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Issue 190

January 2019

Double Decade Edition

Beer Of The Month | The Good Tap | Tap Feature | Trivia Night IX | Leah's Beer School | Featured Show


Beer Of The Month

Ahtanum Leaves Single Hop IPA

6.8%, 64 IBU, Shillow

A West Coast style IPA brewed with the remaining stock of the now-retired Ahtanum hop. Loads of caramel and crystal malts give this beer a malty core to support the earthy, grapefruit-like hop character.


A Buck-A-Beer For The Better: The Good Tap

Mint Condition Imperial Stout

8.0%, Northern Maverick

The Good Tap is a monthly rotating tap feature curated by the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies. This month, in collaboration with Northern Maverick Brewing Co, the Ladies bring us the perfectly decadent Mint Condition – an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with chocolate and mint.

Donations of $1 for every pint and $0.50 from every half pint will go directly to the Ladies charity of choice, the Canadian Women’s Foundation.


Tap Feature: The Exchange Brewery

Thursday January 10, from 5 PM

Straight from Niagara-On-the-Lake, the folks from Exchange are bringing a blend of old and new with a selection of sour and funky Belgian-style brews and deliciously fresh American-style ales. 


Trivia Night IX

Millennial Edition

Wednesday January 16, 8 PM, Free Admission

Don’t worry Millennials, it’s not all about you. Our first trivia night of 2019 takes a retrospective look at history, pop culture and music from the last two decades. Take your transporter back to Y2K, dialup Internet, MySpace, Destiny’s Child and to a time when George W. Bush was America’s worst president.


Leah's Beer School

Lesson 3: A Dubbel Trap

Trappist and Abbey Ales are an elusive group when it comes to classification, as neither term denotes a single style.  In general, categorization is based on amount of malt and relative strength – Single, Dubbel, Tripel and Quadruple where the Single is has the lowest ABV (below 6%) and the Quadruple has the highest (8-12%).

Trappist v Abbey Ales

The real distinction between Trappist and Abbey ales came about in 1962, as a result of a ruling where Biere Trappiste or Trappistenbier became a legal appellation. In accordance with the rules, a Trappist beer must be brewed by monks, or under the direct supervision of monks within a Trappist monastery. The brewery must always be of secondary importance to the monastery, and is not meant to be a profit-making venture.  

This landmark ruling was the result of legal action spearheaded by Chimay against several breweries, some secular and others without monastic connection, which were making beer commercially and calling them Trappist Ales. As a result, the primary difference between Abbey and Trappist beers is that Abbey ales are brewed for profit, whereas Trappist beer is made as a means of self-sufficiency to cover monastic living expenses and maintenance, with proceeds going to charity and community outreach programs. 

In 1997, eight Trappist breweries came together to found the International Trappist Association (ITA), to protect themselves against others using the Trappist name. Since 1997, authentic Trappist beer can be recognized by a hexagonal logo on the label. Presently, there are only twelve Trappist breweries in the world: six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one each in Austria, England, Italy and USA.


Lesson 2 Supplemental: Porter and Stout – Close Relatives

by John Grimley

So, I’m chatting to the brewer at The Old Harbour brew pub (sadly, now closed) in San Juan PR. You could easily tell he was the brewer; he was the only one wearing Wellington boots, along with shorts and jazzy shirt.

“Ah, Señor, I see you ‘ave our Cervezia Kofresi. Waddayou think of our stout?” he asks, with a proud, expectant smile.

I sip again, then hesitate before I answer. His smile drops a little. 

“Wandering towards a porter, I’d say?”

His head starts to lower a little, “Si”, he says looking slightly embarrassed. “- but it is hard to get the right ingredients way out here”.

I drink again and knowing smiles return to both our faces. 

Both ales and often very similar in appearance, it can be a tough task, putting into words just what the differences are between stout and porter. Our senses of smell, taste and touch (‘mouthfeel’) give us that instant recognition – few could confuse a Dublin Guinness and a Fuller’s London Porter, two globally recognised benchmarks of these two basic styles.  

The dry Irish stout shows distinct English hop notes along with its burnt – acidic, not strong –  notes from the heavily-roasted unmalted barley that is added to the usual pale malt to give it its distinctive looks and flavour. Some, who don’t care for stout because “it’s too strong”, are often surprised to learn that, in terms of alcohol content, it is not far from Coors Light, at 4.2%.

The black brew from across the Irish Sea is, by comparison, a relatively hefty 5.4%. Yet the porter doesn’t seem to taste as “strong” as the stout. While it might, on first glance seem the same opaque colour, hold them both up to the light. The stout displays ruby highlights down around the base of the glass; the porter much more so. So it’s not as ‘black’ after all. It’s more fruity in the nose and tastes roasted rather than burnt – less acidic.

Historically, porter, which pre-dates stout, appeared around the turn of the eighteenth century as a blend of three beers mixed by London publicans, initially called “Entire”. The local breweries cottoned on, brewed it and named it, so legend says, after the market workers who slaked their thirsts with this their favourite tipple. By the way, to this day some market area pubs open around 6am in England, to cater to the market workers who are finishing their work at that time of day; they’re called “early houses”. 

Stout developed from porter later in early 18th century, when it was initially known as “Stout Porter”. The word ‘stout’ at that time could be applied to any beer and merely marked it a relatively strong beer, in terms of alcohol content. Stout was significantly stronger, around 7.5%, than the Guinness we know today. Indeed, Arthur Guinness was brewing porter long before his now famous stout. His very first stout was called “Extra Superior Porter”. By 1840, he had gone with the trends and renamed it “Extra Stout”.

While all this is going on in Ireland, England is developing it’s own style of sweet stout, also labelled cream stout or milk stout, so called because lactose, a sugar found in milk, does not succumb to yeast’s fermentation and remains intact in the beer, giving a distinctly sweet flavour. Mackeson Stout is a long-established version.

So chronologically, stout is the ‘son of porter’. Over time, porter has kept its strength, while mainstream stout (along with many beer styles which have morphed with time) has seen its alcohol percentage steadily fall from those heady heights, reflecting a decrease in the basic pale malt content of the recipe. Guinness, however, still does brew a strong “Foreign Extra Stout” version which can present as high as 7.5%. Other specialist, higher alcohol versions persist (e.g. robust porter, Baltic porter and Russian imperial stout) and are enjoying a resurgence, thanks to the craft beer revolution, of which we are part today. 

Not content with these historical styles, craft brewers have, and continue, to both blur and widen the definitions of these two basic styles, in an explosion of variations. In addition to the above porters, we can now also choose from American, Pre-Prohibition, Czech and Imperial porter styles.

To stouts, add these styles: Oatmeal, American, West Coast and Breakfast.

Another dimension is the use of additives: coffee and cherries are common. Or do it yourself: try mixing a stout with a kriek beer. How about chipotle stout? Or oyster stout? Well, that last one turns out to be a variant from way back; and no there is no shellfish in it.

At the time of writing, C’est What? was offering three porters and no less than eight stouts, all from microbreweries, all on draft. Try a flight and you be the judge. 

This story continues to unfold and I’m sure if this little piece is read just five years from now we will be able to add still more versions to these two - and many other – versions of dark beer. 

Black lager, anyone?


Featured Show

Women In Music VIII

with Alexandra Willet, Melissa Courvoisier, Nicole Duquette, Madison Mueller, Jacqueline Auguste 

Sunday January 20, 7 PM, $12 tickets at the door

Alexandra Willet is a singer-songwriter of an acoustic folk pop style with influences of jazz, indie and rock.  True to her francophone roots, Willet’s expressive songwriting reveals her as both a captivating performer and convincing storyteller.

Melissa Courvoisier is the lead singer of Toronto-based indie band Ida Benna. Her uniquely folksy voice will take you back in time as she performs her own songs swaying effortlessly from swingy pop hits to emotional rainy day melodies.

Nicole Duquette is a singer-songwriter currently touring Ontario, performing with her husband Nick Duquette. As a songwriter, Nicole writes from her heart of her experiences with love, forgiveness, acceptance and loss.

Madison Mueller is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She was the recipient of the 2018 Josie Music Award for “Young Artist of the Year” and has released 4 studio-produced singles.

Jacqueline Auguste is the front woman and principal songwriter for the award-winning rock band Across the Board. In addition to working on her fourth album, she is also actively working as an artist on several charitable projects.



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