Beer Icon/Chevron Created with Sketch. Ides Series

44. Ides of December 2019: Wish Book

Belgian Dark Strong Ale 9.4%
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150 years ago, a young Torontonian who had immigrated from Northern Ireland opened a shop at 178 Yonge Street, just a stone’s throw from R.J. Henderson’s original brewery. Eventually, Timothy Eaton grew his small haberdashery into what would become Canada’s largest department store chain. In 1883, Eaton’s was the first store in Canada with electric lights. In 1885, they installed one of Canada’s earliest phones (the number was, simply, 370) and, by 1886, they had the first elevator in a retail store in Toronto.

This same time period saw the introduction of the iconic Eaton’s catalogue, which became the de facto birthday & Christmas wish book for generations of Canadian kids. A new bike? It was in there. A hockey sweater? It was in there. A quick peek at the lingerie section? Sure, if that was your thing.

This winter, we asked our head brewer Brian O’Donnell what he’d like for the holidays. Although he didn’t have an Eaton’s catalogue handy, he pondered & announced, “a nice dark Belgian.” We agree this beer makes an excellent holiday treat for all; it’s dark & spicy with seasonal herbs to help make merry in the dark, cold nights ahead. Just like old T.E. promised back in 1869: “Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded.”

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Tasting Notes

  • OG: 20.6 Plato
  • IBU: 30
  • SRM: 28
  • Carbonation: 2.7 Volumes (High)
  • Malts: 2 Row Pale, Vienna, Caramunich II, Special B, Flaked Wheat, Carafa Special II
  • Hops: Magnum, Hallertau Mittelfruh
  • Yeast: Escarpment West Abbey Ale
  • Other: Demerara Sugar, Sweet Orange Peel, Cinnamon, Cacao Nibs
  • Appearance: Dark brown with ruby highlights, tan head
  • Aroma: Earthy cocoa, mild spice, roasty malt, mild citrus and fruity yeast character
  • Taste: Sweet malt, earthy cocoa, spicy cinnamon, stone fruit, moderate bitterness
  • Mouthfeel: Medium body, crisp carbonation, lingering sweetness and spice
  • Overall impression: A warming winter beer with a spicy finish. Holiday cheer in a glass.
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