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.
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
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].
Lyrics from the 80′s. My 16 yr old nephew [nephew-in-Spain] was recently exposed to “Come Sail Away” by Styx for the first time. I have a photo of the priceless, puzzled look on his face. “What in the heck in the what?”, is his expression. He’s right. Still, I wish I had a dollar for every time “I thought that they were Angels, but to my surprise, we loaded up the starship and headed for the skies” [2:48 and again at 3:32 in the video if you clicked on the link].
Watch out for the segue, here it comes – I think the guys at Wellington Brewery [right here in Guelph] have too much time on their hands [see what I did there?]. They have been releasing Welly one-offs at an alarming rate. Alarming because I haven’t made it to their brewery every weekend to buy the newest brew.
Looks like my Saturdays are booked for the month.
You can’t believe how hard I tried to make a River Styx comment – like “Wellington Brewery, where the beer flows like the river Styx” – none of them worked.
We recently got new neighbours – often a “we’ll wait and see” event. Our first chat with them was promising. Younger than my wife and I [a more frequently recurring theme than I care to admit] they moved here from Vancouver.
“Traded the Hipsters in for the Hippies - and I think we won” was the line that won me over.
I had to agree with them. I prefer the neo-hippies of Guelph to the Hipsters anytime. My wife gently refers to the latter as the “Look at me – I’m ironic with geeky glasses, tattoos, and outdated facial hair” kids.
What confirmed for me that the Hipster was in fact not hip at all was this article from the NY Daily News. To summarize – it appears that Hipsters have made Pabst Blue Ribbon beer so popular that the price of cheap [not to mention flavourless and watery] beer everywhere has gone up and up.
I do have some advice for these people – not everything that people stopped doing from the past should be considered retro. Some things just need to never come back. Go buy yourself a micro-beer! And stop growing moustaches.
Who knows when Autumn really starts?
A source from Columbia University tells me it’s at 4:44 pm on Saturday Sept 22nd when the sun crosses the celestial equator from north to south.
My man Jason at Muskoka Brewery tells me that it begins September 16th – the day they release Harvest Ale to the world.
So I guess it comes down to the reliability of your sources doesn’t it.
Who are you going to believe – Jason at Muskoka Brewery or this so-called Columbia University”? [Who ever heard of an "Ivy League" or a "celestial equator" for that matter?]
Harvest Ale is available in 750mL bottles and is available at the LCBO and The Beer Store starting September 16th – the first day of Autumn
Took a detour to Chicago last week. Chicago – The windy city? Hmm. I’ve seen windier. Ever been at the corner of Portage and Main in Winnipeg in January? Although I guess Saskatchewan is partly to blame for that wind too.
Back to our detour. One of the pleasures of a long road trip [a 20 hr drive from our cabin back to Guelph] is listening to NPR on American radio. I love the challenge of finding a new station as the current signal fades into the crackle of a weak handheld transistor radio.
While driving into Chicago, somewhere in rural Wisconsin, I happened on the NPR program On Point. Today’s episode – The Renaissance of American Craft Beer. Woo hoo! The discussion introduced the term Nano brewery – a more apt description of what I consider Micro breweries. I mean really, can Samuel Adams be considered a microbrewery if I can buy their seasonal beer in Ontario? Not really.
That got me in the mood to search for Chicago nano craft beer during my 3 night stay.
My first pint was the Goose Island Green Line Pale Ale at Giordano’s pizzeria. Available on tap only in Chicago the ale was
lightly hoppy with hints of citrus … well delicious. By the way the pizza is ridiculous. My wife and I didn’t even come close to finishing our small pizza.
Deep dish Giordano’s – a delicious exercise in excess
My best nano brewery experience was a 5 Rabbit Cervecería tasting at The Fox & Obel [my new favorite specialty food store]. My man Champi hooked me up with some samples of his Latin inspired cerveza. In Aztec mythology 5 Rabbit was the deity of excess and overindulgence. I’ll buy that. My two favourites were the 5 Rabbit golden beer and the 5 Grass hoppy ale. They were so good that I spent an inordinate amount of time popping my head into any pub that had taps looking for them. They weren’t easy to find but worth the effort nonetheless. When you visit Chicago please bring me back a 6 pack of 5 Rabbit.
Champi, if you’re reading this, bootleg a couple of cases to Guelph for me – we helped you guys out during prohibition.
So Chicago – you weren’t that windy, but you were toddlin’, and you were crafty, and you were awesome.
I love a truly clever marketing strategy. This week I learned of Muskoka Brewery‘s Instagram contest promoting their Summer Weiss – a wheat beer – made specifically for the summer season.
The contest – What’s Your Summer Vice? Share a photo of your Summer Weiss (“vice”) on Instagram or Twitter with the hash tag #SummerWeiss for a chance to win $1000.
Here’s my entry. My garden is going to be my summer vice. Also, I’m calling myself a micro-farmer [with apologies to the people who work way harder than me as real farmers - kudos to you].
How deep do you plant these things?
The Summer Weiss won the Gold Award for Best German Style Wheat Beer at the 2013 Ontario Brewing Awards. More recently it won the Most Delicious Beer Consumed While Micro-Farming award in my back yard. The weiss is crisp for a wheat beer, light enough for a brunch beer, and I found that the bottle keeps the dirt out while you
garden / micro-farm.
Available in six packs for $13.50 /6 x 355ml. Plant some every couple of weeks to ensure a summer-long supply of weiss.
Frost usually makes me mad at this time of year. The novelty of scraping off my car again is gone. Come on morning sun, stop making me do the work for you!
However, there is a rail of frost at the OX Guelph bar that is guaranteed to make even the most miserable winter hater happy. The frost rail system creates a crisp, dry layer of frost on the top of the bar. It looks a little like a curling rink – and it certainly makes more sense than curling. Besides being wickedly cool looking there are many other advantages …
- Keeps the last gulp of your pint cold
- A little ice rail all summer feels like you’re thumbing your nose at nature – and who doesn’t want in on that?
- You can also keep your Beaujolais, or Ontario Gamay, down to temperature by serving it in a flat bottom tumbler (clever girl – you know who you are)
- The ice rail bar is like one of the Seven Wonders so you can claim a “pilgrimage” to the bar at least once this summer
Ask your bartender to “brand” the ice rail for you – very cool OX guys, very cool.