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.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Session #20 - Beer Memories

After taking a brief hiatus from participating in the monthly Sessions I decided to get back in when I saw this month's topic: 'Beer Memories'. The topic was chosen by Bathtub Brewery Beer Blog who are also graciously hosting.

I have many good memories that involve beer, ones from my youth when I first held a macro lager to my lips. More memories from my late teens when hockey, baseball and rugby matches meant getting together with the boys for some drinks afterwards, those were some good times with some good stories. Other memories have been created since I embarked on this craft beer and pub writing, tasting and promoting journey. Events like the Canadian Brewing Awards, Dogfish Head Beer Dinner, Volo Cask Days and the day classes with Ron Keefe last fall have all created good memories, as have trips to places like the Granite, C'est What, Propeller, Cameron's, Mill Street, Bar Volo (which include conversations with Ralph) and my frequent night caps at Halifax's Henry House. The list can go on and on.

I'm sure you're all probably tired of my mentioning the Henry House, I've wrote about it before numerous times and the story is also featured in the Fall issue of TAPS, but here I am to tell you about how it is the best beer memory I have.

When I was living in Halifax and breathing the ocean air, I would make the 2 minute walk from the front door of my apartment building over to the Henry House every Thursday evening with a handful of close friends. We would gather in the basement pub, order food and delicious cask conditioned ale and catch up with one another. We would converse with bartender Mel, who was always quick with a joke or a sarcastic comment. We would always say that we only had a two beer limit before heading home, but we rarely stuck to our guns, sometimes staying until closing.

The owners, Bill and Donna, were/are fantastic people who always treated us right. They were accommodating, quickly realizing how much their pub meant to me and the others and they never hesitated to venture over to our table for a conversation. Combine all these elements together and you can realize why I miss it so much. My fiance and I got engaged at Peggy's Cove and to help celebrate the occasion we all (big group) headed to the pub where we were greeted with toast's from Mel and Donna, much to our bewilderment. The memories created by the staff will never be forgotten on my part and whenever I think of Halifax or hear about the east coast brewing industry, I can't help but remember all the good times I shared in the pub.

As I mentioned earlier, there are so many other memories that I'll be able to hang onto forever. Like the time I interviewed Sam Caligione from Dogfish Head when he was in Toronto. One of the first beer books I ever read cover to cover, over and over, was Caligione's "Brewing up a Business" and when I heard he was coming to Toronto for a beer dinner I knew I had to meet him. I was lucky enough to steal him away from the crowd for 30 mins to ask him some questions and now everytime I drink a Dogfish product I'll remember that interview.

Same can be said for meeting and interviewing Garrett Oliver late last month at Fionn MacCool's. His book, Brewmaster's Table, is another beer book that I can't live without and meeting the larger than life beer figure was pretty special to me.

On the beer side of things, whenever I see a bottle Old English malt liquor in the liquor store or see a discarded one on the street, I remember the first time I couldn't see straight. Or when I am offered a Molson or Coors product I think about the after rugby parties in high school. So many craft beers have provided me with lasting memories that I am grateful for and I know there are many more to come.

1 comment:

Teena in Toronto said...

We didn't see you last night at C'est What ...

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