Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jays Beat Bosox 7 - 3

Tonight the Toronto Blue Jays took on the Boston Red Sox at home and despite losing 14 to 1 last night, I decided to head down to the game. After all it's only one game out of 162!

A fan from Michael Snow's Sculpture, The Audience, takes a picture of me, as I take one of him. 

The Rogers Centre.

I cannot stretch like Munenori Kawasaki!


First pitch!

The problem when you sit in section 527, row 2 seat 101.

Kawasaki played third for the first time as a Jay.

Jake Peavy in action.


The view from centre field.

Bautista ready in the field.

Swing and a miss by Rasmus.

Melky hauls in a fly ball to end the inning.

Ryan Goins turns a double play

Swing and a miss by Jose.

A hit by Rasmus but it was a ground out.

Kawasaki in action.

Dustin McGowan in relief. He's a great addition to the bullpen.

The Jays needed this win. Hopefully there's another tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beer of the Week - Amager Bryghus Kaaad

We looked after Steve and Simone's cat, Maybelline, when they go away and Steve gave me beers as a thank-you. As much as it is appreciated, it is not necessary as they return the favour and take care of our cats.

Steve gave me two beers, one which has yeast in it and undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, which I am cellering to have later in the year, and another from Denmark, Amager Bryghus Kaaad (yes, with three "a's").

The Amager website is all in Danish but for those of you who would like to read a little of their history in their own words, here it is:  I deres uendelige visdom og fremsynethed valgte de at skrive om gæringsprocesser i øl, og mange, mange hjemmebryg senere, var de så parate til ligefrem at åbne eget bryghus i april 2007. The Google translator doesn't do a very good job of translating but I finally found an article in English to provide me with a background for the brewery.

The brewery was opened by two friends, Morten Valentin Lundsbak and Jacob Storm, in 2007 and their brewery won Danish Brewery of the year in 2011. That is no small feat as in 2000 there were only 15 breweries in Denmark but by 2011 there were 120.

I went onto Google to attempt to look for a free translation for Kaaad. There was none but then I looked at the label and it was right there, plus it even mentions Calgary!

Throw off the darkness, make merry and bid the light welcome! That is the simple message in our Spring IPA "Kåååd" (Frisky). Not many people know this, but there is a whole herd of beef cattle being raised in a secret Amager location on the spent grain from our beer production. This cattle herd, surely the happiest in the world, had barely tasted the grain from this very beer, before they let out a celebratory MUUH so loud that it could be heard all the way to downtown Copenhagen. The ensuing merriment in the herd caused a Stampede greater than any seen in Calgary in July. But one thing is for sure: If you, dear hophead, partake of this brew, you will become as frisky as our happy heifer.

The beer pours a dark golden colour, maybe even a golden/brown and has a slight cloudiness to it, so may have some yeast left in the bottle for that secondary fermentation. It has a white head and the beer seems lively. Lacings are left behind when I sip. There is an enjoyable citrusy aroma to this. 

It is a little sour to start before a very nice citrus taste comes through. That citrus taste stays while the bitterness increases in my mouth, finishing with a quite bitter finish, the kind I really really love. I like this beer. I like it a lot!

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 245 
Breweries 219 
Countries 46

Friday, July 18, 2014

An Afternoon at the 2014 Honda Indy Practice Day

This afternoon Teena and I headed over to watch the practice for the Honda Indy.

Fridays are a great day to go as it's not crowded, you are allowed to sit anywhere, the cars are still flying around the track at top speeds, and the best part ... it's all free!

Work is being done all day long on all the cars no matter what the series.

When we arrived, the big boys from the Indy series were out on the track. We sat by the start/finish line and tried to get shots of the cars coming to the line and heading into corner one. Here are my best shots but it should be known that I took a lot of pictures of empty pavements. It's a tough shot to take with the speeds they are doing.

When you look at where the drivers are from, you realize what and international series this is!

Colombian driver Carlos Huertas, currently 18th in the standings. 

Australian Will Power, who currently is 2nd in the standings

Jack Hawksworth form Great Britain, currently 17th in the standings.

Scot Dixon from New Zealand, currently in 7th. 

Currently 20th, Sebastion Saavedra from Columbia. 

One of my favorites, Juan Pablo Montoya, also from Columbia is in 5th place.

We moved over to corner 10, which in my opinion is the best place to watch the action!


My favorite, Canadian James Hinchcliff. I bought a model of his car which caused Teena to spend a lot of time kidding me about my new "dinky toy"! It'll look good on my desk at work!


We then went into the infield where I bought a delicious Detour Beer form Muskoka Brewery and made a new friend. We are colourful!

I always enjoy this display. An Indy car being held up by four teacups!

An Indy Light car at full speed on the back straightaway.

In the food and beer garden, Teena had a pulled pork sandwich and I had a beef brisket from Hank Daddy's. I had a couple of beer too!


On our last stop of the afternoon, we had a chance to see a beautiful stainless silver car that we had noticed when we arrived in action, and saw it again heading back to it's paddock.

As always, it was a fun afternoon. It's been quite a few years since I have gone to the race. I might do that Sunday or perhaps next year. Free Friday is always a great afternoon!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Beer of the Week - Fullers Vintage Ale 2010 and 2011

(Note: I'm glad I did this Monday night as I have been sick all weekend. Being sick is not fun but being sick on the weekend really sucks!)

A few years ago, I was faithfully buying and cellaring each year’s edition of Fullers Vintage Ale. I thought that I had done a few posts on them but was surprised to find that I only did two, the 2009 edition and a comparison of the 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Time to change that!

Monday night Teena and I were up at our friends and neighbors', Steve and Simone's, for a BBQ. Steve is a former chef and the food was fabulous!

I brought along with me the 2010 and 2011 vintages of Fullers Vintage Ale. If I had the 2012 and 2013, I would have brought them too but was somehow negligent in buying some when they were available. I told Steve he had to assist me in comparing these two vintages for this week's Beer of the Week and he loved the idea!

Every year since 1997, Fullers, located in London, England, has created a new Vintage Ale.

Vintage Ale is a truly distinguished bottle-conditioned ale, crafted by Fuller’s Head Brewer, John Keeling. Each vintage is a blend of that year’s finest malt and hops, and of course our unique yeast, creating a unique limited edition brew. Bottle conditioning means that a little yeast is left in the bottle after bottling, which will mature slowly over time like a fine wine or whisky - well beyond the 'best before' date that we are obliged to state (we think it should read "best after!").

And how do they taste?


The malt grist includes a portion produced by Warminster maltings, from organic barley grown by Sir James Fuller on the Nestone Park Estate. This will be married with the choicest Goldings, Organic First Gold and award winning Sovereign hops, to produce a beer with a firm malt base, marmalade notes and a satisfying bitter finish. Individually packaged and numbered, this bottle is one of only one hundred and fifty thousand produced.

This one poured browny-orange in colour with an off-white head. Nice lacings are left behind when we sip. I love the aroma of English hops. They're not citrusy as an American hop or piney like other hops, just very unique and enjoyable.This is a little more carbonated than I expected. It starts off malty but quickly the hops come through to balance the sweetness. There is an earthiness to the flavour which I quite enjoyed.

Steve, whose nose is far more efficient than mine, found marmalade and mulched leaf funk in the aroma. I love doing this with other people. I get to learn a whole new vocabulary. Where I found it nicely carbonated, Steve did not. There never is any right or wrong to tasting, just what you feel. He found the beer "really nice ... floral with wet leaves. It's delicious, sweet without being sickly sweet."

For me, I'm glad I still have one more cellering for next year.


Crafted with the highest quality Tipple malted barley, this ale's main hop character is derived from traditional Golding and Fuggle hops and further enhanced with dry hopping, using a blend of the choicest Golding and Target hops." Seems this is the first year that dry hopping is used. Coupled with the unique Fuller’s yeast strain we expect this beer to mature into another ’Classic’ Vintage! 125,000 bottles produced.

We both agreed that the 2010 is more brown than orange. Again, I found an earthiness in the aroma with no hop presence. I found this one less carbonated than the 2011. This is a beautifully balanced ale full of malt sweetness and pleasant hops coming through in the end, plus something else that I will address in a moment.

Steve found some bitterness along with "some funk in this, plus there seems to be something hanging around after the funk." He also found there was a dark note to this.

One thing we both were surprised at was that there seemed to be what we can only describe as an "interlude" in the middle of each sip. A point that I have never come across before where all the flavour just stops, something clean and cleansing comes in, before the flavour starts again in the second half. Steve described it as metallic but not in a bad way. I can see where he is coming from with that but I have a different impression, one I have no words to describe. We agreed, though, that it was a surprising enjoyable quality in this wonderful ale.

A group of friends tried this back in February of 2011. Here is what we said, "We decided that we would withhold official judgment on 2010 as we felt it needed another year to age and work. Interesting thought ... I hope next year we all find this one to be a superb beer."

 It was one very superb beer!

Thanks to Steve and Simone who had us over for some great food and participated in the tasting. Simone not only took the pictures but had some sips and wasn't crazy about either. Teena would just have a smell, crinkle up her nose and then pass it back. I think she described it as "Yuck!" Maybelline joined us but did not participate.

It was a fun evening!

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 244 
Breweries 218 
Countries 46