The Indie Ale House dedication to good beer is hard to deny. Their strong focus and enticing offerings have generated an appreciative following in Toronto.  And when care about your craft you naturally want to support your fellow artisans. Hence the organizers decided for the third year running to showcase in-house and other local stout beers. There is something about the cold that makes you want to down something hearty and strong. Therefore a stout appreciation night was the perfect thing for a mid-December weekend. 

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I have been very fortunate to live in Toronto and partake in its wealth of beer-focused events. I’ve been able to experience the established and the new, and have slowly come to understand my tastes. My journey toward true beer appreciation has naturally led me to a taste for the heavier brews, so Stout Night had my attention immediately.  It was also held at the Barrel House location to which I had never been. Time for a trip!

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The barrel house is an intimate and rustic venue that I could see working as the setting for some pretty cool parties and even cozy weddings. And despite the relatively limited space the event never once felt crowded, only very hip. I spoke with other guests and the concensus was that this is one of the most chill beer experiences that one can have, contrasted with the lines at the Festival of Beer, or chaos of Cask Days.

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The selection was well-curated, with offerings from Sawdust City, Bellwoods, Black Oak, Amsterdam, Beau’s, Brimstone, Granite, Mill St, Nickel Brook, Muskoka, Oast, Northwinds, Great Lakes, and even a cask on hand from the Niagara College Teaching Brewery. The list was enough to ensure that we all had true variety, but not so long as to make my head spin. The IBUs ranged from the 20s up to the 100s, and flavour was king. There were some inventive choices too, such as s’mores and eggnog. Perfect to roll us into the holidays.

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The food on offer was pitch perfect as well, with hearty venison chili, porter pretzels, oysters and even a cheese board. I tried once of the pretzels and was in heaven. Sometimes food and drink just comes together in such a way as to make you forget your troubles (and the winter cold).

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The mood was lively and companionable, and the beer flowed well. Being surrounded by the Indie Ale House barrels was a heady experience, knowing that there is so much more deliciousness to come.  All said and done it was a delightful experience and one that I look forward to repeating next year!

See our full gallery from Indie Ale H0use Stout Night 2014!


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