It occurs to me that a good subject for those monthly hosting sessions – where a blogger selects a topic for longer treatment by the Faculty – would be thusly: if you could choose on every outing to have the perfect beer experience, would you? Or would you rather negotiate the twists and turns of many bar sorties, i.e., where some or all of the beer inevitably is disappointing or middling? I think I’d opt for the former. When all goes right it induces a particular well-being rather beyond the efficacies of mere alcohol. On the other hand, there is a lot to be said for seeking the wilder shores of beerdom: the inevitable founderings, and dull destinations, are off-set by the El Dorados found.
A pint of County Durham XXX on hand pump today at Bar Volo was as perfect as cask can be: limpid at the sight, low bubble but just enough, full-tasted with English tradition written all over it. Not a single fault (oxidation, over-age, etc.) to mar the experience. Durham, long-established as a quality ale purveyor at the city’s eastern edge, rarely disappoints, but this particular pint of XXX was surpassingly good.
Later, in the Pilot a few blocks north, the new Mountain Lager from Side Launch Brewing Company in Collingwood, ON stunned by its rich clean malt qualities and complex, just-right Noble hop underpinning. The hops had a decided peppery note, not sure which sub-set of German hop mastery was employed here but the brew was like a fully-realized art work, in a word the apotheosis of the helles tradition. Amongst the many qualities, there was no hint of DMS, a taste traditional for some helles and other blonde lagers to be sure, but which does not enhance top quality, IMO.
And so it was a two-run homer out there in the brewing fields. The fine Canuck rock song, Kim Mitchell’s Lager And Ale, was ringing in my mind as I departed down the aluminum stairs, my decisions this time gave the very best results.
The metallic-theme decor of the Pilot reprises the look of the original location on Yonge Street, not far away. During the war it was a resort of RCAF and other fliers training in the area, hence the all-time-zones 40’s-style clocks which festoon the main room and other period touches.
(Thanks to my buddy Rick Radell for his kind help to improve the first image above).