Bar Volo is probably the best craft beer bar in Toronto. From it's communal seating to it's order and pay (for everything) at the bar it reeks of non-pretentiousness. Servers are kept busy delivering awesome food, and clearing glasses... oh, so many glasses. Bartenders are extremely knowledgeable and very helpful, especially when you come in to first navigate their 30 plus tap list which is printed on a giant chalkboard in the middle of the bar. A chalkboard which is updated frequently though the night and often tweeted about on twitter. The tap list is listed by letter and numbers... you figure out what you want, you tell the bartender the letter, and they pour it for you from the simple wooden tap marked with that letter.
They also produce a small line of their own beers on site, called House Ales, and we will taste one of those tonight.
Here is also where I ran into some unfortunate technical difficulties. Namely some dead batteries. So I had to switch to hand written notes and this also explains why there are no pictures (and the fact I am late posting this blog).
Beer # 1
Left Field Brewery (Toronto)
Light gold in colour, crisp white head made up of tiny bubbles. Banana and cloves on the nose. First sip is light, fruity, banana, mildly hoppy. Cloves and citrus, coriander, meaty and filled with umami. Would be an excellent food beer.
Beer # 2
Chill Winston Belgian Grisette
Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto)
Light gold in colour, thin skiff of white foam for a head. Wheaty nose with some fruit. First sip is sweet and tart berries and cherries, light, dry with a bready finish.
(N.B. I was actually stumped by this, I had not heard the term Grisette used before. It turns out it is a Belgian Saison, or Farmhouse ale particular to a mining region of Belgium, Hainaut province. The name references a young girl who works in factories and wore a Grey (gris) uniform, often these ladies would hand out trays of beers to miners as they returned to the surface).
Beer # 3
Ezra Belgian Farmhouse ale aged in Spirit Tree Cider Barrels
Great Lake Brewery Collaboration with Amsterdam Brewery (Both Toronto)
Deep woody gold with a light white head made of tiny bubbles. Aroma is apples spice cloves and a hint of ammonia. First taste is wheat mixed with apples.Creamy, smooth, slightly tart. Finish is dry, tartaric acid, and crisp green apple.
Beer # 4
Kensington Brewing Company (Toronto)
Gold in colour with very little head. Very light green melon on the nose, and watermelon rind. First sip is Midori melon liqueur which is quickly replaced with tea. Similar to an iced black tea made with a hint of melon, some sweetness but fairly dry.
Beer # 5
Limp Puppet India Session Ale
Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto)
Cloudy white gold with an off white head. The nose is very piney. Touch of pine in the attack, quickly turning to ruby red grapefruit. Fresh and clean, tingly, citrus, herbal, oregano and basil on the finish.
Beer # 6
Rooster Tail American Wheat
Northwinds Brewery (Collingwood)
Bronzed gold in colour, with a light white head. Nose is crystal malt, bread, and coconut (sunscreen). First sip is warm and nutty, black tea, candy, effervescent, creamy. Some caramel and bread on the finish.
Beer # 7
Marmalade Saison (Cask)
Black Oak Brewery (Etobicoke)
Rich honey gold in colour with a creamy white head. Nose is toast and marmalade. Sherriff's marmalade as a matter of fact.fact. Caramelised oranges, sugar and light fruit. First sip is warm and nutty orange, cooked sugars, toasted brown bread, Hazelnuts, Frangelico, with sweet overripe oranges on the finish.
Beer # 8
Fermium Double Black IPA
Bar Volo House Ales
Very dark brown with a light tan head. Nose is dark chocolate, espresso, toasted bread, and slightly nutty. First sip is darkly roasted malt, nutty, walnuts, bruleed sugar, very bitter dark chocolate and strong herbal hops. Warm toasty pumpernickel bread and black strap molasses.