Category Archives: Beer picks

Location, location, location

It appears that the real estate axiom “location, location, location” applies to the world of beverages. Normally I would never be interested in a white beer with lemon. However, package that up as bierre blanc avec une pointe d’agrumes – serve it to me in a jardin on the French Riviera and suddenly it’s ma boisson préférée dans le monde. Also I am on vacation – that helps.


World Cup Penultimate Observations

Subtitle: How Germany Wrecked Soccer Forever.

The Germans are taking their best shot at wrecking soccer forever. They beat Brasil 7-1 both scoring and allowing goals at a rate of one goal every 11 minutes. This unprecedented display of soccer excitement prompted my friend [rugby guy] to email me here in Spain asking if FIFA had finally done away with the offside rule for the last stages of the World Cup – something he has been lobbying for as long as I’ve known him. When rugby guys are finding soccer interesting there is clearly something wrong.

The Dutch and the Argentines quickly snapped us back to reality one night later buy scoring ZERO goals in 120 minutes – or a rate of zero goals every infinity.

I’m grateful to both these teams for helping me fall asleep during a FIFA semifinal. Try watching that rugby guy.

So I am consoling myself with the most expensive beer that money can buy in Spain – Alhambra Reserva 1925 at under 1 Euro per bottle. Spain is wrecking the way I look at beer too.


World Cup Observations again

Sitting down, sipping a glass of Royal City Brewing Gateway IPA I came up with a few more World Cup Observations – aside from the one that my IPA was delicious.

Puma is getting attention at these games with their stupid coloured shoes. The right foot is pink and the left is blue. Sorry did I say stupid? Good, I did say stupid. Besides looking like the pink and blue popsicles  the players look like they’re  annoying, “I’m so wealthy I buy 2 pairs of shoes and only wear one of each” kids.


Speaking of popsicles did you catch a look at the USA jerseys – now those look like popsicles. No matter how you love USA soccer don’t buy one of these, they will look 10 years out of date by  July 5th.



And finally, check out the new World Cup Adidas ball. Tell me it doesn’t look eerily like  like the one I bought my daughters 5 years ago at Old Navy for $2.



Royal City Brewing is NANO

Nano is small. Really small. But don’t underestimate the power of nano – especially when it’s in your back yard. Royal City Brewery is a nano-brewery [that means tiny] right here in Guelph. They opened up on Saturday with sample tastings, a tour, and sales.

So I sampled


 And I toured

[Local coffee roaster Joe Harrison's Grizzly Bear coffee is used in this über-local stout - click here for my exposé on Grizzly Bear Coffee]


And they sold me a Growler of Gateway IPA


The best thing about buying a growler [2 litres] of IPA is that you bring it back and then they refill it for you.  199 Victoria Rd S – GO NOW!



Craft beer breweries are taking the level of marketing to a new level. A clever hashtag seems to be born every minute [#wellyoneoff my current favourite].  New flavours and names are pushing the craft beer envelope [Muskoka's Legendary Oddity reminds me of premium gin and what the heck is that falcon/peacock/scary antler deer thingy on the label?].

Lake of Bays Brewing Co.  is speaking Canada’s true love language – hockey – through their NHL Alumni Signature Series. Last year they released China Wall Vienna Dark Lager, a beer dedicated to the Leafs’ legendary  goaltender Johnny Bower.  This year’s edition is Cujo Imperial Golden Ale. If I have to explain who Cujo is then you likely aren’t interesting in this blog post anymore.


LCBO 383653 | Price $ 11.95 

Only 16,000 bottles have been produced – I have one of them – and I know what my annoying Leafs fan brother-in-law is getting for his birthday [he's only annoying because he's a ridiculously optimistic Leafs fan - the only thing worse than an arrogant Habs fan - which I'm]. The Cujo is delicious. It starts off with sweet notes of caramel and honey, continues with some nice orange and grapefruit marmalade hops, and ends up with a nice dry finish. Very refreshing and not so hoppy that it blows your head off.  My brother-in-law and I found ourselves conversing back and forth between hockey and beer for the entire sitting.  And isn’t that what a great Canadian ale is meant to do.

Now Habs fans, don’t worry,  rumour has it that Jacques Plante gets honoured next with  Jake The Snake Imperial Pilsner, a white ash wood aged strong lager. Go Habs.


I love fear mongering as much as the next guy.  That’s why I am fascinated by the timing of a Provincial election and the Beer Store ad campaign “Good Kids”.

Every fearful person knows that the corner store guy will sell beer to any teenager who walks in with a crisp new twenty in his hand.

My favourite part of this ad – that really does appear on TV [no, my American and European friends, I am not making this up] is the eyes of the kid at the 20 second mark of the ad.  I swear his eyes turned a werewolf yellow the first time I saw it on TV.  There’s no doubt in my mind that underage werewolves will get to buy beer at the corner store given the chance.

I actually don’t mind having to go to the LCBO or the Beer Store to get my beer [no, my American and European friends, I am not making this up that's what the beer store is called in Ontario]. I know that it seems archaic to the rest of the world but hey – this is Ontario – Upper Canada as we used to call ourselves.  Let us indulge in our archaic nature.

Scary kid huh?

Uncle Albert’s detour

Few things give me greater pleasure than mentioning Albert Einstein in my blog. Here goes …


Hey Uncle Albert – fish are stupid!


This got me to thinking about stupid beer.  If you are going to spend your whole life drinking cheap beer then you will live your whole life believing that it is good – and that you are a genius.  If, however, you want to really be a genius then you have to try new stuff – like Muskoka Brewery’s Detour IPA. This weekend I had it on tap at Baker Street Station in Guelph and found it again in a 6-pack at the LCBO.

I think “Stop drinking stupid beer” should be on the front of the Detour IPA t-shirt.  This is a big hop ale with a clean finish that is the perfect detour from winter beer drinking to clean, genius, spring beer drinking.  I think Uncle Albert would approve.


And I want a kick back on the “Stop drinking stupid beer” t-shirt sales.

Phone a Friend

I had somebody text me the other day to find out if I knew where Newcastle Brown Ale was on tap in Guelph.  She referred to me as her “phone a friend” – a reference to the Who Wants to be a Millionaire game show.

It got me to thinking – how do you find out stuff like that in your city. I think Twitter is the answer to the modern “phone a friend”.  It certainly casts a wide “friend” net.  I tweeted at a local beer guy who got back to me within minutes.  Sadly there wasn’t any on tap here in Guelph.  But I thought that Mill Street Tankhouse Ale at the Wooly was a close second.

I think I would be okay if somebody tweeted me about where to find a wine.  So go ahead – “tweet a friend” @TravisOke

#Hashtag, whatever you want it to be.


Aw Shucks

How often have you used the words “Shucks” or “Shucking” in conversation this month?

You will if you get to the Woolwich Arms on a Friday night in December. It’s one of the first miracles of Christmas. My shucking man will stand there and keep shucking a dozen Malpeques as long as you keep handing him a $10 bill – or until he runs out.

How good are they? “They taste like another dozen” [R.I.]

Also, a year ago I started a tradition of slipping the first oyster into the bottom of my stout.  The salty protein marinates nicely until it is his turn to go down.

Yep, I’ve been there both Fridays already this month.

So slip over the to Wooly and slip an oyster into your stout this Friday – you won’t be sorry.


A finished Oyster is a beautiful thing

Get your winter beard on

Men. Thinking that it’s time to get your Winterbeard on? This man stopped thinking a long time ago.

Ladies. Have you been thinking that your man should grow a Winterbeard?  Of course you have.

Men. Are you thinking about the best beer of your life? Muskoka Brewery’s Winterbeard?  A double chocolate cranberry stout –  made with roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa,  70%  chocolate, and freshly harvested cranberries – you bet this stout is good. And  just in time for manly beard season.  Manly yes, but she’ll like it too.


Thanks to international story-teller and local brother-in-law Brad for the inspiration [for this blog post not for Muskoka Brewery - however, I'm sure they agree that your beard is inspiring to us all].20131209-190939.jpg


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