Ontario: Bar Volo, Yonge Street, Toronto

volo1The other day, when I did rock, we headed up Yonge Street in Toronto to finish the evening at Volo, a much discussed beer bar amongst the Bar Towelling set. With very good reason as well. While I wasn’t able to take my camera and get some shots, I can tell you that the place seats about 40, is something of a cheery jumble of mismatched antiques, plants and beer bottles and has the feel of rec room meeting a cafe. Certain Bear Republic quarts noted. Like a walk-in stash with knowledgable staff. Very nice and, frankly, a brave effort given the legal loops they must have to go through to amass the well chosen and properly handled collection. As a result, the prices are honest and sometimes even bracing but just don’t go every night and you will be OK, OK? Here are some directional hints for Volo.

We were not there for long but I got to try a few firsts. I had a bottle of the barley wine Fred by Hair of the Dog and my brother’s split a large La Chouffe. I also tried Church-Key Brewing’s new biere de garde on tap. I really wish I had had my camera as I remember looking at the chalk board thinking “they don’t make a BdG!?!” and here I am thinking that I am going to find a reference on the bar or brewer’s web site as to its existence and I find nothing. [Later: Bar Towel News Services has more on this new BdG. I think this is the style of the next two years.]

The Fred was a big rich ale, green hop and with chocolate notes in the malt supported by creamy yeast. In a way, a little light for a ten percent ale as it was neither hot or spicy. The La Chouffe was pear juicey cream rich and round with a nice burlappy hop. I also wrote parsley potato. I will leave you to judge the state of my note taking. La Chouffe is at the SAQ, Quebec’s government store, so if I have to do a trip east this summer, I may survive on a case picked up in Trois Riviere. The Church-Key was slightly uncious with a honest but sort of quiet spud peel biere de garde mouth feel. But it was also pale malt grainy making me think it was sort of like their stock ale with a healthy nod towards biere de garde. Milky yeast and soft water, low hopping and medium to low carbonation. If the brew actually exists, that is.
cwbeerEarlier in the day, pre-rocking, supper was a buffalo burger at C’est What, a great tap restaurant which I have written about before. My first beer was a Denison Weisse, a hefe of lemon cream cut by a swath of weedy seet hop greens. Lively and prickley carbonation and a really nice grainy wheat texture. I also had a Black Oak Nut Brown, a good honest pint of dusty cocoa with twig-green hop, a milky yeast and pale grain roughness. C’est What is a great comfy basement bar with that most excellent of seating technology, the sofa.

So all in all – with a stop at the Queen’s Quay LCBO with its well-stocked and staffed beer corner as well as a decent beer book find – it was a very successful beer related run into the Big Smoke.

Ontario: Rogers’ Red Coat Pale Ale, Glenora, Prince Edward Co.

roger1aNew to the LCBO in a 650 ml bomb.

The graphics are very nice and honour a Loyalist unit from the era of the American Revolution that operated in northern New York and the Canadian St. Lawrence river valley.

Sadly, I cannot recommend this beer. It is sharp and cidery. Again, I can only hope this is off.

Ontario: Stratford Brewing Company, Stratford, Perth County


This weekend I made a discovery while looking for things to do while visiting family…OK, my in-laws. Right there in little Stratford Ontario was the Stratford Brewing Company. At the south end of town in a small industrial park area at the back of a building there it was…a van, a man and a set of second-hand brewing equipment making one of the best pilsners I have ever had.








After I got past what looked like an attack beagle, I met Joe Tuer who ended up taking over two hours of his day to tell me about his beer and his business.

I actually came back with the camera and a note pad. I was going to do this interviewing thing right. Looking at my notes now you would think I was sitting in a chilly lagering room in the middle of a Canadian winter fixated on the beer in front of me and chatting with a new found beer nerd fellow traveller. Oh…I was. I did get a good quote after I asked what his challange as a brewer was, which he replied:

I don’t want to be someone’s favorite beer. I don’t want someone to buy our beer religiously. If we’re in your top six – perfect.

This is a two beer operation. The flagship is a 4.9% Czech pilsner – by name of Stratford Pilsner – which has a nice breadcrustiness from the pale malt as well as a easy drinkability from Stratford’s soft artesian well water. Joe also poured me a new 4% porter he decided to add for winter. Chocolate with a nice snap of twiggy hops, this beer relies on a light fruity English ale yeast as well as that soft water. Again, quaffable at the lighter end of porter. The malt Stratford Brewering uses is from Gilbertson & Page of nearby Fergus, the hops from Hop Union and the yeast are from Wyeast.








Brewing lager takes a bit of an investment and a bit of a chance. Lager has to be “lagered” or stored in cold temperatures for a significantly longer period of time than ales. This means you need more storage capacity to produce the same amount of beer as an ale brewer. It also means you have to pay higher cooling costs. But what is smart about it is that you are aiming at a niche that the average southern Ontarian is already used to supping. You have market. Stratford Brewing services a keg market of about two dozen accounts right now which is largely based on local loyalty in town as well as beer lovers in downtown Toronto, about two hours drive east. The town of Stratford has a world famous Shakespeare festival which attracts folk from around the world including many who expect a town to have a local town brewer and who ask for his beer before they even know the name.

After some rejection from banks as a new grad with a business degree, Joe reinvented his business interest in beer while working in Singapore enjoying the ex-pat life. Diligent readers of the archives will be familiar with Brewerkz, a brew pub there visited by Newfoundlander and Asiapundit, Chris Myrick before he moved to Shanghai, land of pineapple beer. Joe got a short course of over the shoulder training from Scott Robertson at Brewerkz which carried him back to Canada a year and a half ago and started him on his search for equipment. What he found was in Cincinnati – a 14 barrel Specific Mechanical system originally from BC shown here.

I will revisit Stratford Brewing (and not only because I visit my in-laws there) from time to time. This is a lager I would return to – and this is from someone who is not a lager fan. I hope to find Joe on a hot August Saturday with a lawn chair each and time to contemplate his work.

C’est What, Toronto, Ontario

cest5I was in Toronto for a few days this week and was able to stop by a brewpub called C’est What. I have some notes to add later after I dig through my stuff but wanted to get these pictures up.

cest7The Next Day: I appear to have sprayed my things with notes-be-gone so I’ll do this from memory. I tried two of their own ales with my Porter Beef Ribs and like both a lot. The first was the redundantly named Brown Mild Ale. While it is true there is a style of that is a light coloured mild, it is rare enough that it is an exception to the general principle that mild is brown. At 3.3%, it is the right strength for a session of supping. The beer menu said it was nitro dispensed meaning instead of being pushed by the normal CO2 there is a measure of nitrogen added. This is the same idea behind cask flow ale in a can that leaves a tiny fine head. With this real ale, it works very well giving a creamy head that incorporates many of the flavours of the yeast. The beer was creamy with chocolate and walnut flavours. The hops were subdued giving a bit of structure to the finish. Very nice.








At the heart of the ale there is fresh clean water, exactly right for the style. This beer alone would bring me back to this pub. It is a beer that every brew pub should offer, that and/or ordinary bitter, a low alcohol version of a hopped light ale. My only complaint is that it costs the same as the other stronger ales. As 60% of the ingredients go in, ther should be some accomodation in the final cost I pay. That being said, $5.18 CND for a quality real ale pint is a good price.








The second ale I tried was their hemp ale. This is a favorite of mine whenever I have had it, the hemp replacing or adding to the hop effect. Depending on the amount and selection of hooping, the tastes can be quite different. In this version, it is basically a basic best bitter of 4.5% to 5.0% in terms of mouthfeel which has a layer of sweet green vegetableness added to it. And the green tastes like…fresh broad beans. Should gross but it is not. Quite good with the ribs. cest3The ribs themselves were worth attending again, though the were a smidge underdone for my liking. Meat should fall off ribs and the inner tissue should have essentially melted away. There was a bit too much of a gnaw to the meal but in terms of flavour and texture it was spot on. Served with a spring salad overly drenched in dressing and tastey fine cut herbed french fries. You can order extra ribs and I did, hence the Freddie Flinstone pile on the plate.

This is the second time I have been to C’est What and each time I think there is something less manic about brewing that I would think normal. Less brewiana-esque than most and a little cool or, better, laid back. But I suppose that is the market they are playing to. Odd to see errors like the menu saying Black Sheep Ale is from Scotland when it is from Yorkshire. Nerds usually do not get that wrong. That being said, the quality of the beers – especially in terms of the yeast selection – is as good as I have every tried.

Medieval Ale Drinking In London

An exhibit opens this week in London, England which provides evidence as to the drinking habits of the locals from around 1300 AD:

Experts have uncovered evidence that 12th century Londoners drank ale by the gallon, starting at breakfast time, due to poor quality drinking water. Exhibits at the Museum of London, including a selection of old Toby jugs, depict tubby men with beer bellies. London’s many drinking dens entertained ‘immoderate quaffing by fools’, according to a writer of the time.

Here is the website for the museum’s new exhibit. That would be an interesting place for a correspondent to visit. Any takers?

The Red Ensign Standard, Edition XXXII

The Elemental Form
Red Ensigns. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been working on this edition of the Red Ensign Standard for a while. Some of my readers may have no idea about Red Ensigns so it is good that wikipedia has a good post about them. If I can take credit for being around at the start of this project called the Red Ensign bloggers, I would note that my first post in response to that first post of Packwood’s was on all the variety of Red Ensigns there were in the world and how they trace a common thread among many peoples wherever the British had been. While I started simply as a flag lover, I did begin to notice a pattern – that the Red Ensign has often been present wherever the goals of freedom and liberty have been advanced…even if at certain times it was not raised on the side of that progress. The Stars and Stripes is even a Red Ensign if you think of the white stripes as an overlay on the red background – which is actually how the design developed.

And that made me think about the fact that I am a lucky man. I live in Canada and I am proud of by far the greatest part of what makes our nation what it is today. It is neither perfect nor arose from any revolution – for much of the good I have a great debt to the continuing past. I am a kid of the British Empire as I am a kid of Scots immigrants. The tail end of the Empire got us to Canada – this time. It was the first plane trip of emigration after years of sailing here and back. Many of mine had been back and forth to Canada as far back as some relatives called McGill were in Quebec in the 1700s. Apparently one great-grandfather of mine was even born in the US – imagine that. None of these trips were anywhere near the most dangerous trip taken under the flag of the Empire either – those who went before were in India and the Sudan with the British redcoats not to mention WWI and WWII in the next two generations.

re2Those generations forged peace. I got to grow up here and enjoy that peace after a wave of mid-50s immigration only because I, like so many others, was born of parents who got to move here from so many lands. I think of Canada as an expression of the success of the Empire in its tolerance and diversity of people who came to be Canadian five decades ago. Inclusion – of a sort – has been part of the nature of Canada even back to the first British Empire and the centuries of success of the Quebec Act and protection for that part of the culture; similarly, the First Nations were protected by the Empire’s Royal Proclamation of 1761 though with less success and respect. We have our lost gratitude for people like those who fought at Quebec in 1755 against the American invasion, and like Molly Brant whose force of thousands of Loyalist Mohawks basically kept Upper Canada from the British from the 1780s right through to the Rebellions of 1837 when Tyendinaga’s again joined in the militia at Kingston. If it were not for the choice and the bravery of the followers of the Brants who came north after the American Revolution, it is likely Canada would not go past Montreal these days. We owe both recognition and debt to all these parts of our community. We repay that through continuing acceptance and justice…or at least we should. But we fail and we get sidetracked, too. Some now even disparage our multicultural society but then compare Canada with the recent experience in France:

Amin Kouidri, 20, has been hunting for a job for more than two years now and spends his days drifting around a government housing project here under the watchful gaze of France’s national police. He and his neighbors in one of France’s now-notorious housing projects say that they feel cut off from French society, a result of a process of segregation lasting for decades, and that alienation and pressure from the police have now exploded in rage across the country.

I don’t recognize this – even though my children go to school with kids unlike them in language, holidays, habits. I don’t recognize it because it does not exist here despite both the hyperventilating of some and some real uglinesses. In the school near here everyone’s experience is celebrated – even those of our vets. This year the Remembrance Day events in that small elementary school were far more elaborate than anything I recall. Maybe we have learned something from the Dutch who came here in such numbers in the 50s, something about remembering and respecting. Maybe we lose that when we become adult and maybe we have problems needing resolution but I know I don’t recognize that rage in another country. I can tell the difference.

re3I am also lucky that I live in Kingston with its legacy of confederation world all around us as well as our memorials the those who sacrificed to give us the world we have today. Throughout this post I have placed photos of the stained glass in Kingston’s City Hall that was dedicated to remembrance of all who worked and fought for the country in the First World War. Click on the images for a larger view. It is hard to place ourselves in the minds of those who fought fascism in WWII and harder to conceive of the thoughts in the trenches in WWI. It is safe to say, however, that didn’t fight for may of the things any of the things we argue over now. They did not fight for the libertarianism of I, me, mine. Likewise there is likely not much Trudeaumania and what followed on their minds: large deficits rung up by gutless Grits and Tories from the 60s to the 90s. They fought for their community, their friends, their home – a common belief in something right – and their efforts, despite Somilia, for that “something right” have continued in Korea, in the first Gulf War, in the Medak Pocket, with our jets over Belgrade and now with JTF2 in Afganistan. Don’t get me wrong – Canada is still really stunned sometimes like this, too:

Clifton Wenzel flew almost 50 combat missions during the Second World War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Force Cross. But, in spite of his record, he was told when he left the service he didn’t qualify for a pension.

re4But it has always been so. There is a lot not to look back on with respect. The past was when women had no vote, segregation in Canada was normal and the state insensibly intervened with prohibition and censorship. Kids, like one of the great Canadian broadcaster Gordon Sinclair, died unable to afford the doctor. After the First World War, many of those that fought came home to fight in social equity and social programs for health care and other forms of relief expanded. After the WWII, the common practice of excluding people from services and accomodation based on religion or race was no longer accepted and the first human rights codes came into law. Conservative Prime Minister Diefenbacker joined the 1960s civil rights movement with our Bill of Rights. The bar was raised further in the early 80s when all provincial governments, but for the then separatist leaders of Quebec, came from across the spectrum and signed on to entrenchment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in our constitution. The economic miracle of the 20th century coincided with the movement from protection of the interests of the strong to rights for all under the hybrid of social democracy and free market capitalism we enjoy today. Those are the things we can claim as the legacy of the past, too, and the Red Ensign is a great expression of that diversity, that progress, that fight. That is why I like it so much. That old flag with a fish on it…or Jerome the giraffe.

Here is the review of the Red Ensign Bloggers for 7 to 21 November 2005. You will see that I note the references to posts about Remembrance Day, something our glorious leader considers critical. Silence on the event is also noted, usually in kind:

A Chick Named Marzi has been having some web issues over the weekend. She expresses some unhappiness with the down side of sharing your views on the web, being swamped with disagreeable emails and regrets the loss of Martha Stewart’s version of The Apprentice.

Abraca-Pocus! honoured Remembrance Day and Veterans Day and her Uncle Eddy. She also raises the fearful spectre of yet another generation – Generation C.

Absinthe & Cookies honoured Remembrance Day and gave Mexican Food a go.

Albion’s Seedlings proposed a theory for an Anglosphere Blog but has serious troubles understanding Canada in a can’t let go of the failed control of Empire sort of way yet…and missed Remembrance Day.

At All AgitProp, all the Time…there has been little time to blog as he has very busy.

Angry in the Great White North has been…angry: he is shocked at treatment of veterans with VIA rail housing them in a barracks; shocked at the Prime Minister skipping the Commonwealth Conference; and shocked at Paul Martin not understanding that the election he wants called falls in Easter. I should read the angry man more often as, while true to his name, he is picking up stories others don’t.

Anthroblogogy is written by an ex-pat in USA with a love of ammo who celebrated National Ammo Day and and speaks of these little shining objects as one might speak of fine cigars or wine. He remembered Armistice Day and Veterans Day.

John at Castle Argghhh! is the Master of Ammo and none of that sissy small arms stuff like at Anthroblogogy. Cannons roar at the Castle Argghhh! He held an excellent discussion followed his consideration of the role of the military chaplain, provided the most comprehensive round-up of Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day Observations and invited us all to Fort Leavenworth because someone else was buying the wine and cheese. Jon is one of my favorite reads, a daily stop and the unofficial ethical guide for the Red Ensigns.

Asiapundit. Ah, Myrick. The man with two places on the Red Ensign blogroll. Asiapundit is a great blog about another place – Asia. While there was no Remembrance Day post, he did pay two days of silen homage on the 11th and 12th. He has documented the chinese sign war against terrorism and has documented the effect of China’s blocking of blogs. He has also unfortunately provided my mind with the image of a skeletal Hello Kitty.

Ah, Damien of Babbling Brooks – a venerable if battle worn blogger, Damien has posted twice in the last two weeks. He is rightly upset at the state of procurement for Canada’s military and honours Remembrance Day.

At Blue Perspective, there were Remembrance Day poppies and lets loose the rumour that the Tories might cut GST.

Blue Tory honoured Remembrance Day honoured with Flanders Fields as well as “It is the Soldier”. While lots of news about the impending election from a Conservative perspective as you might expect from the name, Blue Tory has the grace to not slide into the sort of sweary mary talk. It must be the good influence of the NDP working its magic. A welcome voice from a different view than mine and his blog picture shows him in a grey dress shirt with a grey tie – something entirely 1983.

Unsettling cosmic news as Bound by Gravity is bound no more – Andrew quit blogging on 9 November.

On Remembrance Day, BumfOnline did a great job giving information on where one might shor respect in Calgary. A good reminder that blogs can actually provide information rather than repeat the opinions of strangers.

Canadian Comment did not post in the last two weeks and missed Remembrance Day as a result.

At Canadianna’s Place, for Remembrance Day, someone who refuses to wear the poppy was roundly taken on in a very good if fisky post. Otherise it is all election and the problems the Tories are facing positioning themselves. Good reflective posts from a conservative supporter.

Chris Cam missed Remembrance Day but he is dealing with and sharing the problems of being a working parent who travels. Plus he is a Red Sox fan. Good personal writing.

Conservative Canadienne honoured Remembrance Day with some interesting historical photographs and also addressed that unmentionable guy’s argument against wearing the poppy. He also looks forward to a fiscal plan from the Conservative Party.

Darcey of Dust My Broom is one of those prolific daily bloggers that give blogging a good name. Like Castle Argghhh! he ran a massive round up of Remembrance Day posts and featured the Red Ensign from Vimy. He covers the little discussed topic of aboriginal politics from a western Canadian view well. He provides a glimpse of things to come in his post Winterpeg.

ESR | Musings…did not cover Remembrance Day and mainly covers US politics as well as NFL on Mondays.

Here at Gen X at 40 the usual brilliant if pointless fare. I covered Remembrance Day with a couple of photos of one naval vet waiting for the ceremony to begin. The map of the global Gen X 40 Nation was created along with one for the sister station at A Good Beer Blog. So far beer is winning. Was there any doubt? The idea of a creating your own GUIs with a pen interface caught the nerd in me.

Remembrance Day was honoured at Grandinite with a personal essay on its importance. He also wishes Harper would get the guts to force the call of the election.

Hammer into Anvil wonders where the civil rights marches went as a means of protest.

Italics Mine is run by cartoonist Blair Hansen who has run into a bit of a wall getting them published other than on his web site. He notes that Ottawa is much colder than Afghanistan and actually argues about a position in relation to softwood lumber, a massive dispute which numbs my mind.

At John Murney’s Blog there is a guy called John Murney writing a blog. He actually has nice and genuine things to say about Shania getting the Order of Canada. He honoured Remembrance Day with observations on the last five WWI vets

John The Mad honoured Remembrance Day by republishing the eulogy of Canada’s Unknown Soldier from May 2000, pondered burnings in effigy and celebrated his first blogoversary by giving the Anglicans the gears about their treatment of Isaac.

Glenda of Just Between Us Girls recalls the letters from war in a really great Remembrance Day post, shares her version of the “I Am Canadian” speech and shares and writes a quite a good piece on abortion. A blogger to watch.

Minority of One has not published since October 14th

At M.K.Braaten, it is all about the coming election with posts about the mini-budget, the reasons to not call an election and Alberta’s western separatism movement. What do these people in the west of Alberta want anyway?

At Musing, the fact that there are only 50 US and five Canadian WWI vets left was a source of sadness, neatly distinguishes between true libertarians and high school goofballs and discusses a number of US political issues.

Musings of a Canadian Slacker, true to the name, last posted on October 30th and before that not since May.

Myrick, the man behind Asiapundit, has not posted to his own site since 12 October.

Quotulatiousness, run by Brigadier #3 in a three-man Brigadier relay team, has been cutting and pasting like a mad man. He loves Lee Valley Tools, the land of hardware porn, shares the humour over Open Source Media and, dry witted man that his is, actually quoted from Mark Steyn. I had to tape me ribs. What a wag! Nicholas remembered the vets in his own family for Remembrance Day.

The Raging Ranter has not raged since October.

The Ravishing Light has been dim since mid-October.

Rhetoricking with Myself, in a three post return to blogging after two months off, did not post on Remembrance Day but did chide Forbes magazine for noting blogs are pretty much bad and then disses the “new” Macleans, a Canadian magazine apparently delivered to dentist offices two months after publication. Very post-magazinist views.

Rightjab has come back from the Arctic Island where he was stranded since June to write one triff post on the Federal election (which surely must be coming if all the bloggers are talking about it) on the point that polls must be wrong as he has never been polled. This is a good point. I was polled on salad dressings and health care once. I am in favour of each.

Robot Guy has a 1970s-esque web site design going for him which is weird as the web only came into being about 15 years ago. There is something very Space 1999 about it. He a post about the Moons of Saturn, he plays sudoku right in front of your eyes but syndicated “Day to Day” which I cannot bear – though this is about one-third notch less bad than making me feel flayed like it used to before I made fun of it at Castle Argghhh! His coverage of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System makes up for it. He honoured Remembrance Day with Flanders Fields.

Update: Ed, the Robot Guy himself, asked me:

Could I get you to link to the monster sudoku here rather than the more mundane Thursday version?

There you have it. You know I had no idea there were grades of sudoku (not knowing even what sudoku is) but I am glad to hear there is monster sudoku which reminds me of this treasured recolection from childhood. I think Giant Robot took on the Monster Sudoku in episode 5 of season 3.That is the update…back to the past with you!

Ruth of RootleWeb sent me a largenumberof links on The Belgic Confession: Article 36and a wingy movie called “The Monstrous Regiment of Women” which I am sure not to ever see, especially now. In politics, Ruth covered the PQ Leadership race, the Big Brother Law, ElectionTiming, and the new Jack Laytonese, a language now audible to conservatives in Canada. Ruth honoured Remembrance Day.Cheery old intern Jay at the Shiny Happy Gulag came out of the forced labour camp for his first post since September on topic of a quote gnostic societies. No, I am not sure either.

Skeet Skeet Skeet has been AWOL since June and will likely be asked to leave the Red Ensigns…if anyone can find him.

Stephen Taylor is simply the man. I can say this because I have met him but unlike every other Red Ensign blogger I have met, I did not have beer with him. He rightly honoured Remembrance Day with a field of poppies. He does most things rightly, come to think of it. He announced the sad – nay, tragic – news that Paddy Binns, the premier of PEI, might run for his old Federal seat currently held by a stick painted red or some other stalwart of the Big Red Machine. He questions the polling methodology of the Liberals…yet stays quiet on the whole issue of why Rightjabman has never been polled. I know Monty knows, Steve knows Monty and now I want to know, too.

Striving Against Opposition stopped doing so mid-October.

Taylor & Company sounds like the name of either a men’s clothing shop or a high-end coffee shop. It is neither. Unlike Mr. Taylor supra, I allowed Chris (aka “Mr. T” or “T is for Taylor not t-totaller”) to sup ale with me and even to share a cab. He is decency itself. His Remembrance Day post (like mine…and damn few like us, I say) was an actual bit of citizen journalism with photos of many units present at the cenotaph at Old City Hall in Toronto. I think he is tempted to start A Good Scotch Blog.

The Conservative Hipster wrote an exceptionally good piece in the form of letter to our vets for Remembrance Day, notes the case of Darth v. Trump and ponders the Ontario voter in…oh, my…there appears to be an impending Federal election. Who knew?

The Freeway To Serfdom missed honouring Remembrance Day but contemplates the coming winter in Canada rather nicely. He speaks of being a bookish introvert. I think he is tired of talk about the impending election. I like him already.

[Ed.: At this point I would like to note one thing – holy freakin’ moly – this is takes lot of reading. I wonder if anyone else in the few left below will write something about…ummm…the timing of the impending Federal election.]

The Green Baron was displaced by Hurricane Katrina, suffered an engagement break-up and reinlisted in the US Army and as a result did not post from the end of August until Remembrance Day. Wow. No disrespect at all to the green one…but all I did in that time was put on some weight and blow my hockey pool picks. He is also quite, and quite uniquely, unkind to France.

The High Places did a great round up of Remembrance Day posts from the blogging Tories, that other more successful blogroll that we secretly envy and despise…unless we are on it. He ponders an interpretation in Lego brick of the greatest story ever told. He also takes a bash at the Vancouver civic election as well as the Surrey Civic Election. I like municipal politics and blogging except I can’t do it. And he discusses some panicking Tories in light of the…impending Federal election.

The London Fog is mostly about blogging municipal politics…but as it is 10:10 pm Saturday I will leave it to that for now and seek out a small jug of modestly priced but reasonably made medium oloroso to drive out the thoughts of the impending Federal election…

OK – let’s try that again. The London Fog is mostly about blogging municipal politics but takes a moment to recall Remembrance Day in the oddest way of all the Red Ensigns with a story relating how he can sympathize with vets providing recreational drugs for their pets. Other than that there are stories on or about issues surrounding what I am now referring to as the “IFE” including the cat who came back and the economic plan of the Grits all with a decidedly anti-Uncle-Joe slant. On the municipal scene, it’s all about the sewers.

The Meatriarchy shares my Atlantic Canadian shock at the failure to make Remembrance Day a public day of respect. He is also deeply involved with the War in Iraq and the War on Terror. Open Source Media makes him wonder about his own irrelevance. I need no such catalyst to consider mine.

The authors of the Monarchist honourRemembranceDay. They recall the day in 1975 that the Australian Governor-General did…something. [Ed.: sorry, I will be kind. Better put that another way.] One author lusts after my title of Esq., a bauble of my advancement to the bar. Aside from the royalist content, the Monarchists is a good read.

Victor at the Phantom Observer has a great post on why he marched on Remembrance Day.He also reviews the review by The Globe and Mail of the review of the 100 best Canadian books published by the Literary Review of Canada. Victor also goes after Federal Minister of Indian Affairs, Andy Scott and his actions or lack thereof in relation to Keeseekoose.

[Ed.: three to go.]

Tipperography has not posted since October 26th. That one was easy.

Toronto Tory missed Remembrance Day but took the time to mention a special someone lying to YOU in relation to the “IFE”. And then he pointed out that someone was LYING TO YOU in relation to the “IFE”.

I am very happy to conclude this review by reporting that West Coast Chaos included a great post about an interview of WWII vet Dave Harvard of Hazelton, BC. In another post on a particular issue of Smither’s municipal politics, WCC says no to saving the pool. I like the way WCC covers local news and only wish there were more posts. And not one reference to the “IFE”. Thank you. Thank you.

There you are. Another 26th of a year encapsulated. I am certain I missed no one because I used the blogroll and if someone is missing from the blogroll it is…my fault as I maintain the blog roll along with Ruth and Victor. The job of preparing the Red Ensign Standard was both much longer and more interesting than I thought it would be. These have been interesting times with the group to the point that even calling it a group and acting like a group is a challenge. It is my hope that members will reassert themselves a club of people who are interested in good web writing, regular web writing and the analysis of events from a Canadian perspective or awareness that includes respect for and understanding of the traditions which have and continue to make this a great country.

Below is a list of previous issues of the Red Ensign Standard. Some of the links may be dead as some members have signed off over the year and a half since this project began. Others have left the group through the sorts of finger-pointing schisms that only traditionalists can pull off. In each Standard you will, however, find that particular member’s take on the group and its meaning.

Castle Argghhh

Raging Kraut

The Last Amazon


Tiger in Winter (now blogging at Tiger in Exile)

Taylor and Company


Bound By Gravity

Dust My Broom

Ravishing Light

Babbling Brooks


Freeway to Serfdom

Nathan’s Updates From Seoul

Striving Against Opposition

The Phantom Observer



Turning 30 and a half

Canadian Comment

London Fog

The Monarchist

West Coast Chaos

A Chick Named Marzi

Raging Kraut

Robot Guy

The High Places

The Last Amazon

Robot Guy



One last thing. The next issue will be hosted by…who knows?. Contact “He Who Must Be Obeyed” Nicholas the Brigadier at his email address.

Now Linked at the ubercarnival.

The Stash Renewed

While in Syracuse NY for a couple of days, a brief side trip this morning to the Galeville Grocery sees the stash now renewed for another month or two. As a result, I have stories to write about Middles Ages, Mendocino of Saragota, Magic Hat, plus two new to try from each of Youngs, Ommegang and Weyerbacher (their imperial stout and imperial pumpkin ale) as well as a bunch of singles including Stoudts ESB.

The night before found me at Clark’s Ale House and its neighbour the Blue Tusk. I didn’t take notes or photos taking the time to just enjoy these two great bars and introducing them to pals. Both institutions handle the beers fantastically, coaxing hidden flavours out with their cleanliness and care. I had my first taste of Lake Placid’s keg only brown ale last night at Clark’s – very pleasant nut brown with what I thought was an interesting subtle spiciness in either the hop or yeast selection. At the Blue Tusk I settled into an extended relationship with Dogfish Head 60 Minute Ale, the intermediary between their Shelter Pale Ale and 90 Minute IPA which sits in what I now think of as my happy place. There are snugs at the Blue Tusk, those little rooms off rooms that give you a quieter spot, time to talk and listen. The one farthest from the bar sits eight in benches like slightly reclined pews.

St. Veronus, Peterborough, Ontario


So we went to Peterborough yesterday to see old friends and we had lunch at St. Veronus, a cafe/bar with a subtitle: “Belgian beer temple”…truer stv1words were never writ. We are now looking for jobs in the Peterborough area.  Unaccustomed to great selection, great service, reasonable prices, care and attention to interesting beer and fantastic food selection am I in a Canadian beer spot that I kept mentally making US exchange rate calculations as I browsed the menu and the beer lists. Then I would shake my head and say…this place is actually in Ontario…and Ontario is in Canada.








I was overwhelmed at the outset when I realized what lay before me. I did not know what to order for a first drink so I just wandered around the two room cafe taking pictures. I mentioned the fact of this here website and, without shifting into a higher gear of service in any respect, the extremely helpful staff answered any number of my deer-in-headlight questions. They even allowed themselves to engage in a little beer porn for the camera as illustrated below. I settled on a Rochefort 6, a new beer to me. At 7.5% it was off their “new arrivals” short list. It was heaven. From recollection malty, a tad burlappy with even a little chocolate perhaps. Others had various lambics and Gueze as well as a very nice Barbar honey ale which I got to sip. Loverly. Just look at the bar fridge – now that’s real shock and awe.








Despite the excellent price and variety of the beer, however, it was the food that actually made the visit. St Veronus offers a selection of grilled thick sandwiches with thoughtful ingredients that match the beers very well. The best I thought was the cheddar, slow cooked onion goo and slow cooked apple goo sandwich – it has an other better name but whatever it is called it was scoffed down by a seven year old in mucho haste. For my second sip, I had a local micro, Church-key Northumberland Ale. I did not get a six of that when I visited the brewery last winter but I will next time I go. It was a full malt-fruit forward rich pale ale under what must be the best beer handling conditions I have met in Ontario. And only 4.50 CND for a 500 ml pint.

Definitely a first of many visits.



Quick Note: St. Peter’s Old Style Porter

This beer from St. Peter’s is a ruby brown ale under an oddly ivory head. I’ve never seen an ivory head: tan plus hints of green-grey. This is old style, like Burton Bridge porter: barley candy plus molasses with lime and green hops. The yeast is sour cream or soured milk or something in between. Yet all well balanced.

Is this the holy grail? A 1750s porter? Likely not sour enough but colonial US farmers drank diluted vinegar so go figure.

Three More US Pale Ales

A Sunday afternoon on a balcony overlooking the St.Lawrence and Lake Ontario and these three fine examples of American brewing. On the radio, the Yankees and Red Sox in the rubber game of the weekend’s series. Perfection.

Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale: From Delaware. I picked up a few of this ale last weekend in Syracuse and am glad I did. It poured white foam over fairly still orangey amber ale with a relatively soft mouthfeel. The hops are not overwhelming with their green profile. The beer is minerally even salty. There is lots of toasty bread crust graininess to the malt. Also, a sort of shadow of unsweetened chocolate lingers – maybe not from the use of chocolate malt so much as the combination of pale malt fruit, bitter hops and a modest but rish yeast strain. The finish is dry with a little white pepper heat. A very well balanced pale ale that satisfied even though it is not juicey moreish.

Stoudt’s American Pale Ale: From Pennsylvania. A rocky half-inch of white head resovles to foam and rim leaving lace. The ale is deep golden straw. Its aroma is floral as is the first sip. It is a far hoppier take on the pale ale compared to the Shelter Pale Ale. Again, it is minerally with green weediness to the floral hops. The strength of the hops overwhelms the pale malt, exposed and lightly braced as it is by a small addition of crystal malt. There is some toffee but less than you would expect from an English pale ale or a US IPA. The finish has some pear juiciness and accordingly a bit of moreishness. If this were any other brewer this might be their IPA but given Stoudt’s dedication to the big as well as their Double IPA this is a relative pip squeek.

Stone IPA: From California. Again a similar white rim over orangey amber ale, though lighter on the red notes, halfway to deep golden straw. Similar to the Stoudts but softer with less weedy green in the hops, more grapefruit rind and green herb. They are chewy without being bombastic – as Stone
can well be. A bit hot in the mddle, it has less of the salty mineral feel of the Stoudts. The yeast is creamy but quite subdued, just a rich note behind it all. Really nice if you like a hoppy ale and perfect with ballpark peanuts in the shell for the game – even if the Yanks beat the Sox 1-0.