When I was in university I didn’t know much about beer. I drank it when I went out to the pub but that was about it. I usually ordered something cheap like Labatt 50 (hello student budget) or sometimes splurged on Creemore (before it was bought by Molson) or Sleeman (before it was bought by Sapporo).
It wasn’t until I started doing beer tours that I really got to know what beer is all about.
In my early beer-drinking days my consumption habits were much different. It was the early 2000’s and most of my drinking happened at my favourite local pub in the town where I was going to university. Its draft list was modest and straight-forward, exactly what you’d expect at the time – Molson Canadian and Labatt Blue, Rickard’s Red and a couple other things. In an effort to find something I liked I most often gravitated toward Labatt 50, for better or for worse.
And then something wonderful happened. Sometime around 2008 I tried a new beer. It was from Ontario (gotta love local!) and was a new type I’d never had before, a Kolsch. It was delicious! And it was a craft beer.
It’s well established at this point that I have a deep, abiding love of wine. I’ve taken courses, shared what I’ve learned, and take every opportunity to learn and taste and grow as a wino. But, contrary to that love, I don’t tend to order wine when I go out. Instead that honour goes to my other liquid love – beer.
Palate Practice turns three years old this week! My little blog-baby has been out in the world for so long now, sharing all sorts of stories and hijinx and generally existing successfully. Blogs seem to age quicker than humans, it’s only been three years of my life that Palate Practice has existed but I feel like it’s already reached its adolescence in a way.
It’s that time of year again. Days are getting shorter and chillier, nights are getting darker, and Seasonal Affective Disorder is settling into our bones like Irish damp. Fortunately our ancestors were prepared for this time of year and made festivals of light, love and sharing – Christmas and advent among them. Which means it’s also time for something I get excited for every year – my annual beer advent calendar!
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and while for some that might mean getting wasted on dubious green beer, for me it’s an opportunity to pay homage to one of the many cultures that make up my heritage. I mean, I’ll still wear green, but I won’t wear one of those head bands with the little clovers on springs. Moderation, people.
Here are some beverages on my weekend sample menu. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory or, like me, have some Irish blood in there somewhere, I encourage you to give these a go.
It’s mid-February and winter weather has finally arrived in my corner of the world. This means we’re all most likely feeling the drag of another cold winter. Since my birthday is during the cold months I feel a personal imperative to love the season but I have to say that even I need some encouragement to make it all the way to spring.
Whether you’re hibernating like whoa, taking outdoor winter activities by storm or, like me, hygge-ing it up huge, here are some beverage recommendations (wine and beer!) that should help see you through to the other side of winter.
I thought about it. I hemmed and hawed and wondered if it was worth going there again. And in the end I realized that, yes, I did want to go through it again. For all its ups and downs, it was a good time.
And so, I present to you –
Beer Advent Calendar 2016
That’s right, folks, we’re doing it again! Advent Calendar part two: electric boogaloo. Also known as ‘an excuse to enjoy new beers while also getting into the holiday spirit’.
This time around I put a bit more thought into building the list of beers to include. I’m a little IPA-ed out so I focused more on stouts and porters this year – more malt and less hops was the driving factor for this year’s group. As with last year (and my regular beer consumption) I focused mostly on Ontario craft beers, with some special guest stars from countries whose beers I quite enjoy (England, Belgium) and some beers I picked up on some recent travels to New York State.
So, without further ado, here is this year’s list.
The starred beers are ones I’ve never tried before.
The Mayan Chocolate Chipotle is another international inclusion (from England) but I didn’t realize that until after I’d taken photos, so it gets lumped in with the other stouts and porters.
Royal City Brewery is one of my favourite craft breweries, and is run by a guy I went to university with. If you see their stuff in the LCBO or find yourself in the Guelph area I highly recommend checking them out.
I anchored some specific beers on the more special days (Christmas Eve and Day, December 21st, weekend days) and then filled in the gaps, making sure not to have two similar beers on back to back days. The idea is to keep comparison low so I enjoy everything as much as possible.
Despite putting it together myself I don’t remember which beer is on which day, with a couple of notable exceptions.
Sadly, while writing this post I had a beer casualty. I was woken up by a loud bang one night to discover that the top of the can holding the Resurgence Sponge Candy Stout has blown clear off, leaving beer oozing over my floor. Sad, just judging by how it smelled as I cleaned it up (BAD) I think I dodged a bullet there.