As I think you all might know, I live in eastern Ontario and have often cast an envious eye towards other nearby jurisdictions especially New York but also recently Quebec. I was south just yesterday to buy some Ommegang, Brooklyn, Sierra Nevada and Goose Island at a grocery store. A grocery store. Next Saturday, I have managed to set up a plan that includes an hour and a half to hit an SAQ for some Belgian beer as well as Marche Omni, my favorite dep, for a few of Quebec's finest. But things have been happening in Ontario that have been tipping the balance back towards parity:
- As Steve from Beau's has discussed, he is co-chair of Ontario Craft Beer Week set for June 20 - 26, 2010 organized by my sponsor the Ontario Craft Brewers. Twenty-five of the province's small and medium sized brewers are taking part and should make for some interesting promotions at the breweries. Trouble is Ontario is a big place with something of a Toronto-centric habits. I am not sure how much the event will reach out to the bars in other cities and towns, let alone into oligarchical - yet wonderfully named - Beer Store owned by the big three or the governmentally monopolistic LCBO. It's a practical problem as Ontario include 344,092 separate square miles. Bigger than France. Bigger than Japan. Almost as big as France plus Japan. Getting the product to the auslanders is a heck of a task. I will keep an eye on that but let's be clear - good step for good Ontario beer.
- I even have a bit of trouble getting Ontario samples. It's just not done as much as in the US or elsewhere. But the week before last a truck from Creemore Springs rolled up into our suburban driveway and an eight-pack of this year's version of their well-respected Kellerbier was dropped of. Nice touch with the use of multi-ton machinery. The beer is a delight - smooth and malty, nutty with a neatly placed hop bit to cut the cloy. Not an extreme anything or a double imperial whtchamacallit. Just quality beer.
- And the Speaker of Ontario's legislature, Steve Peters, has announced the annual selection of the Member of Provincial Parliaments' six favorite beers. The Speak added his own selection, choosing Dead Elephant Ale from Railway City Brewing from St. Thomas, in honour the 125th anniversary of the death of circus elephant Jumbo. Quite an appropriate as Jumbo was killed by, you know, a train. That's your Ontario fact for the day.
I've yet to have a DEA as St. Thomas, where the beer is made, is 453 km from here, a distance greater than Prague from Munich. or here to Scranton PA for that matter. As I said, Ontario is a big place. Where things are happening.