Monthly Archives: December 2012

And That’s 2012 Done

First, just want to say that my time at Rogers Daytime Toronto yesterday was, as always, amazing. To my surprise I was given 10.5 minutes to talk about as much of the seasonal beer stuff that was going on and, despite feeling as I always do, that I stumbled through it and came out looking foolish, I was told that it was really a good show and my segment had people surrounding nearby televisions listening. And I never, EVER get tired of crew members coming up to me afterward and expressing their amazement that beer can be different than the flavourless coloured liquid that most people know.

So here’s the beer things that I was talking about.

BEST OF BEAU’S MIX PACK: Set of four amazing beers that were voted as the best of the many, MANY one-offs that Beau’s Brewery were making throughout the year. The Matt’s Sleepy Time Belgian Imperial Stout in particular was amazing. About $24 at the LCBO and going rather fast.

THREE KINGS GIFT SET: A box of three of King Brewery’s finest complete with glass. This is the ultimate gift for the lager lover and all three beers, the Vienna Lager, Pilsner and Dark Lager, make amazing gateway beers for the Molson or Coors drinker in your life. A mere $9.99 at the LCBO.

MILL STREET BARLEY WINE: I love these Barley Wines from Mill Street because they can be aged for years and years and only get better. This particular batch has hints of vanilla and Kentucky Bourbon. Can be enjoyed now or aged for years and years. Seriously, I know people who are testing just how long they can age this beer. A fun gift. $12.95 at the LCBO.

BNL IMPERIAL CHOCOLATE STOUT: I think it’s safe to say that you know what I think of this by now. Amazing dessert beer that goes well with ice cream, trifle, raspberries…a very delicious beer. About $13

And those are the beer things I was talking about.

Now on to this year.

2012 has definitely been an interesting year for this site. It went from something only my mom and a few friends read to something that receives several thousand hits per month. I’ve gone from being someone who knew next to nothing about beer to someone who knows a little bit more and is still learning. I’ve gone to many amazing events, made some amazing friends within the industry and have even gone on television to talk about this ancient and wonderful drink that I enjoy. This has been a year where many doors opened up for me and no one is more grateful or baffled about it than I am.

So I’d like to take this chance to thank you folks for continuing to read The Thirsty Wench. Your support has been overwhelming and I don’t think I can adequately thank you all enough. And if you’ve ever dropped a few bucks in to the tip jar, thank you. Every little bit helps keep this running.

It’s also been an awesome year for beer here in Ontario. It seems just like yesterday that to make an IPA was taking a risky chance and now new breweries are starting off their product line with them. Releases of Double IPAs and Imperial Stouts are now a decision that is never met with any hesitation. The wild and crazy of the past is the safe and common of the present and I love that because it means that we’ll be seeing some more amazing experiments in the near future that will test our taste buds and preconceptions. It’s been an exciting year and it only promises to get more exciting, folks.

Some fun things are in the works for The Thirsty Wench in 2013. There are talks about leading a tasting, more Television appearances, a few radio talks, more guest posts and even a book that’s in the works. You’ll hear about it all here.

Alright, I’m going to finish this post off before it turns in to a rant or I reveal too much. I’m writing this on the train now, but when I get home I’m going to pour a glass of something nice, do any small edits that need doing and post it.

As The Most Interesting Man in the World says: Stay thirsty, my friends.

Horrible beer he promotes, but good words.

All the best,

The Thirsty Wench (Robin LeBlanc), Toronto, 2012

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It’s Over – The Westvleteren XII Craze

Well. Wow. So.

For those not in the know, the very rare and (supposedly) best beer in the world was released in Ontario LCBOs today. Westvleteren XII, previously only available in the St Sixtus Abbey in Belgium, upped production and came out with limited box sets in order to raise funds for renovations to the abbey and sent them out. Ontario snagged quite a few and, thanks to a Toronto Star article by Josh Rubin, the buzz was huge. The LCBO was hazy on when they’d actually be releasing the beer out in to their stores so many people, myself included, got in extra early throughout the week to check in.

And today it was released at a few stores. Thanks to Mike for letting me know that the store I was heading to wouldn’t have it today which led to me going to a location that did. There were over 150 people lining up and only 120 boxes. The line was huge and my hands were numb from waiting outside in the cold for 40 minutes. But hey, I’m no wimp when it comes to lines. I’m a veteran of the last Harry Potter book release (second in line) and many anticipated movies. To the people who moaned about this wait, I laugh at you.

Hahaha.

And once the doors were open it all went so quickly. Staff were at the doors handing off a box to each person who came in until they were all gone.  According to the store manager they sold out within four minutes. And considering each set, which included six bottles of the rare brew and two souvenir glasses, costed about $76.85, that means that particular store made $9222 in four minutes. Cripes.

westcheersAnd I got mine, which was fun. I can now cross this beer off of my Bucket List of beers I have to try. I already had one of the beers and the rest will most likely go in to the cellar to be aged for a few years.

The bottle is gorgeous and so is the glass (will definitely be using it for a while). The beer itself is pretty young, with a HUGE alcohol burn cutting through the sweetness (not unexpected since it’s about 10.5% ABV), but once it warms up a bit some nice notes of dried fruit and a hint of vanilla kick in. It’s a very pleasant beer and one that I think will benefit from a couple of years of ageing. Worth the price? I’ll let you know in a couple of years. But I’m not disappointed by this beer. It really is a delight.

LCBO stores will still be trickling them out this week, but for me the hunt is over and I’m looking forward to some good times with this rare brew.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m still thawing from that wait. Brr…

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