COOKz misc: Pilsners at Pickering Library…books and beer, stories and suds

Picture this: a tipsy Santa look- alike wearing lederhosen, lurching a bit leeward saying, “I’m a beer taster!”

No way!

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Mirella Amato is today’s beer taster: young, attractive, articulate and an entrepreneur. She owns her own company, has written an award winning book about beer, and manages a beer related web site. Add to this, she does tasting engagements such as the one held at the Pickering Public library recently.

Looks aren’t everything; with Amato, they’re icing on the cake. What a cake! Loaded with knowledge and expertise, the icing is topped by a trained palette that can distinguish a lager from an ale as quickly as a youngster can discern between chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

On a polar frigid Thursday night, far from conducive to whetting beer tasting taste buds, this professional beer taster delivered the goods, seven different beers for library patron participants to taste.


Sponsored by the Pickering Public Library, the presentation was an unexpected surprise. Who would have thought the local library pouring beers for patrons! Who would have thought the local library sponsoring a beer tasting event! But it did and enough of beer was poured so that you got a real taste; three ounces each, enough for multiple tastes, a good thing because Amato’s explanations called for tasting and re-tasting, guided by her well-travelled expertise.

A Master Cicerone, a knowledgeable guide, Mirella is a sensory evaluation specialist whose goal is to broaden people’s awareness and knowledge of locally produced beers. Beer has long passed its decades old stereotypical image. Remember the slender draft glasses served in those grubby pubs of old, eye-tearing, smoke smells emanating from the walls and floors, grimy tables eluding the look of cleanliness after years of beer glass rings and ashtrays with their cigarette stubs. Today’s professional beer taster sitting in such a pub would be as alien as a Martian sitting at a table with Rob Ford, Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.


Beer has climbed to new heights of acceptability and sophistication. Palette education is a must. A Mirella Amato presentation is ideal. Her library presentation was the smallest sip from the gigantic keg brewed by local producers:

  • Side Launch Brewing
  • Mill Street Brewery
  • Black Oak Brewery
  • Lake of Bays Brewing Co.
  • Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
  • Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.
  • Cameron’s Brewing Co.

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To get the most taste and pleasure from your beer, Mirella advises:

  1. Your beer should not be too cold; cellar cold, not fridge cold.
  2. Pour the beer into a glass to release its aroma and let the CO2 escape
  3. Relax, sniff, and sip at the outset as the beer releases its flavor

Mirella Amato was time pressed with her allotted hour and half. Yet justice was done not only by her comprehensive presentation but also by the appropriately sized servings of the beer tastings.

For more information from Mirella Amato’s fountain of beer knowledge consider buying her award winning book, “Beerology.” Also, visit her website at


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