Monday, December 15, 2014

Watching the Toronto Raptors Take on the Orlando Magic at the ACC

My buddy, Roger, got a couple of tickets for tonight's Toronto Raptors game at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors came into the game leading the Eastern Conference with a 18-6 record and on a two game winning streak. Hopefully they could make that three. They were taking on the Orlando Magic, who seems to have lost some magic this year having only won 10 out of the 26 games they have played so far.

The place was sold out with 19,800 at the game. Behind the nets, the fans were given balloon noise makers to bang together to distract Magic players during free throws.


Some action, starting with a hang of the rim slam dunk.


Our buddy from work, Deo, was sitting 14 rows below us.

The Raptor Cheerleaders.


The Raptors led for most of the first half but then went to sleep during the last five minutes of the first half. They couldn't score, rebound and even had the ball stolen from them a few times. It was brutal to watch! At the half, they were down 52 - 44.

In the third quarter, though, they came out storming and turned the game around, doing everything right.

More action with the Raptor cheerleaders watching from the entrance.


The Raptor mascots challenged each other to a hand stand dual.

Up in the stands behind the net, there was a DJ spinning tunes all the way through.

Now this kind of put me off. A few weeks ago, the Toronto Maple leafs won their game but didn't salute the fans, which caused all kinds of controversy. The Toronto Rock lap the playing field and salute the fans every game win or lose. The final buzzer went of tonight while Toronto were in their own end by the exit and the team charged to their dressing room like they were being chased by a gazelle.

Hey Raptors. The fans support you. You could give back a little.

The final score.

It was a fun night and always more enjoyable when you see a win. Thanks, Roger!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Beer of the Week - Brasserie des Quatre Lunes Saison d' Hiver

In my latest package from the Beer of the Month Club is a saison from a new brewery, Brasserie des Quatre Lunes (Brewery of the Four Moons). At least I thought it was a new brewery,  likely one from Quebec.

When I looked at the address on the beer label, I found it was brewed in Oakville. A little more research confirmed that this really isn't a new brewery but seems to be an offshoot from Trafalgar, Ales and Meads.

Trafalgar seems to have changed their business. Now, not only do they brew beer and make mead but they also have a distillery where they make vodka, whiskey and some fruit flavoured grain spirits. Nowhere on the website does it mention Brasserie des Quatre Lunes and a Google search could not turn up a website or Facebook page for the company. The general consensus in the beer community seems to be that this is a Trafalgar product.

Not that there's anything wrong with that but the lack of information about this company is strange. Talk about no marketing!

The label on the beer that came, Saison d' Hiver (Saison of Winter), says that this is a bottle conditioned, dark saison. dark saison? Should be interesting.

And how does it taste?

The beer pours brown in colour with an extremely active head. Very carbonated. When I poured the second bottle more carefully, the head came out rather silky. The beer is cloudy due to the extra yeast which was added for bottle conditioning. There is some saison spiciness in the aroma.

I love saisons but looking at one that was brown made me a little hesitant.

When I sip, there are lots of lacings left behind on the inside of the glass. A nice saison spice flavour  comes through in the flavour which is followed by just a little chocolate or cocoa. The roasted malt would produce that type of finish. The is not as refreshing as a regular saison but quite interesting.

I'll have no problem finishing what was sent to me and am very glad that I had a chance to try this. That's an advantage of belonging to something like the Beer of the Month Club. I liked it but not enough to go out and buy some more.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 261 
Breweries 233 
Countries 47

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Beer of the Week - Block Three Brewing Company

This week Teena was in Elmira, Ontario, on business and stopped into Block Three Brewing in St. Jacobs on the way home to pick me up some beer. As I have never heard of this brewery and they had a saison, I was doubly thrilled when she walked in the door with a box of their beer.

The brewery was opened up by four friends, one of whom was a home brewer. Originally, the four formed a beer club and would meet once a month. One night during a meeting of the club, and after a beer or two, they decided it would be a good idea to start their own brewery. On April 1, 2013, they received the keys to an empty building and were open in time for the Labour Day Weekend. 

They opened that weekend with two beers, Sugar Bush Brown, which is made with local maple syrup and King Street Saison. They sold out of the saison the first day.

I thought Block Three Brewing was an unusual name but is one that ties in nicely the areas local history. Block Three was a parcel of land that was granted to the first settlers of the Township. I like it when a company brings ties to their area's past.

One unique thing about the bottle is that every label has the bottling date written on it by hand. That could put a cramp into ones fingers!

And the taste?

The beer pours a light golden colour, maybe a little more on the yellow side, with a white head. I can sense some spiciness in the aroma. One thing I have always found interesting about saisons is that spice will come through in the flavour and aroma, even if spice is not added. That is the nature of Belgium saison yeast.

Spice does come nicely through when I sip, along with a bit of citrus. There is a little bitterness in the finish. This is a very nice saison. I would have this again if I found it on tap here in Toronto and if Teena or I were ever in the St. Jacobs area again, I would definitely stop in to pick up some more.

Teena took a few minutes to take some pictures of the brewery. The adobe style exterior is quite interesting.

Inside the brewery.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 260 
Breweries 232 
Countries 47

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Duggan's Brewery Parkdale

Tonight was the grand opening of Duggan's Brewery in Parkdale and Teena and I were there. It has been opened as a pop-up location on weekends while getting it up to speed but after tonight is open from 5pm till close. The space was once a bank, then a fancy restaurant before becoming a bag and suitcase shop. Now it's a brewpub that I have been looking forward to opening. So far, there is no signage but I'm sure that will change.

Kayla is a bartender there. I fence with her at Bladeworks Fencing Club, where she has been kicking my butt since she was around fifteen. Now it seems she knows as much about beer as me and possibly more!

I have always enjoyed Duggan's beer since he had his brewpub on Victoria Street. His Number 9 IPA is my favorite. I had a couple to end the night. I started with a 100 mile lager.


The place is very spacious and I love the brew tanks behind the bar.


We had a piece of Chicken Crackle which is kind of like a hot pork rind. I loved it!

Teena had lemon pepper wings which she really enjoyed.

I never had one. Teena tried to offer me one but I was busy talking with Micheal, who was a researcher for one of my favorite TV shows, Mayday. I am looking forward to having some next time I come.

Duggan's is a place with a a beer hall feel, in a great location for us and has fabulous beer. No reason why I won't be back!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Avenue Q at the Lower Ossington Theater

Tonight Teena and I saw Avenue Q at the Lower Ossington Theater.  The theater is in our neighborhood and this is the fourth performance we have seen there. They have all been very good.

AVENUE Q tells the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who moves to NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. The only apartment he can afford is way out on Avenue Q, where everyone’s looking for the same things he is: a decent job, a stable relationship, and a “purpose.” Eventually, Princeton learns to embrace the ups and downs of city life and realizes that “the real world” isn’t so bad, after all! *Not intended for children.

Although it has many puppets in the show, let me repeat that last line again ... NOT INTENDED FOR CHILDREN! There is swearing, sexual innuendos, and yes, even sex! I enjoyed it all.

Avenue Q has been a regular showcase at the theater for a long time and for that reason I always thought the theater was for young people. The play is very adult and funny while at the same time addressing diversity and racism. In fact, one of the songs was called Everyone's a Little Bit Racist.

And with songs such as The Internet is for Porn and I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today, you know it's not for children.

Two criticisms. One is that there were times the music overpowered the lyrics and the second would be, and it might have been for this one performance, was at times one person would be working the puppet onstage but the voice of the puppet would be coming from another.

It's kind of a puppet show as there are live actors and actors with puppets. I really enjoyed how the actors took on the role of the puppet they were holding with the same facial expressions and emotions they shared with their puppet character.

If you don't understand the last line then you should see the play. You'll not only understand what I'm saying but will have a great time.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Beer of the Week - Black Oak Barrel Aged Saison

Black Oak Brewing makes my favorite saison, which they put out each summer seasonal offering.

In 2013 at the Ontario Brewing Awards, their saison took Bronze in the Belgian Wheat Ale Category. At one time it was only available at the brewery so I would pick up a box at a time whenever I was there.  But now, happily, it is also available at the LCBO. It's a regular in my fridge during the summer.

Teena stopped into the brewery this week to pick up me up a dozen fresh Pale Ale and a few bottles of Nutcracker Porter and was told that they now had a saison which they aged in Pinot Noir wine barrels along with some gooseberries. Knowing how much I love their saison, she picked up three 650 ml of these bottles for me.

What a great wife!

Time for a taste!

The beer pours a golden colour with an orange tint to it. As it is unfiltered, it is cloudy in the glass. Usually I have trouble in detecting fragrances in a beers aroma but not here. The pinot is quite prominent and I can sense a bit of spice. Lacings are left behind with each sip.

I love the flavour! This is not a bitter beer but one that is a little on the sour side. The pinot really shines in this and I think of that sourness must come from the gooseberries, which there are notes of in this. I really don't know what a gooseberry tastes like but there is a berry flavour in this so that must be what it is.

Black Oak still makes my favorite saison, only now it is their barrel aged. I really hope they make this again. Hopefully they still will have some left in the fridge tomorrow as that is the first chance I'll have to get to the brewery.

Note: Teena was there today and picked up more for me. She was told that they have enough in stock to last through December. Good news!

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 259 
Breweries 231 
Countries 47


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My November Beer of the Month Delivery

This is the last week of the month which always means that my Beer of the Month package is going to arrive on my doorstep.

The anticipation is always exciting and I was not disappointed as it arrived today. Like the last month, three breweries sent four bottles of beer but just the one style from each. I like that.

The first is a Dark Premium Ale from Gold Crown Brewery in Waterloo, Ontario, which I have featured before.

Four beers came from a brewery which we stop at whenever heading through Campbellford on the way to see my family, Church-Key Brewing. I have written about this brewery a few times before. From them I received four of their West Coast Pale Ales, which I really enjoy.

Last, but certainly not least, are four Saison d'Hiver from a brand new Oakville brewery Brasserie des Quatre Lunes. I love trying and writing about new breweries, plus I really love saisons.

Time to go find a spot for them in my fridge.