Legend has it that Ivan Reznikoff & Paul Diabolos were two stone masons working on U of T’s University College in the late 1850s. Reznikoff, the Russian, was a huge man with a violent temper. Diabolos, from Corinth, was pale, young and handsome.
Diabolos was considered to be the more talented sculptor of the two, responsible for much of the best work on University College’s east wing. He is said to have modelled a gargoyle on Rezknikoff’s face. However, Reznikoff’s output, including his gargoyles, was thought to have been detrimentally affected by his penchant for alcohol.
Reznikoff and Diabolos hated each other and were in love with the same woman. The the former had promised to marry her but discovered, to his jealous rage, that she and Diabolos were planning to run off together, stealing his savings in the process.
Soon after, on the empty construction site, Reznikoff attacked Diabolos with an axe. His blow missed its mark, landing instead in the oak door of the small cloister. Diabolos ran and hid in the tower, waiting for his assailant’s approach before stepping out from the shadows, killing him with a small dagger, and throwing the body down the stairwell.
The ghost of Ivan Reznikoff famously haunted the college for many years, until his remains were found in 1890 and properly buried under a maple tree at the northeast corner of University College, though rumours of unexplained late-night creaking and banging noises persist to this day.
To tell this story, we brewed Kvass, a traditional Eastern European beer brewed with rye bread from Blackbird Baking Co instead of brewing grain. This light-bodied rye beer has notes of sultana raisins, iced americano and cranberry tea, complemented by a subtle, light smokiness.
Appearance: Pours Deep cloudy amber with burnished gold highlights. Off-white head
Aroma: Spices including nutmeg cardamom licorice and vanilla. Raisins and tea.
Taste: Bread crust, toasted rye bread. Slightly tart. Fleeting sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Light Bodied. Slight tart. Clean finish.
Overall Impression: Easy drinking ale with lots of interesting character. Slight acidity clears the palate. Flavour develops and becomes more complex as the beer warms.
Kvass is traditionally a lightly fermented bread based beverage with its origins in the Slavic and Baltic regions. We mashed this beer with 70kg of various types of bread from Blackbird Bakery, imparting a variety of flavours and a slight sourness.