Brew Year’s Day at The Stop’s Green Barn

Posted on January 16, 2012


January finally felt like January (finally!) with the frigid cold air greeting my face as I stepped out in the open.  Looking from the inside, it seems comfortable and toasty-warm sunny.  But this cold doesn’t stop me from my resolve.  This year is the year I seek out what Canadian foodies do in the winter.  I will be embracing the cold if I discover that there is good food as a reward.  That should be motivation enough, don’t you think so?

This weekend I checked out The Stop’s Food Community Centre’s Brew Year’s Day at the Brewery Market at Wychwood Barns at St.Clair and Christie. Fashioned like a farmer’s market, the event promoted locally produced beers.  During warmer months, a series of these events happens, highlighting a different Ontario brewery every weekend.  Beers were dispensed through portable coolers rigged with keg-pumps accompanied by good food catered directly from The Stop’s Green Barn kitchen.

For this weekend, the event had two breweries, The Great Lakes Brewery and Cheshire Valley Brewing with Buddha Dog providing the food to wash down with the beer.  Accompanied by my good friend, Natalia, we walked through the center hallway of Wychwood Barns, swiftly admiring the quiet nostalgia of old brick walls and high ceilings, rounding towards the back where The Stop’s Food Community Centre located.  We were greeted by a crowd of people lounging on picnic tables, holding skewers of what looked to me as roasted marshmallows.  Food and warmth on this cold weather was a good idea.  I  was amused with how people still find a way to enjoy themselves despite the cold.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We go in and I see a person selling food tickets, color-coded to each item listed on a menu written on a chalkboard behind him. Just like any other food event, I try finding out what I should expect once I get there.  This time, other than the beer, I was curious about Buddha Dog.  Reading up about them, I see they have a healthy following at PEI and are starting to make waves in Toronto.  I checked the menu and I find that for today, Buddha Dog was showcasing Chili Dog.  I meant to order that item but I got a vegetarian chili instead.  Both items are on the menu.  My bad on not being specific.  That regret was short-felt though as the vegetarian hit all the right places on my tummy.  The comforting warmth of the chili was a welcome thing, the spice not overly aggressive to kill my taste buds.  I was just enough to give you an interesting note.  I must apologize that I did not take any pictures of it.  The event does not have enough tables for me to set up the food and start snapping away.  As Natalia and I went about with beer in one hand and chili on another, I was sloshing the chili on its bowl.  It would be a food stylist’s nightmare for me to include it on my shooting spree.  I don’t think my food stylist friend, Abe Wornovitzky, would forgive me. I can just imagine him grimacing if he sees such a picture.  I went back to the chili dog and I was glad that I did.  No matter as it is not your conventional North American size for a hotdog, it is full-packed with flavor and lives up to all the hype.

So goes for the beer we tasted. I hardly have pictures of the beer.  Between Natalia and me, we tried four different kinds.  Just like the chili, it was hard to get to the table with the froth holding reaming frothy on the top.  Maybe it would be the time that it is more right for you, my dear readers, to come and see the next Brewery Market weekend, to see the wide choice of beers they are offering.  How’s that for an excuse for lack of pictures? Teeheehee… :p.  What is notable to mention is that I actually liked one dark beer!  Most of the time I stay away from stouts as my tolerance for the bitter after taste is too low.  What the Great Lakes Brewery had for sampling was actually interesting in taste, with hints of coffee and caramel flavour added.  Maybe that balanced out the bitterness to me.  As for Cheshire Valley Brewing, I like their Scottish Pale Ale.  Not too bitter but still full-bodied.

To find these beers on any day, check out their websites for restaurants that have them on tap.  Some of the Great Lakes are available at the LCBO for purchase.

Posted in: Midtown, Toronto Eats