Category Archives: Beer picks

Harvest Ale or Harvest Kale

“Did you say Harvest Ale or harvest kale?”  Why can’t it be both?  This past week i harvested kale from my micro-farm with a harvest ale in hand [photo proof below – well that’s not my hand, my daughter takes a better photo than i do so i outsourced the pic].  I’ve tried many Harvest Ales and i always come back to Muskoka’s Harvest Ale when i get to choose..  It has the right amount of roasted malt and bitterness that helps me transition from IPA beers into the colder autumnal months.  This season you can find it in 6-pack bottles at your LCBO and beer store for under $15.  I also like Miijidaa’s harvest ale [a Stonehammer  brewery product], and so does the little fly that found her way into my pint🙂



Once inside the cucina my kale were transformed into the most beautiful salty kale chips – i mean really, what else would a Guelphite do on an autumn afternoon?


Hello pretty little fly – are you enjoying my harvest ale?  No, i didn’t ask my server what she was doing in my beer because she was clearly drinking delicious elixir and not swimming very well at all.

img_7513Also, i saved this little friend and set her out in the sun until she sobered up and could fly away safely.



Closing Ceremonies 

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.



Canada Day in photos 

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

Euro 2016 – a guide for the unsportsing

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.

Irish research

I have some Irish in me – not enough to want a “kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirt – but I do look Irish and I can imitate a leprechaun’s voice if necessary. So before St. Patrick’s day I may find the time to reread Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization” but I will certainly find time to get my drinks in order.

Breaking from tradition I’m going to pair ale with whiskey to celebrate – no wait, that is tradition.

Tullamore and Smithwick’s.

Here’s what you need to know

  1. Smithwick’s is pronounced “Smith-icks” or “Smitt-icks”
  2. You can also pronounce it /ˈsmɪðᵻks/ – but I don’t know how to read that
  3. /ˈsmɪðᵻks/ is a red ale – clear and dark red in colour, less sweet than a brown ale
  4. Tullamore dew is a well priced Irish whiskey [$32]
  5. Irish whiskey always ends “ey” unlike scotch whisky “y”
  6. The two are produced a short 1 hr drive from each other in the heart of Ireland
  7. Limerick always makes me giggle


Something New-ish

Checked my wine cellar this morning and all my wines are one year older!  Awesome.

I’ve started something new in my expensive IKEA wine cellar.  One cube is now dedicated to Sours and specialty brews.  Even they are one year sourer. And as you will see, there is a local touch to this Belgian craft of making sours.

Sour beers are intentionally made to taste sour, often with the use of barrel aging where wild yeast strains enter into the brew, or by adding fruit to the beer to allow a secondary fermentation. I prefer the former style. Commonly made in Belgium and Germany, they are the most wine-like of all beers, often exhibiting tannins instead of hops.  I’ve even had them served to me in a wine glass at a fancy beer place in TO.   Royal City Brewing Co. has been bottling some of their own for me [maybe not just for me but it feels like it].

And now a brief tour of my collection – my delicious collection which has my my wine cellar more delicious.


The Rodenbach brothers, from Belgium, produce this delicious red sour.  Thanks to my daughter M’s friend Matt for suggesting it, and to M for hunting it down in an LCBO in Toronto for me.


Cam and the boys and Royal City Brewing Co. right here in Guelph made this aged in Chardonnay barrels.  A personal favourite – $6.95 at the brewery.


The Royal City Brewing Co.’s latest German-style sour.


All the way from Germany – Schneider Weiss Cuveé Barrique. Again, thanks Matt and M – you guys do good work.


Year in Review

You know those dreams you have that you can’t wait to tell everyone about.  The dreams that have intricate details more fascinating to the teller than the listener?  That’s what the Year in Review photos are like on Facebook aren’t they?  I don’t feel that way – but i suspect a lot of people do. Nuts to them – here’s my Pull the Cork Year in Photos


Ox Patio at the end of winter with a Wellington SPA


The first signs of spring and i stop drinking potentially dangerous water and tuck into a nice Muga Rosé


The fine people at Muskoka Brewery helped make a beer tasting out of our micro farm planting  day


The summer began on Vancouver Island with a lovely white wine grown and bottled by a Canadian Aboriginal group


Grappa 1-0 Lemoncillo  [bunny ears by my M]


Um, this Autumnal Stonehammer Dark got some foliage help from my daughters i think


Of course we made Gin


and back to Nouveau, where this blog began