Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Volo Cask Days 2007: Toronto, ON

My first reaction after leaving Volo's Cask Days: WOW!!

I had never been to Volo before; since I was living away in Halifax and just recently moved here to Toronto I never had the chance. But I managed to get a ticket through TAPS beer magazine to attend Volo's third annual Cask Days.

Volo is known for their terrific beer selection and their dedication to local products like Ontario Craft Brewers. It is a small location at 587 Yonge Street in Toronto that offers a nice relaxing and intimate setting. Great music, great food and outstanding staff, round out all the qualities that make Volo a fabulous place.

This event caters to the real ale drinkers as cask ale is typically referred to as 'real ale'. It is beer that has been taken from the fermentation tanks early and let to ferment in the cask. It is typically unfiltered, unpasteurised, and possesses no additional gasses. This produces a fresher beer that offers better aroma's than say, a draught beer. (Click here for more info)

As I walked down Yonge Street and approached Volo, I could see rows and rows of the casks perched on the patio and I increased my walking tempo. I got inside for the first session of the day that included a delicious breakfast and a preview of all the beer available. So far so good.

Once 11am hit, Ralph Morana (owner) introduced himself to the crowd and promptly went outside and tapped the first Cask, officially starting the drinking. I started off with a Keefe's Oak Chipped Irish Stout made by Ron Keefe at the Granite. According to Ron, he added dry oak chips and a small amount of hops to the cask of his regular Irish stout to give it some added flavour. Most breweries in attendance were members of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association and represented themselves well. Many of the breweries created some terrific one-offs like Hockley Valley's Traditional Dark with Vanilla Beans, or Magnotta's Weizen flavoured American IPA called Fog on the Tyne and Black Oak's Bourbon Barreled 2005 Nutcracker Porter.

In total there were over 20 breweries represented with 30 different casks in different styles. There were the hop heavy beers, stouts and porters and even a home brewing club's beers (which were terrific).

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I plan to attend both days next year. It was a great event to get out and talk to the brewers, as most were in attendance. As always, it was fun to talk to other people that share the passion for quality beer. Volo is a terrific place and a top destination for beer drinkers. As a matter of fact, I am heading there again tonight for some more delicious pints.

See you there.


Anonymous said...

Hey buddy, hows toronto for ya. I was wondering when cask days are?

Grande Prairie, Ab

Stonch said...

It's great to see cask ale outside of the UK. Keep it up!

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