Last month, I wrote the first installment of a monthly beer column in The Windsor Independent, a new, independent (naturally), and much-needed print/online magazine based in Windsor an edited by an old friend, Dean Scott. Since the post that inspired him to invite me to contribute to the magazine was In Defence of Drinking, the story of my stumbling upon Westvleteren 12, I decided that my first article should be a (far better written) retelling of that story. And it goes a little something like this…
The Best Beer in the World
There’s a little bar in the Beaches of Toronto called Castro’s Lounge. Far East on Queen, it hosts live music and/or DJs every night, serves a small menu of quality vegetarian food, and most importantly, stocks some of the best beer in the city. This is where I found the best beer in the world.
Just walking into the bar can overload the senses. Every free square foot of the wall is filled with a framed portrait of some class pop culture icon. It would be kitsch if it wasn’t so well curated, and if the light wasn’t so low and intimate in the bar. You could stare at the portraits for hours, but they don’t scream at you like they might in a lesser place.
I was with my brother Jeff, who lives across the street. He’s a friend of the publican, so we sat at the bar to get his recommendations. After a couple of seasonal pints, he said “Wait here, I’ve got something to show you,” and went into the back. A minute or so later he returned, carrying a bottle of Westvleteren 12.