metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Baby Ada's birth was the home birth we'd been planning for — kids safely at their grandparents, midwives we knew, intensity and joy and healthy everyone at the end. Elizabeth was very independent for most of labour, as she has been before — I fetched things, let midwives in, helped keep things clean and was just being present up into late pushing. We'd talked about my maybe catching Ada, but in the end I was busy holding Elizabeth and crying a bit as she pushed the last few times. I got to cut the cord, as I have for Oscar and Vivien. At home in our space was a nice place for a birth, and I felt quite involved.

Ada is pretty laid-back so far, and looking around a lot. She has a powerful suck, curious hands and neck and a variety of unconvinced facial expressions. She also sleeps really well in the baby carrier!

Elizabeth and I got a chance to give the baby carrier a whirl yesterday when our friend Seema generously offered to take the older two over to her place for a couple of hours. Thanks to her, we got to walk over to Brasseurs du Temps and have a little anniversary lunch date. Seven years of vaguely sacrilegious matrimony and crazy adventures! Our conversation was more sleep-deprived than deep, but it was really nice to make some time for our little dyad, and Ada helpfully snoozed almost the whole time. Also, BDT has really gotten comfortable in its skin and gotten into a refined and interesting beer groove. There was one unfortunate server comment about "ladies' beer" – La Grande Rivière is a tart, citrusy smacker of a beer that happens to be pink (and delicious to me and not Elizabeth's thing). Silly server. The presence of a tasty 2.4% session IPA (good for easing back into regular beer after 9 months on the pregnancy wagon) was exciting, though.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)

I liked this post about a positive subway experience a lot. The kids are all right :)


I've had couple of interesting beers lately. Both are a little off the beaten path, and both are quite happy to occupy centre stage — dessert or tasting beers, definitely, or your one/first glass of the night.

Traquair Jacobite Ale
This Scotch ale has a beautiful bottle, and is labelled as a flavoured beer. Both Scotch ales and flavoured beers can sometimes hit me over the head in an uninteresting way, but this one, part of a Christmas gift from [profile] the_arachne was definitely ahead of the pack in both genres. It's a dark red beer with a small, middling-thick, persistent head. I tried it after a short time in the fridge (just shy of room temperature). The flavouring here was coriander — not exactly a non-beer flavouring spice, being an ingredient in some white beers and others — and it was nicely balanced with the sweet, malty Scotch ale taste, giving the beer an interesting bite. It is very tasty on its own, but I imagine it would go nicely with buttery cheese like Oka.
L'Aphrodisiaque (Dieu du Ciel!)
Don't let this beer's somewhat silly label dissuade you. L'Aphrodisiaque is a chocolate stout with a hint of vanilla. It has the usual tight, persistent head and is tasty at room temperature, like many stouts. It's got a nice stout-y flavour, with added bitter and cocoa flavours mirroring the natural stout snap, and a whiff of vanilla in the nose and at the back of the mouth. Again, the flavouring doesn't overwhelm the beer, and it tastes like they used good chocolate. This beer is definitely tasty for dessert. It might put you in the mood for good chocolate, but I think it's probably at its best poured into a couple of little glasses and enjoyed unaccompanied.

cross-posted to [community profile] beer4breakfast

metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Yesterday, I had Brasseurs de Montréal's «Chi Orientale». I'd had it once before at a barbecue; this time I had it a little chilled in a glass. It's a cloudy white beer with a thin, non-clingy head and dull brass colour. The initial sniff as well as the whole glass were dominated this time by ginger — I remember it being a bit more subtle last time I had it; this time it was definitely all ginger, with that slightly soapy real-ginger-beer taste. The white beer base was a nice choice, if I were to augment a beer with a hit of ginger this powerful, I'd have started with Blanche de Chambly. It has a definite prickle to it and is certainly a "beer for people who don't like beer," like Mort Subite but for the more adventurous.

Today, I had Red Stripe Lager. It is the local (export) lager from Jamaica, as far as I can tell. I poured it at fridge temperature into a skinny glass, and had it with cucumbers and a zucchini melt on a baguette (our garden's zucchini yield isn't quite equal to the tomato yield, but it's no slouch, either). It has a thin head, Compared to beers with similar roles, it is sweeter, maltier and much less hoppy. For something noticeably unhoppy, it has a nice aroma. Between the lack of hops and the low alcohol content, it doesn't quite square with my "warm geography beer" preconceptions, but it is unassumingly tasty, and quite drinkable, if perhaps not as thirst-quenching or come-again-ish as some of its less sweet cousins.

I have one more beer on the roster from my birthday bucket of beer: Tsingtao beer. It probably isn't the end of my beer posts, but I'll try and wrap up the thirty with some mapping out of how they relate to each other. It's been a very pleasant trip through the beers of the world!
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
This will be a short one: MB Rousse is a red beer from the same Maître Brasseur in Laval as I had the Noire from. I had it with baked stuffed squash, chilled slightly, in a pint glass. It has a red colour and a thin, clingy head; there are very few bubbles in it. The aroma and taste are both quite sweet and malty, and the mouth-feel is pretty light: it reminds me of a lighter-bodied Brutopia beer in its sweetness and simplicity. There are caramel notes and maybe just a hint of citrus-y acidity. This could be a very easy-to-drink beer, alone or with hearty food.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
I fell a bit behind on my beer blogging due to some excitement lately, but I actually have had a couple of tasty beers since Saturday.

On Saturday, while we were waiting for contractions to go from "noticeable" to "get thee to a midwife," we had some L'Affriolante. Bilboquet's label art is also kind of fun and sexy, like their beer. It's a honey-and-spice beer, with a little creamy, clingy head over a dark reddish-brown beer. It's not too sweet or heavy — substantial without being over the top. I had it in a little tumbler at room temperature. The honey is noticeable, and the spicing (cinnamon? nutmeg? Actually orange peel and coriander...) was pleasant but not overpowering, although it left my tongue a little bit tingly. The beer is malty and a little bit sweet. I think this is a drink-on-its-own sort of beer, or maybe with a sweet dessert.

Today, we both cracked open some stout — the classic postpartum beer with its meal-like qualities. I had Maître Brasseur Noire Classique. I had it in a pint glass at room temperature. It had a thick, sort of tangy foam, and an un-stout-like tang at first sip, but further down it had a more conventional bitter stouty taste, and hints of smoke and coffee, which were quite nice. It's not an overwhelmingly heavy stout, with a weight pretty similar to L'Affriolante, and has less chocolate and snap than O'Hara's, but is very drinkable with some interesting character in the latter half of the glass — the coffee notes are definitely dark roast, which I count as a good thing. I think this beer would be pretty unimpressive straight from the bottle — the smells really make it.

Maître Brasseur seemed to pop out of nowhere (actually, they were a Laval brewpub, I imagine they've pulled together a bigger facility now); it sounds and is packaged like a supermarket brand at Metro or something, but I've had a few of their beers in a non-review context before, and they are generally pretty good! The only AMB beer I've tasted that I might shy away from is their IPA — their American Pale Ale tastes more like IPA to me.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Labatt Bleue is the beer that was around the house during my childhood. The label has changed several times since then, and they added a significant digit to the alcohol percentage, but it was my baseline archetypal beer. I think the Quebec-ness appeals to my dad (a well-rooted transplant to rural Quebec from what used to be rural Mississauga), and the simplicity, and the ubiquity and unpretentiousness.

I poured it, chilled, into a goblet-y water glass, and had it with bruschetta and beet soup (my dad has a habit of ordering the soup at restaurants — I remember lots of small orders of whatever main dish, and the soup — there is always a full stop after the word soup when he orders, too. Soup.) It had a thin, quickly dissipating head, lots of bubbles, and a pale golden colour. It doesn't have a whole lot of aroma or bitterness — the taste is of fresh grain. It's light but not watery, and quite refreshing. I suspect the ingredients list is pretty short. I thought tonight of rating all 30 beers by difficulty and tastiness at the end of this series, and Bleue is definitely well into the easy-and-tasty quadrant.

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