Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Toronto Craft Beer Cruise


Tonight Teena and I went on the first annual (hopefully) Toronto Craft Beer Cruise aboard the River Gambler. Eleven breweries and one cider company were aboard so there was lots of selection.

The cruise proved very popular as originally there was a 3:30pm and an 8:00pm cruise but both sold out and an 11am one was added. We thought a night cruise would be the most enjoyable. It was sunset when we departed.

 

During the cruise, I had a Night Marzen from Beau's All Natural Brewing.


A Brakeman's Session Ale from Junction Craft Brewing.


An All or Nothing Hopfenweisse from a new brewery to the scene, Underdog's Brewhouse.


A Sunlight Park Saison from Left Field Brewery.


The top deck was full and the music was loud, or I'm getting old, so we hung around downstairs, outside on the bow.


Here we are!


We were surprised to discover that our friends, Christine and Darlene, were aboard too.


The boat was traveling fast all night so it was tough to get a decent picture of all the city lights but here are a couple of my better attempts.

 

More beer! A fun one named F-Bomb Blonde from another new brewpub, Barnstormer Brewing in Barrie.


A Fish-eye PA from Kensington Brewing.


The Sunlight Park Saison and the Fish-eye were my two favorites of the night.

It was a well organized and fun cruise. It was cool but we were dressed for it. I'm looking forwrd to the second annual cruise next year!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Beer of the Week - Gales Seafarers Ale

Friday nights after work, I enjoy stopping somewhere on the way home to have a pint or two while reading and unwinding from my week.

Tonight I stopped in at The Bristol, a new English style pub that opened up earlier in the year in our neighbourhood. We have eaten there a couple of time but I have never stopped in for just a pint.

As they are an English pub, they have a full line of Fuller's English ales on tap. I was delighted when I walked up to the bar that there was a beer on tap that I had never had before, Gales Seafarers Ale.

George Gale & Company was found back in 1847 in Hampshire on the southern coast of England by, of course, George Gale. His first brewery burned down in 1869 and a new one was built beside it. Apparently much of that new brewery still exists. In 1896, George Gale sold his interest in the company to Herbert Bowyer. The company stayed in the Bowyer's family hands until 2005 when it was bought by Fuller's in 2005.

According to the Oxford Companion to Beer, many loyal patrons of the Gales line of beers were afraid that many of the recipes they enjoyed would be changed but Fuller's wisely kept them going.

In 2009, Fuller's launched Gales Seafarers Ale, a 3.6% APV British Bitter as a tribute to the founder. Seafarers UK.

Having been developed as a tribute to George Gales long and close association with sailors,  Fuller's makes a donation for every pint or barrel sold to a leading marine charity,

The job of a seafarer is vital, but hazardous. Many face urgent problems of very different kinds. Seafarers UK provides vital funding to organizations and projects that support seafarers and their families in need.

5 British Pounds ($9 CAD) is donated to the charity for every barrel sold and as of 2011, sales of Seafarers Ale have accounted for 35 million Pounds being donated ($63 CAD). Not bad at all!

And the taste?

The Seafarers poured a darker amber colour with a small white head. This must be dry hopped (hops added at the end of the brew for aroma) as I could sense floral hops in the ales fragrance. lacings were left behind as I sipped.

My first sip started off quite watery and I was almost disappointed that the hops I detected in the aroma were a lie.  But then a nice hop bitterness started to make itself known right through the finish, correcting the way the ale had started.

This is a nice beer to have anytime, most especially on a Sunday when a person might want to stop in for a few pints knowing they have to work the next day.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 250 
Breweries 223 
Countries 46

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fencing in Veterans Sabre at the Toronto Open


Above is a shot of the Veterans sabre final at the Toronto Open, sanctioned by the Ontario Fencing Association. I was not in it so I had some time to take a few shots. Vince is to the left and won the gold medal in a 10 to 8 thriller over Rob. Throat shots are never fun!

It was a disappointing turnout with only four of us showing up. Seven were signed up which still is a small tournament but would qualify for national points. A tournament of four does not. Still we were there to fence and have fun and that's what we did.

Here is a shot of a woman's epee match I took before I started to stretch and get suited up.


I was still a little stiff from fencing yesterday but took some Advil at home before I left and did a lot of stretching once I was there, and felt ready to go. Here is Vince and I. We have fenced out of the same club, Bladeworks Fencing Club, for years.


I had a bad day on the piste (fencing strip) and only won one match. Vince beat me twice by 5-3 scores each time, which is the same score he beat me by yesterday. I did lose two matches in the pools by 5-4 scores. Damn!

My DE (direct elimination) was against Rob who finished first in the pools. I did well in it. My attacks were controlled.  For the most part, I kept proper distance away from him.  My strategy wasn't bad, some execution, though, sucked and I need work on my defence when I am retreating.

Veterans DEs only go to 10 points instead of 15 (the rule makers has mercy on us!) and I was down 9-7. I came back with 2 good points but lost on that last point tie breaker. It was a great match to fence in and although I wished the results had of been different, Rob deserved the victory.

It was a fun weekend where I managed to work out some kinks in my game. I am so glad that I am back at it. Over the weekend, I fenced in 15 pool matches to 5 points, two DEs to 15 points and on DE to 10. Tomorrow I have a massage booked tomorrow with Jenn at RMT studio. It's well needed and well deserved!

Here are shot shots of the final between Vince and Rob.

 
 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fencing at the Toronto Open


I'm back!

Today I fenced in my first tournament in two years. I have been dealing with a bad knee and a really badly sprained ankle during that time. I started back with limited practices in August and today fenced in the Senior (open age group) division against mostly university fencers.

The Salle (fencing club) is not a bad size but had many divisions fencing so is was a little crowded, especially for everyone's fencing bags. Mine is in there somewhere.

 
 

Here I am, despite the tight fitting jackets, ready to go!


I really didn't do bad considering the long layoff and being out of shape. There were only ten fencers entered, a small tournament but with a lot of fast talented university fencers. I only won 2 out of my 9 matches but was never shut out, scoring 24 points in the pool with 38 scored against me. There is lots of rust in my game.

In the DEs (direct elimination), I won my first match and came up against an excellent fencer, William, who before I went on injury leave shut me out in the last two matches we fenced. My fencing in the first half of the match, which goes to 15, was sloppy to the extreme as I did about everything wrong, that I could do wrong, and found myself being shutout 8 - 0 at the break.

I took the minute to remind myself to be aware of the position of my blade during my attacks, my arm tends to drift into the middle of my body giving my opponent an excellent target, not to rush my attacks, which I was doing and he took advantage of , and to watch my distance to keep out the the reach of his blade.

He scored the first point after the break but then I scored two, which I put up to him being way too overconfident. I could see him bear down.but I worked my strategy quite well and am quite proud of how I fenced in the second half. I lost 15 -6, but he only out scored me 7 -6 after the break. I even scored 2 points in a row before losing that final 15th point.

In the end I finished 7th out of 10. After a 2 year layoff, I'll take it!

Time to haul out the ice packs and deal with aches and pains as tomorrow its the Vets sabre tournament where I get to fence against kids my own age!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our New Recumbent Cycling Machine


Teena and I used to belong to the West End YMCA but found it a hassle to get there so we dropped both our memberships.

Then Teena had an excellent idea of getting a cycling machine for home. At the gym,we both liked the ones where the pedals are out in front of you rather than below. Never knew this type had a name until Teena started searching online for recumbent bikes.

Fitness Depot had some on sale so Friday night we headed out for a look and Teena bought a Sportop B5300 Recumbent Bike. It was a floor model but in great shape. As the store is small, we knew customers would not be allowed to abuse it. We couldn't get it home in the car and just a few minutes ago it was delivered.


We decided to keep it to one side of the living room when not in use and just pull it out in front of the TV when using it. If we put it in the back room, there would be less chance of it being used. Now it's in our face and no excuse not to use it.

This will be my view while watching the ball game and getting a workout tonight.


Thanks, Teena! We'll both get a lot of use out of this!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Recipe - Barbequed Balsamic Honey Tenderloin


Saturday Teena and I went out and finally bought ourselves a new Master Forge BBQ.  Our old one was 15 years old and had done us a great service. It ended its days with one hotspot, some cooler places and a very warm spot beside a place at the back where a perpetual orange flame licked through the grill no matter what the temperature was set at.


I've had fun barbequing half chickens, steak and peameal bacon this weekend but today decided to try a new recipe I found online for pork tenderloin, Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, done on the barbeque. This is what is needed:

2 tbsp (30 ml) liquid honey
2 tbsp (30 ml) grainy mustard
2 tbsp (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
1/4 tsp (1 ml) pepper
2 pork tenderloins


The recipe is easy ... combine everything but the tenderloin in a large bowl and whisk.  I looked and it seemed too syrupy so I dumped in a splash of beer, maybe three or four tablespoons (an American paleale, you can use any kind). Place the tenderloins in the sauce, rolling each as you do to thoroughly coat. 


It's better to leave over night but I left mine in the fridge for six hours turning them and spooning over the sauce once an hour.

 

Spray the BBQ grill and turn the heat to medium high (a relative term considering each BBQ is different). Grill with the lid closed turning every four and a half minutes or so. The tenderloin is somewhat round so think of it having four sides and needing to grill on each side.

 

After about eighteen minutes, it should be done with just a touch of pink in the middle.


Place on a cutting board or plate with an aluminum foil tent over it for about five minutes. Then slice and serve!


We had ours with a white rice to help soak up the juices from the meat. It was so juicy, something you can easily lose with a tenderloin and very flavourful. The ultimate compliment comes from Teena who said I could make this for us again anytime!

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