Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beer of the Week - The Beers of Cheetah International Brewers

This week I received my Beer of the Month delivery and inside were two beers from a Toronto Brewery, Cheetah International Brewers.

I found it interesting that their website says that they have been around since 2004, yet I have never heard of them. Their website says their beer is made for spicy cuisine, especially Indian food. Perhaps they only sell to restaurants.

Mind you according to the write-up on the newsletter that comes with the beer that whenever actor Sir Ben Kingsley comes to Canada he makes it priority one to find some Cheetah beer to enjoy in the Great White North.

According to the Cheetah website, their beer is available in Ontario as of May 2004, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia and is also available in Germany and will become available in the USA during late 2012 (seems their website needs some updating). Apart from Canada, "Cheetah" Beer is registered Trademark in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and pending in India.

In this delivery was their Classic Dark lager and an interesting sounding Premium Mango Lager.

And how do they taste?

I decided to start with the Dark Lager.

The beer pours brownish in colour with a bit of a red hue. The head is slightly brownish and disappeared quite quickly. There were no lacings left behind on the glass. I could sense some caramel in the aroma from the roasted malt.

I expected this lager to be a bit more sweeter and heavier than it was. The malt comes through when first sipped then surprisingly disappears quite quickly. It is quite watery in mouth feel. There is something in the finish that comes and goes rather fast that I can't put my finger on but is quite refreshing and kind of cleans my palate. A dark but light tasting lager. Interesting!

The dark lager is an OK lager but not one I would go out and buy.

Now to the Premium Mango Lager.

The beer pours a golden colour with a white head that went away quite quickly despite the active carbonation in the glass. No lacings are left behind as I sip. The mango is quite prominent in the aroma.

Mango is quite prominent in the taste too and dominates the entire flavour profile of this beer. I find the mango too overpowering. Far too much mango was used in making this. Where this could have been a nice unusually flavoured refreshing beer, it instead comes across as a heavy, overpowering flavoured beverage.

I could see how this would match well though  with a heavily spiced meal and that was what this beer was crafted to do. Not one that I would buy.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 249 
Breweries 222 
Countries 46

Friday, August 29, 2014

My August Beer of the Month Delivery

Today I received fun mail!

What is fun mail?

Well, it's my Beer of the Month package!

Every month I receive a box of a dozen beers. There are three bottles of two different beers from each of two breweries, plus a two page publication with a short history of each brewery and descriptions of the four different beers.

Inside this months package are beers from Syndicate Brewery in Niagara Falls and a Toronto brewery that I have never heard of before, Cheetah International Brewers. From Syndicate, I received three bottles of Brown Ale and three of their Summer Ale. Cheetah sent three Classic Dark Lagers and three very interesting sounding Premium Mango Lagers.

They now are receiving a chill in my fridge waiting to be tried.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Beer of the Week - Vedett Extra White

This week's Beer of the Week comes from a Belgium brewery which I have written about before, Duvel.

When I first spotted Vedett Extra White, I had to take an extra careful look to ensure that it wasn't, in fact, a white wine. The guy at the cash did the same thing. In my defense, I will say that I didn't have my glasses with me or might have noticed the word "beer" in small font on the label, although that label was turned backward on the shelf,. Maybe it wasn't as both labels could easily be the front label.

The labeling and website indicated that this beer is aimed at a younger crowd. Question is, will it be good?

On the back (side/front?) label shows how the beer should be poured. I have never seen where a brewery wants you to swirl the contents of a bottle two thirds of the way through a pour.


So, after pouring the Vedett the way the bottle instructs, how does it taste?

Vedett pours a very light, almost white straw colour with a white head. The swirling near the end picks up the sediment in the bottle, as it is bottle conditioned and pours out of the bottle quite foamy so the beer ends up cloudy with a very frothy head.

There is an excellent aroma to this. I sense banana and some form of citrus in this, maybe orange. It has a very watery mouth feel to start with a light taste but flavours of banana and citrus are emphasized in the finish.

There are better white/wheat beers out there but this proved to be an enjoyable refreshing one. If it were on tap on a hot day, I would order it but likely would not be buying more to bring home.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 248 
Breweries 221 
Countries 46

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lobster Mac N Cheese at Rock Lobster, Ossington

This summer Teena and I were at the Toronto Festival of Beer, which was a lot of fun. While we were there, I had a lobster taco from Rock Lobster. It was fabulous, so great, in fact, that I went back for another. Afterwards I swore I would head up to Rock Lobster on Ossington for supper, which I did tonight.

When I got there, the place was nearly empty, which gave me time for a few pictures. As I ate, the place began to fill up.


There is country-fried chicken and flank steak for those who don't want shellfish but I came for some lobster. I don't like lobster by itself but find if it is mixed in with something else it is fabulous. It was so tempting to go for the Lobster Tacos again but I decided instead to go for Lobster Mac N Cheese.

It comes out in a hot skillet, which I was warned not to touch. I could hear the sizzle and obeyed.


It was fabulous. So cheesy and almost every bite featured a nice chuck of lobster. The Panko breading was browned and perfect!


I ate it all except for a couple of pieces of lobster which I set aside for our two cats, Morgan and Crumpet. Turns out they did not appreciate it at all.


It's a great place. The food was excellent as was the service. When I go next time with Teena, I plan to talk myself out of the Lobster Tacos and the Mac N Cheese and go for the Lobster Roll. it looks fabulous ... and I won't be bringing any lobster home for Morgan and Crumpet either!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review - "And No Birds Sang", Farley Mowat

When famed Canadian author Farley Mowat passed away this past May at the age of 92, I realized that I have never read one of his books. It's a serious oversight on my part that I had to correct. 

I went through the titles and found many that I wanted to read and thought I would start with a book where he writes about his experiences fighting in World War II, And No Birds Sang.

In July 1942, Farley Mowat was an eager young infantryman bound for Europe and impatient for combat. This powerful, true account of the action he saw, fighting desperately to push the Nazis out of Italy, evokes the terrible reality of war with an honesty and clarity fiction can only imitate. In scene after unforgettable scene, he describes the agony and antic humor of the soldier's existence: the tedium of camp life, the savagery of the front, and the camaraderie shared by those who have been bloodied in battle.

The title paraphrases a line from a John Keats poem in which Farley quotes:

O what can ail thee, Knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering,
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing!

I have always had a great admiration for that generation who went to war and survived its horrors. This is a brutally honest account of what Mowat witnessed and felt as the company went through Sicily and Italy in the allied invasions of 1943 and 1944. The book starts lightly with stories of trying to get into the army and the war, and some humorous stories of his training in England. When he finally goes into battle his mood and the mood of the book darkens as we witness the change that takes place within him and others he knew as they fought battle after battle ... after battle.

Mowat is a fabulous writer. The book is so well-written and even the letters that he sent home have such eloquence to them. I am glad that this was the first book I read of his as I feel that I now have a bit of understanding of the person he was. After reading And No Birds Sang makes me hungry for more of his work.

With all the books we were assigned to read in school, I wonder why we were never studied a Farley Mowat novel. I will be reading many of his works in the future!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sailing on the First Annual Indie Boat Hop - Craft Beer Cruise

Today was the first Indie Boat Hop - Craft Beer Cruise.

Teena and I love craft beer and we love boat cruises so when we heard about this, we bought our tickets right away. It was a three hour cruise featuring seven breweries and one cider company beer ... Creating beers that have never been consumed on land!

The cruise was aboard the Empire Sandy, a ship that we have not been out on before. The Empire Sandy was laid down* in the shipyard of Clelands (Successors), Willington Quay-on-Tyne England on Dec 22, 1942. She was built as an Englishman/Larch class Deep Sea Tug with the added provision for mounting two Hotchkiss Anti-Aircraft guns. She was completed and went into service on July 14, 1943. Her first voyage commenced July30th sailing in convoy to Iceland. Voyages were usually done in convoys for protection against the German U-Boats. The Empire Sandy sailed in a total of sixteen convoys to her destinations, the exception being the voyage to Sierra Leone in Dec 1944 where she traveled 'Independently' 

* She served in the North Atlantic from Iceland to Sierra Leone, the Mediterranean Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

What a history! Log books from each of her WWII  voyages are on the website. (It looks as if a couple of the crew went AWOL!)


Beers were $4.50 for an eight ounce pour. Here's what I had. I started with a Great Lakes Gilligan is Still Dead saison.

Next up was a Nautical Saison from Get Well.

I had another saison, Good Ship Venus from the Indie Alehouse, who also put on the cruise.

On the left is a Sailor's Delight from Sawdust City. It's a Kolsch with Kombucha, Ginger and Cranberries. It was quite good. Teena had the Berry Switzer, a Berliner Weisse with Raspberies, which is on the right.

I got the last drop of Get Well's cask Three Hour Tour.


I finished with a Bellwoods' Stay Classy

Some views of our voyage ...


See all the black dots in the trees and on the ground. They are all birds!


The bow of the boat is the place to be!

People doing the Edgewalk on the CN Tower.


Unfurling the sails and working the ship ...


The cruise was a little crowded but OK.

The closer this condo comes to completion, the uglier it gets! I can't believe this eyesore was approved by our city planners.

The view from a porthole ...

Next month we are going out on this boat for another craft beer cruise with eleven breweries. It's a night cruise and we are really looking forward to it!

It was a great afternoon. If they have another, we'll be there!