Assorted Low Country Fruit Beers


What better way to see in Canada Day weekend than sampling Belgian and northern French fruit beers. There is no rhyme or reason to the selection other than they are from within a couple of hundred kilometres of each other. Should this breaks rules it is because no one sent me the pamphlet with the rules.

Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic: On the nose there is fresh cow poo or another barnyard note, vinegar and unsweetened under-ripe gravenstein apple. Cloudy naturalized cloudy pink with white rim and foam. Stomach souringly strong acid, cheesey tang, dry pin cherry in the mouth. Vineous if your wine has gone off. Hard to say likeable but one is told this is a classic. MADD could use this as their centerpiece of a temperance campaign if they could get it to the teens soon enough. 97% of BAers say very nice things. Nicer things. Here is the brewery’s website and what it says about this beer.

La Choulette Framboise: beer the colour of wild strawberry jam, blush and straw, with white foam and rim. A note of the La Choulette’s tell tale potato peel under true if dry raspberry from the vine…if they grew on vines. Some sub-astringent drying hop and warming as would be expected at 7%. Less sour than the kriek above but still there, on the dry side. BAers who love dry fruit beer are all over this one. Here, too, is the brewery’s website.

Darbyste: From Brasserie de Blaugies. Cloudy caramel ale under white foam. Quite a tangy fig aroma. Still dry but not nearly so dry as the desiccating fluids above. Acidic, juicy, lightly astingent, green fruit and round richness. But dry though without vineousness. Some light butter biscuitiness. 5.8%. Not offensive, not a wowser. BAers say this. Here, again, is the brewery’s home page.

Lindeman Pomme Lambic: compared to the above, this is fluid Altoid. Green apple sweet and that is about it. Rich and quite accurate apple and not at all unpleasant but that is about it. BAers frown with 14% saying no. After the above three, however, it is something of a welcome break from all that austerity. Here is something approximating the brewery’s website.

More as I pour if the guests stick around as I open more of these sour things.…OK, so I am not the guy to tell you why you should try some of these stark traditional ales. But man these are dry and acidic. I need a Rolaid and I am sure glad I picked up some saisons to try so I can get my love back for the brewers of this region.

Last Friday Chat of The First Half

Tomorrow is closer to 2007 than 2005. We have already passed the solstice. Funny how it all just trips away. No nevermind, however, as there are do-ins to do and a long weekend before us. And we’ll see how far we get with today’s bullets as high-speed from Sympatico is chugging like a tramp steamer. No doubt all the new GX40 surveillance technology. Don’t be holding your breath waiting for spelling corrections today, all you grade-five ruler-tappers you.

  • Update3 : Rick Moranis – almost as Canadian as Paddle to the Sea.
  • Update 2: Michael and Aaaarold. I have a white shirt, too, by the way. Wore it today. I like white shirts. They are coming back. You never see ska band members in patterns or stripes. No way.
  • Update: YouTube is good because you can watch the Morton score amazingly anytime you want. It is bad because it does not have the NFB’s film Paddle to the Sea, the one thing that both expresses the soul of the nation and brings it together and brings us all together. Tommorrow, on Canada Day, children all over the land ought to be brought into elementary school gyms to watch Paddle to the Sea and eat creamsicles.
  • The Red Sox. I have not been talking about them and they go on a twelve game winning streak during June’s interleague play. Last night was apparently Coco-riffic with even Steve Somers of the Mets home station, WFAN in New York, going gaa-gaa about his “diving into a swimming pool” catch last night in the eighth to save the game. The view shown here with his head aimed at the green monster in mid-flight should give you some sense of the moment. A video of the catch is available at this page. Easier to watch on TooYube.
  • Two ailments I have which are exceedingly minor but which bug the heck out of me. First, rogue eyelashes. They stick in my eye. It only happened once I hit 40 and it drives me mental. Second, a comb-over sideburn. I have a bald patch 1/4 the size of a stamp. It changes everything. There. I have written something about myself. That is it. No more.
  • Today’s two World Cup games are a gem and a dud. If Italy wins, it should have won but if it loses it should have won. Germany v. Argentina, however, could be the game of the tournament. It is still early enough that the fear will not lock the knees of players gripped with the angst that they might make the play that loses the Cup. Luncheon table booked for second half.
  • Never one to see a high ground he won’t avoid, Junior is going to keep on holding on to the good things that got him all his success:

    President Bush told reporters he promised to take the findings of the court “very seriously”. But he signalled he might seek congressional approval to resurrect the tribunals. “To the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so,” he said. “The American people need to know that this ruling, as I understand it, won’t cause killers to be put out on the street.”

    You can trust that the good politicians who need to get elected in the fall will ensure there is a sprinkling of natural justice throughout the process so that while the ding-bats will say the tribunals continue the kangaroo will no longer be in the room.

  • Did I mention coffee is good? Kicking Horse Sumatra this morning.
  • TVO is getting redone. I have enjoyed the now-axed Studio 2 but the format may have gotten tired and, yes, there is no doubt that half an hour a week of actual discussion of actual provincial politics would make any government tired of sending cheques. Too bad we do not have the benevolent giving class of our neighbours to the south where benefactors ensure that institutions like National Public Radio are becoming more and more independent of government support and influence and more and more able to address the needs of the community. Sadly, there are few other voices attending to the current affairs and life of Ontario as opposed to Canada. Good to see that Steve Paikin continues in a new news show called The Agenda that may make all my fears for naught.

That is it. It was like doing it on dial up and, while doing it on dial-up is what made the Internet what it is today, I do not like doing it on dial-up.

Sunday Without Travel

I am sufficiently dimwitted to have not twigged to the fact that this weekend is a single break amongst six where I am not on the road in some way or another. How luxurious is the ability to do nothing. And I have. But this is something you really ought to try. Frozen scallops. Get your morter and pestle out and fine grind some good crackers like stone ground or water crackers. Then make a paste of chives, olive oil and garlic. Hot sauce, too. Mix in the cracker dust until you have a glom. Pat dry the scallops and roll them in the tasty glom. Put in a pan and bake in a 500 F oven for three to five minutes. Lordy lordy. Even the scallops are grateful for having given up their bivalvey lives in such style.

And yet I missed the 25th Northeast Dulcimer Symposium.

Mansbridge Is Not The One

Last time I checked I did not care what was on CBC TV. Not because it is a hot bed of socialism, as some famous bores might go one about, but because it is simply pretty bad. That being said, I am almost moved by this stunned decision:

CBC programming executives scrambled to do damage control yesterday in the wake of a firestorm that erupted after fans of The National learned that the flagship newscast would be bumped eight nights this summer for an American Idol knockoff reality show. After announcing The National’s schedule shift yesterday, The Globe and Mail received 50 e-mail messages from readers enraged that the Peter Mansbridge-led news hour would be pushed back to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting July 18 and ending the first week of September. The program, The One: Making a Music Star, is based on an international format that has been a hit in several territories around the world…

Why so stunned? Why run a show that is available on another channel? Even if it isn’t why run one that is at least fourth in line for the summer reality show market? The dumbest and therefore best of the summer talent shows is the new America Has Talent which brings David Hasselhoff back to North America after three decades thrilling central Europe in a format which is basically The Gong Show. Canadian hearts and minds are already caught up by Canadian Idol and the issue of what new goofball shirt Ben Mulroney will wear this time. The best of the best has surprisingly shown itself to be So You Think You Can Dance in which people with actual artisitic skill display their actual artistic skills. I know it is proof that I am entering the years of my dotage that I like the show and think, short of sports, it is the best thing on TV. But it is. So there.

That all being the case, why is the CBC buying a likely dud and disrupting its base in the blue rinse and corduroy vest crowds…does anyone else watch CBC TV?…oh, yes…the members of the Canadian Senate.

World Cup: The Greatest Day Of Your Life

Did I mention that I am excited about this game? That I have had my 1986 flags from Holland couriered and have pulled out the 1996 orange jersey, set up the big screen and ordered the taxi to get me to it? Holland is an extraordinary place, a nation which exists from hundreds of years of national will, where ships float past your front door, where people actually wear all orange, where total football was born. I may have Gouda for lunch.

And not only do I like the Netherlands because I lived there 20 years ago, but I like Argentinian football. Fox Sports World Canada shows a highlight show from the Argie leagues every Friday at 7 pm during the season and it is the classiest sports show there is. The first five minutes are without commentary and are just highlights of fans getting to the games set to latin music. Snazzy as la pasión por el fútbol no es casual. Then there are the teams. The economy is so bad there that even some first division teams get a tiny crowd at the games. Others like Boca Juniors or Independiente have massive stadiums with tens of thousands of massed standing fans flowing back and forth with the game like Nick Hornby described in Fever Pitch in the Arsenal stands of his youth. They were also set up by the English around 1900 so there are teams called Arsenal (accent on the “se”) and Banfield and even one called Newell’s Old Boys.

So far these are the best two teams in the league – Dutch control v. Argentinian explosive power. It should be amazing.

Tuesday And Yet Another World Cup Day

I have to confess I watched a northern sport last night – the Red Sox and Washington. Like NASCAR, I am finding it very difficult to get into the southern sport of ice hockey but good for Carolina bringing home the Stanley Cup.

Elsewhere, there are four games on tap:

  • Ecuador vs. Germany in Berlin
  • Costa Rica vs. Poland at Hanover
  • Sweden vs. England at Cologne
  • Paraguay vs. Trinidad & Tobago at Kaiserslautern

Kaiserslautern? Say that like Donald Duck sometime.

That last game is the clearly most important of course as the gods may yet put TnT through to the second round. I see Poland losing 17-0 with the players crying like babies at the end. This has been a rotten Cup for Poland and any result against Costa Rica is meaningless for them now. Ecuador has the best chance at pulling off an upset over the hosts. Sweden and England will be the most hyped game with the Swedes actually playing for something and England trying to figure out how it does so poorly against weak teams. I expect the power of the Flea and the Beam of RighteousnessTM from the highest rampart of Flea Towers focused deep into the heart of the city that gave us aftershave will make the difference in a 3-2 victory for blimey even with Sweden having the finest jersey in the tourney once again.

NS Election Notes

Though I am many years past when I lievd in Nova Scotia, I call myself a Bluenoser and love elections there. Yesterday’s was a classic and a good-ish outcome, though the numbers might be reversed:

Last night, the Conservatives were elected or leading in 23 seats, four short of the 27 needed to form a majority. The New Democrats won 20 and the Liberals trailed with nine seats. Liberal Leader Francis MacKenzie announced he was quitting politics after failing to win his own riding. With little debate to spice the campaign, it came down to whom voters trusted to lead the province. NDP Leader Darrell Dexter, a former journalist and lawyer, was the most experienced of the three political leaders and he gave Mr. MacDonald a tough fight. Polls showed the two running neck and neck until the last two weeks of the campaign, when the Conservatives pulled ahead. Despite their loss, the New Democrats improved their standing in the legislature. Their 20 seats represent a record high. Mr. Dexter told supporters he took some consolation in depriving the Conservatives of a majority. “But they did get re-elected,” he said, promising to continue the party’s tradition of co-operating with the governing Conservatives.

Darrell ran the bar at Kings when I was in undergrad and is supported by Graham Steele, one of my fellow Largs diasporans. Both are inordinately clever guys. These robust minorities and the co-operation they cause are a great model for all Parliaments and Parliamentarians. I said it before but given my druthers I’d outlaw majorities.