Sunday, May 1, 2016

Beer of the Week - Side Launch Pale Ale

I really like it when a brewery opens up in a small town and in the brewery name or the beers it sells invokes the history of the area. This is very true with Side Launch Brewery from Collingwood, Ontario.

Collingwood was a huge shipbuilding area, building and launching over 200 ships from 1892 to May 6, 1986, when the last ship, the CCSG Sir Wifred Lauier, was launched. During the second world war, 23 warships were built in the dockyards there for action. To launch, the ships were always slid into the water sideways and many people would show up from the area for each launch. Side Launch Brewery promotes this very much on their website.

Side Launch Brewery opened its doors in May 2014. They brew three beers year round, a traditional Bavarian Wheat Beer, a Dark Lager, which is a favourite of my friend, Dave, at work and won a bronze medal at the 2016 Ontario Brewing Awards which took place this past week, and a Pale Ale, which I am trying today.

They also do one-offs. Their Huronic Tripel won gold in the Belgium Style Tripel Category and their Dunkelbach took Bronze in the Barrel Aged Red Wine category, at these same awards.

So how's the Pale Ale?

I like how the can keeps the nautical history by giving the longitude and latitude of the brewery on the side of the can.

The beer pours a light coppery colour with a white head. There is some hop bitterness to the nose, which is a little piney. I love piney! Lacings are left behind when I sip.

The pale ale starts a little malty, like an English pale ale. I was expecting piney English style hops to come through like I found in the aroma but instead a bitter citrus comes through in the finish. I love bitter citrus!

This is a very nice beer, one I wouldn't hesitate to have again.

It's been a lot of years since I was last in the Collingwood area. I would love to go up there for a couple of days with Teena and when we do, we will be sure to stop in at Side Launch to take a tour, and, of course, to buy some beer.

Here is a video of some of the ships being launched from the Collingwood Shipyards.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 312
Breweries 280
Countries 45

Book Review - The Martian

Teena and I saw The Martian with  Matt Damon at the theatre. Excellent movie! Really loved it. I heard The Martian was just as good in book form so I had to give it a read.

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. 

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark's not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. 

As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet. Grounded in real, present-day science from the first page to the last, yet propelled by a brilliantly ingenious plot that surprises the reader again and again, The Martian is a truly remarkable thriller: an impossible-to-put-down suspense novel that manages to read like a real-life survival tale.

The book is fabulous and exciting. Mark Watney has the same sense of humour in the book as he does in the movie.  It's necessary too for two reasons. First, it likely would have made for a fairly boring read, plus for somebody to survive all alone with little hope would require somebody that can look at things with some humour, and humour keeps hope alive.

Turns out there were some scenes left out of the movie that were in the book. In the book, Watney is telling his story through journals. In the movie, he is talking to a monitor, plus you get to see what is happening. The book is mostly his journal.

So if you're asking if you should see the movie first, then read the book or vice versa, it doesn't really matter. You can do it either way as one totally compliments the other.

This is a thrilling and fun read. Now that I've read the book, I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My April 2016 Amazing Clubs Canada Beer of the Month Delivery

Tonight I came home and found that my April Beer of the Month Club package had arrived. On her way home from work, Teena swung by the post office to pick it up. Thanks, Honey!

So what was in this month's box?

There were three bottles of Cream Ale from Pepperwood Bistro and Brewery. Teena and I have planned to take the GOTrain to Burlington to try out this place this summer. The brewery also sent along three bottles of Monkey Brown Ale. Fun name!

Also in the box were six bottles from StoneHammer Brewing. Three are Red Maple Ale and the other three are Queens English Mild Ale. Yes, that's Freddy Mercury on the label.

Lots of fun beer to sample!

Adelaide and Bay, April 27, 1927 and Today

Everyday I go to the Historic Photos from Around Toronto website. There are some really interesting pictures from the past of Toronto. The one above was taken at 12:05pm on April 27, 1927. As I work in the area, I went out and shot from about the same angle at 12:05pm. Public transit has changed on Bay.

Here is the same view from the east side of Bay, taken at 12:10pm, same date in 1927. Seems like men all wore fedoras back then.

Here it is today, at 12:10pm.

It was an interesting way to spend my lunch hour.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Beer of the Week - Persephone Pale Ale

In this month's Canada Craft Club delivery there was a 650 ml bottle of Persephone Pale Ale from Persephone Brewing in Gibsons, BC. If Gibsons sounds familiar to you, then you're likely old enough to remember The Beachcombers TV series which was shot there and ran from 1972 to 1990. The brewery is named after the tug boat owned by Nick Adonidas, played by Bruno Gerussi, the star of the series.

Persephone Brewery (PBC) is the first and only B Certified company in B.C.

Individually, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.

Collectively, B Corps lead a growing global movement of people using business as a force for goodTM. Through the power of their collective voice, one day all companies will compete to be best for the world, and society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity for all.

PBC's brewery and farm is in part owned by the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL), a non-profit organization providing services for people with developmental disabilities, a number of whom work at the farm. PBC's annual fundraising events include the Tough Kegger adventure race and the Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Festival, great excuses to have fun and quaff some delicious brews for a good cause.

PBC also has a sustainability program and reuses their water for irrigation and turning their spent ingredients into compost. They are able to do this as the brewery sits on an eleven acre farm where they grow their own hops. PCB is quite proud that anything they need that they can't grow on their own land is sourced from within the province.

And the beer?

The pale ale pours amber in colour with a small brownish head, There are lots of lacings when I sip so I think I just did a bad pour. I'm a little stuffed up so can't pick up any aroma.

I can pick up taste, though, and this has lots of it. It starts off rather sweet and malty but then the hops come through bringing on some nice little bitterness. It seems that the malt comes back a little in the finish but then is overwhelmed by a bitter citrus.

It's a very nice beer, one that I wouldn't hesitate to have again. I have a credit with Canada Craft and I may order some more of these from them.

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 311 
Breweries 279 
Countries 45

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Jays Beat Athletics 9-3. End Three Game Losing Streak

This afternoon Kevin, Alfred and I were at the Rogers Centre to watch the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Oakland Athletics. The Jays came into the game with an 8-10 record having lost their last three games, while the Athletics came in 10-7 with a perfect 7-0 record when playing on the road.

It was Junior Jays Saturday and this young girl, Hannah Levinson, did an excellent job singing both National Anthems.

The umpires meet at the plate.

J.A. Happ fires the first pitch. If you wonder why pitchers have so many arm/elbow injuries, look at the bend in his arm.

High leg kick on the follow through.

Bautista takes a big swing. Although he didn't get a hit, he did manage to drive in two runs.

Encarnacion did not have a good game, going 0-4 and striking out twice.

We were in the upper deck with a good view of the field.

Russell Martin gets a hit here and drives in a run. The Jays scored two runs in the first inning and another three in the second. The game never really was in doubt.

Ezequiel Carrera steals second base. He was a force today going 3-4 with a stolen base and two sensational diving catches in the outfield.

Ryan Goins turns a double play.

Everyone is up and singing along to the Blue Jays song during the seventh inning stretch.

Troy Tulowitzki had a big day at the plate. Here is is congratulated after slugging his second home run of the game.

There was a nice jackpot for the 50/50 draw.

I was not the one coming home with it, though.

The Jays scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings for a big 9-3 victory

The totals.

This was my fourth game this month. I always have fun at the ballpark, especially when they win. Looking forward to going to more!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My April 2016 Canada Craft Club Beer Delivery

Tonight I headed up to the post office to pick up my latest Canada Craft Club beer delivery. The postman brought it to our door yesterday but we weren't home.

So what did I receive?

There was one 650ml bottle of Widmer Brothers Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout from Portland Oregon and another 650ml bottle of Persephone Brewing Pale Ale, an American pale ale from B.C.

Going to be a couple of fun tasting sessions!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beer of the Week - Wanderlust IPA

In my March delivery from Canada Craft Club was a 650ml bottle of Wanderlust IPA from Breakside Brewery, located in a city that I have wanted to visit for sometime, Portland, OR. From what I have read and heard, Portland sounds like beer heaven.

Breakside opened up as a brewpub in 2010. Only a year later, they won a silver medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival in Boulder, CO, in the Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout category. In 2013, Breakside opened another location on the other side of the city. At the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, Breakside won a gold medal for their Breakside IPA in the American Style India Pale Ale category and a Bronze medal for what I am going to try today, the Wanderlust IPA, in the American Style Strong Pale Ale category.

So, how is the Wanderlust?

It pours a golden colour with a good white head that takes its time dissipating. There is lots of bitter citrus in the aroma. On my first sip, the bitter citrus hits me immediately and stays right through the finish.

This is not a complicated layered beer but is not meant to be. It is tasty from start to finish.

When I finally do manage a vacation in Portland, I'll be paying this brewery a visit!

Beer of the Week Stats 

Beers Profiled 310 
Breweries 278 
Countries 45

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Second City, The Hotline Always Rings Twice

Tonight Teena and I went to Second City to watch their newest show, The Hotline Always Blings Twice.

The Second City is proud to present its 77th Mainstage Revue: THE HOTLINE ALWAYS BLINGS TWICE.

Enjoy a night of unforgettable characters, supremely funny sketches, and ridiculous rants created by the cast the Toronto Star calls “six of the funniest people you could hope to meet.” 

THE HOTLINE ALWAYS BLINGS TWICE is an all-new comedy confection in the legendary tradition of The Second City, where nothing is sacred and almost anything can be hilarious. Laugh out loud as we skewer everything from blind dates, to binge-watching, to Blue Jays bandwagoners.

Teena and I haven't been for years but went last year and haven't missed a show yet. The troop is always hilarious and tonight was no different. My favorites were the very first bit of the night about a guy during frosh week, a father and daughter at a Jays game with an obnoxious fan and a grade two stage performance.

It's all fun and I can't believe how inventive the group can be with their ideas as some are very off the wall. It's also amazing, as Teena noted, how the performers can jump from one character, instantly into the next one, and totally own the role. Only great performers can do this. This is my third show with most of the the same performers in it, and feel they certainly are going places, like so many other Second City Alumni.

The Hotline Always Blings Twice is on till July 3 and well worth going to. I know Teena and I will be at the their next one.