Remember Sheraton's Four Points hotel chain did that search for a Chief Beer Officer? Well, they picked one, Scott Kerkmans, and last night we were invited by friends to share the blowing of a gift certificate and, lo and behold, it was for our local Four Points and their Sizzles restaurant. And, again with the lo and behold, at the bar was a wine list and, beside it, a beer list branded under a nice logo "Best Brews" - perfectly reasonable. Nothing overly imaginative but it was at least reasonable. In addition to a caste of pilsners, there was a sweet lambic, some easily obtained bigger Belgians, a winter warmer, a Caribbean stout. I can live with that as a start. The food was quite good and they are clearly trying.
But I want more. Hint: keep the beers away from well lit display areas. Winter warmer can be mulled but it should not be mulled in the bottle. Yet that last bottle was fine and the amiable tarbender said if there was any issue with ale, he'd pour it down the drain - no problem. Another hint: get some local craft beer now. Nothing outlandish but why no McAuslan from Montreal or eastern Ontario's wonderful Church-key or Scotch Irish? And why not go long and use the buying power to get some NY state craft beers in that are not available anywhere else? Maybe even at least that quite nice Brooklyn Lager now that the LCBO has it. Final Hint: if you can have a tap for Hoegaarden you can have one for Leffe Brown. It may not be the most complex Belgian brown but it is a great gateway beer to share with friends who want to learn more.
So, it's no Volo or St. Veronus - but a very good effort in a market that lacks the selection and opportunities it deserves. Now, go find out what is on the list at the Four Points in your town and start bugging the beverage manager to get more on the list. I am off to pester Scott...if I can find his email.