OK, it is Frank and The Whale, actually, the two brews from Buffalo’s Community Beer Works. The recent Euro 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference has sent the up a red flag about the ethics of samples. Really? I suppose some have ethical debates within about the free bit of gak they might foist upon you at a grocery if you don’t plan your cart route cleverly. I think Tandy is on the right track. Missed PR opportunity. That’s all.
These samples sparkle ethically. A work friend was coming to this end of Lake Ontario from the other end and rather than stay in Canada popped south. He asked if there was anything he might pick up and I directed him to CBW who hand filled these two bottles for same delivery back across the border. They are only on tap so far so the bottling is a bit of an experiment. The “F” and “W” black markered on the cap is not actual branding. So, not available in my town or country and not available in this format. If I like them, I know the pain and torment of alienation from the beloved. If I don’t, well, what was the treat that I was somehow leveraging against my inner compass? No ethical mine field when the prize is crap. Result? My soul is as pure as the lamb’s.
Let’s see. Gimme a second to get a glass…
Frank poured a clouded light gold, under whipped egg white head. The aroma jumped at me as soon as I popped the cap. Bright apricot and lime citrus on the most modest snort. On the swish, it is a lighter bodies mouthful of grapefruit and arugula. Very much the lawnmower in the the weedy ditch sort of hopping. At 4.6% God knows I could not possibly suggest this is sessionable but one sure could consume a significant quality at a moderate pace over a long period of time. The slightly drying finish reminds me a lot of Nickle Creek’s APA of a couple of weeks ago. But this is a bit more of a fruity take of a pale ale. Like it lots. BAers who have had it have the love.
The Whale is beefier at 5.9%. Rahther than rocky meringue, from above this looks like a very large espresso with its fine mocha cream head. Plenty to smell: date, cocoa, coffee. In the mouth a wonderful wash of soft water cream and coffee with nut and dark dry fruit flavours wafting about. Really quite rich and lovely. Hopping is there, a bit minty but only a bit, to cut any cloy and also to frame the flavours in the malt. I get licorice and a bit of white pepper, too. Maybe even a little cigar. Quite the thing. Rich but not flabby. Still bread crusty. More BAer love.
So. Feeling ethically pure still? Sure am. A fine brace of beers as ever I had and certainly so given that they are from a brewery that has only been open for month and could fit in my shed.
Everything is up. Even the leeks of desperation sown where the leek seedlings failed. Leeklings? Bush beans and pole beans jumped out as well. There are a few patches for second sowings but now it looks like the main task is weeding. But what does a parsnip look like when it is first up? How do you know for sure what is the weed and what isn’t? That’s the trouble when you take a decade off from vegetable gardening – no institutional memory is left. Somewhere I even had a book that I kept notes in. Now it’s all just “throw some seeds there, see what happens.” I ate a pea shoot. It felt a bit like infanticide what with all the July peas in their pods that shoot represented. But it was good and I felt righteous. The neighbourhood smells good. Last Thursday at the softball game there was so much lilac in the air it was like being back in the flower shop my mother ran. The hubbard squash looks like it is ready for greatness. Good thing too as the front lawn looks awful. It needs a bit of cucurbita action to give it some interest. The onion patch near the front door looks so good I only feel badly about not making it five times the size.
After an intense amount of effort researching only the very finest digital archives, Craig (and not I) came across this sweet ad from 28 July 1798 from the Albany Gazette. He explains himself over at his blog how he was hot on the train of Edward A. Le Breton, Albany brewer in the first decade of the 1800s. This ad? Just something for me, for Al… Mr. 1600s and 1700s.
It’s interesting how we have separated our interests generally around the time of the fall of the Federalists. The time of the Federalists’ height of power in central New York frontier is set out in Alan Taylor’s excellent William Cooper’s Town. A failed dream of an American aristocracy to replace the Loyalist aristocracy that founded my town after the American Revolution, the Federalists are about to start on their decline soon after this advertisement appears in 1798. As we learn in 1969’s breakout best seller The Gansevoorts of Albany: Dutch Patricians in the Upper Hudson Valley, Peter Gansevoort would soon demolish the brewery in 1807 after a string of partners he had hoped would take over the operation run by his family for 150 years. He was a man with a new mansion. A Revolutionary war hero who now wanted income from rents, not the troubles of actually doing things.
But what does his ad tell us. He wants barley and not wheat. Only 45 years before, touring Swedish professor noted the local – and one might speculate – traditional Dutch use of wheat malt. Through the aftermath of the Revolution, central New York is flooded with first New Englanders and then other immigrants and suffers lose of its cultural isolation. The ad also asks for empties. Which quite the thing. Bottles indicate, you know, the use of bottles. Which indicates something other than bulk communal drinking from casks, doesn’t it. For me, it is an implication of that old theme of the strength of Albany’s brew.
But most interestingly are those six sorts of drinks on offer – three porters, table beer, ale and bottled ale. Clearly predates the ad man, the marketing guru. What is it that would distinguish an American porter from a London porter in the marketplace of Albany in July 1798? Were there the great great great great great great great great great grandfathers and similarly situated great uncles of beer tickers and style nerds arguing over the difference? We know so little about the tastes of those, in the big picture, so recently alive.
So, you recall that I bought that rather swell Wedgewood 1940s sage green tankard? I seem to have caught a bit of a fever. And there is only one cure for that… a tankard you can play like a cowbell. For the record, here is the information which came with the online listing:
This quart mug which is of quart capacity, dates to around 1840, and is by the well known Birmingham makers Yates & Birch, whose mark is to the right hand side of the handle above “QUART”. There are three verification marks below the rim, two of which are a crowned VR over HB above H (Haslingden in Lancashire – see Marks and Marking of Weights and Measures of the British Isles – Ricketts & Douglas). ). There are two wrigglework cartouches to the front of the body which read “P. Pollard, Talbot Hotel” and “Old Talbot 1626”. The inscriptions suggest the mug was originally used in the Talbot Hotel, Oundle in Northamptonshire which was rebuilt in 1626, using stone and a staircase from the ruins of nearby Fotheringhay castle. Mary Queen of Scots was executed at the castle in 1587 which led to it being subsequently demolished by Mary Queen of Scots’ son and grandson. How the mug acquired verification marks for Haslingden in Lancashire remains a mystery. The mug is in good condition with general wear commensurate with age (see images) but no splits, holes or repairs, and would make a great display piece.
A mystery. Neato. Came in the mail today. Picked up at eBay, it ended up being $75 bucks all in for door to door delivery across the ocean. Best of all, it is a quart with plenty of interesting markings indicating that it was from this still functioning hotel in Northamptonshire from perhaps the 1840s. Definitely marked for the Victorian era. But it is old pewter so I may have to do a bit more research before I make it my primary drinking tankard. Never cared much for the look around the gills of any Victorians I have run across. But it does pose the prospect that a few more could be acquired with a good chance of having a thinking persons quart tankard drinking association. Extra points for showing up with one like this.
A hot Victoria Day weekend saw a whole lot of seedlings out there in the yard. Carrots and onions were joined by beets, collards, lettuce and bok choi sticking their heads up. Squash has been joined by zucchini and musk melon. I should rip up more lawn. And why not? It is nothing but a dandelion nursery. Driving around this JFK-era subdivision and you see a hell of a lot of lawn where tens of thousands of onions could grow. Outlawing the lawn mower could help. Or at least the two-stroke polluto-king model. Built an apparently ugly structure-ish thing for the sweet peas. Over by the shed. Twine now dangles from it down to where green tendrils reach up to meet them.
If Greece fails, everyone’s going to want a edible yard for 2013. Why not get in before the hip crowd? Carrots alone still leave you plenty of time and options.
It has been a late spring, hasn’t it? I put out the squash and tomatoes this week but only half of them… maybe less. You never know if it is going to be in the 70s or the 30s this week. But I think that is over. We have the best dandelions on the block. Always do. Has something to do with the push mower I think. Not sufficiently black hole like in its capacities. But I do not apologize. I am not like Mitt in that respect. Unlike our stumping skills where we are one. This weekend may be dedicated to whipper snipping.
♦ Good for my old home Kings and good for us all that the selling of citizenships on PEI will now be properly investigated.
♦ Is this bad or good? I would have to know what the other applicants asked for. Who got bumped. But at the Federal level we never learn these things.
♦ Sloppiness. That is what I say about a lot of things, too.
♦ A great depression has fallen upon Red Sox nation. Why. Apparently they have decided to continue to suck. Time for the mega trade that should have happened last February.
Is that all there is? For a tra-la it’s May Friday do you really need more?
But I found this which will do for now.
In George Orwell’s 1949 essay The Moon Under Water – mentioned here, here and here – we are taken perhaps though the looking glass to an idyllic perfect pub of post-war Britain. It is a gorgeous physical essay that sets out the elements of Orwell’s dream establishment including even the mugs:
The special pleasure of this lunch is that you can have draught stout with it. I doubt whether as many as 10 per cent of London pubs serve draught stout, but the Moon Under Water is one of them. It is a soft, creamy sort of stout, and it goes better in a pewter pot. They are particular about their drinking vessels at the Moon Under Water, and never, for example, make the mistake of serving a pint of beer in a handleless glass. Apart from glass and pewter mugs, they have some of those pleasant strawberry-pink china ones which are now seldom seen in London. China mugs went out about 30 years ago, because most people like their drink to be transparent, but in my opinion beer tastes better out of china.
There is also a small surprise of a garden… and stamps. I have been looking for a strawberry-pink china mug for a while now but have made do with this in the interim. It is a Wedgewood 1940s sage green tankard designed by Keith Murray. I got it on eBay for about $53 Canadian which is a lot but it is also not as I could likely put it on eBay tomorrow and get about $53 Canadian… which is what I tell people about my soccer jersey collection of about eight years ago that sits in boxes waiting for another five for the teens to discover it. I like the way the handle looks a bit like antler. Not sure what beer I will have from it. Looks nice where it is.
We each chose a most hated shrub and killed them today. One of the great things about gardening is being that grim reaper who takes away so that others might have a little more light, a sip more water or just the spot occupied by that the ugly thing in the corner by the fence. My own dead semi-tree of choice was chopped and stacked to be replaced by a big pile of sheep poo and peat moss where the squash shall hold dominion this summer. The ground there was a bit mossy and weighed down by clay so I buried a small short gravel and rock drain to draw the water away. The first effort at starting the Blue Hubbards was a total failure but six others live on the kitchen window sill to be hardened off over the next week. Yesterday, was all planting. Purple fleshed carrots. Multi-coloured Swiss chard. 500 onion sets. And a dump run. There was an hour wait at the transfer station all for the joy of dumping broken foldie-uppie camping chairs along with the remains of a basketball hoop, a deceased elliptical training machine and a load of other crap. Sugar snap peas are up. The leeks look hopeful even if only green threads in their laundry room trays. Purple Cherokee tomatoes are leggy but may make it. Time will tell.
We each chose a most hated shrub and killed them today. One of the great things about gardening is being that grim reaper who takes away so that others might have a little more light, a sip more water or just the spot occupied by that the ugly thing in the corner by the fence. My own dead semi-tree of choice was chopped and stacked to be replaced by a big pile of sheep poo and peat moss where the squash shall hold dominion this summer. The ground there was a bit mossy and weighed down by clay so I buried a small short gravel and rock drain to draw the water away.
The first effort at starting the Blue Hubbards was a total failure but six others live on the kitchen window sill to be hardened off over the next week. Yesterday, was all planting. Purple fleshed carrots. Multi-coloured Swiss chard. 500 onion sets. And a dump run. There was an hour wait at the transfer station all for the joy of dumping broken foldie-uppie camping chairs along with the remains of a basketball hoop, a deceased elliptical training machine and a load of other crap. Sugar snap peas are up. The leeks look hopeful even if only green threads in their laundry room trays. Purple Cherokee tomatoes are leggy but may make it. Time will tell.