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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Beer Appreciation Week #4

Instead of meeting on Sunday at George Brown College, the class headed to the Granite Brewery at 245 Eglinton Avenue East to take a tour of the brewery and to sample all of the beers.

There was a section of tables reserved for our group ahead of time and we all gathered in the back by the actual brewing area. The fireplace was on and the music was great which created such a great setting for a night of tasting.

Ron Keefe, owner of the Granite, who also happens to be the instructor of the course, started us off with a taste of his India Pale Ale. This is a great beer as it is cask conditioned and served via hand pulled. Brewed using Golden Kent hops and dry hopped with fuggles, the aroma is very nice. Some of the people in the class had never been to the Granite before and were quite impressed with the IPA.

Ron talked about how he came to owning a brewery/brew pub and told us about some of the interesting bylaws in this city. He explained how the brewery has progressed throughout the years by adding new beers and expanding the back patio for summer months. After finishing the IPA, Keefe took us into the brewing area to explain just how beer is produced. He showed us the ingredients, told us their purpose and showed step by step details from start to finish. I always learn better through visual stimulants and this was the best way for the class to gain a better appreciation for beer.

We headed back out to our tables and sampled the Ringwood Ale and the Ringberry Ale side by side. I am a fan of Keefe Ringberry even though I am not a huge fan of fruiter beers. We picked out Swedish berries in the nose of the beer. Following those beers we tasted the Best Bitter and Best Bitter Special side by side to see if we could tell them apart. Well, you'd have to have no sense of smell not to tell them apart. The BBS is dry hopped in the cask and served with a strong floral aroma. It is a beautiful beer. The last tastings of the night belonged to Peculiar and Keefe's Irish Stout. Both excellent beers and two of the founding beers Keefe brewed in his early days.

Keefe, the ever gracious host, brought out food and provided us with a growler of Peculiar and Bill Perrie's book Craft Breweries of Ontario. It was a fun night and some of us stayed a little later chatting with Ron about all things beer. He is a passionate man when you get him on the subject and he was never hesitant to answer any questions. Best class to date.

Until next week, drink up!!

For more information on the Granite see my previous post or visit their website at

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