Big Hop Bombs: 120 Minutes IPA, Dogfish Head, Del., USA

So I give the tickets away, come hope to find them, end up having have to dig through the recycling to find the envelope and there it is – and it is not for the Jays against the Tigers…it’s for the Thursday night game next week against the Sox. I am so there.

Good reason to break out the good stuff. And not just because the last “Week of…” post never got finished with the review of this particular example of the good stuff. One reader wrote about how those long posts were messing up his RSS reader because I wrote them over time. Well, I get the point. “The Week of Eleven…” anythings is too much so we will evolve that little theme next time. See. I can both create and evolve.

On with the beer. This one pours a clear orange butterscotch with an orange cream head that resolves to a thin rim. Booze and orange marmalade on the nose, there is plenty more of each in the mouth. But there is other stuff. Lemon curd creaminess and decent graininess for a big beer with a relatively dry setting. Not overly hot from either the alcohol or the hopping – amazing considering the 120 IBU and whopping 20% booze. This one 12 oz bottle equals five standard Canadian light beers. The hops are both herbal minty green and somewhat tea astringent. Oloroso sherry. 92% of BAers get it.

Oops – it is heating up now.

The Horror Of Twitter

The BBC’s technology page runs (over there at the middle right) short quotes grabbed from blogs as part, one supposes, of an effort to be hip through enhanced vacuity. While I am sure the entire sum of this person’s work and thoughts deserves far better, the Beeb’s choice of quote this morning hil-air:

I was honestly woken up last week by the fear that I would stop blogging because Twitter is so much more compelling.

Somewhere over the weekend I heard of the new generation gap – between those with online habits and those without. But it is worse. It’s between those with a concern for content and those without. Twitter seems to be MetaFilter for people with even shorter attention spans. Fabulous. As MySpace devolves to Facebook and Facebook to Twitter, there ought to be a VC rush to back services that strip even more and more away. Maybe I ought to create a site with only punctuation marks available for discussion. Here’s a suggestion: “?”, “!”, “;-)”. Boffo.

I love how an object appearing to be “bhammersley” just typed “omg” like a fourteen year old Valley Girl…though I think it is spelled “omG!”


I have not put my mind to the question of whether the passing of my cat is related to the pet food poisoning matter. The one ate from the same dish and the late Frobie had symptoms for years. Yet, now learning more as we are about what has been going on, it would not be hard to wonder:

As American food safety regulators head to China to investigate how a chemical made from coal found its way into pet food that killed dogs and cats in the United States, workers in this heavily polluted northern city openly admit that the substance is routinely added to animal feed as a fake protein.

“…a cheap additive that looks like protein in tests…” “…not believed to be particularly toxic…” Just another reason to say thank you China.

You Are Now Entering Fairyland

Nothing is more important to any politician – left, right or centre – intent on a little social engineering than creating new myths that bear little resemblance to actual history but which prop up the political needs of the day but this is either funny or unsettling:

“Real nationalists don’t want destroy, they want to build,” said Mr. Harper, who even at one point quoted Quebec’s nationalist conservative premier of the 1940s and 1950s, Maurice Duplessis. “The real nationalists aren’t afraid of reality, they want to improve it, and that’s what our government is doing”… Mr. Harper finally found a sympathetic ear Saturday night. “There is nothing more precious than the family farm, which represents so well all the values on which our country has been built,” he said to rapturous applause.

Is it just me or wasn’t Duplessis sort of, you know, a quasi-fascist thug whose name has been mud since he got the boot. And wasn’t this nation built on military garrisons, state chartered resource-stripping monopolies and colonial policies that lasted well past the days of being a colony? I suppose you have to tell the people what they want to here but there has to be a limit, one would think, well before the point of the giggles.

Next thing you are going to hear is about how the Erie Canal and wagon trains opened up the route to Alberta.

Friday The Last Of April Chat-a-roo

Wasn’t it just last Friday? Time is flying. I am making arrangements for an undergrad reunion so I suppose I am a bit sensitive to these things. Yes, 25 years ago I was a seedy weedy sullen yute at the University of Kings College and soon people will be returning there from across the globe. From Engerlant to the Yukon so far. Of course I dread it. But if you qualify as a mid-late 80s grad, you should go. Two words: video dance.

  • Update: The Flea is good enough to point out one of the sillies things I have read in a long time. Never mind Alberto Gonzales, WMD, Libby, drugged up Limbaugh just saying no, Enron economics, Saskatchewan in the 1990s, moral majority, Oliver North, trickle down economics and a bazillion other things we could all trot out if we have 27 seconds to spare – conservatives apparently don’t lie. What was it Alberto said? Oh, yes – they just don’t remember. Flea’s line is far more honest and admirable:

    …what I like best about being a reactionary is that I do not have to make sense.

  • While I promised not to slag Web 2.0 for a while, I think it is entirely in my rights to point out that Blogger and Podcaster magazine is a wee bit Web -1.0 for me. Don’t get me wrong. I bought Yahoo magazine back in around 1996 and still wish I had those sitting around. But why do I need a magazine about this which is essentially a magazine?
  • I announced the formation of CAMWA – join in.
  • The New Liberaltarian Progressive Democratic Conservatives are having a bit of a hard time. First, I have a hard time with the fire and brimstone the-sky-is-falling the-sky-is-falling flip out of last week turning into the 8 billion dollar green millstone placed around the neck of the consumer…but not so much the polluters. Then, there is the steering of public funds into the boosting of Tory backbenchers prospects through focused funding of local instances of national celebrations. [Ed.: Yes! I can write that sentence without using the word “sponsorship” so it must be different.] Not to mention the application of creationist analysis to a war zone: torture is a theory and as there is no proof it cannot be. I hope the Prime Ministers groomer is especially on her game. Wouldn’t want him to notice the slide and take it personally.
  • But green is not all bad. David recently posted about generating kites in the sky. It was announced this week that the largest solar power facility in North American is going to be built in Sarnia. Soon there will be again talk of the sling tide project.
  • It’s also been a bad week for movie actors. Just as the Prime Minister’s handlers wish he had found other things to do – besides, you know, saying what is on his mind – so, too, wished Hugh Grant that he had not thought that kicking the arse of someone in public was a good idea. At least he only used his foot. Richard Gere tried to enter into some sort of merger with Shilpa Shetty, a noteworthy Indian actress, and now like Grant he faces charges.

What is it about men passing their best before date? You consider an agreement with a toothless non-profit the same as an agreement with a nation state. You consider low level assault either by boot to the arse or smothering hug to be your right. You consider traveling 1600 km to sit in a dorm room only to realize you are equidistant to the old wrinkly stage again the right thing to do.

Pity men as they move into their golden years. We can’t help it.

CAMWA: The Campaign For Watery Ale

Two Nations Joined By Water
Why can’t we admit it? We are all sitting around drinking flavoured water. We craft beer lovers like to pretend it is like wine, an art based on the manipulation fruit juice – but it ain’t so. In a very real sense, fine beer is a far more crafted product than fine wine. People put it together, do the job of the vine. And it is put together for the most part with water.

My favorite Pennsylvania (unless Mario Lemieux is now officially a Pennsylvanian) Lew Bryson is continuing to develop his very cogent argument, as we have discussed before, for the support of lighter flavourful session ales as an equally legitimate part of the broad beery spectrum. To my mind, the problem is that the water in beer needs to be described in a way that is the equal to the pervasive mass marketing by the macro-industrial BeerCo or as legitimate as the current mania for the big bombastic hophead’s dream or rarefied boozy ancient monkish elixer.

In short, there has to be something about lower strength beer that can be described to capture the imagination. Think about water – it is vital, something we consume daily, it is can be fresh and refreshing…yet to call something “watery” is a slander. And remember when we talk about water we actually are talking about a heck of a lot more than the H20. Water is the conduit for the mineral make up of beer, the very defining element of the terrior that in large part makes the finest wines desirable. We know that Burton and Colorado makes hard water beer while Dublin and central New York make their brews soft due to what is under foot. It is the under foot print.

What is the campaign slogan that can make the water in your beer the preferred characteristic of distinction? All I need to think of is good old batch 29 but that is just me. Twenty five years ago, we Canadian kids, then aware of the then superiority of our brewing, knew the very successful “Tastes Great…Less Filling” ad campaign for southern brew Miller Lite was really all about taste and low alcohol strength. We were all told that anyone could drink it all night and so you could – except we up here would never dream of it because we were looking for the effect, we were going for the buzz. Does that idea of beer should not let you down now need to be added to the cultural mix? Does a long day at work demand a long night’s worth of beer without the hangover or the drunk tank? You can see what would happen. First, MADD would go…mad. It would be glorifying beer drinking even if it would be a campaign for moderation. Then, there would be the issue of price. I should be able to drink four pints of 3% beer for the same price as three pints of 4% and two of 6% or at least there should be some significant reflection. But that may strike at the bottom line. How can that be the story be told without risking the premium rightfully placed on brewing craft ale becoming part of the spin?

So what is the slogan that will frame it all for us so that we get the idea that we can learn to love the water, too? Having one for the road is never the right idea but having another because it is a beer that it built for two might be exactly what we all need.

Barbara Pym

I rarely read fiction any more. And I don’t think I can point to a favorite author in that part of literature where there are no references to beer or brewing. Well, this does allow me to read Inspector Morse mysteries as that character is never seen consuming solid food, preferring a quick pint followed by a slower one as a means of problem solving.

But I read this yesterday about an eccentric British novelist called Barbara Pym who died 27 years ago. Usually I find good eccentric writing mainly in the form of essays. Right now I am reading Starkness at Noon by Richard Boston which is a collection of his pieces from The (Manchester) Guardian from the mid-90s. And, oh, he was involved in the establishment of CAMRA to some degree in the 1970s so there is that, too. He appears to be the opposite of Pym in many ways – mainly a bit rough around the edges – but one cannot pick and choose amongst one’s eccentrics. But they both seem to have an interest in personal quirks and foibles. And I do have that whole problem with watching Heartbeat on TVO. Yet I am prepared to only get page ten…depending on the beverage references.

Four Years. Four. Long. Years.

3628 posts over four years. That is an average of 3628 posts for every four year period. All the while I have made few observations of note on the war that began weeks before the blog did, on the state of Canadian politics, on me, on blogging. But I did great Friday bullet point chats. Yes! It started just after I left my thirties and on my next birthday I will be 45.

No phrase captures what blogging means to me more that “plea for help”. While there have been highlights like astronaut art, Tantrama City and a careful examination of my relationship with pork, it has not been without its downside. The obvious cut and paste gap fillers, the riding of too many band wagons, the shoddy appeals to science, religion and law. But there has been sport, there has been travel in the states, there has been…sports and travel in the states.

And there has been you. While I have let my real life relationships drift, I have met exactly three…no, eight more people because of blogging. I mean met. The rest of you hide behind anonymity or silence. But for all of that only two have been banned with two others ripping out of here on that sea on confused anger and self-inflating indignation that likely is the hallmark of the rest of their lives. In the end – and like so many of us – I can honestly say on a daily basis thank God there has been beer. It it weren’t for the beer blog I would have packed this in years ago. And Hans. Thank God for Hans. Gary’s nice, too.

Now I have to rush again…a little late for work…again.

Stats Are A Mug’s Game

Expressing the results of a statistical survey is a tediuos and difficult thing to do yet it is the stuff of bloggers dreams, rife with the opportunity to point the finger of accusation and scream “BIAS! BIAS!!!” without any recourse to any foothold in reality. Yet this statement leaves me wondering about the use of “but”:

A quarter of those surveyed feel their organization “walks the talk” when it comes to work-life balance but only 29 per cent feel their employer truly cares about their work-life balance.

Never minding the fact that an employer really cannot “truly care” unless you are the employee of a sole proprietor, would not a 25% part of a whole be smaller than a 29% part of the same whole, indicating that 4% more employees feel kindly about the acts of the boss than those who hear the words of the boss? Ought not the dour “but” be a hopeful “yet”?

I am so confused I need you to comment.