If you haven’t been to a cask beer festival then I implore you to do so soon.
Casks of beer are often made in smaller batches so brewers can experiment and have some fun. Combining different hops, roasts, fruit, the brewers than use some voodoo to make the ales, lagers, sours, and ciders.
Last week we attended the Welly Cask Fest at Wellington Brewery in Guelph.
It’s so much fun that even the cider got “bunny-eared” during a photo.
My winners were
- Wit the Hell – a Chardonnay barrel aged Witbier by TWB brewing coop in KW
- KY2-7 – a barrel aged American sour with plums by Wellington
- Lucy’s Orange Beret – a hopped cider with oranges by Revel cider that tasted like a mimosa
My only mistake was the ghost pepper milk stout that had I finished it would have finished me. Still, what doesn’t kill you …wait, that almost killed me.
Find a cask days near you if you can.
I believe i am the only wine blogger in the world with a PE degree, and as someone with such a degree it should be no surprise that i love the Olympic games. The final three days were awesome but also a bit sad – in an “all good things must come to an end” kinda way. So to celebrate – a form of “three cheers to the Olympics” I opened a Sour a day for the last three days, cleverly combining my University degree with my latest hobby – collecting Sours. Here’s how the last three days played out.
Wellington Brewery’s Prismastic Golden Sour – chosen for it’s rather mild sourness and complexity gained from being aged for one year in Cabernet Franc barrels with a mix of wild yeast and sour bacteria. Golden because i drank it during the Gold Medal men’s volleyball match between Brasil and Italy.
Wellington Brewery’s Against the Currant – a Blackcurrant kettle sour – made in much less time than the Prismatic and soured in a kettle by creating lactic acid through some magic that i don’t really understand totally. I would like to say that i watched this during the kayak races, but truthfully i had it during the 4×100 m relay when Canada has to wait 15 minutes to discover they actually won a bronze.
Royal City Brewing’s Berliner Weiss was Friday’s edition of the “three cheers for sours” weekend. Honestly, i don’t recall what i watched because i started into a string of Wikipedia pages on John F Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” quote which kept me amused for over an hour reading about East Germany, the cold war, Berlin, and the complexities of the German language. Did you know some people think that the translation of that was “I am a donut”? Thanks for trying to rewrite history whatever idiot added that to the highly reputable and accurate Wikipedia site.
I visited the United States of ‘Merica this weekend. Also, i avoided talking politics with everyone! Weeeeeeee.
I learned three important things in my casual quest for knowledge. I think I learned more than that but I don’t focus very well in the summer and i wasn’t really searching for more knowledge.
- BBQ peaches and bourbon are brilliant – i macerated this perfectly ripe fruit with bourbon [america’s vodka], brown sugar, and vanilla then grilled them and served them with ice-cream.
- You can’t get a pint of high alcohol beer! Anything around 7% ABV and you get a stemmed “snifter” with less ounces than a pint. As i pointed out to the owner of the bar, “We don’t put up with stuff like that in Canada”. However, as i get older and more understanding i think i know why they do this – but you’d lose an election in Canada with laws like that.
- Mars, PA – where my wife is from [no really, that’s not a joke], population 1,699, has a fantastic tavern/gastropub. Breakneck Tavern has exceptional food and an extensive craft beer list. It’s worth the detour off I-79 and i’ve no doubt that Guy Fieri will appear there soon, so you should get there before he does.
- There’s a really good winery halfway between Cleveland and Youngstown Ohio. No that’s not a typo and i haven’t been drinking – today – yet. Uncle “Jim” [that’s his real name minus the quotation marks] had a party and his friend Rich showed up with 4 very good wines from his winery, Laleure Vineyards, in Parkman, Ohio – a white blend, two vintages of Chardonnay, and a Cabernet Franc that made me especially happy. One impromptu wine tasting later and i became a believer that at least one talented winemaker lives in “Merica’s Midwest. Good party Uncle “Jim” – well played. Great food and beautiful house Aunt “B”.
We visited Norman Hardie’s winery in PEC last week. It was lovely … but what attracted my attention was a young woman swirling her wine at the table next to me. She swirled it non-stop, or “constantly”, as we wine writers like to say [we actually don’t].
So I pondered the reasons for swirling. I know there are reasons – real “wine person” reasons. It aerates the wine in the glass and makes it taste better. Heck, it’s been locked inside a bottle for quite a while and needs to catch a fresh breath air. But i think this woman at the table beside me taught me something important. Swirling your wine is fun.
The only thing more fun? Convincing your wife to swirl her wine too.
Photo of us NOT swirling. Doesn’t look as much fun does it.
Also, the pizza was really good. We swirled and drank the Riesling and the Cab Franc. I’m going to swirl and drink them again soon.
Instead of writing about Canada Day i’ve turning this wine blog into a photo blog. It really is easier to write than using my words.
Lunch at Artisinale – French rosé and Tawse Riesling with our first course.
Crêpe and Calvados for dessert.
Dinner BBQ at home with Muskoka 20th Anniversary Cream Ale aged in Oak.
Happy Canada Day
Even though i get treated like royalty and pampered on Father’s Day it is still my responsibility to provide sweet Bacchus’ beverages to go with the food and the overall experience.
So when i pulled out a bottle of bubbly cava my daughter M asked if i was sabering. Sabrage seemed like a good idea – because it’s fun, it’s cool, and what could possibly go wrong combining alcohol and a large chef’s knife? So despite the bottle shape not being ideal for sabering i made up my mind faster than my wife could ask “do you need me to bring you the large knife?”
While it didn’t quite go as planned [photo evidence below] – almost no cava was spilled and the glass did stay primarily in 3 large chunks [yes, it should be two].
My favourite all-time party trick to impress my favourite daughter who is of drinking age. I know – it looks dangerous. This time i wish i could say that it only looks dangerous.
So while things didn’t quite go as planned i did save face by offering an evening red wine that prompted “ooohs” and “aaahs” from everyone.
My favourite American wine for my favourite American wife. It’s dangerous too – dangerously tasty!
Just in case you’re not a sportsing person, here’s both your sportsing and french lesson for the day.
France is hosting the 2016 European Championships of football [or soccer as we call it on this side of the pond]. The event is commonly referred to as Euro 2016, and since France is hosting it i thought it appropriate to nab a couple of “bière française” – 1664 and 1664 blanc. Or as i like to call them, les “seize, soixante-quatre”. The French national is team is referred to as “Les Bleus”, and the “coq gaulois” is their symbol. “Alles les bleus” i say, and “merci pour la bière”.
Yeah, i don’t know how i got a red jersey of les bleus either. It’s as confusing as anything the French say.