Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Introducing the beer that’s also a record

Is it a beer? Is it an album? It’s both!

In what might be an industry first, South River Ontario’s Highlander Brew Co has teamed up with Epitaph Records to create a beer with a label that is also a playable record.

The beer, Oxblood Pale Ale, features a stick-on label that is actually a flexidisc record featuring the song “Oxblood,” by Southern California-based band Plague Vendor.

The idea is that, if you peel off the label, you’ve got a record (Warning: Do not try to play the beer bottle before you peel it off. I ruined four turntables trying to).

The song from Plague Vendor, whose online bio touts their “voodoo punk” style, which is of course “a dance-fueled rock aesthetic tinged with shadowy darkness,” is decent, and if you’d like to check out the tune before you buy the beer, you can hear the track here. I personally prefer my darkness less shadowy but it is a nice tinge. Continue reading


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Haiku reviews: Beau’s All Natural’s Buenos Dias

Haiku reviews is a feature wherein I invoke the brief and impressionistic style of poetry to devote exactly 17 syllables to reviewing a beer.

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company’s Buenos Dias Gruit
The orchard’s soft breeze
Brings salty scents of the sea.
Fucking lovely day.

What they have to say: “Beau’s Brewery is welcoming the long days and long evening shadows of summer with two new beers that play off each other like day and night. Called “Buenos Dias” and “Buenos Noches,” both beers feature organic lime juice, lime and orange peel, and sea salt. While Dias is a day-drinkable 4.5%, Noches is brewed to a bolder, imperialized 9% ABV.

The aroma of Buenos Dias offers pronounced citrus notes, with subtle coriander undercurrents. Zippy lime flavour is accented with a wicking salt edge in the mouthfeel. The finish is quick, clean and dry. The profile of Buenas Noches is similar, but with more intense citrus, and a finish that is slightly warming. Buenos Dias will be available throughout Ontario and Québec, while Buenas Noches is a brewery-only limited release.”

Want to send me a beer for the haiku review treatment? Drop me a line.


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Sorry Bud Light, I’m not buying your “equal pay” stumping

BL
In a TV spot that aired for the first time yesterday, Bud Light, the marketing team that sells America’s best-selling and least-flavoured beer, attempted to “tackle” the issue of gender pay equality.

The ad is a continuation of the beer company’s pseudo-political ad campaign that debuted during the super bowl which featured Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer stumping for the “Bud Light Party.”

In this new ad, Rogen and Schumer attempt to humorously address the very real issue that women still make less money than men and are often required to pay more for the same products–everything from hair care, personal products, and mortgages. The tagline is “Bud Light costs the same no matter if you’re a dude or a lady.”

I won’t link to either ad (because that’s what they want) but you can be sure that the humour is about as thin and watery as the product its being used to hawk. And here’s why: It’s super hypocritical. Continue reading


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Mike Lackey: The Proost Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire is a famous questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses once given by the French writer Marcel Proust. Ben’s Beer Blog has co-opted this format in order to provide a revealing look at people making beer and working in the beer industry in Ontario. As such, I’ve renamed it The Proost Questionnaire, since “proost” is the Dutch word for cheers. Clever right?

Mike Lackey is the head brewer for Etobicoke’s Great Lakes Brewery. Here, the man responsible for some of your favourite IPAs goes deep to talk about his favourite jacket and his secret love of bees.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Having a beer with the game on in the backyard.

What is your greatest fear?

My wife one day realizing that she can do way better than me.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Living in the same neighbourhood, keeping the same job and keeping many of the same friends through most of my life.

What is your favorite occupation?

Playing hockey. Continue reading


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Muskoka Brewery celebrates 20 years

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Muskoka Brewery was probably part of your discovery of Ontario craft beer, even if you don’t think they were.

Since they opened the doors in 1996 with a cream ale and steadily became more adventurous as Ontario beer drinkers’ palates evolved, their growth as a company has essentially mirrored the growth of Ontario’s craft beer scene. It’s almost certain that they’re responsible for bringing people on board with the idea that supporting local beer is rewarding and then, by degrees, that beer can be a little more adventurous than the shit people typically buy at The Beer Store.

This year Muskoka Brewery is celebrating their 20th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, they have a handful of cool things going on. Continue reading


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Why is craft beer so white?

Be forewarned: This is a super long post. Like annoyingly long. Like “Really, Ben? Ever heard of editing?” long. But this is a topic with a lot of angles to be covered and a it’s one which I felt required fulsome exploration. Also, it’s my blog and you’ve been reading my shit for free for five years so I can do whatever I want. K, thanks. 

Canada’s craft beer industry is a friendly and welcoming scene.

Spend any amount of time in the company of the people who are making and drinking craft beer in this country and you’ll quickly be drawn in by the engaging events and the comradery that exists even among so-called competitors. Craft beer is fun and this inclusionary atmosphere (along with the interesting beer) is likely a big part of the reason more people are discovering craft beer and why estimates put small breweries’ share of Canada’s beer market at around 10%.

So why then, in an industry that seems implicitly welcoming and inclusive, are almost all those friendly faces white?

Scan a newspaper for news of a brewery opening in your town, check out local website coverage of the latest craft beer festival in your area–heck, just do a stock image search for “people drinking craft beer”–and you’ll see pretty quickly that Canada’s craft beer scene is whiter than a country club fundraiser for sustainable organic mayonnaise.

Toronto in particular, where Canada’s craft beer charge is arguably being led, is ranked among the most multicultural cities in the world, and is the most diverse city in the country with the last available census data stating 47.7% of the city’s population comprises “visible minorities.”

So why don’t any of these people of colour seem to be drinking, making, or selling beer? Continue reading


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Andrew Peters: The Proost Questionnaire

The Proust Questionnaire is a famous questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses once given by the French writer Marcel Proust. Ben’s Beer Blog has co-opted this format in order to provide a revealing look at people making beer and working in the beer industry in Ontario. As such, I’ve renamed it The Proost Questionnaire, since “proost” is the Dutch word for cheers. Clever right?

Andrew Peters is a co-founder of Forked River Brewery. Here’s why he likes survival stories and wishes he could sing.

Andrew PetersWhat is your idea of perfect happiness?

A crisp autumn day hiking with the family, back to the campsite for a cold beer, music around the campfire, then gentle rain on the tent roof.

What is your greatest fear?

Disappointing people–friends, family, customers.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Building a life here in London with a wonderful family, and helping to foster the craft beer scene here.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Procrastination (I got these questions a month and a half ago….)

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Disrespect and arrogance. Continue reading

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