While I was downing all of that wonderful PC food on the left at my weekend barbecue, I washed it down with my favourite beverage.


Just to make sure I put back every ounce I sweated out on the soccer field earlier in the afternoon.


Among the beers I tipped back was a 650-ml bottle of Elora Grand Lager, by “The Old Mill Brewery.”

Wow! A brewery at the Old Mill in Elora — another reason for me to rush back over to one of my favourite parts of the province.

But alas, those Oakville villains at Trafalgar Brewing, including co-owner/pirate Mike Arnold, have disguised their label specifically for the hamlet that boasts the scenic Elora Gorge.

Still, the light lager was a fine wash down the throat — even with only four per cent alcohol per volume.

The anticipation wasn’t great: Almost no head after the pour, the yellow colour of the beer was cloudy and kind of, well, yersh. The first sniff was musty.

It wasn’t too carbonated, so it was very easy to fit into my packed belly.

According to the Ontario Craft Brewers, it’s made in the pilsner style, using Hallertau and Willamette hops to add a good finish and moderate bitterness respectively (yes!) and spicy aroma (where?). It also has Canadian two-row malted barley.

Enjoy it with lean meats, chicken and fish — it worked well with a fatty Angus burger, too.

There’s a good reason it took gold for light lagers at the Ontario Brewing Awards (LCBO, $3.75). Because most of them suck, and this one is decently drinkable with pleasant yeastiness in each mouthful.

BAGGED, BUT NOT BROKEN: You read last week in this space about the Beer For Bags promotion put on by Melbourne-based Crumpler, who make fashionable knapsacks, labtop carriers and other bags.

They asked Torontonians to bring beer to their Queen Street West store in exchange for bags in a promotion that ends on Saturday.

They will run the same promotion in New York starting Saturday.

While it is illegal to barter with alcohol in the province, no one has been charged in Crumpler’s promotion. At least as of Wednesday afternoon, says the company’s Toronto director, Jason Wood.

Actually, business went quite well last Saturday.

“I’d say by noon, one hour into the sale, we probably did about 35 swaps, and some of them involved two cases of beer,” Wood said. “We probably had about 40 cases of beer in one hour. That’s quite a haul.

“That’s about 1,000 bottles, not to mention all of the limes and soya sauce.

Even Beer Store employees have joined in the fun, Wood said, helping bring the total to about 100 cases of beer by Wednesday.

The most popular bag has been the Complete Seed, which can be yours for a case of Grolsch lager in swingtop bottles.

“It’s actually getting very hard to find that beer in Toronto,” Wood said.

Might partly be because Grolsch has also introduced their new capped bottles, which taste better than the swingtop, in my humble opinion.

Although Kevin Tighe of the Canadian Amateur Brewers Association told me a while back that he loves the swingtops for his homemade brews, and he’d certainly know about beer and freshness.

But you can’t king the crown, right? Anyway …

“We had one couple say they drove around for three hours to try to get all the beers they needed to get all the bags,” Wood continued.

Another group of four gents from Cambridge, Ont., brought in 96 swingtops —four cases —for four Complete Seeds bags.

Crumpler owner Dave Roper was happiest to sell the Skivvy labtop bag, because it meant receiving a case of Steam Whistle for every sale, which Wood said was the favourite beer the staff tried.

Too bad one buyer bearing Steam didn’t understand what “one case” meant when she saw their exchange rate (visit www.crumpler.cato see it).

“We had one woman come in with a six-pack of Steam Whistle.”

She left and returned with more beer. This time, a 12-pack.

“We sent her off again, huffing, puffing and sweating to get the last six bottles,” Wood laughed, adding it was all in good fun.

The promotion continues until Saturday, 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day.



RECIPE: Trafalgar Caesar salad dressing


  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) garlic, crushed

  • 3 anchovy fillets

  • 1 egg (beaten)

  • 3 oz. (90 ml) Trafalgar beer (Red Hill Mild preferably)

  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil

  • 1 tsp (4 ml) lemon juice

  • Mayonnaise (optional)


  1. In a blender, combine garlic and anchovies to create a paste. Add egg, lemon juice and Trafalgar beer; blend until smooth.

  2. With blender on high speed, slowly add oil. (Tip: This recipe creates a dressing that is more on the runny side than thick. To create a dressing with a thicker consistency, blend in a small amount of plain mayonnaise to reach desired thickness.)