her fancy new haircut met me on the way to visit our friends CBJ+M. We picked up barbeque from The Stockyards, watched basketball and did some New Orleans trip strategizing.

Sunday: it was too gorgeous to do anything but get outside, so we walked to Gilead Cafe, checked out some new furniture in the Distillery District, ogled a Montauk sofa, did some clothes shopping (!) and had a few glasses of wine and a prosciutto pizza at Paese. We came home and opened our windows for the first time in months, got the smell of spring in the place, and eventually picked out two bottles of wine with which to finish the day: a 2008 Hidden Bench Felseck Vineyard Chardonnay from Niagara, and a 2008 Pirramimma Petit Verdot from McLaren Vale to pair with our Cumbrae’s steak. Both were fantastic.

So as fun as that all sounds, I would just like…I don’t know, a salad or some quinoa or something.


I have now reached #34 out of 50 on the Project FiftyBrew list, after drinking a Dieu Du Ciel Équinoxe Du Printemps and a Tree Hophead IPA last weekend, and a Wellington County Ale just now.

I’m definitely going to hit a wall soon though. Volo has another four on the list, the LCBO has two more and there’s one (the Garrison Imperial IPA) in my fridge, but after that…it gets sketchy. Two are Dieu du Ciel beers that I never see anywhere and five more are Unibroue that are rarely if ever in Toronto. The other two are from Garrison (no problem, I’m on the east coast all the time) and the Wellington Imperial IPA, which I’m sure will rotate into local taps now that the weather’s turned cold. Both those seven from Quebec could be problematic.

Road trip to Montreal, anyone?


Over the past few nights I’ve knocked off six (!) Project FiftyBrew entries. Volo has been, as expected, a goldmine of Canadian beer. Over two visits I had:

  • Dieu du Ciel Route des Epices
  • Scotch Irish Sgt Major IPA
  • Scotch Irish John By Imperial Stout
  • Dieu du Ciel Dernière Volonté
  • Central City Red Racer IPA
  • St. Ambroise 20th Anniversary Vintage Ale

Lots of interesting stuff in there. I don’t like IPAs that much, but I’m developing a taste for them, and especially liked the Sgt Major. The Route des Epices was as advertised (like there was cayenne in it) and the Dernière Volonté was pretty normal (but tasty) by comparison. The St. Ambroise Vintage Ale was, unfortunately, a barley wine and not to my liking. But I have a job to do, so I drank it down. Hopefully I’ll gain some kind of taste for them; I believe there are two or three more on the list.

Happily, I’ll be back at Volo this Monday. They have at least six more that I have to hit.

Dieu du Ciel Aphrodesiaque / Mill Street Coffee Porter

Yesterday, on our way to TIFF10 film #2, we stopped in at Beerbistro. They had two Project FiftyBrew beers on their list: Dieu du Ciel Aphrodesiaque and Mill Street Coffee Porter.

The coffee porter was okay…what can I say? It tasted like coffee, and I don’t really like coffee. I was also very full from lunch and my previous beer. I should probably give it another go some other time, but…meh.

The Dieu du Ciel Aphrodesiaque, on the other hand, was fan-freaking-tastic. As in, one of the best stouts I’ve ever tried. It somehow tasted like chocolate AND vanilla simultaneously. It wasn’t heavy or chalky, it was just…tasty. This will not be the last time I drink this beer.

Project FiftyBrew

About a month ago Troy Burtch — author of the Great Canadian Beer Blog — reposted a speech by Steve Beauchesne, the co-founder of Beau’s Brewery entitled “What If Ontario Had A Beer Revolution?“.

What if Ontario had a beer revolution?

What do I mean by a beer revolution? Well revolutions usually involve overthrowing tyrants, and instituting a new form of governance, but my revolution is maybe a little less violent than that, although by no means is it less radical.

Right now in Ontario, 1 out of every 20 beers drank came from an independent, Ontario brewery. By beer revolution, I mean, what would happen if Ontarians chose to drink an Ontario-made independent beer 1 out of every 2 times they drank beer?

Mr. Beauchesne goes on to make an economic argument for Ontario craft beer which doesn’t actually work all that well, but no matter: there are benefits to supporting local — if not necessarily independently owned — brewers. Besides, no living human should be made to drink the likes of MolsonCoors CanadianLight or its ilk. I felt, after reading the transcript of his speech, that I should try to drink primarily local beers. But it was the summer, and it was boiling hot, and goddammit I love me some German weissbier.

Then, this past Thursday, Nellie and I ducked into Smokeless Joe on our way home from the TIFF box office. There we met the charming and gracious Kaylea from WineNotOntario who recommended the Dieu du Ciel foursome on feature. I was no stranger to DdC, having enjoyed their Rosée D’hibiscus and struggled through their Péché Mortel (seriously, man…it tasted like a peach fucking ashtray) but I wouldn’t have noticed them all tucked away down there on Joe’s chalkboard had she not pointed them out. So I tried. I liked. And I decided: I should do with beer what we’ve been trying to do with wine: drink Canadian whenever possible. Uh, this October trip to SanFran/Napa/Sonoma notwithstanding…vacations don’t count. Aaaaaaaaanyloophole, I needed a plan. It wouldn’t do to swear off all non-Canadian beer, that’s just too drastic. But I figured I should make an effort to at least try the best local stuff, especially those I might not normally try. Hence: Project FiftyBrew.

Here’s the project plan:

  1. Go to and download the list of what, according to their users, constitute the top 50 Canadian beers (DONE!);
  2. Mark off the ones I’ve already tried (DONE!);
  3. Vow to try the remaining 33 (subject to availability) over the next…oh, I don’t know. Whenever. No rush, right?

I’m looking forward to scouring the LCBO, Volo, Smokeless Joe, Beerbistro and C’est What for the unconquered bottles. I’m sure we’ll also plan a trip to Quebec ’cause, uh, they’re nearly all from there…Unibroue, Dieu du Ciel and McAuslan alone make  up more than half the list.

Also, by the time I finish these fifty I’m sure the list will have changed, but I look forward to trying the new entrants too. I may be coming at this from a somewhat different angle than Mr. Beauchesne, but I do hope one of his bottles of Beau’s climbs into the top tier.

Wish me luck.