Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Beer 371 Common Loon and Gord Downie



We knew it was coming. It had to happen sooner or later. We were warned, we were prepared, but in the end, we were not ready. Last night at the age of 53 Canada's "Rock Poet" Gord Downie lost his battle with cancer. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are overflowing today with pictures of Gord, snippets of his songs, reposted music videos. Everyone has been touched by the Tragically Hip; everyone today feels the loss. This morning our Prime Minister broke down and cried on camera as he said "...we are less as a country..." without Gord. For an entire generation, the Tragically Hip have been the soundtrack for Canada. Few other bands have been wholly and ubiquitously linked to the Canadian Identity. I've plucked out Hip songs on my guitar in my day, as "Road Apples," "Up to here," and ""Fully Completely" played out in the background. The Hip were a dying breed. There were certainly one of the last big rock bands that you could actually put on an album and listen to the whole thing. Each album was carefully crafted like a story. Each one took you on a journey. To this day I feel that hearing the opening notes to any song will grab the listener and whisk them back to that moment in time when they first fell in love with that Hip album. For me, it's the "Tragically Hip" their self-titled debut. It wasn't the first Hip album I had heard, but it is the one that resonates with me the most. Raw unadulterated Hip. Play anyone the first two notes of "Highway Girl" and you know immediately... it's a Hip song. 


Man who walks among the stars
Then we have the man himself. Poet, singer, family man, environmentalist, visionary, author, and champion of reconciliation. The man wore so many hats. Most of them sparkly and brightly coloured! In his last year here, he gave us the most memorable Tragically Hip tour (touring with his doctor no less) he gave us a solo album and book about the life of Chanie Wenjack a boy who froze to death trying to escape a residential school, with proceeds going to reconciliation efforts. And a final solo album that sadly he would not see the release of. We returned the favour by granting him the Order of Canada... Which he refused until they promised to give one to each of his bandmates. The indigenous peoples of Canada also held a "naming ceremony" for Gord in honour of his work raising awareness for reconciliation and "widening the road to include all Canadians." The gave him the Lakota name "Wicapi Omani" "Man who walks among the stars." Now he is gone it is up to us... to heal our wounds and tell our story. I'm sure someone will come along who will take up a new voice for Canada. I just hope he or she knows, they are stepping into some pretty big shoes.

Gordon Downies Charities can be accessed here:


THE DOWNIE WENJACK FUND

efforts for reconciliation between Canada and the Indigenous Peoples

The Secret Path

Gord Downie's album and book can be bought here

The Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research

OPERATED BY THE SUNNYBROOK FOUNDATION


Please if you are able, if you have been touched by the stories or the music, consider donating to one of these worthy causes. Sadly I do have to warn you to be cautious as it may appear that there are many "memorial funds" for Gord going around. These are the officially sanctioned ones, donate carefully so your money goes to the people who need it. --CJT



Beer # 371 Common Loon APA

Brewery: Bobcaygeon Brewing Company

Type: Contract Brewery    Est.:  2015
Location: Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 4.8%      IBU: 38
Format: Aluminium Can  Size: 473 ml
Cost: $2.95 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

bobcaygeonbeer


    @bobcaygeonbeer


Since we lost Gord last night I felt we had to honour him with a beer from the town he made famous in one of his most iconic songs.


"Bobcaygeon" From the album "Phantom Power" 1998





Bobcaygeon Brewing company is currently building their own brewery right now in an historic building in their namesake town. Currently, there are three beers available this one, Dockside red and Sunset golden ale. They have also done a few seasonals like a session IPA and a porter, which I hope will return when the bricks and mortar brewery is launched.

Onto our beer.

Pours a crystal clear medium gold colour with a substantial off-white head made up of small bubbles. Aroma is piney and fruity with woodsy spice hints. First sip is malt forward with citrus and pineapple notes. Spicy green hops compliment the maltiness with a touch of pine. Aeration brings warm notes of spice, light caramel and vanilla, with hints of wood and toast.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6 PASS
Experience: 5/6 PASS


Final Thoughts:


A good everyday APA, balanced, decent flavours. Good for pulling out those old Tragically Hip CD's and giving them another listen.

Cheers... Raise a glass to Gord today.


CJT


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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Beer # 370 Freedom 35 Trailer Park Boys Lager

Beer # 370 Freedom 35 Lager



Brewery: N.A.C. (North American Craft) Importers 

Type: Contract brewery, Brewed at Wellington Brewing Company    Est.: 
Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Lager
ABV: 5.0%      IBU: 
Format: Aluminium Can  Size: 473 ml
Cost: $2.95 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

wellingtonbrewery


    @namericancraft


As the news spreads that we lost Canadian Actor John Dunsworth yesterday lots of Trailer Park Boys fans are still in shock today. I can't say I was a Trailer Park Boys fan; however, there is no doubt what the show has done for Canadian identity. In the words of my esteemed partner, The Queen of Pint Jockey Headquarters, "Why do I need to watch Trailer Park Boys? You've seen the neighbours." But watch a lot of people did. The show held up a mirror to Canadian society, not a perfect mirror, one of those wavy carnival ones. It poked fun at us, kept us humble and most of all made us laugh at ourselves. That's what good TV should do.

Onto our beer tonight. Freedom 35 is a craft lager produced at the Wellington Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario for N.A.C. Importers. The North American Craft Importers is an alcohol distribution agency that represents Canadian and American brewers and distillers and sources places for their products in the Beer Store, the LCBO, and now grocery stores across Ontario. They commissioned this beer with Wellington, who also produces under contract the beers for Double Trouble Brewing, one of their other clients. The interesting thing I have found is that in the announcement on the Trailer Park Boys Facebook Page here, they say there is corn in the beer to add sweetness, but it is not listed in the ingredients; but this beer is definitely sweet so I would imagine there is still corn in it. So be cautious if you have a corn allergy.

Onto our freakin' beer...

Pours a light gold colour with an off-white fluffy head made up of small bubbles. Aroma is grassy and sweet with hints of citrus. First sip is surprising. As lagers go this one is not an over-commercialised barrel wash. However, is it malt forward with a surprising amount of sweetness, almost syrupy. Hops are there, lending a bitter green, medicinal bite. The hop varieties are not listed but they taste like German varieties to me, possibly Hallertau. The wheat flakes give it a slight breadiness which makes the beer taste like toast doused in sugar. As the beer warms hints of spice and raisins come to the surface. Aeration gives us some clove and bitter mustard greens.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 4/6 PASS
Re-Order:  2/6 SO-SO
Experience: 3/6 SO-SO


Final Thoughts:


This tastes like a hangover in a can. It's not terrible. I honestly thought I would have to issue another #drainaward, but, I was surprised. It has flavour, it has the bones of a good craft lager, it's just not balanced. It's like sucking on a tin of malt syrup. Save this beer for Trailer Park Boys re-runs, on nights you don't have to be anywhere the next morning. Poor decisions are almost guaranteed.

Cheers


CJT


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Beer # 369 Yuzu Pale Ale: Radical Road Brewing Company


Beer # 369 Yuzu Pale Ale



Brewery: Radical Road Brewing Company

Type: Brewpub/ Microbrewery    Est.: 2013
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Flavoured Pale Ale
ABV: 5.0%      IBU: 40
Format: Aluminium Can  Size: 473 ml
Cost: $2.95 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

radical_road_brewing_co

    @radicalroadbrew

Tonight we are heading down to Radical Road, a brewpub and brewery in Leslieville, near "The Beach" in Toronto (where I lived for a few years). The brewery is named after a road built around the now extinct volcano of Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh, Scotland by unemployed weavers as punishment for their involvement in the "Radical War" of 1820. The uprising was a national strike brought on by workers complaining about fair wages and working conditions. Eventually, the strike action was crushed, and the organisers were imprisoned or executed. King George the IV upon visiting Edinburgh later said the workers could build a road to occupy their time. Named Radical Road as a sort of tongue in cheek "honour" of the worker's strike, today it is a peaceful walking path through Holyrood Park.

Inspired by the idealism of the Radical road when he visited Edinburgh Founder Simon da Costa dreamt of building a microbrewery. In 2013 he realised his dream and named it Radical Road.


Yuzu
Tonight's beer is a pale ale, American style flavoured with the distinctive yuzu fruit from Japan. About the size of a tangerine, the small thick-skinned yellow fruit is like a cross between a lemon and a bitter orange. It is mainly used for flavouring, and sauces in it's native Southeast Asia. Let's try it out.

Pours a clear light gold colour with a short head made up of small white bubbles. Aroma is decidedly citrus with minglings of bitter orange and lemon and a slight hint of green hoppiness.  First sip is quite sour, with hints of orange zest and lemon pith. Fruity zesty hops are present but not stand-outish. The pale ale style is barely discernible, drinks more like a shandy than a straight-up beer. Aeration gives up hints of clove in with the orange peel.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 



Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 4/6 PASS
Re-Order:  4/6 PASS
Experience: 4/6 PASS


Final Thoughts:


Not outstanding. Bitterness overwhelms, the pale ale notes are too muted, and it needs a sweetness to balance it. Hops are there but way too far in the background to allow me to think this is a pale ale. If I were told this was a shandy, I would believe it, as it tastes like unsweetened lemonade in an average beer. Not bad, I still was able to enjoy it but it doesn't live up to its description. Try it out yourself and see.



Cheers


CJT


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Monday, 16 October 2017

Beer # 368 The West Wind Black IPA: Lake of Bay Brewing Company

Beer # 368 The West Wind Black IPA




Brewery: Lake of Bays Brewing Company

Type: Independent Microbrewery     Est.: 2008
Location: Baysville, Ontario, Canada
Beer Style: Black IPA
ABV: 7.0%      IBU: 90
Format: Aluminium Can  Size: 473 ml
Cost: $3.15 CAD     Purchased At: LCBO

Twitter: @LB_Brewing

I wrote about my little mini journey to go seek some of the sites that were important in Tom Thomson's life and death this summer and managed to share a beer with him "in spirit." Had this beer been released back then I would certainly have taken this one, as it was specially brewed with the 100th anniversary of Thomson's death in mind. Tonight's beer is The West Wind Black IPA. Lake of Bays is a quaint little brewery in Baysville and they turn out some stunning beers. Longtime readers will remember their Hockey Mask series and a very Impressive 10 Point IPA from some time ago. Just recently I did their Wild North Series Pina Grande. So when this beer was brought to my attention I had to seek it out and try it.


The West Wind refers to Tom Thomson's painting of the same name. It was sketched in 1916 at the Ranger station in Cauchon Lake, Algonquin Park. Thomson finished it over the winter of 1917 just months before his death. This along with "The Jack Pine" are, I feel, his two most recognisable works, and the two that certainly best represent the rugged beauty of Canada's North. Strangely, it is reported that as Thomson was sketching this painting he was doing it in the middle of a windstorm, as evidenced by the whitecaps on the lake. He was at the Ranger station with his patron Dr. James McCallum, and fellow painter and future Group of 7 member Lawren Harris. Dr. McCallum and Harris were watching Thomson paint the sketch in the wind when the tree depicted in the painting was blown down, nearly on top of Thomson. He got up, waved at the other two men, righted his easel and finished painting. Can anyone say "bad-ass Canadian?"

So then, our beer tonight is for bad-ass Canadians, rugged in spirit and irrepressible. Let's see how it stacks up.



Pours an opaque dark chestnut brown about the same colour of the water of Canoe Lake just before final sunset.  A darker tan head floats above made up of tiny bubbles. Aroma light malt chocolate and coffee with a tiny bit of molasses. First sip is very transformative. It attacks the senses as a dark ale, with deep malts and chocolate and espresso. But as the beer wraps itself around your tongue the body of an IPA emerges, like sunshine breaking through clouds. Bright and hoppy, lots of green and slightly bitter hop aromas mingled with some light tropical notes. Hints of vanilla and brandy. Aeration gives us toasted wheat hints of dried fruit, some turbinado sugar, and leaves the lips slightly sticky.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 
6/6 EXCEPTIONAL

Colour: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Beer Style: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Re-Order:  6/6 EXCEPTIONAL
Experience: 6/6 EXCEPTIONAL


Final Thoughts:


Just Like a Tom Thomson painting, don't expect everything to be on the surface. Expect to be surprised, enthralled, and left with a deep sense of calm. This beer was a pleasant surprise, it swirls around you quickly like the wind, but then draws you up into that beautiful sky. The West Wind is a perfect name for this beer and does indeed capture the spirit of Thomson's work. Subtle and bold, calm yet still a bit startling. It is hands down the best Black IPA I have tasted (so far!). Please get your hands on this limited edition while you still can. And raise at least one glass to Tom.


Cheers


CJT


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Happy National Cat Day!

Perry says: Screw your camera... gimme the treats.

Happy National Cat Day from our Pint Jockey Headquarters Editor at Large and Chief Typo Inserter  Perry  (Periwinkle) T.


Well back at it again. I was hoping to spend more time with the blog this week as I was away from that thing which pays me money yet cuts into my drinking time. I believe the term for it is "Vacation," sadly it is not a word I use often enough to remember if that is the correct definition. I have a couple of posts coming up tonight and a few more tomorrow... before I have to go back to that place that pays me.

As Editor Perry says it is National Cat Day. I hope if you have a cat at home you can spare an extra few belly rubs, a treat or two, or a few extra tosses of the catnip mouse for our self-designated furry overlords.

Cheers

CJT and Perry

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Beer # 367 First World Problems Stewart Brewing

Beer #367 First World Problems Belgian IPA

Stewart Brewing Company


Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Independent Microbrewery
Established: 2004
Belgian IPA
6.2 % ABV IBU: 80
330 ml Brown Glass Bottle
$3.85 (Canadian) At the LCBO


Twitter: @StewartBrewing



I admit it. I bought this beer for the label. The Lichtenstein inspired cartoon caught my eye even before the clever name and witty "I ordered Sourdough, and they brought me brioche..." punchline. So naturally, this beer had to come home with me. It wasn't until I got it home that I discovered it was from Scotland, and a Belgian inspired IPA. Stewart Brewing is an award-winning craft brewery in the heart of frenetic and cosmopolitan Edinburgh. It's a wonderfully big welcoming city very friendly and ready to party at the drop of a hat. I learned valuable lessons about drinking while I was in Edinburgh and actually how to pronounce Edinburgh and not sound like a tool. Locals pronounce it ED-in-BURR... only foreigners pronounces it Ed-in-Boro or Ed-in BURG. I also admit it is easier to pronounce after a pint or two or 14 in my case.

Onto our beer tonight...

Pours a cloudy honey amber with a scattered thin head made up of various bubbles. Nose is sweet with nuts and toffee, clover honey flowers and some dried fruit. First sip is warming, with dried fruit and cooked pineapple. Hints of bright green hops. Slightly syrupy, reminiscent of a late harvest wine, leaves a sticky lips sensation. Fresh and bright with lingering hints of spice at the end. Aeration gives us a pump of alcohol as the full height of the 6.2% ABV stands up. Finishes warm toasty notes,  hints of treacle and caramel.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 5/6 PASS
Re-Order:  5/6  PASS
Experience: 5/6 PASS


Final Thoughts:


Very good IPA from Scotland. Well balanced and full of subtle little flavours. One you should give a try while you can.
Cheers


CJT


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Friday, 6 October 2017

Beer # 366 Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale: Left Field Brewery

Beer #366 Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale

Left Field Brewery


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Independent Microbrewery
Established: 2013
Oatmeal Bown Ale
5.5 % ABV IBU: 35
600 ml Brown Glass Bottle
$5.45 (Canadian) At the LCBO

Twitter: @LFBrewery



Tonight we head down to Left Field Brewery. A, obviously, baseball themed brewery in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto. They have been around since 2013 and while I have had a few beers by them not much has made it into the blog. This one came as a bit of coincidence. I read an article about the "10 Must-try Beers from Toronto," and this was one of them, then by Chance I stumbled across a bottle in the LCBO.  As the brewery tends to use baseball terms to name their beers this is one that had me scratching my head. I've watched a bit of baseball, but hockey was king in my house growing up. Eephus (pronounced either EE-fuss or Eff-ess (see below)) is a very specific type of pitch.


The Eephus Pitch, from Wikipedia:


According to manager Frankie Frisch, the pitch was named by outfielder Maurice Van Robays. When asked what it meant, Van Robays replied, "'Eephus ain't nothing, and that's a nothing pitch." Although the origin is not known for certain, "Eephus" may come from the Hebrew word אפס (pronounced "EFF-ess"), meaning "nothing".[3] The Eephus pitch is thrown overhand like most pitches, but is characterized by an unusual, high arcing trajectory.[4][5] The corresponding slow velocity bears more resemblance to a slow-pitch softball delivery than to a traditional baseball pitch. It is considered a trick pitch because, in comparison to normal baseball pitches, which run from 70 to 100 miles per hour (110 to 160 km/h), an Eephus pitch appears to move in slow motion at 55 mph (89 km/h) or less, sometimes into the low-40s mph (66–69 km/h). source

Most often when the Eephus pitch is employed it is used to catch a batter off-guard. A pitcher will throw a bunch of fast balls and then lob in an Eephus to confuse the batter. And I think this is the heart of the idea in naming this beer Eephus, something to catch us off-guard.

Tonight's beer is a rich,  smoky, and fruity oatmeal brown ale. Let's try it.

Pours a rich chocolate brown with a generous tan head made up of small and medium bubbles. Aroma is dark and malty with strong notes of molasses, light smoke and a hint of spice. first sip is warm and malty with rummy molasses, light bodied, still fruity , with hints of smoke, and smoked meat. Light sweetness from the oatmeal, and a hint of effervescence. Very smooth and easy drinking. Makes me want a big stack of ribs. Aeration gives us notes of caramel, vanilla, some spicy green hops Second pour into the glass gives me a smoother creamier head with much finer bubbles. Flavour builds and develops as the beer warms.

Impressions: Fail, So-so, Pass, Exceptional 


Cost: 5/6 PASS

Colour: 5/6 PASS
Beer Style: 6/6 EXCELLENT
Re-Order:  5/6  PASS
Experience: 6/6 EXCELLENT


Final Thoughts:


Definitely falls into the category of a "Must-try" beer. Malty and complex while still maintaining an airy fruitiness. Much more than a curveball... certainly a Eephus.
Cheers


CJT


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