The Alibi Room is already one of my favourite spots in the city – a great place to stop in for a quick pint and some of their really good fries after work. Their food is delicious, especially the Mezze plate with cumin hummus, lemon feta, kalamata olives, marinated peppers and freshly baked flat bread. Barbecued pork belly sandwich – don’t get me started. Apparently they do brunch on weekends, which I have yet to try but want to.
On this particular evening, we were there for “Alibi Room Presents Brothers in Hop” which featured Central City Brewing (makers of Red Racer Beer, one of my favourites), Hopworks Urban Brewing (HUB), and Ninkasi Brewing (both of which I’d never heard of). Tickets were $49 each all-inclusive, meaning food and beer.
We were promised an evening of hop-forward brews and locally sourced food. The purpose was to encourage brewers and beer fans to socialize together and learn more about these breweries in particular. The event featured a dozen beers that evening and I was lucky to have a wife willing to drive me home!
The first beer I tried was the Central City Gary’s Imperial IPA while Kirstin had Ninkasi’s “The Believer” Double Red Ale. This hop-forward IPA turned out to be one of my favourites in the end.
Then it was time for the food, which was a picnic indoors. Buttermilk fried chicken, pasta salad with basil, tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives and feta, pan-fried rosemary potatoes, jalapeno and pumpkin seed slaw and fresh greens with mustard cider vinaigrette. A great complement to the main course (beer). The pasta salad was especially awesome and I might have to try to recreate it at home (sometime when Kirstin’s not making a huge mess in our kitchen).
- Central City: Gary’s Imperial IPA
- Ninkasi: “The Believer” Double Red Ale
- Central City: Cask-Conditioned Imperial Porter
- HUB: “Rise Up” Red Ale
- Ninkasi: “Total Domination” IPA
- Ninkasi: “Spring Reign” Seasonal
- HUB: “Ace of Spades” Imperial IPA
- HUB: “Abominable Ale”
- Central City: Extra Special Bitter
- HUB: “Muscles from Brussels” Dark Belgian Ale
My hands-down winner of the night was Ninkasi’s “Total Domination” IPA which I’m hoping might make an appearance at our local LDB sometime this summer. Kirstin liked HUB’s “Rise Up” Red Ale best, followed closely by their “Abominable Ale.” I also enjoyed the Central City Gary’s Imperial IPA.
I must make mention of Central City’s Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine. I don’t know what we were expecting, but both of us nearly died after sipping it. Also not great, but not nearly as bad was Ninkasi’s “Spring Reign” Seasonal which we both disliked.
We certainly do not call ourselves beer experts (we’re a little more confident of our tasting skills when it comes to wine) but I know what I like. And for the most part, I liked these hoppy brews and would buy a pint of most of these the next time I’m at the Alibi Room. It was no surprise that I liked a lot of what Central City brought to offer at this event since their Red Racer is one of my favourite beers.