Sunday, August 21, 2011

LCBO Fall Beer Release

Whew, I've been shirking my beer news duties since leaving for London a year ago. But I'm back now and think I've figured out what I have/haven't missed in the Ontario beer scene. Here's the LCBO's Fall beer release, hopefully coming to a store near you:

Item # / Product Name / Alc./ Vol. / Size (mL) / Retail
237693 / Cannery Maple Stout / 5.5 / 650 / $5.80
254656 / Ayinger Celebrator / 7.2 / 330 / $3.45
173658 / Garrison Imperial I.P.A. / 7 / 500 / $4.25
234047 / Bacchus Flemish Old Brown / 4.5 / 375 / $4.50
236091 / Celt Bronze Crafted Ale / 4.5 / 500 / $3.65
233486 / Marston's Pedgree V.S.O.P. / 6.7 / 500 / $3.50
233494 / Wychwood Goliath / 4.2 / 500 / $3.50
236992 / Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale / 7 / 500 / $4.60
173534 / Southern Tier Choklat / 11 / 650 / $9.85
504670 / Fuller's 1845 Bottle Conditioned Ale / 6.3 / 500 / $3.50
125153 / Affligem Dubbel / 6.8 / 330 / $2.75
239475 / Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Triple / 9 / 500 / $5.95
244376 / Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique 2011 / 10 / 750 / $9.95
237875 / Box Steam Funnel Blower / 4.5 / 500 / $3.55

You're going to want the Ayinger Celebrator, a gold standard of the liquid bread German doppelbock. Bacchus Old Brown is worth a try for something different if you've got a taste for a bit of sourness and barny funk. Choklat is a nice chocolate stout for rainy November days. Fuller's 1845 is a favourite of mine, a really nice English strong ale. We're seeing some great Quebec brews start to filter over the border, and I've heard good things about both the Charlevoix and Trois Mousquetaires.

Finally, Garrison Imperial IPA is a welcome addition for hop heads in the province. We're starting to see some real bitter pale ales and IPAs now, catching up to the rest of the country (and world). If you like a good hoppy beer and haven't been buying Hoptical Illusion, Smashbomb, Mad Tom, Crazy Canuck, or Garrison Hopyard, start now. not exactly up to American standards yet, but the Canadian brewers are starting to show us what they've got. Keep an eye on dates though, you want hop forward beers to be as fresh as possible, the flavours fade quickly compared to maltier brews.

Oh, also I've added the Amazon thingamajig to share some of my favourite beer books with you in case you're interested. The Brewmasters Table was written by Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery fame. Beautiful book about how much better beer is with food than wine is. Great advice on pairings and descriptions of styles.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Royal We

I'm not entirely sure what to make of the re-renaming of the "Navy" and "Airforce". I feel like I should have a strong opinion about it. I'm admittedly a traditionalist, monarchist, nationalist, but I can't seem to work up the rage/sense of triumph that so many commentators seem to be expressing.

In a week when one of the government's major ministers was (again) exposed as a corrupt pork barreler my twitter feed is exploding with a fierce battle over the inclusion of the word "Royal" in the names of two organisations that, technically, ceased to exist 50 years ago. And it's gotten more than a little absurd. For instance, check out this bizarre tweet from Andre Coyne.

While putting the Royal back seemed like a decent enough gesture to me, I certainly wouldn't accuse those against it of "adolescent insecurity". Monarchists should always be careful about calling others insecure. I don't think there's anything insecure about believing that Canada is greater than its connection to the Crown, believing that our institutions can stand on their own without connections to what really is a long-dead past.

I'm proud of our history, but I also have respect for Trudeau's "nation-building" project. I grew up being exposed to both, and I like to think I'm a better Canadian for it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coren pulls a Starkey

Apparently Michael Coren and SunTV are jealous of all the attention David Starkey has been getting.

Via Dr. Dawg.

Dawg suggests the Broadcast Standards Council and CRTC should be sent a couple notes. Frankly I'm not so sure that isn't exactly what SunTV and Coren want, nothing better for their ratings and tabloid sales. Should be spread around though.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Remember London

Just a thought about London prompted by Doug Saunders and this blog post (which appeared in a Naomi Klein tweet that was, I think ironically, RTd by Andrew Potter).

We would do well to remember what's happening in London the next time someone tries to suggest that unemployment payments, child daycare, free healthcare, public education, or any other publicly funded social welfare program is some sort of "charity". The social safety net was developed for a much bigger reason than to simply help the poor. When wealth is systematically removed from the areas in London we're seeing on the news and transferred to The City, and then The City (or Bay Street, of Wall Street) succeeds in slashing their taxes and shredding these social programs, I think it becomes pretty clear that everyone benefits when the highest provide some level of security for the lowest.

This isn't an excuse for the rioters. As Saunders points out there's no political cause being fought for, these kids don't care about public policy or social justice, they're out for a good time and a Blu-Ray player. It's senseless, but it's not random or without cause. They're kids with little education, poor families, no work, no prospect of work, and no hope that anything is going to get better. I'm a functionalist when it comes to the welfare state, and if we can't remember why the structures we created decades ago exist, then we should make an effort to remember what happens when they're taken away.

UPDATE: Another good article.