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.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend In Buffalo

I don't get to Buffalo that often, but I had the chance to hit the road this weekend with my wife and another couple and Buffalo was our destination. Unfortunately I had to miss the Muskoka Beer Festival for the second time in as many years, but I was glad to hear that the festival was a success again this year upon my return home.

We made it over the border first thing in the morning to do a little bit of shopping before heading over to Consumers Beverages, which is conveniently located minutes away by car (from the outlet mall). We loaded up the cart with some beers you can't find here in Ontario, even scooping up the last bottles they had of Saison Dupont and Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace.

After the back of the car was full of beer we headed to Elmwood Village to check into our hotel. Our goal was to head out for a bit to eat, get a couple of beers somewhere and check out the progress on the Blue Monk (the Blue Monk, for those of you who don't know, is a new project that Cole's owner, Mike Shatzel, has been working on. It is going to be a Belgian beer bar right in the heart of Elmwood Village).  There was an art festival taking place that had Elmwood Avenue closed to vehicles, so we strolled through the crowd watching individuals drinking beer openly and freely on the road - something we'd never see here in Ontario.

Shatzel was hoping to have the Blue Monk open for the weekend (for the art festival crowd) but their liquor permit is taking longer than expected and by Wednesday of last week he realized that it wouldn't be approved in time. Nonetheless, Shatzel had the new location open on Saturday. There was no food being served, and obviously no beer, but there were loads of people coming in off the street to walk around the place checking it out. Shatzel told me that the place was busy from the minute he opened the doors and that many of the people stopped by to offer him well wishes in securing the much needed permit. *Update: Forgot to mention at time of posting* - Shatzel hoped to be open in two weeks

The building isn't hard to miss as the front of the place is painted blue and there is a large mural indicating the name of the establishment painted on the wall above the entrance (on the north side). Walking in from the street you'll find yourself immediately in the bar area. Two clear garage doors roll up letting in the sun at the front of the building and the bar is situated along the south side wall. It's a long shiny wooden bar that has numerous stools to accommodate customers. Glassware of all shapes and sizes sit on shelving behind the bar, ready to serve their respective beer, which will flow from one of the 26 draught lines.

There is Belgian beer signage scattered on the walls throughout the lower level and you'll find more of the same on the upper level of the bar. There is a small sidewalk sit-down in front of the building where people will be able to drink under a large awning to beat the heat.

Walking back to the hotel we stopped into the Village Beer Merchant to pick up some more beer. Never being in VBM before I didn't know what to expect. I was pleased with their selection and pricing and I thoroughly enjoyed going through their big collection of rare beers. Growler fills seem to be popular at the store, so said the one staff member who was pouring some Dale's Pale Ale for a customer.

Cole's was our destination for dinner... and some drinks. We started off big with the new Ithaca Super Friends IPA (collaboration: Ithaca, Ommegang, Captain Lawrence, Flying Fish, Southampton Publick House)- very very good. Lots of exotic fruit on the nose with notes of vanilla and loads of hops on the palate. I had to get another at the end of the night. We made it through a bunch of others before heading back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.

No comments:

Web Analytics

Winter Ale