Monday, April 16, 2012

beerbistro

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beerbistro

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Dupont Brewery | Saison Dupont | Belgium

I had a very busy, very good weekend. First up, a long-awaited dinner with Tom Newman, Director of The Celt Experience beer and his Ontario agent, Paul Flint of Rubaiyat Wine and Spirit Merchants. You recall we did a few things together a few months ago - Tom, via Paul, sent over bottles of his entire lineup, with a focus on finding a good place on the dinner table for each beer.

Tom was in Ontario for a visit, and we arranged to meet at Beer Bistro (or rather, beerbistro). Good atmosphere inside, live band and all - that typically obnoxious King St. crowd, but the beer list here is one of the best I've ever seen. I like the selection a lot, much more so than Biermarkt's, where you sometimes get the sense that they just put anything Belgian on the list and think they can get away with a 300% markup. You go through the beer list at beerbistro, and what is immediately clear is that a lot of thought has been put into categorizing and describing each beer. Where else can you see a menu that lists beers by mood?!

It was a great evening - a chance to finally meet Tom and Paul in person, and get to know each other a bit. Learned a lot. The passion and dedication in brewing parallels that of good winemaking. It all comes down to vision, doesn't it, and whether the person behind it all has the courage to follow through and not compromise. Really enjoyed the evening. Had the braised veal cheeks, fantastic. My first beer was a Junction Conductor's Craft Ale, an IPA style beer from Junction Craft Brewing, a new Toronto brewery. A great representation of that tight, hoppy style. Good texture. But the real surprise for me was this, the Saison Dupont.

Paul is responsible for bringing in many of the Belgian beers on beerbistro's list, including this one, making him really the best person to order for you. For my veal cheeks, we went with this - a Saison style beer, so named because it was brewed for the saisoniers, French-speaking farm workers in Belgium. Top fermented and unfiltered, just look at that stunning colour. It even looks textural, and with the most amazing head of foam, just couldn't wait for a taste. Incredible aroma, the fragrance of a thousand flowers, basketfuls of fruits . . . texture, beautiful integration on the palate, incredibly dry, a long, hoppy finish. Simply divine, and the best beer I've had in a long, long time.

And really, this is coming from someone who doesn't think much about Belgian beers at all. Clearly, I haven't been drinking beer with the right people. Proves that the most important thing about food and drink is to keep an open mind. Thank you Tom and Paul for a great evening!

DF

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