the angriest avian on earth (black creek pioneer village brown ale)

hello.

happy new year and happy january and all that fun festive shit. the past month hit me with this nasty laziness like no other december ever had. damn being twenty three. it’s like december radiated or microwaved sloth into my bones. i was surprised when i woke up in the new year and the laziness hadn’t just disappeared. no fair 2013. do all my work for me.

before the 2012 ended, i visited this place called Black Creek Pioneer Village. i didn’t know the place existed or that it had an onsite brewery. the prospect of pioneer brewed beer was too good to pass up even if it meant mud roads and horses everywhere (horses are terrifying). i drove up there with some friends to taste some beer and ended up paying $15 for parking in the middle of vaughn (deceptively similar to lots of other towns around it in terms of general appearance and economic activity) and $18 to walk around in a bunch of really old houses where people wore really clean new old clothes and there was horse shit everywhere. one of these houses, when we went in, held a lady captive making cookies. there were only two and my friends ate them. i enjoyed the lady explain how a wood oven worked though. KNOWLEDGE.

a can

for some reason this pail sat on this fence in front of this pretty pretty scene. i will never understand this.

when we got to the historic brewery, a sassy woman told us to go wait in the bar. everything looked like a movie i once saw as a kid in grade 6 canadian studies class and i’m still not sure what that means to me. the sassy lady joined us and a set of strangers and gave us cards. i was afraid of the scenario turning into roleplay and even made a joke, hoping the effort would put a stopper on roleplay. but the sassy lady made us roleplay anyway. twenty minutes of awkward laughs with strangers took place during the roleplay. i was told to hate mr molson (from molson brewery) and i pretended to hate him by cracking my knucles but i don’t think anybody heard and i just wanted to get on with the beer and not really hate someone i didn’t know.

the sassy lady took us to a threshing mill and a barley soaking room. all very cool stuff apart from the costumes. we tasted roasted barley and my friend said it tasted like rabbit food. i learned that a difference of thirty seconds, when roasting barley, completely changes the beer’s character. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

we walked back to the brew house where we finally tasted some beer. here’s what part of the brew room looked like:

casks

see how some casks have things written on them? that’s how they did it in the 1860’s. on this particular day they had a stout, a festive holiday stout and an ipa filtering into the casks through a cheesecloth. we all had to pick a glass and try all three beers. it was swell apart from the sassy lady making us toast to the queen. not once or twice, but three times. a room full of strangers holding glasses sniffing beer having to say ‘TO QUEEN AND COUNTRY’. this was pastiche i did not enjoy. it felt like a scene from that movie, The Trip, with zero of the humour. the guy dressed up as alexander keith said he got hints of soy in the stout to which i say fuck you old man. fuck you.

anyways. enough dancing around. i bought a growler of the brown ale (which was made a week ago) and drove home and drank it.

the growler

IT WAS GREAT.

there was little to no carbonation. the brewer said this is how things used to be. i believe him because all these retrofuture microbrews are also lightly carbonated. sorry coca cola lager. the brown ale tasted very sweet in a properly made iced tea way. caramel bouquet. it was muddy coloured from cheesecloth only filtration. i could see this really attractive barley haze throughout the beer. it was earthy tasting somehow. maybe just because it looked earthy and i got these phantom tastes. medium to light body. not bitter at all. tasted like peach juice somehow. just cool and refreshing. easy to drink without characteristic lager cleanliness. the brewmaster said people didn’t make lager in the 1860’s in canada because they didn’t have caves to make lager in.

here’s a picture of the label if you’re into reading labels.

growler label

the haze

and above is that oh so seductive caramel haze. do give this beer a go if you find yourself in vaughan. returning the growler is a free entry to the old houses, so uh, go and enjoy the cedar smelling rooms all over again. you’ll also see these beautiful birds again.

the thing

until next time,

sufian

sticky beards (flying monkeys netherworld cascadian dark ale)

hi!

have you ever eaten a rasgulla? it looks like this:

see the little yucky line of syrup falling off the ball? good. it can get on you. they can also look like this:

how do you resist a boat so sweet? you don’t! so i have this syrup stuck in my beard and it has dried out and my beard hairs are gelled with food. it’s a horrible situation. the beer i had earlier, however, is great.

the beer’s called Flying Monkeys ‘Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale’. that’s informative, because see, it’s a dark ale and it’s brewed with cascadian hops and it’s from the underworld! the beer was so underworldly/otherworldly that i had to listen to that song, raining blood, to calm myself down. please check out their website. it has (really!) neat info like beer recipe’s and associated tales. here’s what the thing looks like:

look at all those badboys on the label. i recall going to this beer tasting festival weekend thing two years ago and walking by the flying monkeys’ booth and thinking ‘ha! what a silly design campaign. ha!’ but then i had their smashbomb ipa and didn’t care anymore and even, maybe, grew kind of sympathetic to their brand of loony label making. they’ve continued with this marketing campaign and it seems to work for them. great job!
here’s the back:

MORE SCARY BAD BOYS! and a well written and informative blurb. i particularly appreciate the comment about hybridity. the brew burst open with dark ale’s characteristic coffee and chocolate notes and the associated bitterness of a properly nice dark roast. once you get past the dark ale character, there’s a lingering bitterness that isn’t from barley roasting. it’s from serious hopping. i appreciated flying monkeys’ job here. they’ve made something that’s a cross between mad tom ipa and wellington’s county dark ale. it’s not sweet like the wellington and it’s not just hoppy and tart like the mad tom. it’s a strange and novel and highly interesting combination of the two. HYBRIDITY. lush and tangy hybridity.

the ale is of medium body. it isn’t thick or light. it’s neat. and now let’s take a look at the head.

this made me so, so happy. i mean, it turned a sad sunday good (thanks, stephen chbosky, for adapting your own film and making a bummer). it seems every time i get a beer for this blog, there’s no head and if there is, it just disappears. this head stayed. and i got all the yeasty joy out of it til the end of the mug.

thumbs up to the fellas at flying monkeys. uh, if anyone ever offers rasgulla to you, say NO for god’s sake.

that bowl might look great but you’ll smell.

now that our the lord mayor Ford is tentatively out, have a safe and enjoyable wednesday.

love always,

s.

 

dun dun dun

hello.

i am not american. i have known some americans and i think the kind of americans i have known says something about the kind of people i like to be around and the kind of people who i think are decent and honest and good and like cake or cookies and not like pine sol or benzene.

tomorrow is an important day for america and by geographic/cultural association, canada and by extension everyone else. go vote for this dude.

(thank you, The Atlantic Wire, for the picture)
have a safe and happy election day.

yours forever,

s.

i had to break into my own apartment (big rock ipa review)

hello,
i share my apartment with lauren. she lost her key because her key was in her wallet and her wallet was in her bike basket thing and her bike was moving fast over a bump and the combination of all these things together made her lose her key because her key was in her wallet and her wallet was in her bike basket.

i let her borrow my key and then she left my key on a shelf in the apartment and i left home without my key and only realized when i returned that i’d locked myself out without a key. and i’m a university graduate! go brains.

so i had to tear a hole in the mesh and slide a window open and fit my butt through the window while doing a lateral handstand so i didn’t break my glasses. point in case: it’s easy to break in your house (even i can do it. you can too! try it today) but you look insane but also funny.

for all this trouble, i got to open a bottle of beer that looks like a christmas candy or a chocolate orange or a birthday letter if your friend has tactile issues.

i liked the wrapping around the cap for a second before realizing i wasn’t holding chocolate and wrapping delays consumption. the wrapping did encourage not taking in from the bottle. it’s like a force to pour. whatever your intentions, big rock, you’ve succeeded at making an uncomfortable lip.

did i mention the cool rooster on the bottle? please contact me if you know of any other beers with neat roosters built into the brew.

this is what the label reads.

as you can see the beer is from calgary and pairs wonderfully with the dust of a warm prairie evening. unfortunately, i’ve never been to the prairies nor have i tried warm dust so i paired it with nothing.

bouquet: not much. smells unremarkable. slightly alcoholic overtone. keep in mind, breaking into my apartment might have done some damage to my nose.

colour: real pretty like. i could see through the brew and the body matched the colour well.

taste: all around decent. there’s a good level of hopping going on. it’s not like having a warhead but it’s not like drinking milk. if halfway was a beer, this is it. it’s much better cool rather than chilled. don’t leave this in your fridge too long. when cold, it has a tendency to mask its sweeter tastes. warming up the brew opens up the malt. this goes much better with the level of hopping.

grab this if you want to have a lot of ale all at once. it’s $15 for a six pack so, you know, if you think molson export ale isn’t good enough for you go spend money on this.

hope you haven’t misplaced your keys or anything.

see ya soon.

s.

happy happy happy thanksgiving (Muskoka Brewery Dark Ale)

it was canadian thanksgiving a few days ago. this usually involves not much for me, being a vaguely integrated immigrant and all, but this year i went to a thanksgiving dinner. it was fun because i was the designated driver.

the drive to this dinner, which was an hour outside the city, was pleasantly uneventful. at this dinner, lauren’s grandfather asked a table of eight what a mullet was. i think he thought it was a kind of animal. someone told me lauren thinks haggis is a kind of animal  at this same dinner ((true familial bonds are demonstrated on thanskgiving. i did not know this). there were a lot of veiled sexy jokes and a dog licked my fingers (which is uncomfortable and not good for making fun of if the host likes the dog).

the dog looked just like this and did exactly this all night long. how’s a girl supposed to eat in these conditions? thanks for the image, lady.

the drive back was fun. always remember to give your passengers a little something, aged in a sherry barrel, before an hour long drive. the cabin becomes a karaoke bar.

anyways. i myself had some booze after all this silly but somehow totally enjoyable designated driving. i had a thing of muskoka brewery’s dark ale.

here’s what the can looks like.


there’s a cool car on the can. how’d they (muskoka brewery) know boys like cars and faux bootlegging?


here’s what it looks like poured. there’s no head.

i picked up this beer because i am fond of mad tom i.p.a. and if you are not you should try it out if you want to be kicked in a painful part of your body.

bouquet: definitely no coffee or caramel. some hop. zero head. lightly carbonated. zinc like (what does zinc taste like? i’ve never tried but this beer definitely tastes like zinc)

colour: one of the darkest beers i’ve seen. when i poured it, i did not expect the ridiculously easy flavour. usually, when a beer is this dark, you expect some sort of toasty flavour. this does not have that. which scares me and makes me think they may or may not have artificially coloured it. the can reads, “boldly coloured,” which is true. like, it’s opaque somehow. black pudding like.

body: light to medium bodied, which is good for a dark ale. not too hoppy. i don’t like that. might have liked a little more tang. the can calls for hints of chocolate and caramel, but i don’t really know where they are. there’s a subtle and simple roasted malt taste at the end of a swirl but that’s about it.

drink this if you want, like, an easy to drink dark ale with no serious flavour (and i don’t know why you’d want that). go drink wellington county dark ale if you want an easy to drink dark ale with flavour. there’s lots of chocolate and coffee there.
a day later, i stopped at a shell gas bar because i was out in the boondocks and falling asleep and so i got a java stop coffee and then it tasted like nothing. this beer’s a lot like that for some reason but nobody asked me for a lotto max or a two for two chocolate bar combo deal.

hope you had a fun, fat weekend.
see you soon,

s.

i was in a coma all summer and spring

so then i’ve been in a coma all summer and spring long. i don’t remember exactly when it happened or how and i do know that it was horrible. i had the worst crusty eye boogers when i woke up and all i could remember were a bunch of dreams. i remember dreaming it was super cold and then it got super hot and along the way these pins kept stabbing my foot because some dickhead left them lying around, all negligent like. they denied me booze in my coma and i’m not entirely sure what i ate. vague feelings of mushy veg. and pureed meats. oh well now that’s over and i’m so happy i can move my legs again.

after feeling sentient again, i found i craved crumpets (for whatever reason) so i up and bought some. i found a boozer near the crumpet place, which was convenient for my atrophied legs. i walked around a little, taking in the old familiar smell and shady patrons. and then i found but something called ‘liberty ale’. too good too good i thought. this perfectly symbolizes what i’m feeling. finally out of sleeping all the time and being flipped over by strangers in white and finally breathing dirty outdoor air and finally looking at strangers in the street. i grabbed the sextuplet and walked.

they gave me a swell carpet.

while getting home (which was not where i used to live. what’s going on, hermano!) i read the box and labels and stuff because reading is fun after six months of eyes shut closed. the bottle cap had a cool little thing on it reading, ‘use opener’ which is good because i think it satirizes coors light perfectly while also being a friendly reminder to not rip up your palms. the neck label told me liberty ale was first brewed in the seventies, celebrating the 200th anniversary of an event. neat. the label also claimed the beer being made of the finest barley and fresh hops and pure water. lord how i missed being told water was pure. the label also mentioned something about natural carbonation and no added carbon dioxide.

i poured the beer in my new kitchen and living room and had a taste.

very malty. zero carbonation (okay fine, very little, not zero) which makes it feel sweet for some reason. their natural carbonation is like salt free potato chips. like, perrier has more fizz. it probably would not taste as sweet if artificially carbonated. there’s something about fizz that hides balance issues. good sharp hop level. i don’t know if fresh hops make any serious difference to dried hops but i find it strange that they filter their beer if they’re all about artisinal brewing and shit. light bodied. brought back feelings of a long time ago for whatever reason (maybe because it reminds me of port credit ale, stuff you used to drink because the bottle looked cool). the liberty ale kind of burns your tongue. sharpness takes over mouth. bitter aftertaste. can taste the alcohol. it’s nice and nostalgic.

so glad to be alive again. my new place came with a stray/roaming cat. see you soon. hope your hair and nails don’t melt.

love forever,

s.

p.s. bedpans blow, yo.

holey holiday hellhole (laphroaig quarter cask scotch)

i’m so glad the holidays are over. all i ever said was, ‘i’m rotund’ or ‘hey i feel rotund’ and ‘oh man i had too much food last night and i’m rotund’. the rotund shit got so deep in my brain i started saying rotund when i met people. i met some strangers over the holidays and i used rotund in casual conversation. i left them feeling weird or thinking what a moron that guy is. it was embarrassing. i also drank very little beer over the holidays on account of receiving whiskey and wine as gifts.

the other day a man came over. he brought popcorn, chocolate, salsa and a bottle of laphroaig’s quarter cask scotch. i was glad he came over. he told me about his new years party plans and meeting friends and how much he danced. he has long limbs and i enjoyed visualizing him on a dancefloor, thrusting about. i force fed him a beer/whiskey cocktail, which he didn’t enjoy. feeling like i’d lost the tussle, i sat down. we started watching a movie and he cracked open the laphroaig.

in the ole days, when fat shit capitalist fat shits didn’t run everything, whiskey aged in tiny barrels. the tiny barrels were good because mules could carry them over the land and take them to wherever whiskey was had. nobody uses mules anymore because the fucking airplane and ups truck took over and similarly no whiskey maker uses little casks anymore.

because of the use of large casks, whiskey tastes different. i haven’t been in a physics class in years but this makes sense to me. if whiskey gets in contact with more wood, it should have more flavour.

nosing this thing was intense. it smelled like grade six, where i spent a lot of my time nose in grass because i tripped over everything including people’s feet and cats. it’s bottle at 48% abv so i do not recommend intense sniffing. you’ll burn your brain. apart from grade six, it smelled like latakia tobacco, which you should smoke if you have never because it’s cured over camel dung and tastes great.

this is a picture of a man that isn’t me or my friend. i envy him though because of his beard hairs and generally masculine disposition.

the taste of the scotch was intense, lasting and searing. don’t drink this too quickly. it principally tastes of charcoal, which i like to taste. do you not like grilled meat? the taste builds on your palate over time. even a drop will completely overpower your mouth. this was a desert-ish drink. i couldn’t even think of having more than one. you’d need courage or lunacy for that.

this is islay. where the whiskey comes from. i wish i was scottish.

i swear i’ll do a beer next week. it’s just that i have a few lined up and choosing is oh so hard when you’re rotund. thanks to friend that brought the laphroaig over. come have a drink right now.

happy wednesday.

xoxo

s.

an old man sang frank sinatra (sam adams lager)

i’ve enjoyed my holidays, a little. i’ve managed to eat half a pizza every two days and take long walks in the cold when it isn’t romantic or pleasant. yesterday i went to lauren’s workplace christmas wham bam thing. it was at a crappy bar (i hate crappy bars) with a fox for a logo.

i tried looking for a picture of pizza but found this instead. enjoy.

we walked in and my glasses fogged up, because weather makes it hard for eyeball impaired people like me. lauren walked up to her work friends (she calls them coworkers, i’m being nicer). she didn’t introduce me to anyone so i floated trying to hard behind her, which is hard because she is half a foot shorter than myself. eventually she introduced me to some girl who had brought a tripod to the bar.

why would anyone bring a tripod to a bar if you’re there to have a ‘good time’

sorry

smiles and handshakes later, we walked to the massive bar with a lady behind it. they setup the taps so i couldn’t see her if i stood. i had to sort of fit my head in between the bar bench and the taps. this meant i refused to order and got nervous and asked lauren to do the commanding things.

i ended up with a samuel adams lager. i looked it up now and apparently it’s a boston lager. i did not know this last night, but i knew it was american because i’d seen it in a duane reade in new york which i went to a long time ago when i did fun things.

taste

it was dark, as is usually the case with places with foxes for mascots, so the colours were off. it looked kinda amber. the lady behind the bar left me an inch of head and i enjoyed that first. it tasted frothy and yeasty and got me in the mood for ice cream. i sipped the thing for a while and liked what i got. it was tangy, orangey and left a bitter thing in my mouth at the end. i’ve come to like that. do try samuel adams sometime soon.

drinking the thing made me envious of the americans. they have this stuff in grocery stores. i wish we had that here.

this is samuel adams. wish men’d wear coats that red nowadays.

anyways.

a few hours later, and a few more orange glasses later, all of lauren’s coworkers looked drunk. she told me they were occasional drinkers, which i found funny because her boss sang the backstreet boys (and added the word “BITCHES” after every line). one of her bosses looked pervy and one of them looked like a little boy from one of those movies where you feel bad for the kid because he lives in the mountains.

eventually an old man sang frank sinatra on the karaoke and when he finished i walked up to him and said great job. he looked over my shoulder and said something gruff, something i couldn’t understand. i felt weird hanging out with adults celebrating stuff. i wanted to leave and then lauren persuaded me to get pizza and here i am feeling fat and full and holy shit i just realized how much my holidays have sucked.

this is the worst story ever. i swear it won’t happen again. are you enjoying your holidays?

 

holy shit (xoxo)

it’s been a month and since the last time we spoke, i gained ten pounds. my goal for the holidays was to land around that area and i feel certain i’ll get there. i had another goal too, which was to buy a homebrew kit thing and not poison those around me. i’ve been too lazy to leave the apartment, so that hasn’t happened yet (as a result, nobody has died).

i bought a bunch of stuff i want to review. soon, soon.

 

i bought a new computer (stonecutter scotch ale)

i’m fat

hey fatsos. is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) kicking in for you guys yet? i’ve been eating a 170g bag of chips everyday for the past three days. you know what that’s done? i gained six pounds in less than a week. i feel like mariah carey. boobs and flopped singles.

you’ll make a great gammy one day, girl

i had a bad saturday

so last saturday i cried a lot because

a) i drank a lot

b) we didn’t go to some karaoke thing where only the cure songs were played

c) lauren went crazy

d) i drank a lot

e) i didn’t steal useless shit

i bought a computer

as a result of the tears i was very sad the next day. you know when you get sad you buy things? i went on the apple website and bought a computer. i didn’t even have the money. i can’t believe they’re irresponsible enough to let someone like me buy a fancy computer. haha installments. i’m fucked and irresponsible.

lcbo to introduce customer credit program

all this easy to pay over the course of five years stuff got me thinking. the lcbo should have this. booze is the most important thing. if i could have a credit limit at the boozer, let’s say $2000 dollars, and it accrued interest at 1.99% per month, i’d be pretty happy. that would mean i could buy whatever i wanted and pay a minimum of $25 a month. the rest, obviously, would gather interest and by god i’ll have a bed credit rating as long as it’s for booze i shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

someone ought to petition this stuff. i’m too lazy to. but hey, if we joined forces who know what and all that camaraderie.

this would be us. the suits and all. but a banner reading, “give credit for alcohol”

stonecutter scotch ale

stone cutters are cool. they spend hundreds of hours chipping away at stone to make a lasting mark on history. that’s commendable. i guess that’s why this company named themselves ‘renaissance stonecutter’. maybe they think they’re denting beer history. who knows, they might. i picked up the scotch ale because

1. it was a scotch ale

2. it was a strong ale (7.0% abv). i like strong ales.

3. the bottle read the brewery’s address and email on the back.

4. label said this beer is their flagship, feels ‘hearty’, is brewed with ‘nine malts’ and tastes like caramel, toffee, liquorice, chocolate and roasty flavours (whatever that may mean)

5. has the brewmaster’s signature on the label. that’s pride on a serious scale.

here’s a video of me, alone at home, trying to pour the thing.

problems

they claim this ale was best in class 2007. i don’t really care about that. stop bragging about things that happened four years ago. i had my first weird moment at a party four years ago. don’t see me braggin’ bout spilling red on the host’s carpet.

nosing it

smells like a standard ale. nothing special here.

taste

the taste popped my tongue. it’s like having no salt for two months and then having bacon and eggs with salt sprinkled on top. you realize you’ve been missing something. stuff’s good. malty, hoppy, very malty. i can taste the alcohol quite a bit. i like that. i don’t like the strong beers that try to hide the alcohol flavour. embrace it ya kiwis.

i saw dark amber colour. there was little head retention. lotsa lace.

it’s a little bitter. don’t let this thing warm up. it’s too much when warm. too much everything, it overpowers. don’t have this if you’ve skipped dinner. it’ll get you a little boozed. it’s full bodied but not as thick as a stout nor as light as a light ale. they must have a team that just works on balance because they’ve found a nice spot.

why i’m home alone

my roomate is at bruce peninsula and lauren just got home with a piece of cake for me and  she showed me a dress she wants for her birth day and where’s the money money.

anyways.

i love this stuff. it’s like the first time i had tankhouse. i know i’ll want this. the new zealanders have something amazing here. go australasia.

have you ever been to new zealand or had anything from that part of the world?

have a pleasant thursday. i’m off to burger king for a double stacker.

-sufian