Category Archives: Beer picks

Craft Hipster

It’s fun, when you’re 50, to poke fun at the younger generation. So for my Halloween costume this year I went as a “20 something hipster”.  One ironic moustache and several well drawn and/or outdated tattoos later I was a hipster.

It was also a ruse to allow me to talk about craft beer all night – and I brought a lovely one to the party from Lake of Bays – Stamp Hammer oak aged amber lager.

Back to my tattoos for a minute.  They were drawn so expertly that everyone assumed they were real.  Honestly, the “vital signs” one that flatlines and then says “carpe diem” may become a tattoo if i ever get over my fear of needles and hep b.

Stamp Hammer is only available in October and November so you may want to stop reading now and go the the LCBO.  A dark amber, i found it slightly spicy, not overly hopped, and a vanilla from the oak barrels that rounded the lager out into a smooth finish. Everyone loved it.

LCBO 439430 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 9.95

Also, my spider-web elbow ink rocked.


Last call

Summer is gone and gone with it is my taste for summer drinks.  It’s an odd time of year.  I’m not quite ready for big red wines or stout ale, and yet I don’t want a cider, pilsner, or crisp riesling anymore either.

This is what happened last week on the patio formerly known as OX.


My wife tried the cider, I had the Stonehammer harvest ale, and my daughter the Stonehammer dark ale.

It was a nice autumnal experience. A leaf or two dropped into our pints …


…a beautiful wasp stopped in for a visit …


And then the teenagers took over the “nature in a pint glass” game and made their big sister M’s drink a little over the top nature crazy.  She drank it unfazed at her sisters’ tomfoolery. We do have fun.  And round 2 … was the Stonehammer Dark. It became the official pint of the Oke family’s “patio and reading afternoon”.



Elvis and Me

Memphis TN

August 2015

Elvis Week

Yes – Elvis week

When it’s 100 degrees in the south in ‘Merica your typical wine blogger drinks two things.  Beer and Bourbon. Together.  Cheap cold beer [Yuengling Lager] and Tennessee whisky to be accurate on the balcony overlooking WC Handy Park, 10 feet off of Beale. I can hear several of you saying “Ah, that’s what Marc Cohn was singing”.  The sweet harmonica sounds of Mr. Vince Johnson and the Plantation Allstars filled the air.

Also, I might have dressed up as Elvis with my daughter M and literally walked Beale St.


Thank you very much


This a blog post about logos – specifically the great logos in Guelph. My apologies to all the hermeneutics and theology readers that regularly pad my blog stats – but this is not a  post about “the word” – believe me you don’t want that from a man with half a theology degree – which I’ve.

Recently i read a beer blog post about great beer logos and Wellington Brewery came out as one of the top in Ontario.  It started me thinking … what are my best logos in the city of Guelph.  Here are my top 5 from breweries and restaurants / pubs.

Number 5


39 Carden Street. I love the Partridge Family retro feel of this simple unidentifiable bird that might be a mallard


Number 4


Stone Hammer – my daughter M loves their dark ale. I love that it looks like Thor might be the brewmaster.

Number 3

Royal City Brewing Co. Yes, I wish they had used the purple and gold of the Rogie Vachon LA Kings, but silver and black are also wicked cool

Royal City Brewing Co. Yes, I wish they had used the purple and gold of the Rogie Vachon LA Kings, but silver and black are also wicked cool.

Number 2 

[anyone else over the age of 12 laughing that i just published the words number 2?]

Wellington Brewery. So good that my brother-in-spain wears his Welly t-shirt fishing in the Mediterranean

Wellington Brewery. My brother-in-spain wears his Welly t-shirt fishing in the Mediterranean. For my $$ the Arkell Best Bitter is the best drink in the province.

Number 1

Baker Street Station. Simple and awesome. Well done creative logo people. Also the home of great pub fare.

Baker Street Station. Simple and awesome. Well done creative logo people – i always think i’m getting onto The Tube and end up with a beer!

Agree or disagree?  I don’t really care to hear from you unless you agree – but the comment section is open for business.

Survival Pack

Camping is not really a family activity for my family.  I’m often reminded that my wife’s idea of camping is a nice Bed and Breakfast, but truthfully she prefers a 4-star hotel when camping.

So when my daughter M and I decided to plant our micro-farm this long weekend [really it’s just a tiny garden] i thought that since we were going to be outdoors all day a survival pack might be helpful.  Truthfully i’m a lot more “outdoorsy” than i’m letting on but let me run with this okay.

The Muskoka Brewery survival pack comes with 8 cans of four different Muskoka summer products – the dry hopped Detour IPA, Summerweiss – a sessionable wheat beer, Cream Ale – their signature ale, and Craft Lager – quaffable with a surprisingly flavourful finish.


See how they fit in so well with my suburban wilderness [I know, they’re seedlings on a table in my backyard].

So some gardening, sorry microfarming, with my daughter, some drinking of the survival beers, and a couple hours in the sun later we were both hydrated [at least], satisfied because our hands were dirty, and feeling pretty smug [we both do that well] about the entire thing.

IMG_0463The Muskoka Survival pack is available at the LCBO and the Beer Store starting this weekend.


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.

IMG_9815Maybe 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?

First in Space

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


IMG_9292One small step for man …


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