50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No.31, Southern Ontario’s craft brewers are making unique and tasty beer
It wasn’t so long ago that the only beer available in Toronto was flavourless and the colour of straw. Now we’re spoiled for choice: many of southern Ontario’s 33 craft brewers are producing tasty creations like coffee porters, pumpkin ales and raspberry beers, and testing one-off casks laced with such ingredients as chocolate, mint leaves and peaches. Peter Chiodo, an Etobicoke native and a strange brew obsessive, now runs Barrie’s Flying Monkeys brewery (it’s named after the winged creatures in The Wizard of Oz). His latest gambit is to produce the world’s strongest beer. In 2009, he designed the unique “hoppapotamus,” a device that actively infuses hops —the little cones that impart bitter, sometimes fruity flavour—and uses a process called “pulse fermentation” to feed yeast more sugar so the spores produce more alcohol. Chiodo’s goal is to ferment a 62 per cent beer, stronger than the revered Scottish BrewDog’s 55 per cent End of the History ale. If he succeeds, he’ll redefine the condition known as beer goggles.