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.

 

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.

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?

 

grand theft auto trailer (celt bronze ale review)

i grow old next week

today is wednesday november the second. it’s seven days before my birthday. i’m going to be twenty two. i wish someone would gift me a big bag of all kinds of beer and i would share it with them and we’d both get boozed and then we’d hug and make a frozen pizza and talk about our dads and how lucky we are to be friends. be that person. be my pal.

violence returns to the television

as a sneak birthday present, rockstar games released this trailer of grand theft auto five. boy was i excited. my whole grade seven, i spent¬† it shooting hookers with a gun in grand theft auto three. i didn’t get the satire and all that brainy stuff when i was younger and fatter. i get it now. so i got the trailer for this new thing. have you seen it yet? go watch it. you’re going to have to read newspaper articles about moms and stuff misunderstanding everything when the game comes out, so enjoy yourself right now.

the only place you can drink and drive

i can’t wait to down beer and whiskey in the game and safely drunk drive (because it’s in a video game, ya madd. it’s okay but maybe not for kids because they’ll think all the wrong things) they better not bring back the calories meter. i hate that i have to look after my calories in life enough. i don’t want it in a video game.

welsh ale

anyways. so to celebrate i went to the lcbo. i didn’t have my bike so i walked to the lcbo from hart house. it was cold. i walked past popeyes and resisted the $3.49 chicken sandwich surprise. i was surprised by the lack of crazy people outside. i went in and thought about which beer to buy. i debated some fancy nine grain stout or this welsh ale. i get paid on thursday, i’m in $100 overdraft and so i thought i’d get the cheaper ale.

i checked out with the Celt bronze ale and a bottle of spiced rum (remember it’s my birthday next week? precelebration). i walked home and nobody was home so i ate a lot of pringles in secret.

taste test

i had some rum before the beer to sooth my nerves. i popped open the cap. i sniffed the bottle. i couldn’t smell much because the bottle opening was only half an inch apart.

why don’t beer makers have bigger bottle spouts? people would appreciate smells more if the spouts were bigger. physicists have found that surface area and smell are positively correlated. yay. i don’t think a lot of people pour beers at home. they drink them out of the bottle. if coors lite can market an easy drinking pop tab then someone should market wide mouthed bottles.

i sniffed this thing a lot because i liked the subtle smell. you know how concentrated air wick smells pungent and like an old woman’s panties? this beer doesn’t smell anything like that. words to describe the smell:

-mild

-burnt sugar

-bits of ethanol.

i was surprised by the lack of fruit in the smell, however. i had an ontario beer earlier today, which will remain unnamed, and it had more fruit in it that this welsh ale. times are a changin’. ontario craft brewers smell more welsh than the welsh (have i said welsh enough?)

the taste disappoints. this is a heavily drinkable ale. the label calls it full bodied but it’s pretty light (come on, the welsh). it does have the ‘rich bronze colour’ as described. i have no idea what “crystal maltiness” means but i’ll go ahead and say the beer is moderately sweet. i expected less sweet and more hop outta this thing. at least they got some kind of balance right. i guess they delegated the label writing to the wrong guy.

my friend’s listening to bonnie prince billy now and it’s fucking sad so i don’t know anymore. how does will oldham manage this? effortless.

back to beer

it’s brewed in caerphilly, wales. the label says “bracis curmi” (malted beer) traces back to the ancient Celtic language of proto-celtic, an age where celts were some of the first beer producers in europe. i don’t know why this is important on labelling. i suppose it appeals to the inner old man in me.

what i did like about the packaging is the european manner of labelling bottles. they have the units of alcohol labelled on the back. this is good for pregnant ladies and alcoholics, both. this particular 500ml bottle was 2.3 UK units of alcohol. the bottle also reads 2.1 a day is healthy for males. why isn’t our culture like this? comeone canada.

what’s your favourite kind of packaging? or do you hate advertising? leave a comment.

see you soon. have a happy thursday.

yours,

sufian

don’t make out if you’re both gross and around people in a bar (Creemore Springs lager review)

cold water kills tropical fish

i woke up in my long johns last saturday. i don’t know if long johns are okay anymore, fashion wise, but our landlord hadn’t turned the heat on until then. i only complain because i have tropical fish and if it’s too cold they die. lauren sent me a message. it forced me to buy wine. i walked to the boozer and back home.

i felt bad it wasn’t beer but heck i bought a three litre football filled with wine.

we were supposed to go meet some physicists at some bar later in the night. i drank wine without making trouble about not having beer.

eventually, after listening to this this and this, we walked through black alleys sipping stuff. we ended up at a tennis court. it was empty and we danced a little in it. i found a wooden spoon in the grass and kept it. i thought i’d show it to the physicists.

finding physicists in a bar is difficult

we got to the place they were at. i didn’t like it. it looked like the picture below but instead of cars and blue sky, picture bros and dark sky. lauren kept saying, “i really gotta poo.” i felt embarrassed. i had a wooden spoon sticking out of my coat and lauren talked about poo. they carded us and let us in. i couldn’t believe my physicist friend would hang out here.

it was a maze and i kept boning people with my elbows and we were lost. lauren went to poo. i stood outside the bathroom knocking my knuckles together. i tried calling my physicist friend but he wouldn’t pick up.

he sent me a message. it said, ‘hey call me when you get here. this place is a maze’.

i tried calling again to no answer.

i get nervous in public places standing alone

lauren came out of the bathroom. we walked around the connected victorian houses. i ordered a couple of beers from the bar. they poured one. they poured the second and stopped halfway.

“uh, the beer’s run out. you want another one?”

“sure”

beers from blue taps

i pointed to a blue handled tap and he poured me something i didn’t really want. i didn’t know what it was either but it seemed better than labatt 50. i walked around and found my physicist friend. he introduced me to his other physicist friends and we talked about space jam and william burroughs.

i thought oh man this is a pretty sweet beer. i can’t remember the smell because there were men around our seats by the window and i can’t remember the colour accurately because bars tend to be dimly lit (or that’s just my head).

it looked amber and had no head. i yelled ‘EW’ at two people making out at a booth across from us. this wasn’t very good reviewing environment but it’s all i had this week. i swirled it around to

i) possible spill on someone

ii) agitate the thing

this made the unknown beer bubble. i sipped it and it tasted better. it was smooth and didn’t feel like drinking hard water. it was lightly hopped but tangy. i can’t describe the taste much further than that because i took a break from the beer. when i came back to it, it had gone warm and held too much flavour. i downed the fruit show down and got another.

i found out what it was called

the barkeep told me it was creemore. i realized i had never drank creemore before. sitting here now i feel lacking. how could i have never had creemore before? shameful. i hadn’t drank creemore before but i’m glad i did. it’s great if you’re out meeting physicists at a victorian house turned into a bar where people make out in booths and everyone’s got three layers of face on and all the other beers are either molson or run out while they’re pouring your pint.

it’s not the typical borefest lager. it’s very amber and rewarding. plug some into your mouth sometime soon.

-sufian

how to breathe (St. Peter’s English Ale, product of United Kingdom)

the returns

today i was at the beer store returning some of my old empty cans of pbr. thanks friends (D/T) ¬† for leaving your cans over. i got a $7.50 discount on my purchases today. i’ve never been more thankful.

i was loading my cans in the little brown cases at the beer store when a crack lady approached me and gave me an extra two cases. have you ever had any encounters with crack ladies? i was terrified of them until today. they look like this.

nice hair, girl. don’t look so scared.

genteel old ladies

they have shopping carts and they fill up the shopping carts with beer/wine/liquor bottles from restaurants and houses and bars. a crack lady comes to the bar below my apartment every night. she makes the noises a raccoon makes. how the fuck does that not terrify you. plus they have supermodel collarbones which is scary by default.

anyways. i am no longer afraid of them because this crack lady at the beer store offered me cardboard cases, smiled at me and smiled at the ten dollar bill the beer store guy gave her. the pursuit of joy applies to old ladies as much as me.

purchases

i got my hands (paws? i’ve had bad blood pressure recently) on a bottle of St. Peter’s English Ale. the bottle looked green and was labeled with stickers. the bottle’s shaped like an elongated uterus. here’s a picture.

i finally have my camera back. i will take pictures of the things i drink from now on. meet lauren. she has hands and wears grandma clothes.

i liked the little bird with the key in his gut on the label. what a great mascot. fuck you tony the tiger. this bird’s better than you’ll ever be.

the reverse side of the bottle goes on and on and on and on and on about how organic the beer is (yes beer can be organic, as mill st. has demonstrated locally). there was a picture of a house on the back. who draws houses growing past five?(unless you’re an artist). i learned it wasn’t just a house but some hip stone place. the beer’s made with water from a secret well under the monastery. that, to me, is a good thing. i wish i had the job of pulling water out of their secret well.

this building is why molson will never be cool.

their description

the label describes the taste as wholesome and delicate.

taste

their label is another way of calling the beer mid-high hoppy and delicious. it smells like a good ale should. it retained head well (i really like head in beer). when you take the first sip, all you get is hop and malted sugar. as the beer warms up outside the fridge, you get richer flavours. there’s more bitter, more sweet and even grass. i’ve read about grass coming out in beer, but i’d never tasted it before st. peter’s ale. thanks for that, pete. i also thank pete for making a brew that hangs out above your tongue rather than on your tongue and for mixing grassy fresh with caramel bursts.

it’s got this alluring amber copper colour disrupted by fizz floating to the top of the beer. whoever is responsible for the colour, you go guy/gal.

how to breathe and taste better

i feel sure that there’s a book out there by the title, “breathing better” but this isn’t that kind of self help. i find, when i introduce people to subtle beers, people miss a lot of the flavours holed up in drinks and food. i want you to taste better and breathing better is the biggest part of tasting better.

have you ever plugged your nose while eating/drinking? i’m sure you’ve had a cold, which is the same effect. you miss so much taste. you can taste more if you actively breathe out while eating/drinking. especially if you swirl some air into your mouth when you ingest.

try it this way. take a gulp of beer. take some air with it. swirl the beer in your mouth. you’ll get bitter/sweet/salt/whatever. when you breathe you’ll get all the delicate stuff. the grass and the malt. if you have a bad sense of smell, that sucks. i have a less than average sense of smell and routinely think i’ve gotten away with farting when i haven’t.

do they do nose implants? surely that’s better than boob implants.

here’s a beer tasting guide by some other humans.

what’s the worst nose related injury you’ve had? leave a comment. see you soon pals.

-sufian