The Future of the OCB and OCB Week

Interestingly OCB week isn’t what it used to be. Usually every year licensees that I have relationships with have requested to do OCB week related activities, making it a very busy week. This year there weren’t any requests, which may be an anomaly, as Mike suggests, but his other points about this are also very valid. Is the OCB becoming irrelevant?

A Year Of Beer!

Last week I got ready for OCB Week as many people do –  by perusing the list of events on the OCB Week website. One or two events looked interesting, but I was pretty dismayed by what was happening in Toronto. Three breweries (Amsterdam, Beau’s and Mill Street) dominated the listings. Most other breweries were at one of the two festivals (Session or Beaches BBQ) and that was their only real OCB Week participation. My brief Twitter poll confirmed that most people felt the same way.

A bit more research led to finding some events that weren’t on the website, but it didn’t really make a big chance to the rather boring slate of offerings. It got me thinking – is this just a one year blip or is it indicative of larger problems with OCB Week and the OCB itself?

The OCB always seemed like a bit of an…

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The Ossington Goes Orange for the World Cup!

With all the great World Cup action over the next month, I can’t help but my support my family heritage and cheer on the Netherlands at a Dutch friendly bar. Traditional food and beer are a great way to cheer on the home side. Hup Holland!



Having reunited Dutch expats with some of their favourite foods every Sunday for the past four months – and turning on a bunch of Torontonians to the nosh from the Netherlands along the way – it only made sense for Borrel at the Ossington to open its doors for Holland’s World Cup matches this summer. The Ossington is proud to go orange and provide another home for the Dutch to root for their home team in what has become one of the city’s greatest sporting traditions.

To celebrate these joyous, and often nerve-wracking, games we’ll be serving up some traditional Dutch snacks. Doing away with the fancy sides and annoying cutlery of our Sunday afternoon get-togethers, we’re paring down the presentation to disposable plates – the way it was meant to be eaten. Better yet, we’ll be serving all dishes at a discounted price of $6. These items include:


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Left Field Brewery Sunlight Park Saison: A home run?


Warning: I intend to squeeze as many baseball related puns into this post as is possible without striking out.

As I wrote in a previous post, Left Field Brewery are a fine example of contract brewing done right. They have of course recently announced that they have finally found a place to call home base, their very own brewing facility in Upper Leslieville. This is fine news indeed, as their hard work and propensity to brew very consistent and delicious beers is about to pay off in a big way for them. How LFB are not available at Blue Jays games is beyond me, somebody should be getting fired for this oversight. Of course they couldn’t possibly service this size of market as contract brewers, being barely able to keep up with demand from their licencees as it is.  I’m interested to see if they will be a draft pick…

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Ommegang Fire and Blood Red Ale


Fire and Blood Red Ale
750ml 6.8%ABV

I’m a huge fan of the HBO series Game of Thrones.  I’m also a huge fan of the Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, New York.  So it comes as no surprise that I was really looking forward to the latest GoT beer release.  The Ommegang Brewery itself has a great story.  It was started back in 1997 by a couple of Belgians who wanted to bring a taste of their country to America.  It originally began as a small venture but it has since been bought out by Belgian brewing giant  Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat.  But that hasn’t had any impact on the quality of beer they produce. The brewery itself is a replica Belgian country farmhouse, situated on a 136 acre hop farm.

FireBlood-labelsAs a fan of the earlier Ommegang Game of Thrones releases; Iron Throne Golden Ale and Take the Black Stout, I had high hopes for the Red Ale.  Happily they did not disappoint.  This Dark Belgian Strong Ale was spiced with de-seeded ancho chillies evoking the fire from Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons in the series.  They actually released this with three separate labels, one of each of her dragons – Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion.

After fully nerding out over the labels, I poured it into a large tulip shaped glass from (appropriately enough) Duvel.  The colour is rich mahogany with deep garnet highlights and pours with a thick ivory head.  Like most Belgian beers of this style it is bottle conditioned, meaning there is still yeast in the beer.   This unfiltered yeast gives it a cloudy appearance and allows the beer to naturally carbonate in the bottle, adding a level of complexity and freshness to the beer once opened.

photoIt has a spicy nose with slight hints of pepper, earthy musk, toasted caramel and smokiness.  It’s almost as if you can smell the fire brewing the dragon’s belly.

The flavour is a complex blend of many of the aromas; toasted caramel, overripe fruitiness, with the ancho pepper giving it an interesting finish.  It starts off very smooth, but the boozy heat and ancho peppers slowly creep back up your throat and into your mouth, simulating what it must be like to breathe fire.

Overall this a fantastic addition to the Game of Thrones series and at 6.8% ABV, enough of these might make you feel as though you could conquer Westeros single handedly!