Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beer


First off, apologies for the false start. After the madness that was the holiday season, I returned to work to find a huge pile of work on my disk and, because I'm a glutton for punishment, spent my spare time applying to grad school. I'm happy to report that the work is done and, to my (and my wallet's) shock, I'll be attending the London School of Economics this year for my masters'.

Unfortunately for those of you who share my affliction, an interest in Canadian politics, it's time for something completely different. Says right there on the right, this blog is about politics and beer. I don't have it in me to comment on politics everyday. I could, however, blather on about beer forever. It's an obsession. Has been for about five years, when I took my first trip to Belgium. The walls of my condo are covered in vintage Guinness posters. I have an IKEA Billy Bookcase specifically purchased for my embarrassingly large collection of beer glasses. I've been known to buy into special orders from Belgium, the US and, weirdly, Denmark. I'm that guy who never has any "normal" beer in the fridge when he hosts a party.

I love the stuff. And, lucky for me, unlike the uh... "stability"... of our current political situation, the Canadian beer scene is in a state of flux. Ontario brewers are finally starting to get creative. The LCBO, that infamous holdover from prohibition, is finally showing an interest in quality beer from Canada and around the world. Even a couple years ago I never would have imagined having access to an Imperial Coffee Stout from Quebec, bitter American IPAs, oak aged ales from Scotland, or a stout brewed to taste like creme brulee. It's a good time to be a beer geek.

So, where does the beer come in at King of the Shiners? I'm envisioning a weekly feature, a virtual tasting. Every Friday I'll pick a random beer from the LCBO and put up a brief description of the beer, the style and my personal tasting notes. My hope is that some of you might be brought into the beer geek fold, and that those of you already there can have another spot on the web to discuss your favourite beverage. It's a way to enjoy a quality product, relax, and forget about the shitshow that is Canadian federal politics for just a moment.

15 comments:

  1. Brilliant! Looking forward to beer posts as a distraction from politics...

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  2. I'm a big fan of Innis and Gunn, I noticed that they have a blonde out that I haven't seen before. Have you tried it, and what are your thoughts? Could be a good addition to a beer series. I also recommend most beers by Tree Brewing in Kelowna B.C. Not sure if you guys get that out in Ontario though, but worthy of a connoisseur such as yourself. They make a fantastic amber ale.
    Cheers

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  3. I'm not a huge fan of Innis and Gunn, but then again I'm not a huge fan of oak. I haven't had their blonde. Maybe I should revisit them, I believe they have a Canadian Cask out here in Ontario.

    As for BC, you guys sure are lucky out there. Driftwood is a particularly fine brewery, their Farmhand Saison (http://driftwoodbeer.com/beers/farmhand-ale/) is one of my favourite beers period. It's a lovely style, incredibly refreshing. If you can get a hand on any of their offerings, take the plunge!

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  4. i was told there'd be beer....

    KEvron

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  5. Well sir, if it turns out that our politics don't match up, I know that you have spectacular taste. Way to be. I'll have to add you to the reading list.
    Cheers

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  6. My name's Gord and I have to put up more shelves for my beer bottle collection. :-)

    Lately, my usuals are Wychwood ales (Hobgoblin being my favourite), but I've been known to have Baltika 3 in the fridge and I have two friends that like to complain about my beer choices. They'd fans of Molson bathwater. ;-)

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  7. It's always so nice to see someone who appreciates GOOD beer out there. I work at a liquor store out here in Alberta, and I have to hold back gag impulses as I watch people smile as they buy their Lucky Lager, their Coors and their Bud Light.

    I'll stick with my extensive Unibroue selection and various other good things from 'round the world, thanks very much.

    Cheers!

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  8. My absolute fave is St. Peter's, called English Ale here in Canucklestan. It's flat and sour. Hope it makes your review list.

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  9. Gordo, Wychwood was one of the first British ales I was introduced to. My local off-license in Ireland carried their Fiddler's Elbow, which I still love. It's candy sweet, which turns a lot of people off, but I like those malty English beers.

    Chasman, St.Peter's make quality beer. My favourite is their Ruby Red ale. They put it in their holiday gift pack every year.

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  10. Yes, I bought the gift pack this year. The Ruby was a fine quaff, but I really bought it for that towering beer glass. Here's to your new blog!

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  11. Damn! Forget the politics, for this alone you'll be added to my reading list.

    My beer budget, alas, has taken a substantial hit the last few years (family before beer).

    But I was able to take a chance with Royal Extra Stout, from Trinidad from the LCBO in Milton, Ontario. It was cost effective and I really enjoyed it as well.

    Unfortunately, I can only find it in Milton. I'm going to have to talk to the store manager in the local LCBO.

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  12. Catelli, that is a good beer. Sri Lanka, go figure!

    LCBO has a craft beer program that stores sign up for. However, they also HAVE to do store transfers if you request one. If you hear about a beer you want to try, check out the online inventory in other stores and then tell your LCBO to get it in. A bit of effort if you're only wanting a bottle though.

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  13. Oh, BTW Catelli. If you're into stouts, the best at the LCBO at the moment are the John By Imperial (from Ottawa, comes in a stubby), the Black Irish (also from Ottawa), the Brooklyn Black Chocolate (you can set this aside for a couple years to take the edge off), and the DDC Peche Mortal (some might say this is the best regularly brewed beer in Canada). Availability might not be the greatest this far our from the winter release before Christmas, but if you see any of these, you probably won't be disappointed.

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  14. Beer as well? My gosh, I am bookmarking you.

    What I have been noticing is that the LCBO features Polish/ Eastern European (ex out Czech of course) quite a lot. I cannot distinguish them really from your run of the mill lagers or better yet Pilsners. They are more hoppy though, which I enjoy. As for stouts, Have you tried the Young's Double Chocolate Stout yet?

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  15. PS.

    There is another blog of sorts called the The Jolly Inebriate . It is written by a New Zealander who lives in Toronto (so yes, it is Toronto centric), but he covers a lot of releases, including beer, that come out of the LCBO

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