Back Home From Beaus Oktoberfest 2012 And…

… and what did I learn? Well, the nicest guys to drink with are the off duty local OPP who watched the crowd’s back the night before. And there was the realization that having smartguys in the room who have brewed in industrial and craft settings for decades adds a hugely positive level of understanding to a discussion where there are many levels in the room from hard core beer thinker to nano craft brewer to happy two-four pop beer buyer. Interesting to note that value and authenticity were the factors of the greatest interest to those at the presentation.









Plus, I learned that a Tim’s chocolate glaze will almost entirely strip the taste of the cigar from your mouth… thought not your sinuses. Then, I also learned that in Buffalo NY Tim Hortons is called Timmy Ho-Ho’s which is just wrong. Also, you never know where you will meet people who know people you know. Additionally, I learned from having the mango hoppy Vassar Heirloom as well as Dieu de Ciel imperial stout that mixing two strong tasting beers can actually not lead to a strong tasting blend. I was surprised by the negation.

I don’t know how many of these I could go to in a year. The perfect weather, setting, company, program, volunteer work, community support, staff dedication, food and beer selection, insane taxi drivers, tone and fun of this event might actually be hard to beat.

What Matters On Saturday At The Beaus Oktoberfest

Ron was on fire. Sure, I had to threaten the audience before to ensure that they had to listen if they knew what was good for them. But they did listen. And it was good for them. After about seventeen genial interjections the lady in the back told me to shut up. That was excellent. Then we were done and retired to the room at the back, opened the fridge and found the five pounds of Quebec blue cheese that the previous panel had left behind. That was some friggin’ good cheese. Tomorrow? Pub games. Spent a happy half hour this morning buying and then sanding junks of wood for an Aunt Sally set for the noon. That’ll be cool. Knocking down a stick. By throwing a stick. Excellent.

Announcement: I Would Have A Beer With Mitt Romney

Enough! There is a certain point where the pile on the goofy rich kid like we did in undergrad is not fun anymore. Worse is when Canadians weigh in and decide to kick the guy when he is down:

Mercer also weighed in on Mitt Romney’s latest gaffe about the 47 per cent of Americans who don’t pay income tax as freeloaders. “It’s about as offensive as anything I have ever heard,” he said. “He is talking about senior citizens, the disenfranchised, the unemployed and the underemployed, he is talking about the disabled, he is talking about veterans who have suffered catastrophic injuries fighting a very long war for the United States,” he said. “I would have no interest in having a beer with that guy.”

There is nothing worse than the smug Canadian. As offensive as anything he’s ever heard? Get out much? This is not to defend the stupid statement – but, really, what do you expect rich donors want to hear as they write the cheques? I mean these are people who don’t even need super large vanity cheques when then hand on the big money. Anyway, not that I would vote Mitt if I could… and I can’t… but if he wants to have a presidential beer or even have, say, a chamomile tea as I have a beer…? Why not?

See, the smirk of the smug Canadian doesn’t care anymore than they accuse the Mitt-ster of being. But catch them digging out a stump? Fat chance. So, from the land where politics are leveled by the goodness of beer, Mitt… I will have that beer with you. But, really, you’re buying, right?

Tweets With Win About The Theatre Of The Mouth

After a long afternoon’s nap fading in and out as the Red Sox held off Baltimore, I had a couple of very good tweet chats with the constantly interesting Win Bassett, triggered by these thoughts, which helpfully framed a few issues I have been pushing around my brain for years. The newest idea is that beer writing is either personal or technical. Being a pleasure trade, participating in the discourse can’t be considered to engage at the level of journalism or criticism as it might in other areas. The relationships with people involved are too personally engaging. The subject matter too enthralling – literally intoxicating. Is there space or even opportunity for actual objectivity? I don’t think so and I don’t care – as long as the money flows are declared in all directions, that is. I like to think of it as 1940s sports reporters who drink with the players after the game while the players marry the sister of the guy at the office or move into the house down the street. Or even the poet.

We ultimately consume alone. But comparing experience is part of what makes thinking and discussing these pleasurable things even more pleasurable. We are all amateurs.

Somewhat related posts: Now I Know I Need To Move Into Innovative White Space, July 2011; When Should A Beer Blog Pay For Itself And The Beer?, November 2008; So Who Really Should Be Writing About Beer?, August 2009; A Glimpse Into What The Beer Blogger Is Likely Not, July 2009; Investigative Reporting On Beer Price Gouging, March 2008.

Garden 2012: Making Meals From The Harvest

Yellow carrots. Small onions. Mine. Bought the seeds for the carrots in early March from Stokes. The variety is Yellowbunch and the seeds cost $2.25 a packet. Been eating them for likely 2 months now. Next year I am buying ten times as much. I believe I planted the carrots from May 5 until mid-July. Some are over a foot long now. Others are tiny like those above. The green bits taste like parsley when lightly roasted. Next year the spuds will be mine as well. I am building a tower, a crib, a box. Fill with soil. Ram spuds in through the sides. Potato high rise. A spuddy ziggurat.

Great Grannie’s Favorite Pub Was A Boat


Great-grannie passed away in 1946. Tales have been told about her ways. If you click on the thumbnail you will see the house above the car where she lived on the second floor, stepping out on the second floor ledge to wash the windows in her 80s without tying on. Sending her grandson down to the pub for a half-pint of whisky after being barred – again – for life. Plenty of slack is given, however, seeing as she lived across the road from the shipyard before, during and after the blitzing.

2mack12She had issues, sure, but she also had a certain sense of style. Her favorite pub “The Suez Canal” was actually in a village down the Clyde. I had always been told she loved the portholes for windows. Classy. I recall seeing a few portholes still still up a back alley when lost while wandering around town in the 80s looking for cousins with beer. Found one at “The George” who called out “Ets ma cuzn frae Ganeeder!” Twelve hours later…

The picture above was posted today by the local newspaper on Facebook. The smiling barman in the picture in the wee boat is local lad and former world flyweignt boxing champ, Jackie Paterson. Worth the bus trip apparently.

Sad News Of A Beer Fan’s Passing Earlier This Summer

ckaI took down the little logo for the Cracked Kettle beer store in Amsterdam today. I removed it after getting an email advising that the shop closed a few months back and that owner Jeff Cunningham had died in June after a few months of terminal illness. Sad news. I never met Jeff but had worked with him now and again since the late fall of 2006. His shop paid for the ads in beer shipped to me and other writers then populating the blog as proof of how fine the service was. Knut, micro-famously, had to sit around waiting for a delivery and then got hit by the Norwegian tax man. They also sent care packages to me, to the States and to England, too. In 2008, Lars won a t-shirt from Cracked Kettle in the Christmas photo contest. Ah, for the days of free style happy go lucky beer blogging.

Jeff, along with partner Andy, ran a shop that struck me a something of a ground breaker even if it was only six years ago. Rereading his emails, it is easy to see how he was really excited to be stocking some of the great beers of Europe, providing solid service – and figured he had managed a way to make airlifting it direct to beer fans make sense. And bringing US craft to Europe before others. From the Wayback Machine, it appears that the shop started as a plan to make a micro-brewery in Amsterdam in 2003. Sad to hear of his passing. Some beer fans left their thoughts over at RateBeer.

My Place Of Work About 160 Years Ago

My place of work in the 1850s when the waters lapped up to the stone wall of the market battery. As in a battery of cannon that protected the market. Because City Hall was built in the 1840s on part of the market square that he been there for decades before that. If you click on the picture you will see more detail. Like these bits:





To the left, you see the sign for “A & D Shaw” but I am not sure why there was a sign like that on the front of a government building. Were there businesses in the building, too? In the middle there is the detail to the left, a week glimpse up Market Street. To the right there is the same thing up Brock. The Market Street buildings are still there but there is no awning or porch on the south side as there was back then. An one of the buildings on Brock could be Sipps or Casa Domenico.

Garden 2012: Onion Harvest Day Is Now… As In Now!

onions2012Onions are no so much a vegetable as a necessity. At the old farmstead, I planted 2000 onion sets a year. This year, a quarter of that on about ten square feet of where the front lawn was removed last Easter.

They may last until Christmas. Unless I make a whopping pile of onion jam or something nutty like that. The smell of harvesting them with your bare hands is exotic. If onions, something we ate 1,000 years ago, were not common they would be a spice. Next year, more.