Milestone? Ramming over 400 years of history into the form of one book tends to make you forget milestones. Too many fly by. Jordan and I are coming to a final point with all the text placed in one spot with a real beginning, middle and end. With still a few weeks to go and without spilling too many beans... what have I learned?
=> An iPad mini is not unlike a shovel. Years ago, I kept an acre vegetable garden and dug it and turned it every year with just a shovel. One Saturday morning I said "to hell with this" to the sky and bought myself a bright red $1000 Toro rototiller that could be started on turf and, before moving forward, would straight drop down turning the ground to gorgeous fertile soil. I called it "Lil' Shiva" for obvious reasons. Two days ago I bought the 15.6 inch laptop on sale that I am typing on now. Not squinting as much all of a sudden.
=> I am glad I shared in the writing of The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer with Max first. It got a lot of mental content out of the way but also got me in the habit of sitting down and pounding out 400 or 800 words not as a stand alone thing like these paragraphs but as part of a bigger statement. I've started its sequel.
=> Ontario's general history is far more interesting than folk would tell you. Huge chunks of the social and political story can't fit into the narrative solely for reasons of scale. It is sad that there is no well known book simply called The History of Ontario as there are similar works in other, more self-aware jurisdictions. The story of the provinces brewing gives some hints as to why that book might not be on a bookshelf near you. You will have to wait, however, until June to see what I mean.
=> I have far more interest and even affection for big institutions like the Hudson's Bay Company and big people like E.P. Taylor. Rather than being the massive faceless corporate monoliths they might be taken for today, they each were cutting empires out of the hinterlands in their way. Consolidation was inevitable in the brewing industry in its day just as much as it was in the automotive industry. Today, we don't expect to buy cars made in our own local communities. Why would Ontarians of 1890 or 1949 care any more whether their beer was local? PS: Labatt > Carling even if it was smaller until their last competitive decades.
=> How about the beer? If Labatt were to bottle its Export IPA circa 1900, it might well blow more than half of the craft beers brewed today out of the water. The beer I would really like to try most, however, is early 1800s ship's beer. Simply brewed with few ingredients and low alcohol, it is one of the lost brews that would have been an utterly common place thing in a shore town like mine two hundred years ago. Common as Kleenex or coffee in a paper cup.
So, there you go. An update or sorts. Still plenty of writing and editing to come but the end is near. Then another book. And maybe another if things work out.