Tag Archives: beer

Eating My Way Through the PEC (Day 2)

Merill Inn - breakfast - barn

There’s nothing better than waking up at leisure, and strolling down to breakfast without having to leave the building.

Our second day exploring Prince Edward County started in the perfect way – with lemon blueberry waffles shaped like farm stuff!! My waffle was shaped like a barn, while J had a rooster and a cow. They were so adorable I almost didn’t want to eat them. It’s probably a good thing I ended up with the barn.

Merill Inn - breakfast - animals

Considering my lack of adorable photos of Merrill Inn, these waffles will have to illustrate this part of my story. It’s pretty fitting, actually, because Merill Inn was perfectly adorable but with the comfort of the bigger hotels. It was really the perfect place to stay for us, and it was right in the heart of Picton, which itself was the centre point of everything we wanted to see in Prince Edward County. Our package even included a bagged picnic lunch, which we brought on the road with us.

Copper Kettle Chocolate Company

Once we got rolling, we started headed right to Copper Kettle Chocolate Company. We had our first taste of things to come the night before, when we practically inhaled the goat cheese truffles that I bought at Fifth Town. To back it up a little, this is just one example of the county working together – the goat cheese was made by Fifth Town and the chocolate was done by Copper Kettle. Both companies carry and advertise the product, and both companies get business. Symbiosis!

Copper Kettle Chocolate Company - goat cheese truffles

Of course, we got more of them, along with a number of other fun truffles. They also had some chocolate ‘shots’ full of different wines and things, so we got a couple ice wine shots and a couple of Pinot Noir.

Copper Kettle Chocolate Company - wine shots

Down the Loyalist Parkway we went, to another bunch of wineries and fun.

At Huff Estates, we bought a really interesting unoaked Merlot, which was pretty novel for me. Next, we ended up at Sugarbush Vineyards, which is a self-proclaimed ‘garagiste‘ winery. There, aside from buying some wine, we enjoyed a chat with the owner about the area’s history.

Sugarbush Winery - Not Red

Sugarbush Vineyards ‘Not Red’ wine — oddly, we didn’t buy this particular wine. I just thought the name was funny.

Another part of our package at Merrill Inn was a complimentary wine tasting at Closson Chase, a winery that focuses on producing Chardonnay. We aren’t big white wine drinkers, and to be totally honest, the price points were a little higher than we were looking for here. Nonetheless, we took the opportunity to try some wines we wouldn’t have thought to try.

Closson Chase

The Closson Chase tasting room was inside a large and lovely barn, with stained glass, local art and lots of ambiance.

Similarly, The Grange of Prince Edward is also situated in an incredible barn, overlooking a fantastic lot where it seems people book picnics in the summer. Yeah, I think we’ll be going back to do that sometime. We politely asked if we could enjoy our packed lunches in their tasting room, overlooking the farm, since it was too windy and cold to eat outside.

The Grange of Prince Edward

We hit a few more wineries before we called it a day, including Lacey, Casa Dea and Sandbanks. By this time, I was slowing down and started playing this game where I was only allowed to pick one wine to try, and only try another if I wasn’t convinced by the first one. This was a change from the start of the day, where we tried 3-4 different wines at each location.

At Sandbanks, for example, I saw that they had a Foch Reserve and chose to try that because we hadn’t seen Marechal Foch at the other wineries we had been to, and I like to have a variety. We got to try pairing it with both cheese and chocolate and in the end, ended up buying a bottle. The prices there were very reasonable, too, so I think we’ll go back again.

I just couldn’t do any more that day – so we stopped at Tall Poppy Café in Wellington for some “Not Wine”.

Tall Poppy Café - some tea

There was but one last stop before ‘home’  – Barley Days Brewery. After a day of wine sipping, it was nice to switch to beer. We had already tried two of their beers at dinner the night before – Harvest Gold Pale Ale and Loyalist Lager – and I was excited to try their holiday Yuletide Cherry Porter. The Cherry Porter tasted like Black Forest Cake – all chocolate and cherries. I just wasn’t sure I could drink 6 of them, so we got a pack with the Harvest Gold, Loyalist and Wind & Sail Dark Ale. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that Cherry Porter…

From there, we headed back to the hotel for a nap before dinner. I was really looking forward to this dinner, conveniently at the restaurant at the Merrill Inn, having read many glowing reviews of the food there. They didn’t disappoint – but I did, with my photo taking.

Merill Inn - Lemon Gnocchi

My sad photo of the gnocchi appetizer looks oddly pink. Boo! It tasted like clouds of lemony heaven.
The meal was as incredible as I had hoped. I started with a soft lemony gnocchi appetizer that melted in my mouth. The main course was a rack of lamb – a new adventure for me – with tabbouleh. For dessert, I had “Baked Alaska” for the first time. Unlike my usual choice of “something dark chocolatey”, I enjoyed the mix of meringue and gelato and cake. Yummy!

Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse! Betelgeuse!

Betelgeuse beer

Betelgeuse may be a star, or a movie dead guy, but now it’s also a great new beer from Mill St!

Mill St. Brewery is a craft brewery that has been around for over 100 years, giving Toronto a great assortment of fun beers. This summer, they’ve released three special brews:

  • Lemon Tea – a refreshing beer with a mix of lemon, Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe flavours.
  • Schleimhammer Roggenbier – not sure how to describe this one… heh… a little sweet, but not super thick… red?
  • Betelgeuse – a Belgian style Trippel, strong and sweet


A still from the movie Beetlejuice.

My favourite of the three has to be the Betelgeuse. I’ll start by saying that I’m no beer expert – I’m slowly going through different kinds of beer to see what I like and what I don’t like. So far, my favourite styles seem to be German & Belgian Wheat Beers (Wits, Heffeweizens, etc.) and Belgian Trappist beers.

The Mill St. Betelgeuse was a great addition to their roster, even if it is but a limited release. It’s a little sweeter than most people like in a beer, but it has such a nice round flavour that makes it a great beer to sip after dinner. This kind of beer is especially great on a cool evening… not exactly refreshing for summer.

If you’re looking for something more refreshing, you might want to try the Lemon Tea beer. If you like wheat beers, this one will fit alongside many of them. It offers a nice combination of citrusy flavours, along with a subtle tea aftertaste.

All three of the Mill St. seasonal brews can be found at various LCBO locations in Toronto. I’m not sure if they’re available outside of Toronto – let me know if you find it!!

Bees & Cheer

Cheese N Beer - Belgian Beer

I recently had the pleasure of attending the “Beer School for Cheese Fans – Best of Belgium”, with brewmaster Sam Corbeil. This tasting event took place at the Leslieville Cheese Market West Market (541 Queen St. West, Toronto).

I’ve been a bit of a cheese dork for a while now, very slowly trying new fun cheeses and resisting the urge to become a total cheese “snob”. It’s only been the last few years that I’ve even been open to drinking beer, however.

J has always enjoyed trying new beers, and back in 2007 we were in Boston when he had me try a locally brewed, unfiltered wheat beer with fennel and cardamom. My opinion took such a sharp change in direction that we spent the rest of our trip trying new beers… and enjoying them! Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out what kinds of beers I like (and almost more importantly, which ones I don’t like).

Beer and cheese are now two of my favourite things. So it makes sense that someone would see “Beer School for Cheese Fans” and instantly think of me 🙂 Yes, this tour of deliciousness was a gift from a good friend (thanks!).

Cheese N Beer - Blue Haze

Blue Haze, a smoked blue cheese

Tonight’s tour paired 5 Belgian style beers with 5 different cheeses. The beers were all very different, and very tasty. I think that I had only had the Mill St. Wit before. Sam, who was doing the presentation, said something that I hadn’t thought of before – beer naturally pairs with cheese, because their flavours are more similar. I thought about this, and realized there’s at least some truth to it. It always seems like you choose foods that compete (favourably) with some flavours in wine, whereas there really isn’t that battle with beer. We ended up buying some crazy smoky blue cheese, and some cave-aged gruyere. We tried to buy some of the salty sheep’s milk cheese, but it was sold out by the time we made up our minds.

  • Mill St. Belgian Wit / Mouton Rouge (a salty sheep’s milk cheese)
  • Duvel / Morbier (creamy cheese with an ash vein)
  • Chimay “White Cap” Triple / cave aged Gruyere
  • Goulden Carlous “Classic” / Sauvagine, a creamy soft cheese,  on sausage
  • Trois Pistoles  / Blue Haze, a smokey blue cheese,  on rye crackers

In the end, I have to say that the Blue Haze was a great choice. A little bit of blue plus a little bit of smoke make a really good pair – and it tastes AMAZING on fresh Ciabatta bread (thanks, J-dog!).