I was enjoying a Wellington SPA on the patio at the Wooly with my good friend R. “There’s a fly, or wasp, in your pint” I commented. “That’s the least of my concerns” was his reply. And he proceeded to keep the not-so-little insect in his drink.
“What a good attitude”, i thought to myself. Why squabble over something as innocuous as an insect that just wants some slightly hoppy pale ale today. We can certainly coexist. This little bee is certainly not ruining my day in any respect – maybe we can just get along. R gets his pint and the wasp gets his fermented sugar.
A couple of days later i found myself in 20 degree weather sitting on the OX patio. There wasn’t much space but 4 women were very nice and allowed me to share their table. I assured them that i was there to read and have a pint and wouldn’t bother them. They allowed me to coexist in their space in that little oasis in downtown Guelph. That’s when this happened.
Yes, a black fly in my “chardonnay” [Alannis], or rather Royal City dry hopped IPA. My first instinct was to remove the little pest. Then i remember the kindness of others. My friend R allowing the wasp to stay, my new writer friends allowing me to sit with them in the sunshine. Monsieur la mouche [french] wasn’t really bothering anyone. Earlier in the week my daughter M and i had the “killing one fly doesn’t change the world for the better so why not let him live” conversation. So i let him coexist. If i’ve learned anything from M, R, and my new patio friends at OX, it’s that maybe we can all get along and that makes for a better world.
Maybe you find that a little uncomfortable to think about drinking a pint with a fly in it – but i decided to coexist and it felt good. Try it yourself sometime this week.
PS – i realize that it looks like i was writing about coexisting and friends and learning stuff from my daughter, but i did recommend two excellent patio beer that you might want to try. See what i did there?
Sometimes a man [which I’m] needs to do something noteworthy and daring – to bleed to know he’s alive. And since my bridge jumping days are over this is what i came up with.
I’ve done my part to get spring kickstarted by being the first person on two different patios in Guelph already. Some people are comparing it to Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind – admittedly it’s not “some people”, it’s only me. Yet the servers at both establishments were suitably impressed. So this blog post is really a guide to being first in space [opening patios] after a ridiculously cold [i.e. nobody believes in global warming anymore] winter.
OX was the first up in early March. I picked OX because it’s sheltered from the wind and a bit of an oasis in downtown Guelph. My adventure opening the patio at the Wooly came later.
- Step 1 – bring a blanket, metal chairs are cold on the bum. Bring a friend so that you can both convince yourself this was a good idea when you get numb.
- Step 2- walk up to the bar and order a stout or brown ale, something that has roasted malts. An hoppy IPA will do if you can’t find a brown ale suitable to your tastes.
- Step 3 – walk through the bar, open the patio door like you know what you’re doing, and set up camp. Beer in the snow, blanket protecting your gluteals
- Step 4 – be a little smug
One small step for man …
So I’m blogging today from Van Gogh’s Ear. Watching El Classico – watching Barca score early as Luis Suarez [the player who regularly bites other players ] is falling and rolling like he’s been shot. So yeah , typical futbol. Cristiano Ronaldo gets booed each time he touches the ball – I don’t think that’s very nice, I don’t personally boo people because I don’t think it’s nice.
But nobody’s here – and out of the 5 people here I’m the only one drinking beer? Where even am I?
The white thing is the TV – the brown thing my Tankhouse Ale [$5.75]. Is everyone taking a crazy pill except me? Don’t beer and soccer go together?
So by my count there’s 1 carafe of wine [barça fan] and 5 glasses of water. Maybe they know something I don’t know? Maybe I’m smarter than they are? Either way I’m booing them during halftime.
As a life long Habs fan I can now look back fondly on the Boston Bruins of old and find nice memories. Okay, I was just kidding. My fondest memory of the Bruins is the goal Guy Lafleur scored on Gilles Gilbert in 1979. Ha Ha Boston. That was 35 years ago and I still feel the schadenfreude welling up within me like it was yesterday.
However, I am maturing and making peace with my the side of me that derives so much pleasure in the misfortune of the hockey team from Boston. With this in mind I invited my Leaf loving brother-in-law over [no room for schadenfreude with Leafs fans, their misery is just plain funny] and we tasted the Lake of Bays latest offering in their signature NHL alumni series – Gerry Cheevers “Stitches” Oktoberfest Lager. The lager is named after the hall of fame goalie with the iconic stitch pattern goalie mask – a marking for each time he was struck in the face with a puck.
It is a nice solid beer, strong enough for winter. Spicy and not sweet, it can warm you up on a cold night. A good transition beer for cold weather as it is 8% alc./vol. and low on the IBUs . Also, I always secretly thought Cheevers’ mask was cool. While I enjoyed the lager I also drank it wearing my Habs touque. Ha Ha Boston.
Two for the price of one. Truly one of the great deals in the world. Perhaps only to be topped by the “gift with purchase”. I am one of those people who consciously allows myself to be taken in – suckered if you will – by a great marketing campaign and I love it when the product is equally as brilliant.
The craft beer industry has caught my attention again. Fighting the urge to market themselves using slow motion cheerleaders or enormous horses playing football, the micro brewers carve out their own niche in a more personal way. Of course they do – they are real people. Often with wicked cool beards.
The latest to catch my attention is the Hoptorial pack from Muskoka Brewery. Great beer, clever marketing, and a Hop tutorial – I love it when my 2 for 1 becomes a 3 for 1 and the “gift with purchase” is educational! The box is covered with facts about the beer, the hops, hops in general, and some general foolishness [my favourite kind of foolishness].
Available at both the LCBO and Beer Store you get 2 Detour, 2 Mad Tom, and 2 Twice as Mad bottles for $14. Delicious and educational.
Ha – I just looked up my Detour review about Albert Einstein and laughed – narcissistic perhaps – but anyone who writes a blog has a bit of that in them i think. Note to self – avoid seeing your reflection in a pool if you can.
Autumn really is a food lover’s paradise. Consider this haul from the farmers market in Guelph last Saturday. Cornucopia indeed.
It’s also the best of times for Autumnal Ale from up North. Here are two of the best
Lake of Bays 10 Point is a nice, lightly hopped IPA – I love the pine aroma and the bite on the finish.
Muskoka’s Harvest Ale has been repackaged from the original orange label [in part because people thought that it was a pumpkin ale] but the recipe remains the same.
If you hurry you may also catch a keg of Mash ‘n Pumpkins on tap at OX. Pumpkin pie in a pint glass with notes of spice and molasses – delic.
There really is no effective way to come to terms with the end of a vacation.
The most one can hope for is to prolong it a little with some photos, conversations, or memories.
I think we all feel this way. Recently a columnist in the Guelph Mercury wrote about holding onto his vacation beard for at least a week after vacation. But I didn’t grow a vacation beard – it would have been far too scratchy for my wife’s comfort and far to grey for my own.
But what about a taste memory. I’ve read that taste and smell are the strongest memories.
Earlier in the summer I posted this photo of me enjoying a bière in my jardin in France.
Yesterday I found 1664 Blanc here in Canada, bought one, and then opened it up in my own kitchen [in front of my French copper pots just to add some je ne sais quoi – or terroir as the French have it]. That should help prolong my vacation.