Brewery Visit: Bellwoods Brewery (Toronto, ON)

 

Nestled on one of the hippest blocks in downtown Toronto, Bellwoods Brewery isn’t just one of the most innovative breweries in the city, it’s widely considered to be among the best in the world!

As a cellar keeper and collector of aged beer, Bellwoods is often my go-to local brewery for Brett-laced sours, boozy stouts and porters that only improve with time. Their barrel program is among the best in Canada, and constant releases drive fans to their bottle shop (which is open until 11PM everyday, by the way) on a regular basis.

Don’t let their big, barrel-aged releases overshadow the rest of the Bellwoods beer catalogue, though. They produce some solid IPA’s and session ales, too. Witchshark, Boogie Monster and Roman Candle are all regularly available and respectable IPAs.

Aside from consistently innovative and fantastic beer, Bellwood’s also has some of the most creative and visually appealing label art in the business. Most of the labels can be purchased in poster-form in the bottle shop, and all are man-cave worthy. Notable labels include Witchshark , Farmageddon and 3 Minutes to Midnight.

Perhaps the only downside to Bellwoods is the brew pub. Being located in the heart of Toronto’s hipster-ville, the small bar area is always full and I personally find the crowd pretentious. If you manage to get a spot, though, the bottle list always has some old gems from the Bellwoods vault. The food is not bad at all, but you should note that you’re in the heart of Ossington/Dundas West and food choices near the bar are varied and fantastic.

**Note: Bellwoods has recently announced plans to open two new locations in Toronto! The location on Hafis Road will be dedicated to production and storage with a bottle shop; the location on Dupont Street will be a brew pub and event space (events are not managed by Bellwoods). To read more about the progress, follow their blog here. 

www.bellwoodsbrewery.com

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Recipe: BBQ Shrimp (Portuguese Style)

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There’s nothing more delicious — and simple! — than shrimp on the BBQ. Traditional Portuguese-style calls for shrimp with the heads on. While it might be intimidating, the heads preserve a fantastic amount of flavor and add to the presentation of the dish.

  • 13/15 shrimp, shell on, preferably with the heads on.
  • Portuguese Malagueta (pimento paste)
  • Sambal Oelek (Indonesian hot sauce)
  • Olive oil
  • White wine
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Combine Malagueta, Sambal Oelek, olive oil and white wine in a stainless steel bowl. Reserve half the sauce to the side.
  2. Toss the thawed shrimp with the other half of the sauce and allow to sit for a 10 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Bring grill to med-high heat and throw shrimp onto the grill. In case of flame-ups, keep an open beer handy!
  4. Seafood cooks very quickly on the grill. You’ll only need a couple minutes per side. Once the shell changes color and the tails start to burn, pull the shrimp off into a clean bowl
  5. Toss with the remaining sauce
  6. Finish with the chopped cilantro or parsely
  7. Crack open a crisp lager and mangia!

Beer Pairing: Singha Lager or GLB’s Blonde Lager

On Cooking

For me, food is tightly bound in memory, experience, culture and family. My greatest culinary influences are family members, and nearly every fond memory I have with them involves cooking. I do truly believe that great food is made with love; it’s not mechanical or scientific; great food, like memory and experience, is transcendent.

I am a man who likes to color outside of the lines, and so it should come as no surprise that I do not believe in following a recipe or measuring the ingredients that go into my creations. Cooking, for me, is stream of consciousness. Culinary schools and restaurants alike will often teach “consistency is key,” though I am not interested in cooking, or eating, for consistency. I want to be surprised and challenged; I want the risk, and the reward, that comes with cooking from the heart.

My recipes posts, as such, will not look like your conventional recipe book. I don’t outline quantities, weights or fluid ounces. I’ll often recommend substitutions for core ingredients. Many of the foods I make leverage left-overs from a previous recipe. In short, when it comes to cooking, I give a big, giant ‘fuck you’ to convention.

Enjoy and mangia!