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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
until next time,