Germany is investing billions of euros to stage the 2006 World Cup that is expected to be the biggest yet in business terms, but the honour of hosting the event has failed to impress German companies, which are crying foul at being squeezed out by big foreign players...German troubles started when it was announced that German beer would not be available at cup games because Anheuser Busch, the huge US brewer, had won the rights.So if you go to one of the world centres of beermaking for the world's celebration of soccer...expect thin, insipid American lager in the stands. Pure evil is afoot.
I go to the LCBO more than the Beer Store here in Ontario but when I have gone to the place also known as "the In and Out", I have noticed but never picked up this brand, preferring Maudit or another Unibroue variety. I noticed today that it actually comes in a four pack and thought what the hell. The clerk looked at me a little like my head was on wrong and had to hunt through her computer to find the right key to hit. Apparently no one ever buys it. Bodes well.
The Trafalgar Brewing out of Oakville has been around since 1993. It gets a few lines in Allen Winn Sneath's Brewed in Canada in the chronology for the year of its opening and for its two year attempt to expand to the Old Mill in Elora. It is a tough trade. You know, some smaller microbrewers in Ontario only get local sales so that, for example, Mill Street Brewery's product from Toronto or Heritage Brewing's bottles from Ottawa simply do not make it to Kingston shelves even though we are about two hours drive from each - God bless the monolpoly system that ensures I have access to 27 types of identical tasting eastern European lager but not all the real ales from within this province. In part it is the reality of shipping costs but mostly it is a bad system of laws. So it is a bit of a odd thing to see one here. The packaging is a bit weird too, a 1 x 4 quart (650 ml) pack. No handle, light cardboard meaning you have to kind of hug the thing which is not unlike carrying a grade 12 math textbook when you are in grade 6.
The bottle I had was showing age with a bit of a rusty cap but its secluded life at the back of the Beer Store cooler kept the ale inside in fairly good shape. It is a fresh tasting amber ale, not too heavy at 4.5%, along the lines of Gritstone, Quidi Vidi Trad or Big Rock Trad. Like Quidi Vidi and Big Rock there is a bit of sourness (yeast sting?) to the yeast and like Gritstone it is a fairly sweetish ale. Unlike all of them is the addition of a smoky note and a bit more body. The white head dissipates fairly rapidly over the clear dark caramel ale. It is a quite attractive ale with notes of apple, toffee and maybe mocha back there somewhere. Subdued barky and green hops. It is an ale I would be interested in comparing to Garrison Irish Red from Halifax, though from recollection the latter might still be my preferred ale. The brewery says:
The Celtic formulation is based on an ancient recipe for Irish Brown Ale. Four different malts emphasize the grainy richness of this well-balanced ale. The flavour profile of Celtic is that of an easy drinking subtle ale with mild hopping. This every day ale compliments most meals and occasions.Only one beer advocate has rated this beer and had it on draft at the brewery. At $13.95 for four it is definitely good value.
I am starting to think there is an unnamed style out there, the Canadian amber ale, sort of a low hopped ESB, that has versions throughout the land: medium in colour, sweetness and weight with only enough hops to cut the cloy of the sweetness. Not much to aspire to but this one goes beyond it. I am a little smitten.
The UK medical mag The Lancet has published a Swedish study on the relative harm caused by alcohol, tobbaco and high blood pressure and found:
An international team of scientists, writing in the Lancet, point out alcohol is a factor in about 60 different diseases. The researchers found 4% of the global burden of disease is attributable to alcohol, compared with 4.1% to tobacco and 4.4% to high blood pressure...The report looks at diseases including cancers of the mouth, liver and breast, heart disease and stroke, and cirrhosis in which alcohol can play a role. It also highlights the role of alcohol in car accidents, drownings, falls and poisonings. Alcohol is also linked to a proportion of self-inflicted injuries and murders.I find the last bit interesting as it points out the difference between alcohol and, say, ciggies. Statistically and across the population, they may have a similar effect. The drink, however, contributes its harm in individual contexts. Many of the risks of booze are reduced by not binge drinking, drinking lighter drinks (like, say, a tasty Guinness or well made mild) most of the time and staying away from mixing cars or anger with booze. Smoking has none of those contextual elements that ever makes it sensible. Normal drink consumption is a boon, tobacco always has a negative effect.
Here is a great comment from a reader, Andrew Mazanec, from St. Louis that I hope we can help with:
Dear Sirs,This is a great opportunity and I am going to take on one question myself, #2. Tough news, Andrew. Liquor is only sold through the government owned "S.A.Q." and they are on strike, though hopefully that will be over by July. A 375 ml "mickie" or "pint" of Canadian Club rye - we call Canadian whisky "rye" up here - goes for $12.50 CND at the SAQ. The next size up is 750 ml or a "quart" which goes for $21.95 CND. That will still be the price if you can find one of the five SAQ outlets being run by management open. You may be a good union man as a firefighter so I would not presume that you would cross picket lines but, still, here are those five outlets:
I am a firefighter in St. Louis, Mo.USA. I am heading to Quebec City, Quebec in the end of June through the first week of July for the World Police and Fire Games. I have a few alcohol related questions:
1)What is the cost for one case of beer domestic and Anheuser Busch products?
2) What is the cost of Canadian Blended whiskey approx. 400-500ML?
3) What time do establishments stop serving alcohol?
4) Are there any open container laws on public streets parks. etc.
- Beauport - 205 ave Joseph-Casavant (Seigneuriale exit)
- Charlesbourg - 9115 boul. Henri-Bourassa
- Québec - 400, boul. Jean-Lesage, bureau 49 (corner boul. Charest)
- Québec - 5015, boul. de l'Ormière
- Québec - 2900, rue Einstein
I am going to leave the questions up for a bit and see if we cannot get some more help for you.
For some reason Bulgarians have increased their beer consumption almost 10% in one year:
The total amount of beer consumed in the country was 294 million litres in 1997, reaching 425 million in 2003 and 473 million in 2004.By comparison in 2001/02, Canadian consumers purchased an average of 7.1 litres of spirits, 12.4 litres of wine and 84.7 litres of beer. The year before, they bought, on average, 6.5 litres of spirits, 12.2 litres of wine and 85.0 litres of beer. I suspect Bulgarians outdo Canadians in terms of wine - yup 19.66 litres percapita in 2001.
Later: yet consumption was dropping like a rock in the Bulgarian fall?!?! More research required.
This post was brought to you by the Canadian-Bulgarian drinking Statisticians Society.
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The beers I have thus far reviewed have been bottled and exported for sale in Singapore. While there are some excellent exports, there is much better to be found at the numerous microbreweries that are scattered throughout the country. A couple of years back, I had the pleasure of touring Western Australia and sampling some of the region’s fine craft breweries. These include the Sail & Anchor in Fremantle, its sister pub in Perth the Brass Monkey and Margaret River’s Bootleg Brewery, whose slogan is "an oasis of beer in a desert of wine". All had impressive beers. The Brass Monkey Stout was quite tasty. However, the best micro in the region and the best Australian beer I’ve yet tasted was the India Pale Ale of Little Creatures in Fremantle. The brewery only makes three beers at any time. All are good, but the pale ale is its raision d’etre:
Little Creatures was born to make a pale ale, a specific style of pale ale, a style that we are absolutely passionate about and one that we believe displays great balance of flavor and refreshment, complex yet highly drinkable. The beer's character is driven by the use of fresh whole hop flowers. Hop flowers are carefully selected that are bursting with aroma and contain all the essential oils and acids that deliver a unique flavor experience. Drink a few pints of this beer and you'll soon become one of us?a certified "hophead" craving those crisp citrus flavors of grapefruit and passionfruit and maybe a bit of honey, all backed up with a good balance of bitterness.The beer’s rich and fresh flavor partly arises from the brewery’s insistence in using whole hop flowers rather than the dried pellets that are usually used in most beers. While I can’t quite offer a review from memory, I remember it as by far the greatest Australian beer I had ever sampled. It was smooth and fresh with hints of citrus and pineapple... yum. I was so impressed I bought a 'slab' in Freo before we headed down south in the combie (actually a Winnebago). What that means is that I bought a slab of beer before heading down for a tour of one of Australia's best wine regions. Fresher reviews can be found here, here and here. That’s it for Australia week. Again, if any bloggers from the lucky country want to be contributor to A Good Beer Blog, please contact Alan.
Now, for the last couple of years, I have had it in my head that I could have a drink in 1000 different bars within a year. I have discussed this with my wife, who thinks I am crazy, and she has agreed to support me in my endeavor. I have also rejoined a health club and am going to prove that my tour of the bars can be completed while maintaining, and even improving, my overall physical well-being.It reminds me of that line from the musical South Pacific in the song "Happy Talk": If you don't have a dream how you gonna make a dream come true... You can follow this New Yorker's dream at his blog.
I was in Toronto for a few days this week and was able to stop by a brewpub called C'est What. I have some notes to add later after I dig through my stuff but wanted to get these pictures up.
The Next Day: I appear to have sprayed my things with notes-be-gone so I'll do this from memory. I tried two of their own ales with my Porter Beef Ribs and like both a lot. The first was the redundantly named Brown Mild Ale. While it is true there is a style of beer that is a light coloured mild, it is rare enough that it is an exception to the general principle that mild is brown. At 3.3%, it is the right strength for a session of supping. The beer menu said it was nitro dispensed meaning instead of being pushed by the normal CO2 there is a measure of nitrogen added. This is the same idea behind cask flow ale in a can that leaves a tiny fine head. With this real ale, it works very well giving a creamy head that incorporates many of the flavours of the yeast. The beer was creamy with chocolate and walnut flavours. The hops were subdued giving a bit of structure to the finish. Very nice. At the heart of the ale there is fresh clean water, exactly right for the style. This beer alone would bring me back to this pub. It is a beer that every brew pub should offer, that and/or ordinary bitter, a low alcohol version of a hopped light ale. My only complaint is that it costs the same as the other stronger ales. As 60% of the ingredients go in, ther should be some accomodation in the final cost I pay. That being said, $5.18 CND for a quality real ale pint is a good price.
The second ale I tried was their hemp ale. This is a favorite of mine whenever I have had it, the hemp replacing or adding to the hop effect. Depending on the amount and selection of hooping, the tastes can be quite different. In this version, it is basically a basic best bitter of 4.5% to 5.0% in terms of mouthfeel which has a layer of sweet green vegetableness added to it. And the green tastes like...fresh broad beans. Should gross but it is not. Quite good with the ribs. The ribs themselves were worth attending again, though the were a smidge underdone for my liking. Meat should fall off ribs and the inner tissue should have essentially melted away. There was a bit too much of a gnaw to the meal but in terms of flavour and texture it was spot on. Served with a spring salad overly drenched in dressing and tastey fine cut herbed french fries. You can order extra ribs and I did, hence the Freddie Flinstone pile on the plate.
This is the second time I have been to C'est What and each time I think there is something less manic about brewing that I would think normal. Less brewiana-esque than most and a little cool or, better, laid back. But I suppose that is the market they are playing to. Odd to see errors like the menu saying Black Sheep Ale is from Scotland when it is from Yorkshire. Nerds usually do not get that wrong. That being said, the quality of the beers - especially in terms of the yeast selection - is as good as I have every tried.
The brewery at Lawrence Victor Estate Winery
I discovered Lawrence Victor Coonawarra Old Ale (ABV 5%) at a local bar here in Singapore called "Ice Cold Beer". The place used to carry Cooper's, but its supply of Aussie beers is now sadly limited to the uninspiring likes of Fosters, Victoria Bitter and Castlemaine's XXXX. Lawrence Victor is not a beer I would recommend although I would suggest sampling at least one, it's a unique little creation. The head was weak and dissipated rather quickly. The beer had a sickly sweet flavor, reminiscent of overripe fruit. It did have some unique notes, although excessive carbonation masked too many of them. One other reviewer aptly described the aroma as 'vommity.'
Bottle: Poured a very cloudy orange with a medium sized rocky off-white head. Sour dried apricots with a kind of vommity aroma in the background that, surprisingly, wasnt that bad. Tart, sour taste, somewhat like fermented orange juice. Quite fruity, with a touch of light crystal malt when slurped. Strange carbonation with occasionally very big bubbles. Not bad, and quite unique, but not in any way great.Despite the sweet, vommity, fruitiness this is not a beer that you would confuse it for something Belgian. Coonawarra is, of course, a region far better known for its wine and the Old Ale is a side project for the Lawrence Victor winery's (which has a Shiraz I would like to try). Therefore, I can forgive some of their deficiencies on their virgin attempt and beer. I've known several good micros that have had less-than-impressive first products and although this beer wasn't to my taste it did show promise. It should be interesting to see what they come up with next.
The Inchant brewery's beers were a little more seasoned, the best of the three I sampled was the Thomas Jecks Ale (ABV 4.5%), supposedly a reproduction of the ale brewed at Guildford 's Rose & Crown hotel from the 1840s. Sadly, the hotel seems they have recently gone out of business. I was expecting the worst from the beer after the horrible, horrible head it produced on the initial pour. It was nothing but head... scaarrry! After giving the brew a few minutes to turn into something drinkable, it was fairly decent. It was slightly nutty and yeasty at the finish. The yeasty taste is described here as 'vegemite,' which is about as uniquely Australian as you can get.
The Fettler (ABV 6.3%) reminded me of the spiced homebrews that I used to make for Christmas dark amber and seasoned with honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange rind. And it also had that yeasty (vegemite) taste that my homebrews. While a bit thin, and again lacking head, I am a fan of spiced ales and would buy this one again just for the nostalgia. The Bullant bitter red label (ABV 5.5%), was the most disappointing of the three. A bit too sweet at the finish, syrupy mouthfeel and no carbonation or head. I possibly had a bad bottle.
Coming next, Myrick's choice for best Australian Beer.