Ides 44: Wish Book

Belgian Dark Strong Ale9.4%

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.”

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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