Category Archives: Beer and Wellness

BloomsdayTO is tomorrow!

When I started planning this run I figured I would probably have about half of the 21 venues I was visiting taking part. That all but two offered to help me collect funds for Northern Alberta is pretty damn special.

This is absolutely one of my favourite things about Toronto’s craft beer community. I can send an email to just about any brewer and know that I’ll reach someone who doesn’t have to consult half a dozen others on something as simple as setting out a jar for one day. The overwhelming support from so many individuals is what makes it feel like community, more than industry.

Kudos, by the way, to Folly Brewpub and Steam Whistle, both of which already raised money for Fort McMurray through their own initiatives and still enthusiastically jumped on board with mine.

(the icon on the top left pops out the directory)

This is obviously my last update before I start bouncing between breweries tomorrow, with my RunTOBeer co-captain Rich Kuchinsky (the man loves beer as much as I do, and running even more!).

The RunTOBeer community has been incredibly supportive of this, already donating nearly $400.00 and sending lots of online love. Several members will be joining me at various stages of the journey.

Last night a few Tribe Fitness members joined me for a run and pitched in another $80.00. Big thanks to Heather Gardner for helping organize that.

Even if you can’t make a donation you can still help by sharing the message. Thursday, please use your social media accounts to let people know they can support a local brewery and help other Canadians get back on their feet, all while doing themselves a favour by picking up great beer. Use the Hashtag #BloomsdayTO when you do. I’ll be watching for it.

Finally, you can track my journey on Instagram & Twitter by following me at @BrewScout. I’ll be updating at every stop along the way.

This is the final list of breweries accepting donations on June 16th, in the order I’ll reach them. Please give them your support.

  1. Muddy York
  2. Left Field
  3. Louis Cifer
  4. House Ales (BarVolo)
  5. Steam Whistle
  6. Bellwoods
  7. Folly Brewpub
  8. Blood Brothers
  9. Burdock
  10. Halo
  11. Henderson
  12. Lansdowne
  13. Bandit
  14. Indie Ale House
  15. Junction Craft
  16. Rainhard
  17. Great Lakes
  18. Cool Brewery
  19. Black Oak

RunTOBeer, to the Junction!

These are just a few of the styles on offer at Junction Craft Brewing (@junctioncraft), which is where RunTOBeer is headed, Sunday.

Junction Craft Brewing
We’re going to Junction Craft Brewing

If you’ve never been, Junction has a bunch of great taps serving up a wide variety of styles. You’re going to love it.

So far we have nearly 90 people indicating they’re joining us (and a couple dozen maybes). There’s still plenty of room on the sidewalks for more!

Visit our Facebook page for more details

Mikkeller Running Club

Mikkeller Running Club
Mikkeller Running Club
What: Mikkeller Running Club Toronto
Who: Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, Søren Runge, Tej Sandhu, Dan Grant
Where: Bier Markt King West
When: Every 1st Saturday, 12:00pm – Starting June 6
Why: Because who doesn’t like drinking beer after a run?
Toronto now on the Mikkeller Running Club destination list
Look! Toronto’s there!

Mikkeller Running Club (MRC) is coming to Toronto! MRC was established in 2014 by legendary brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and MRC President Søren Runge. The club has taken off around the world with chapters in Copenhagen, Paris, London, Chicago, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Boston, Norfolk, San Francisco, Montreal, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, Aarhus, and Reykjavik with new clubs opening every month.

MRC’s newest chapter in Toronto will be spearheaded by Tej Sandhu and Dan Grant; the same two behind Toronto’s RunTOBeer crew. The opportunity to bring MRC to Toronto came while Tej was travelling to London, UK in January where he ran with the local MRC chapter on their inaugural run.

The RunTOBeer crew
RunTOBeer at the Brewer’s Backyard (May, 2015)

MRC Toronto will be based out of Bier Markt King West. After the initial runs, Bier Markt King West will be offering Mikkeller products currently available in the LCBO, and discussions have been started to bring exclusive Mikkeller product in for club members only.

Speed is not the main goal for Mikkeller Running Club. Having fun in a great social environment is our top priority. Every first Saturday of the month MRC will meet for a training session starting and ending at our clubhouse. After running we share a couple of beers, with the first round on the house for members only!

To join MRC Toronto, members must purchase the Mikkeller Running Club T-Shirt (~$15 CAD + shipping), available here: http://shop.mikkeller.dk/shop/merchandise/mikkeller-running-club-membership/

The inaugural run takes place at 12:00pm on June 6 at Bier Markt King West!

For additional information, please contact Tej Sandhu (tej@thefanaticinc.com)

3 Bean Salad & Goose IPA

People who know things recommend you get protein in your system shortly after finishing a long run. They say it helps rebuild the muscles you’ve just torn down, which speeds up your recovery.

Beer not only has protein, but also chromium (important for distance runners and hard to come by in a non-supplement form), sodium, magnesium, calcium and carbs. This makes it a far better post-workout drink than water.

The nice thing about Goose Island’s Goose IPA is it also pairs brilliantly with this protein-, iron- and fibre-rich, three bean salad. Each has citrus, pepper and fresh, earthy characteristics. Together, it’s an easy, delicious combo that just feels right after a satisfying workout.

Bean salad stays good in the fridge for a few days, so make it in advance. After toweling the sweat out of your eyes and uploading your run stats, fill a bowl, crack open the beer and just feel great for a while.

My version is ever-so-slightly adapted from OhSheGlows’ Speedy Three Bean Salad.

Three Bean Salad with Goose IPA
Three Bean Salad with Goose IPA

TIME NEEDED

About 15 minutes prep.

About 4 hours before eating.

INGREDIENTS

Stage 1

handful of green beans, chopped, with the ends removed

19oz can of chickpeas, strained

19oz can of red kidney beans, strained

Stage 2 (The Dressing)

8 tablespoons lemon juice

1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

generous amounts of black pepper

Stage 3

1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped fine

2 green onions, chopped coarse

Stage 4

fresh parsley, chopped fine

OPTIONAL

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 radishes, sliced thin

Three kinds of beans
Stage 1 – Three kinds of beans
Directions:
  1. Add green beans to a pot of simmering water and leave them until they’re no longer crisp — likely about 10 minutes (if you like your chickpeas and kidney beans a bit mushy, you can do the same for them).
  2. Mix all the Stage 2 ingredients (lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, pepper) in a bowl until it has a vinegrette-like consistency.
  3. When the beans are to your liking, strain and put them in a big bowl.
  4. Add Stage 3 ingredients (bell pepper, jalapeño, green onion) – and optional ingredients, if you so desire – to the beans.
  5. Add dressing, and stir.
  6. Cover, and let sit a couple hours in the fridge.
  7. Stir again and throw the covered salad back in the fridge for a couple more hours.
  8. Add parsley.
The Dressing
Stage 2 – The Dressing
Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, Jalapeño
Stage 3 – Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, Jalapeño

HINT: It’s best (but not necessary) to leave the parsley until you’re ready to eat. I just chop as much as I need when I dish out my individual servings.

GOOSE ISLAND GOOSE IPA

Goose Island Goose IPA
Goose Island Goose IPA

Availability: LCBO, The Beer Store and pubs where Labatt has some influence

Special Notes: This beer uses 2- and 6-row malt, and has won a tonne of awards in the English style IPA category, in major competitions.

Stats: 5.9% ABV, 55 IBUs

The Biggest #RunTOBeer Yet!

A few weeks ago I was asked to host the introduction of three breweries (Liberty Village, Great Lakes and Nickel Brook) to the membership of Toronto’s SOHO House. That’s where I got into a beer-fueled brainstorming session with Tej Sandhu – who coordinates the SOHO House craft beer launches – and his very astute wife, Andrea.

Tej, you should know, is the co-founder of #RunTOBeer. When I put out a series of tweets last March for others to join me in a jog to Mill Street, he was the only one to show up on a punishingly cold Sunday morning, to putter along over 5km of ice and misery. Since then, he and I have been working together to build a running club that’s both enjoyable and rewarding (we have a few big announcements to make in the next couple of months).

Tej & me, following our February run to BarHop
Tej & me, following our February run to BarHop

But Andrea suggested we could grow the club even more if we added a shorter route, for those that aren’t quite ready to do 5km.

And yeah, she nailed it. I think it’s pretty safe to say ours is now the fastest growing running club in Toronto, if not Canada.

For our May 18th run to the Brewer’s Backyard, for the first time we have three (3) distance options. As soon as we announced that, the numbers began to swell.

Then blogTO caught wind of it and suddenly everything blew up. We went from expecting 30 Victoria Day runners, to possibly north of 200!

Brewer's Backyard, Queen Victoria's Secret
Brewer’s Backyard, Queen Victoria’s Secret

We’ve had to make a few adjustments, like shifting the start times earlier so we arrive as the event opens. I’m already dreading the ticket lines, but I’ve been in touch with the event organizer and we’ll do what we can to make things move a bit more smoothly. As for the brewery reps — I can’t even imagine how they’ll be able to pour fast enough, with everyone arriving at once.

But as far as we’re concerned, the more runners the better.  If you’re interested in joining what will likely be Toronto’s biggest free run this year, the details are on our Facebook event page.

Vegan Mac’n’Cheese with Niagara Oast House Saison

If you live in Southern Ontario, you’ve probably noticed Mother Nature has taken a cue from the Toronto Maple Leafs and stopped caring. February and March were miserable. Spring looks bleak…

Times like these require comfort food and beer!

A big ol’ casserole dish of vegan mac’n’cheese is ideal, because it’s great out of the oven and just as tasty reheated. It’s as satisfying at lunch as at the end of a night out.

Like many of my recipes, I make mine spicier than others might enjoy. If you want a bit less heat, try subbing out the cayenne and chopped serrano pepper for cracked black pepper and green onion.

I’m enjoying mine with a Niagara Oast House Saison (7.0%). This beautiful beer’s earthiness and peppery bite are a stellar complement to the cheddar-like flavour of the mac’n’cheese.

Did I mention how great this is reheated?
Did I mention how great this is reheated?
TIME NEEDED

About 30 minutes, start to finish

INGREDIENTS

Stage 1

1/2 bag (about 450 grams) of macaroni

Stage 2

1/3 package (about 125 grams) of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon of miso paste

A squirt of dijon mustard

Stage 3

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 cup of plain, unsweetened almond milk or soy milk

1/2 cup of water

1/6 cup soya sauce

OPTIONAL

Spicy

serrano or jalapeño pepper, chopped

cayenne pepper

Mild

green onion, chopped

black pepper

Nutritional Yeast, tastes like nutty cheddar flakes
Nutritional Yeast, tastes like nutty cheddar flakes
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Boil pasta until soft, not gooey. While that’s happening you should have time to prepare the rest.
  3. Throw all the ingredients from Stage 2 in a blender. Don’t start it yet.
  4. Combine all the Stage 3 ingredients (the liquids) in a large measuring cup. It should come to just under 2 cups.
  5. When the pasta is done, strain it.
  6. Pour the Stage 3 (liquid) ingredients in with the Stage 2 (non-liquid) stuff and blend it up! Let it go for a while, so the contents become really creamy.
  7. While the blender’s doing its thing, move the pasta into a casserole dish and spread it around evenly.
  8. Cover the pasta with the sauce you’ve just made.
  9. Add optional ingredients to suit your taste.
  10. Bake for about 10-15 minutes (no lid required), stirring once.
  11. It’s ready.
Macaroni in a strainer
Straining the macaroni
Macaroni about to go into the oven
Macaroni covered in vegan cheese sauce
Chopped serrano pepper
Chopped serrano pepper
Vegan Mac'n'Cheese, spiced up and ready to go in the oven
Vegan Mac’n’Cheese, spiced up and ready to go in the oven
Vegan Mac'n'Cheese, right out of the oven
Vegan Mac’n’Cheese, right out of the oven

NIAGARA OAST HOUSE SAISON

Niagara Oast House Saison
Niagara Oast House Saison

Availability: LCBO (750 ml bottles) and at the brewery.

Notes: This farmhouse style is bottle conditioned (the aging date is stamped on the back) and pours beautifully, with a solid, generous head that disappears slowly and leaves a cloud of lacing as you drink.

ABV: 7.0% according to the bottle, but 6.5% if you trust the LCBO’s website.

HINT
  • I picked up some spicy sesame seeds (pictured below) at a Day Of The Dead festival. They’re sooooo good sprinkled over mac’n’cheese!
Spicy Sesame Seeds
If you can find ’em, grab ’em!

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and Cameron’s Lager

I mentioned in my last recipe / beer pairing that I’m awfully fond of spicy food. I also really like when cooking doesn’t take a lot of effort. This healthy, vegan recipe is super easy.

I’ve been playing around with Buffalo Cauliflower Wings since last summer – pretty happy with where I’ve got it now.

You could simplify this further by choosing just one type of flour, but I find the combination of buckwheat and whole wheat makes the batter just gluey enough, without gumming up inside the cauliflower’s little pockets.

I downed this batch with a bottle (or two) of Cameron’s Lager (5.0%); a tasty, refreshing German Pilsner that washes away the heat from the Buffalo Sauce, so each bite has all the flavour of the one before.

TIME NEEDED

About 25 minutes, start to finish

INGREDIENTS

Stage 1

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup water

Stage 2

1 head of cauliflower

Stage 3

3/4 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce

OPTIONAL
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper
Individual cauliflower florets
Individual cauliflower florets
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a cookie sheet with a non-stick silicone mat or parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, mix Stage 1 ingredients (flour & water) until batter forms
  3. Break apart the cauliflower head into individual florets, and toss around in the batter until completely covered
  4. Let excess batter drip off, then place florets on the lined cookie sheet
  5. Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once so they cook evenly
  6. When the exterior is completely cooked, toss wings in Buffalo Sauce until completely covered
  7. Add optional ingredients, as desired
  8. Get your beer from the fridge and feast, dammit!
Cauliflower florets, tossed in buckwheat & whole wheat flour batter
Cauliflower florets, tossed in buckwheat & whole wheat flour batter
Battered florets, on a lined cookie sheet
Battered florets, on a lined cookie sheet
Battered and baked
Battered and baked
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings with Cameron's Lager
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings with Cameron’s Lager

CAMERON’S LAGER

Cameron's Lager
Cameron’s Lager

Availability: Beer Store, LCBO and Cameron’s Retail store in 341mL six-packs and 473mL tall boy cans.

Special Notes: This beer wins plenty of awards, including being crowned BeerInfo.com’s best German Pilsner in the world (2012).

ABV: 5.0%