Ides 55: Riverboat Coffee Saison

Coffee Saison 5.6%

Coffee houses have a long and storied history in Toronto, stretching all the way back to 1801 and Toronto’s first coffee house.

By the 1950s, there were hundreds of coffee houses around town, many of them concentrated in the Yorkville neighbourhood. A night spent in that part of town might find you at Chez Monique, the Flick, the Penny Farthing, the Mynah Bird or at 134 Yorkville Ave, home of The Riverboat.

Opened in 1964 by Bernie & Sola Fiedler, The Riverboat stood out from the crowd, and was considered on par with legendary clubs such as New York’s Bitter End. A few steps down from street level brought you into an intimate lounge with red booths and pine walls where, on any given night, you might catch Arlo Guthrie, Murray McLaughlin, Bruce Cockburn, Tim Buckley, Richie Havens, Kris Kristofferson, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Simon & Garfunkel, Seals & Crofts or James Taylor.

Gordon Lightfoot wrote “Steel Rail Blues” there, Joni Mitchell debuted “Both Sides Now,” and Neil Young recorded a live album there in 1969 (and referenced the club in his song “Ambulance Blues.”)

With the arrival of the 70s, bohemian Yorkville gave way to a multimillion dollar makeover, and exclusive restaurants took the place of welcoming coffee shops.  The Riverboat was one of the last to pass into history, shutting its doors for good in the summer of 1978.

We raise a glass of this fruity and light saison (with notes of earthy and floral coffee beans) to the vast musical legacy left by The Riverboat and the legendary performers who came through its doors.

OG: 11.8
IBU: 25
SRM: 11
Carbonation: 2.65 Volumes (Medium High)
Malts: Pale 2 Row, Pilsner, Wheat, Vienna
Hops: Magnum
Yeast: Saison Maison
Appearance: Deep golden with an orange tinge, white head
Aroma: Floral, citrus, berries, lime peel, earthy, mild cacao
Taste: Fruity, sweet malts, pepper, earthy coffee, dry and bitter finish
Mouthfeel: Medium body with a prickly effervescence
Overall impression: A fruity and light saison with notes of earthy and floral coffee beans.

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