Hahaha, thanks for the toast! And no prob on the thread merge. As long as there's somewhere I can talk about our country's beer then it's all good.
To add to this thread, I must say I'm pleasantly surprised with Big Rock's Winter Spice Ale. 6.0% and full of flavour. It's a seasonal so if it sounds good, try to get some before spring(?)
To restate my previous question though, can anyone recommend any solid places to drink beer in this country? I'm always touring around and like to hit the pubs, restaurants, and bars that provide a good atmosphere for having a beer. To recommend a couple in Sault Ste. Marie:
Loplops - the owner's father (who's also the bartender) goes down to the Guelph area all the time and brings up kegs of things like Barking Squirrel and Stonehammer. They also stock their fridge with a big selection of Ontario brews and international imports as well. If you're into liquor, they have a decent Scotch selection and some finer vodkas, tequilas, etc. The place is kind of artsy and they often have musical artists playing at night (I've seen everything from jazz to electronica to rock). It's a cool place but a bit pricey...for me though, living here in SSM, it's a good place to go for something different.
Reggie's Tavern - this place is the exact opposite of Loplops. As the name suggests, it's a tavern, through and through. The only thing on tap is Bud. If you order a pitcher, don't even specify...you're getting a pitcher of Bud. To me the beer also tastes like what I imagine urine tastes like and leaves me with hangovers that are not unlike being hit in the head with a wrecking ball. So why the hell do I go to this place? On Friday/Saturday night (and sometimes other nights), the place is packed with the types you would expect to frequent a tavern, and they have a live cover band in there damn near every night (Sunday night is karaoke). Also, the toxic pitchers of Bud are 60oz and $11 ($10 during the day). I rest my case.
Here in the West Island of Montreal I'd recommend:
Brasserie le Manoir - An institution. When it was being built back in 1971, in the middle of a field in the suburbs, a lot of people thought they were building a church. In a way they were right. A good place to go with a bunch of people to drink and watch a game.
Annies in Ste. Anne de Bellevue. College party crowd on weekends. Busy terrace on the canal in summer. Nice owner.
Black Lion Pub in Beaurepaire Village. Nice big covered outdoor balcony upstairs, decent food, friendly staff, good selection of beer, and best of all just down the street from my house
I am considering moving to Montreal for Dieu du Ciel alone.
Right now I am sipping some Peche Mortel I imported back to MA with me.
I assume many of you are homebrewers. Anybody have success culturing the lees from a bottle of your fav. unfiltered beer and making a pitchable starter with it? I am going to attempt to do so right in this bottle TONIGHT!
Also, what is the deal with Provincial beer distribution laws? When I am in NS the selection is terrible. Do breweries need produce in the province they intend to sell the beer in? Granted, Garrison brewery in Halifax is quite good. Extra points for their custom bottles - very old school.
Alley Kat and Ambers' Brewing make some nice brews. Both have some unusual items as well (Mead, Grog). Not sure what availability is like outside of Edmonton.
I also enjoy the beer at Brewsters, which is a microbrew pub with a few locations in Alberta.
Grandville Island Brewery has some nice beers. And I'm not sure what distribution is like outside of western Canada, but Big Rock also has a nice variety.
If anyone is in Edmonton, check out Sherbrooke Liquor. Epic beer selection. I drool at the website from time to time, but haven't yet made it to the store. They also sponsor a brewing competition and put the winner's brew on the shelf.
Unibroue, but they are much larger now so may not be considered a micro. Still it is a craft brewery bar none. My latest is Tree Beer's Pilsener. I think they dry hop it and it is in King cans... great combo.
I'm definitely a fan of the Unibroue selection. They've got a cool website that gives a fair bit of info about their beers. This summer me and my buddy decided to cellar a dozen of the bigger bottles (750 ml??). We put 8 Fin du Mondes and 4 Maudites in a box in his basement and our goal is to tap into them once every six months or so...we'll see how that goes. I also tried one a while back from Unibroue called "Terrible". I found it in a liquor store in Michigan...haven't seen it here in Canada and found no reference to it on their website but it was definitely Unibroue. Can't even really comment on whether it was good or not...drank it near the tail end of a 6 or 7 beer session...definitely had the characteristic yeasty taste of other Unibroue beers (no I don't drink the lees, but I still find these beers a bit yeasty...kind of like Belgian trippels). The only ones the LCBO carries though are Fin du Monde, Maudite, Trois Pistoles, and Blanche du Chamblay...we used to be able to get Raftsmen and I noticed some stores still carry a couple bottles of L'Ephemere Apple but they've discontinued it otherwise.
On another note, I checked out a Brewsters in Edmonton last summer and really enjoyed it. I think I drank the Rig Pig something or other for most of the night and enjoyed it. The gf had the raspberry ale I think...beers were definitely good and the food was good too. Would go back for sure. Actually while we were out there we wound up in the parks and hit up the Jasper Brewing Company...wasn't a bad place. Good for the night life and the beer and food were tasty. Plus it's just cool hanging out in Jasper.
My favorite has to be the Cascadian Brown Ale from Phillips Brewing in Victoria BC. Their double IPA is also fantastic. Their standard pale ale is great too.
I was out in BC last year and discovered Phillips. Their selection is amazing!
In Ontario, we have Beaus and Mill St that I like a lot.
I find that Quebec has better beers than Ontario. Unibroue and Dieu Du Ciel to name a couple. There are lots of Quebec micros doing Belgian styles.