One-off beer nights—where a bar taps a keg of a never-to-be-drunken again, rare beer by a beloved brewery—are becoming something of a trend here in Toronto. But if we’re going to set aside one entire evening for one beer, the brew better be frickin’ delicious. Dedicating one evening to 27 rare brews, however—now that makes us thirsty.
This Thursday (March 29), Beau’s Brewery, an all-organic, family-run outfit from Vankleek Hill near Ottawa, will be taking over the taps at Bar Volo (587 Yonge) and serving up 13 draughts, seven cask ales and seven different bottles at an event dubbed “Beaulo.” Plus the décor is going to be all-Beau’s-all-over (translation: lots of black, lots of tractors).
We asked Beau’s brewmaster, Matthew O’Hara for a list of five beers not-to-miss. Here are his recommendations—plus two bonus brews for the very thirsty.
1. Barrel Aged Dunkel Buck (on tap): This wildly popular fall seasonal from Beau’s has been aged in bourbon barrels.
O’Hara says: “The co-mingling of the banana and chocolate flavours of this Dunkel Weizenbock (dark wheat beer) with boozy bourbon from barrel aging somehow just works.”
2. May Contain Traces of My Nuts (on tap): A peanut butter stout.
O’Hara says: “We went out on a limb with this one. Just plain weird—and quite possibly delicious.”
3. Ryes Above Porter (cask): O’Hara collaborated with brewers Jonathan Hodd and Ralph Morana of Bar Volo’s House Ales to make this one-off brew. (Sour beer lovers take note: There will also be a cask of this beer made tart with Brettanomyces yeast.)
O’Hara says: “Expect big dark malt character with spicy rye notes.”
4. Hogan’s Goat (bottle): Beau’s bock beer spiced with peppermint, orange peel and juniper berries.
O’Hara says: “A big, complex beer with well-integrated flavours.”
5. Doble de Acción, Agave Pale Ale (cask): This pale ale is aged with tequila-soaked oak chips.
O’Hara says: “‘Nuff said.”
Beaver River I.P.Eh? (cask): Beau’s spring seasonal, an American-style India Pale Ale, dry-hopped (i.e., adding more hops to the cask for a bitter punch).
O’Hara says: “We’ve been tweaking this year’s recipe and are pleased with the results. Having this on cask, with the additional dry-hopping is a special treat that we, the brewers, seldom have access to.
Strong Patrick (on tap): Beau’s take on the classic Irish Red Ale.
O’Hara says: “Slightly stronger than most interpretations, this beer is subtle, nuanced, and eminently drinkable.”
“Beaulo” happens Thursday March 29, 7-10 p.m. at Bar Volo (587 Yonge). Bar is cash only. Admission is free (19+) but capacity is limited, so arrive early to avoid the lineup. See the full beer list here.