Was there ever a cheerier vision planned to met your eye upon the opening of your first case? Congratulations Cooperstown Brewing Company of Milford, New York.
Nothing but an ale most masterful could claim this name. 7.7%. Light wine. It smells like opening a bag of hops pellets and tastes like licking one out. This is a BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEG brew and meant to be. If you do not like hops this is not the beer for you. If you can not contemplate beauty in the idea of having hops petals sprinkled upon your salad of leafy spring greens, this may not be the brew for you. If you like beer that hits your mouth like Tabasco with no pepper in sight, you may want to try it out. The bottle says:
Stone Ruination IPA. So called because of the immediate ruinous effect on your palate. The moment after the first swallow, all other food and drink items suddenly become substantially more bland than they were seconds before.The same could be said for spraying your mouth with aerosol Pledge or Minwax...and for the same reason. This is BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEG. Have I said that already? It is like distilling blue cheese down to a syrup and sucking down a pint of that. Intensity. Supersaturation of the hop acid. 100+ International bittering units. Right there. In my mouth. Here is what others say. Here is what the brewery says.
A week off and I wanted to do another run into Syracuse for some important research. My inquiries with the Homebrewers Digest had let me know that the two spots to check out for micro-brew selection were the Galeville Grocery and Party Source. Both are located on decent strips, the Old Liverpool Road and Erie Blvd Easy respectively, which should not pose as a drag for anyone if you were just running in while others waited in the car. Both have a good but somewhat different selection, Galeville having perhaps more US and NY micros while Party Source has a better Belgians section. Both have decent prices for US micros running at 7 bucks USD a six-pack and twelves for 13.49 USD. Even with the currency exchange, US tax, US deposit, Canadian Federal sales tax, Canadian duty, Canadian Provincial sale tax and LCBO mark-up, a six ends up at around 12 bucks Canadian which is what you would pay for a US micro if the LCBO would sell it to you...which it won't. I focused on Smuttynose from New Hampshire as well as New York's Brooklyn and Cooperstown. On thing that Party Source does that is nice is that it breaks up cases so you can mix your own 12-pack from any number of brewerys' products. Maybe next time. Ontario's amazingly accurately named Beer Store actually had this service ten years ago in a separate serve yourself cooler called the mixed six or so but ditched it soon after. The Galeville Grocery, on the other hand will cut and sell you a steak. Gotta like that.
Expect reviews. The last review of Labatt 50 has put me in a bad frame of mind so hopefully a Smuttynose Old Dog will put me back in shape.
50. portland asked me to. And worst of all, this is actually a case...which I can never remember what they call in Ontario where a case is really a two-four. In Halifax, a case was 12. I don't know what I will do with the other eleven. A slice of lime won't even make it a Molrona as this is from Labatts.
50 was exotic in the early 80s Maritimes. You paid a premium under the category "western beer". Why? Twelve years ago I might have had a few quarts of 50 on Friday night at the Lockmaster in Ottawa listening to bands. Having brewed my own beer for a long time, a beer like this stands out for its cheap ingredients - rough hops, sourish yeast and that funny coated feeling on your lips brewer's sugar leaves behind. Here is one Minnesotan beer advocatonian's take:
This is pretty much a bizzarro world beer. Answers the question "What would an ale taste like if it was made by a macro brewer?" And it's just as bad as a macro lager, maybe even worse. Flavor smells grainy, musty, and only faintly of the hops that a Pale Ale should have. Barely any hops at all, tastes pretty much labatt blue. It is crap. Since only respectable brewers pretty much make PA's, against the style this is the bottom of the barrel. I feel bad that I could have gotten a 6 pack of summit, schell, flying dog, goose island, or many other far superior pale ales for the price. If ever offered one, just say "no."Twenty years ago Harpers magazine ran an article on the Seattle micro-brewing scene which ended with the reaction of one beer lover having a mass produced beer after a number of micros. He said "did I miss my mouth?". This sets the benchmark for the low end of the Canadian pale ale scale...but you know I bet it doesn't, if you really hunted them out. I won't be bothering. I have my eye on Kawartha Lakes Pale Ale or Big Rock Traditional for the next examination of our national pale ale heritage.
I think I remember that 50 goes well as a red eye with V-8. It'll be ok.
Wellington Special Pale Ale or SPA. At the Beer Store for $10.50. From Guelph, Ontario. Can't say there are bad tastes in this brew. Then again, I can't say there is much taste at all. Not thin, no, it's got a medium-light body and the colour of light maple syrup and...that is about it on first encounter.
I am going to have to think a bit more about this one.
Later: the Brewery calls it a summer ale full of flavour at 4.5% but assures, as the taste confirms that it is a real ale without preservatives. Full of flavour. It is not at the point one elementary school pal was who considered bologna spicy, but "full" is not really the word.
One beer advocate writes:
Taste is alright, nothing special. Some sweetness to start. Some nuts. Middle is slightly metallic, and end is moderately bitter. It's a light and crisp beer, with lager like qualities. A bit doughy and biscuity. This pale ale isn't really anything special. Lady at the brewery told me it was their best seller in and around Guelph. However, it's not one of their better beers.I can live with that. A tepid assertion of the style, not geared for beer excellence so much as attracting a more moderate palate, the general market. Anyone who bought this ale regularly might be set off course by an English real pale ale or an American one. After the glass has sat around, there is the key that makes it Canadian pale ale, that rough grainy pepper thing with a bit of fruit way back. The brewer says it is two row Canadian barley they use which is better than six row, the work horse of cheap bad tasting beer - and that's not just me, it's the science. It is the quality of the grain that makes that fruit flavour a good pale ale should have and it is good that what is there is there.
A session beer? I don't know if I would look forward to many of these. Maybe it's a beer to have around at a party when you can't bring yourself to buy Labatts Blue but you know your pals will gag on a real, real pale ale. Not beautiful and not ugly. The crown of National pale ale champion is not yet at danger of falling from the cap of McAuslan's St. Ambrose Pale Ale.
As I walk through this troubled world hunched over starting at my feet I sometimes wonder things. Things like why do the Red Ensign bloggers let me hang out when we don't believe in too much in common. Things like why golf is. Things like why can't Canada make good beer like the British and Americans do. Then I stand up straight and say out loud - "did I really think that?!?"
Through this summer's examinations of all things aley, I have realized that I am not being much of a homer. Now, to be fair, no one is as attractive as the foreign girl at the party and when you travel it is nice to try different things so it is some what natural that you might pass the familiar confines of the Beer Store and trip down to the LCBO for a daring fling now and then...and who can blame you if you drag some friends news home after shopping. No one can - but now I'm coming home because for the next while, every couple of weeks or so, I am going to buy a six-pack and test it out. And I am going to try them pale (not necessarily my first pick on a trip to the power house) and see if there are any good Canadian ales that I can call my own again. Requests for test drives will be entertained.
The first guinea pig is McAuslan's St. Ambrose Pale Ale from Quebec available at the LCBO and I think the Beer Store as well. This beer advocatonian hit the nail on the head:
Taste: Biscuity malt goodness with a nice smack of peppery/grassy hops on the finish.When I think Canadian pale ale, I think pepper and grass thing that a certain type of our barley must add. This has it big time. Tastes like the beer your Dad drank in the 70s...no better as I think that is what I am going to say about Brick Red Cap. No big floral hoop-la over hops either, just a jaggedy bitter edge. The kind of beer that goes with a shot of rye. Grain as much as malt flavoured. Not sweet either. Both English and American pales are sweeter generally. The brewer says:
St-Ambroise Pale Ale is the brewery's flagship beer. Introduced in February 1989, it is a hoppy, amber, full-flavoured ale. In The Simon and Schuster Pocket Guide To Beer , beer critic Michael Jackson gave it three stars and described it as: "An outstanding ale... amber-red, clean and appetizing, with a very good hop character, from its bouquet to its long finish. Hoppy, fruity, and tasty all the way through."Only available in half the Canadian provinces and apparently in Switzerland, too.
The exceptionally well-named Yates on the States, the tale of a family man from Manchester, England living in Minnesota, has Yates's complaint is that cask conditioned Boddington's ale will no longer be made as the Manchester, England factory - the Strangeways Brewery - that makes it is being shut by its Belgium based parent, Interbrew. For 200 years, Boddingtons has only been made at Strangeways. From what I read, I understand what is at risk is the cask conditioned version of the brew, the real ale with live yeast in it, as opposed to the industrial kegged or canned versions with forced C02 carbonization we see on our shelves around the world. As a general rule, real ales take time to make, do not travel well and, if they do travel, they are expensive, like the six bucks Canadian I pay for a quart of Rogue. Kegged and canned beer is built for the tractor trailer ride. If my reading on the brewing industry has taught me anything it is that mergers and consolidations have been the stock in trade for brewers for ever. I noted this as a complaint in my review of Martyn Cornell's excellent Beer: The Story of the Pint but now I see it as simple reality, the nature of the flux in one end, the industrial end, of the industry. Consider this. I go to check the Interbrew website and the company itself has consolidated and is now called InBev, which is about as imaginative as LiqCo or HoochInc. It brews 13% of the world's beer. It owns the Keiths I drank as a kid but which now gives me the willies when I smell it, the Rolling Rock in portland's fridge, and the Hoegaarden and Leffe which have both been praised here. On the one hand, if it were not for the efforts of Interbrew, I would never have tried brews like Boddingtons or Leffe. In fact, the LCBO shelves are stocked with many InBev products, making the purchaser's job an easy one. On the other hand, I would have had a chance to try other smaller brands since killed off in the churning mill that is the merger game - but only if I travelled to where those products are made. So, when brewery mergers kill off your local favorite, either an entire brand or a real ale version of it, it is an actual but local crisis; when it adds a great new style to your shop, it is a blessing but, really, only as a start to new hunting when travelling. The conundrum of standardization and globalization. I will leave it to you to consider Yate's call when deciding what you reach for when you reach for a beer.
Yates's complaint is that cask conditioned Boddington's ale will no longer be made as the Manchester, England factory - the Strangeways Brewery - that makes it is being shut by its Belgium based parent, Interbrew. For 200 years, Boddingtons has only been made at Strangeways. From what I read, I understand what is at risk is the cask conditioned version of the brew, the real ale with live yeast in it, as opposed to the industrial kegged or canned versions with forced C02 carbonization we see on our shelves around the world. As a general rule, real ales take time to make, do not travel well and, if they do travel, they are expensive, like the six bucks Canadian I pay for a quart of Rogue. Kegged and canned beer is built for the tractor trailer ride.
If my reading on the brewing industry has taught me anything it is that mergers and consolidations have been the stock in trade for brewers for ever. I noted this as a complaint in my review of Martyn Cornell's excellent Beer: The Story of the Pint but now I see it as simple reality, the nature of the flux in one end, the industrial end, of the industry. Consider this. I go to check the Interbrew website and the company itself has consolidated and is now called InBev, which is about as imaginative as LiqCo or HoochInc. It brews 13% of the world's beer. It owns the Keiths I drank as a kid but which now gives me the willies when I smell it, the Rolling Rock in portland's fridge, and the Hoegaarden and Leffe which have both been praised here. On the one hand, if it were not for the efforts of Interbrew, I would never have tried brews like Boddingtons or Leffe. In fact, the LCBO shelves are stocked with many InBev products, making the purchaser's job an easy one. On the other hand, I would have had a chance to try other smaller brands since killed off in the churning mill that is the merger game - but only if I travelled to where those products are made. So, when brewery mergers kill off your local favorite, either an entire brand or a real ale version of it, it is an actual but local crisis; when it adds a great new style to your shop, it is a blessing but, really, only as a start to new hunting when travelling.
The conundrum of standardization and globalization. I will leave it to you to consider Yate's call when deciding what you reach for when you reach for a beer.
I mentioned in a post below how I am amazed how the LCBO - Liquor Control Board of Ontario - cannot stock shelves better than a decent corner store in the USA. With the monopoly of 12 million people behind it, the LCBO is the greatest buyer of beer, wine and spirits in the world. The biggest used to be Sweden until that was privatized. Now it is where I live. What drives me nuts about it is the LCBO's ability to master routes of distribution, bring in wines that sell for 20 USD and put them on our dinner tables for 12 Canuck bucks yet they cannot go out and obtain good ales and lagers with the same intellegence. It sells Genesee Ice but not Cream. That in itself is an indictment.
Another is the mere presence of a product by Rogue, one of the great US brewers, without sharing shelf space with five or ten others. At Halloween we get a small number of Dead Guy Ale and in March their St. Patrick's day issue dry stout. For the rest of year, nuttin'.
So it was with excitement I saw the quart of Rogue's Chocolate Stout before me. Rogue is a producer of perfection. Click on the picture below right and see for yourself the pride in product - they actually tell you what's in it. They tell you what happens when they put what's in it together: 19 IBU is a measure of bitterness, "international bitterness units"; 15º plato is a measure of potential alcohol strength at the start of fermentation; and 135.45º L is a measurement of darkness of hue. This tells you is is moderately strong, quite bitter and very dark.
What it does not tell you in itself is its loveliness. This beer could be reduced over low heat to make a syrup you could bake into a cake, it could stand alone as a marinade for ribs and it could fill an evening with friends whether in front of the TV or as a fine dessert over nuts and blue cheese. It is fulsome in its chocolate flavour but bitter like a fine dessert chocolate cheese cake, the bitterness laying entirely in the natural hops chosen by the brewer - woodsy, rich. The style is an odd one little brewed, being an offshoot (maybe what apple orchardists would call a "sport") of oatmeal stout. Youngs of England has a famous one, Double Chocolate Stout, that takes pride in its natural manipulation of the barley, through malting and roasting to create chocolate malt, a nuance of flavour that needs no extract or kidding one's self. Of its own version, Rogue says:
The recipe for Rogue Chocolate Stout was created several years ago for export to Japan. The exported twelve ounce Chocolate Bear Beer bottle label is in Kanji and features a teddy bear with a pink heart on his belly. Chocolate Stout was released for Valentine's Day in 2001 in a twenty-two ounce bottle for the US market. The label features a Roguester (Sebbie Buhler) on the label. The bottled of Chocolate Stout is available on a very limited basis in the US, so get it while you can! Hedonistic! Ebony in color with a rich creamy head. The mellow flavor of oats, chocolate malts, and real chocolate are balanced perfectly with the right amount of hops for a bittersweet finish.... .This is an amazing drink. Painted bottle, too. Beauty. Beer Advocatonians approve.
In the spirit of the post that had to end, I picked up two world classy pale ales from Engherlant - Charles Wells Bombardier and Shepherd Neame Spitfire, both bought at the main LCBO in downtown Kingston. Bombardier is pretty much available year round now while the Spitfire is part of a seasonal selection they bring in each autumn. While that is great, I wonder why they need to rotate and also why do they only bring in one Shepard Neame product. Clearly they have access to the distributor and clearly there is a market for this sort of quality. Sometimes the beer buyers of the LCBO amaze me. Fifteen types of identical eastern European lager for sale every day. Dribs and drabs of quality unique ales. As the single largest buyer of alcohol products on the planet - fact - the LCBO should do better, given that a corner store in the 'burbs of Syracuse, NY State, can put it to shame for variety, price and quality. I invite the LCBO to take up my call and ask me to lend a hand.
- Charles Wells Bombardier: left, is at the limit of pale ale and old ale due to its mahogany hue and rich raisin dark crystal malt profile. This is a standby for me in the winter when I need an ale..."need"...it is all about need. Christmas cake rum rich, it also has a good balanced hop bite but one that is subdued compared to the malt. For all that flavour, the body is not heavy compared to other pales we have lived through together, either from the USA or England. As a result, it is quite refreshing - not stodgy. Like me. Anyway, it comes in a 586 ml bottle, a full Imperial pint. Empire! The Beer Advocatonians approve, this review being typical:
The taste. Ooooh, the taste? There is a distinct bitterness matched with a solid body right from the start. There are notes of dried fruits, nuts, diacetyl and a gentle touch of alcohol develops into a cream-like mouthfeel and a very complex bitterness with flavours of lemon, bitter almonds, raisins, cocoa and gunpowder. The aftertaste lasts for ages, and keeps on developing well after ten minutes.Ummm....dried fruits. Sound weird but never tastes weird. Diacetyl is a butterscotchy thing that can be an error in the brewing of one beer and a blessing in the next. Here, good. For the record, due to events prior to my high school graduation involving thoughtfully made rockets and reasonable explosions over certain make-out parking areas of Truro, I can personally confirm the gunpowder comment.
- Shepherd Neame Spitfire Kentish Ale: right, is made by England's oldest brewery dating from 1698 out of Faversham, Kent. Hoppy but given what I have been able to sup this summer, the hops are not out in front by any respect compared to, say, Tröegs Pale Ale. The hops are citrusy but to my palate are more orange and lime as opposed to the lemon and grapefruit a lot of US varieties will give you. It is a nicely refined bitter and, at 4.5% more of an Extra Special Bitter than an India Pale Ale. Not heavy in the mouth and not overwhelmingly malty. It actually just whelms rather nicely. A very civil ale. Fine where the Bombardier above is fullsome. Well received by the advocatonians. Very subdued toffee, unlike Old Speckled Hen but definitely similar in style. The brewer says:
Tasting notes:Ahhh...to be able to pop around for a firkin or quarter keg. I have the 500ml version, by the way. As with wine the volume and construction of the container can make a difference. You would not lay down a polypin or can but a firkin or kilderkin of any brew over 6% would do very well being buried three feet down away from frost for a few months.
Crafted from traditional varieties of English malt, this golden ale combines an underlying depth of maltiness, tinged with a subtle hint of toffee, with the bold citrus and fruity spiciness of Kentish hops, to produce a well-balanced, thirst quenching, popular drink...
34 pint Polypin, 9 gallon Firkin, 18 gallon Kilderkin, 500ml Bottle, 440ml can and 25cl Stubby
PA's Tröegs Hopback, southwest NY's Southern Tier, Ithaca's Flower Power and Maine's Shipyard.
Porter lost out to India Pale Ale somewhere in the mid-1800s. The style came out of the export trade to the British soldiers in the Empire - by brewing double strength and double hopped, the ale travelled better and was expected to be diluted when it got there. Plan B was rapidly brought into play. In the revival of beer making that has occurred over the last twenty years, big hops and big body have been something of a flagship for each brewer. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. These suds are all in the game. You've seen the Ithacan before but now it is with compadres.
As an aside, this is something that has not taken off in Canada in the same way. If there is a great hopped ale it is more in the English style like the excellent Propeller ESB out of Halifax. The micro-micro brewery at Rogue's Roost also in Halifax made small batches of wonderful IPAs but they were not a hit with the crowd and ended up dry-hopped in corny kegs (ie soda pop canisters) for the select crowd of Lorne's pals. I have not had a micro in Ontario that went anywhere near where either Nova Scotian went - even they are "IPA lite" compared to any number of available brews from below the border. Can enyone suggest a rival for these four?
- Southern Tier IPA:This beer is not so complex as either the Ithaca or Tröegs examples but that is not necessarily a bad thing. At the end there is a bit of alcohol heat which is expected at 6.5%. Woodsy hopping feels more like Fuggles than Goldings but there is a bit of the orange peel of the latter as well. Not real green or minty, either. Spicy, however, and with the extra body it is not unlike or perhaps a good compliment to a Sussex Golden Ginger Ale. A bit heavy to be a session beer. The Beer Advocate reviews are positive and I will buy biscuity but I am not finding the hops grapefruity. That all does go to the problem of describing taste as no one is really wrong to a certain point. Located at the very south western corner of New York, the Southern Tier Brewery is a worthy new find for me.
- Ithaca Flower Power IPA: I wrote about this one before but it is good to be a standard. In fact, of the ales tested, Ithaca Flower Power IPA and Brooklyn Brown are real winners so far. This time I am impressed by the balance of the Flower Power without recourse to a particularly heavy or heady body. The brewery tells us:
Available April 1 - September 31. Elegantly traditional and rich in its hop character, this India Pale Ale is thirst-quenching and soul-satisfying. Each sip delivers a bounty of herbal and floral hop character, balanced by the fruity signature of our house yeast. Cheers! This seasonal product is available only on draft, 1/4 bbl keg, or 1/2 bbl keg.The website is a bit behind as I am clearly drinking a bottle. The lads at the Beer Advocate think it may be a session beer but that would be like eating arugula all evening instead of dill pickle chips. I like this opinion:
It kind of sneaks up on you, through the easy going, crunchy, jam band listening feel. The oak is very distinct, meeting a walnut yeast flavor and balancing biscuity grain. A lingering woody hop flavor, with a bit of grainy malt sticking to the back of the tongue. Medium bodied, with soft but steady carbonation. A bit of a rough-hewn mouthfeel, with all the earth, wood and grain going on. I like it. A very earthy, natural feel. The graininess is somewhat like an organic ale, and the oak flavor really conjures up a cask feel. It's a nice enough IPA, but perhaps a little more bite would make it better. Some of that herbal, piney oiliness. Regardless, I like the woody, earthy feel, it creates character and makes the brew distinct.That is it! Arugula. The beer has that bit of black pepper zing with vegetative green in the hops that is like the green aka roquette. Damn good beer.
- Tröegs Hopback Amber Ale: far left, this beer is pretty fine, a notch above medium body, a fresh hops profile, fairly sweet from crystal malts with a light citrus edge through it. The brewer says:
Tröegs HopBack Amber gets its unique name and taste from the HopBack Vessel in our brewhouse. Packed full of whole flavor hops, each batch circulates through the vessel, creating a fresh hoppy aroma, spicy taste and rich caramel note that defines this signature amber ale.It is rich, mellow, satisfying and quite morish and the Beer advoates approve. It is not as molar janglingly hopped as other pale ales or IPAs US brewers will throw at you but sometimes the hopping can go too far if you are looking for something to have more than one bottle of. At 6% it is not a session beer but you could fool yourself despite the warming. Like the other ales I have been happy with, the challenge they place on the Canadian bigotry against US brews is definitely on.
- Shipyard IPA: I have a sectret that is no secret and that is I love Shipyard's ales. I have crawled all over the brewery on a ad hoc tour by the brew master one Saturday with portland at Portland. I have t-shirts and a ball cap. I have (briefly) abandoned my family on visits immediately upon dropping them off at the home being visited to rush to DiPietro's around the corner - the great pizza maker, beer and wine store, corner grocery of South Portland - to pick up a captain's case, the variety packs US micro-brewers put out of three bottles of four styles that make such sense. It sums up much of what is great about Maine - quality, tradition and independence. (In fact, the current polling in Maine giving Bush the lead give me the expectation that Kerry will win nationally...they go their own way to that degree.) At the brewery I was stunned to find open top modern square fermenters, like found at the excellent Samuel Smith's brewery of Yorkshire, England. Ale fans and even Ale-fan will know that the open square is a form of fermentation that requires the yeast head to effectively seal the fluid forming in to beer below it. No gauges and pipes up top, just a burbling crops of foam. That foam replicates itself when the bottle purs into a big rocky head that leaves a venerous lightly beiged lace on the glass as it settles. It is very mich alive. It also, again like sherry, arguably allows for a certain respiration, which when your Brewery is by the seashore in Casco Bay, can be argued to add a sea saltiness aspect to the brew - sort of like certain Islay malts.
The brew itself [Ed.: click on IPA on the java-ed frame] is fruity and fuggley which makes it fairly close to the orange juice of ales. The beer used to be called Fuggles IPA according to one of my t-shirts and is fairly brave in its selection of a single hop. Fuggles is the oldest variety of hops still used and has a twiggy edge not present in the more noble hops like Goldings with its fine candy cane, citrus characteristics. The website uses the word spicy but that is a little general in the sense that I like to use that word for either Christmas pudding flavours you can get in darks or peppery nutmegy clovey flavours you can get in hefeweissens. At 5.8%, there is a little bit of heat to Shipyard IPA there but it is well-framed in the hops and medium bodied malt. The beer advocatonians are mixed on this brew, 13% giving it a thumbs down for the properties that the square fermenation and use of Fuggles actually intends. They are not a mistakes so much as decisions. I also have noted that Shipyard's flagship Export had been described as a Canadian ale in some quarters. The grainy roughness of the brews certainly is familiar to me in that regard. Consider this review:
Certainly bitter, though so many IPAs are made with one of the hops that starts with a "C" that this one seems unique despite its blandness. Well carbonated and lively, it's certainly refreshing. Bits of lemon and berry tart drizzled in caramel. But then it's really just hops. You get the hint of complexity, but dry, grainy, hop oily intensity takes over. Hops is the word of the day. They're all over the backend of this beer. No harshness or alcohol to slow consumption. Goes down well.In a sense this beer is a pinnacle of former glory Maritime brewing style whichI grew up with out of the Olands and Moosehead breweries. It is like the beer Oland's Export might be were it brewed as a real ale rather than a beer replicant containing mainly corn sugar and irish moss. If I were Mike in Halifax, I would load up a rental van with non-drinkers, drive the eight hours to the brewery, buy their share of the border crossing allowance with taxes paid and have a very happy winter.