metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
My cousin-in-law Jay gave me some tasty beer for Christmas. I tried it at the end of the drive home yesterday, slightly chilled (20 mins in the freezer from room temperature), in a beer mug, with some pita pizza.

The beer is a nice coppery colour, not cloudy or thick at all, with a fine head that dissipates quickly down to a little trim around the glass. It's got a nice aromatic whiff of hops and sweetness before tasting, and then an almost honey-like flavour. There's a noticeable bit of bitter at the end, but not enough to overwhelm the malty/honey sweet. If I didn't find it tasty, I might have found it a little medicinal (Elizabeth found it had a hint of soapiness and didn't like it, but I think I read it as interesting English hops). I sort of expected a winter ale to be heavier or spiced, but this one is surprisingly aromatic and delicate, and I don't think it has any unorthodox flavouring. If you like hops and are having it solo or with something not too overwhelming (the pizza was white — mayo, mozzarella, fresh tomato and olives — and it was about right), this is a flavourful and surprisingly delicate beer for you.
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: A plastic wind-up teeth thing with a googly eye. (chatter)

The holidays went by pretty fast — it felt like we were doing something social nightly for about two weeks. It's a good thing Oscar generally seems to like parties!

Christmas eve, we went over to Elizabeth's parents' place for the traditional nut loaf, cookies, rum balls and gifts. Christmas day, we drove to Ormstown and joined 17 or so family at my parent's place, feasting extensively and helping the new people get names straight. I had been a little sniffly on Christmas eve, but by Christmas day, I was full-blown sick, so a bit subdued. Boxing Day was sort of quiet, but three generations of my parents' next-door neighbours walked over to admire Oscar and say hi. The 27th was the annual Christmas bash with white elephant gift exchange (aka "steal the present") — last year there was one kid there, this year there were three and we were all starting to feel a bit grown-up. We got together at my friend A's parents' place, about 20km past civilization — Enterprise was out of compact cars and gave us something with four-wheel drive, which got some use as we were whacking through snow drifts to get there. On the 28th, we celebrated [personal profile] dagibbs' birthday with food and drink and cheer at his place, and on the 29th we celebrated [personal profile] frenchzie's housewarming and birthday. On the 30th was our mostly-weekly D&D game at our place, and on the 31st we stayed in and rung in the new year with the upstairs people from House of Flail, Ticket to Ride: Europe and Dominion, and some mead from 1999.

The most memorable presents this year were Ticket to Ride: Europe from Elizabeth (a rather addictive little game), a huge jug of Beau's Nightmärzen from my cousin Erica, and a medieval-looking Garden Weasel from my parents.


I've had two tasty gift beers lately. Most recently was Nightmärzen, from my cousin Erica, which is a bright amber beer, Beau's hoppiest beer and fall offering. It reminds me a little of a darker Grolsch — same fresh, sort of pungent hoppiness, with a bit more sweet, and kind of light and easy-drinking. It's got a nice fizz to it and a modest head. I think it would be most excellent on tap when I'm expecting to stay for more than one pint somewhere. A little before that was Fuller's 2010 Vintage Ale, from [livejournal.com profile] the_arachne — it's supposed to be a prime candidate for ageing, and I may get another bottle to stash away. Consumed at a few months old, it was like a light-ish, sweet barleywine (despite a lower alcohol content than most barleywines), with notes of somewhat rough port. It had big malty flavour as well, but definitely tasted kind of young and almost unfinished.
In resolutions and plans for the year, I'd like to build a trellis and get some peas and beans up this year, and maybe even manage to get pumpkins into our squash mix. I also would like to not buy stuff made with water that I could've reconstituted myself — juice from concentrate, any sort of tea in a bottle, and bottled water. This is inspired by seeing chai syrup for sale in our local fancy grocery store. I would also like to bike up into the Pontiac sometime this year, and get out on the bike sometime in every calendar month. To this end, I should really clean and lubricate my chain before I need a new one.

Places I've slept in 2010:

  • Eganville, ON.
  • Gatineau (Hull), QC. A lot.
  • Gatineau (Gatineau), QC.
  • Montreal, QC.
  • Mont-Tremblant, QC.
  • Ormstown, QC.
  • Ottawa, ON.
  • Quebec, QC.


In a little bit of rantiness, I've been fuming slightly over Google's ranking of restaurant pages. When I search for a restaurant, I probably want the official page (with menu, hours and phone) somewhere in the first hits, and failing that (or to help me decide), a review written by a real human with as much of that information as possible. The last thing I want is a listing scraped from the yellow pages, with Bing's best guess at where it is located, in which I can be the first to write a review or add information.

metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
McEwan's is not new to me, but it's been a little while. I had it at room temperature in a pint glass, with squash ravioli and sliced tomatoes. It had a middling-thick, delicate head and a very dark red colour. The taste was pretty consistent all the way down: sweetish, notes of toastedness and toffee, and a strong alcohol flavour. It's pleasantly heavy, and the smell matches the taste. I thought it played nicely with the squash in the ravioli.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
I had this English beer in a proper pint glass, chilled a bit after a bowl of beet soup and some bread. It was a nice red colour with a thin head and some effervescence. Early on, there was lots of sweet and malty, and later on, more bitter hoppiness. It went down really nicely the sweet, heavy soup. I think it's probably a good with-food beer, and definitely pretty different from the beers I've tasted so far in the set.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Fuller's London Porter is a dark beer in a bottle whose label suggests it as a digestif, so I had it after supper, in a pint glass, cool, with some leftover baby shower cake. It is, as advertised, rich and dark. It has only a little bit of head, and not much carbonation. It comes on smooth with coffee and toffee tastes, and gets bitter after a few sips. There's a bit of a sweet aroma, but the taste is not too sweet and the beer is velvety and pleasantly heavy. Later in the glass, there is a bit of unroasted-grain taste — despite being dessert, it is still a beer. It is very much like St. Ambroise Noire (which I also like a lot), but smoother, a little less opaque, and with a bit of a time delay on the bitter taste.




I figured Mort Subite Framboise, a Belgian lambic with raspberry juice blended in, would sit somewhere close to wine (and probably sweet, fruity wine like the inexpensive Shiraz of my late university days) in taste, and despite my old roommate's quizzical "wine and pizza, c'est quoi ça?" remarks of old, I thought I'd pair it with steamed greens and tomato pizza (made with no name cheese pizza topped with yesterdays leftovers and a sliced tomato). The beer comes in a bottle with a cork wired down, and it opened with a satisfying pop. The pizza sort of disintegrated — the instructions say to cook it directly on the rack, but the extra moisture in the bonus toppings caused it to seep partway through the rack. Spooning pizza onto my plate, I tried the pink, slightly cloudy, bubbly beer with a moderate, creamy head. It is sweet, like good raspberry cocktail or sangria, with a little tartness — not at all like beer, with no discernible hops or grain. This is a tasty drink, but I find it hard to call it beer.

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