My Kind of Beer with Chris Goddard
YYC to YYZ
I had my first Big Rock beer back in 1996. My brother and I were attending the University of Waterloo and had stumbled upon it at a local British pub in our first week there. At that time, craft beer was just a little over a decade old and was just starting to hit a stride but was still very much on the fringe of beer drinking society. If you lived near a craft brewery you may have come across one of their brews at a local pub but I grew up in Lucan, just outside of London (home of John Labatt), so my beer choices were either Blue or Blue Light.
From that first sip of Big Rock’s Warthog I was hooked and it sent me on a journey of beer discovery that would take me all over the world and back again. In recent years Big Rock has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance helped in part by their brewery expansions to Vancouver, BC and most recently to Toronto. With a brewery in Etobicoke and a brewpub in the heart of Liberty Village (just a block up from Exhibition Station) you are never very far from a fresh pint. The brewery opened in September but the brewpub is poised to open at the beginning of February complete with a retail store and sampling room. Liberty Commons, as it’s come to be called, will feature the beer stylings of Big Rock on tap (with a guest tap stopping by for a visit every so often) and the ine folks from Oliver & Bonacini taking the helm in the kitchen.
Here is your crib sheet of Big Rock brews you should check out:
CITRADELIC SINGLE HOP IPA
One of the newest members to their core lineup was first brewed at Big Rock’s Vancouver brewery and was originally just a one-off. This lovely copper hued IPA only uses the Citra hop which gives this beer a great mix of citrus and tropical notes on the nose. It comes in at 67 IBUs but has amazing balance which makes it a very sessionable IPA. Available at Liberty Commons, the LCBO and The Beer Store.
CASHMERE CROONER SINGLE HOP
LAGER This was one of the first beers Ontario Brewmaster Connor Patrick set to work on. With Big Rock’s ale-heavy line up this beer was designed to give a unique and refreshing twist on a lager. The cashmere hop is a relatively new one on the scene and fairly hard to come by. Look for notes of lemon and grapefruit mixed in with some tropical flavours. Available at Liberty Commons and at The Beer Store in their Variety Pack (limited quantities).
LIBERTY COMMONS ONE-OFFS
I’ve been chatting with the brew team and they have a couple of very interesting beers for opening day. The names haven’t been decided yet but one is a Berliner Weisse — a light, tart wheat beer that is very thirst quenching. The second is a chocolate stout which will be perfect for those cold, damp, Toronto nights. I’ve heard that there may be a few other surprises up their sleeve in time for opening day but you’ll just have to drop by and find out.