Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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Sexist beer marketing: Meanwhile in Nova Scotia

A  few months ago I wrote a blog post discussing sexist marketing in beer and I called out–and chatted with–some Ontario breweries about marketing efforts I felt objectified women.

In the interim, there have been some changes worth noting. Whitewater Brewing, the Ottawa Valley area brewer who makes “Farmer’s Daughter Blonde,” has quietly updated the branding for that can and appears to have renamed their seasonal “Farmer’s Daughter’s Melons” to the decidedly less cringe-inducing “Watermelon Blonde.”

Niagara Brewing Company, the makers of “Amber Eh!,” an American-style Amber that features a semi-naked female lumberjack on the can, took the less strategic but still effective approach of responding to my repeated inquiries by simply blocking me on social media. I guess that works.

The other breweries mentioned have, to date, continued business as usual; including continuing to use the cans that I discussed.

As first reported here in August, Garnet Pratt Siddall, the then-newly-appointed chair of the Ontario Craft Brewers who spoke candidly with me for my article about sexist beer in the industry, has been terminated as the CEO of Collingwood’s Side Launch Brewing Co.

I’ve also confirmed with the OCB that she has likewise subsequently resigned as the chair and director of that organization. It remains to be seen who her replacement will be and, as such, it’s unclear whether the de facto figurehead of Ontario’s only organization advocating for small brewers will share Siddall’s interest in making changes related to offensive marketing.

Interestingly though, one of the most promising changes to come about since my article, and apparently as a result of it, comes not from Ontario, but rather from Nova Scotia. Continue reading


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The best beer I’ve ever had: Doug Lounsbury

As part of an ongoing series, The best beer I’ve ever had, I put the call out to other beer folks and ask them to detail their “best beer” experiences for me.

For today’s installment, Doug Lounsbury shares his (illegal) story. Lounsbury is one of the founders of the Georgetown Craft Beer Festival , now in its third year and taking place Saturday Sept. 16th, from 11-6pm.

This story might not be politically correct, as my best beer memory actually came at very young age.

When my father was in his mid 30s, he decided to move away from the city and give farming a shot. I was born a few years after this transition.

In the early 70s, when I was young, rural living was much the same as it is now. It meant early hours and hard work, with friends and neighbours helping each other out; especially at harvest time. My father had pigs, corn, and hay and it is hay that that led to my best beer memory.

In late summer, all of our neighbours would move from farm to farm assisting in the harvest. The hay was in bales and the men would follow the tractor and trailer, throwing the bales into neat stacks. Every man was needed for this backbreaking job and so who was left to drive the tractor? Well, at all of five years old, that job fell to me. My instructions were simply to keep the steering wheel straight and, on the turns, someone would jump up and maneuver it for me. I’m not entirely sure how many times I got to do this, but it is ingrained in my memory for one important reason: Beer.

When we were done I remember we all gathered in the shade and everyone had a Labatt’s Blue. I was having water, but I distinctly remember my dad let me have a taste of his beer.

I remember it being cool and bubbly.

To this day, whenever I finish working in the garden or cutting the grass, I have a cold beer and it brings me back to those days. Of course, these days it’s usually Steam Whistle, not Blue.


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Gingera for Redheads


#BEERFORGINGERS

Gingera is a representation of a redhead’s delicate physicality and a ginger’s fiery disposition. The two contrasting tempers, present in the redhead essence, are depicted through the pale, translucent bottle and spicy, unfiltered taste.

Gingera was born to prove that redheads can succeed anywhere without having to adapt and sacrifice just because they were born with a slight mutation of the MC1R gene on chromosome 16.

Redheads have long been disregarded in the sun- and patio- loving beer industry just because they burn more easily when exposed to UV rays and can’t absorb sufficient Vitamin D due to low concentrations of eumelanin in their body. But owing to determination and the fact that their hair is red, are now poised to redefine the perception of beer. Continue reading


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A conversation with Richard Sigesmund of Gleemer Imports

If you’re a fan of craft beer in Ontario and have spent any amount of time participating in the conversation about the scene online, it’s likely you’ve run into Richard Sigesmund.

A perennial critic of the province’s beer scene, Sigesmund generally isn’t afraid to tell anyone how he really feels about a certain beer, brewery, or trend and, on occasion, the conversation has been known to get a little heated. As of this post, for example, he has unfriended me on Facebook (though we still trade barbs on twitter and we chatted via email for this post).

To call him a fan of Belgian beer would likely be putting it lightly. Sigesmund travels to the region at least once a year and interned as a brewer there. He’s also an avid home brewer and has collaborated on a few brews with Toronto’s Muddy York brewing. And while he’s fairly quick to share his thoughts on the superior beer scene in other regions, unlike most Ontario beer-critiquing twitteratti or self-righteous beer bloggers (ahem), Sigesmund is poised to put his money where his mouth is later this year when he officially launchers Gleemer Imports, his very own Ontario beer agency “importing liquid happiness from Belgium and beyond.”

I chatted with the fledgling agency owner to see what we might be able to expect from Ontario’s newest beer importer. Continue reading


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Are beer drinking Saskatchewan football fans getting a rough ride?

Beer drinking fans of Saskatchewan’s CFL team appear to be getting something of a rough ride when it comes to their choices this season.

That’s because the Roughriders’ new stadium, which opened in August of 2016 and is slated to host its first regular season CFL game on Canada Day, appears poised to pour Molson-Coors products exclusively, despite much lip-service paid to craft brewers in the run up to Mosaic Stadium’s opening.

Now, exclusivity in arenas and stadiums likely won’t be all that shocking to most readers given that in Canada we’ve become accustom to a team entering a “partnership” with either Molson or Labatt (despite the fact that it is technically illegal in Ontario). Jays fans will note the all AB-InBev beer lineup at the Rogers Centre and fondly recall the shit show that resulted when the organization dared to offer Steam Whistle for one glorious season.

But the Saskatchewan Roughriders aren’t a privately owned team run by Canada’s biggest telecommunications company and their new stadium isn’t owned by any private entity. Continue reading


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How to talk to your friend about drinking shitty beer

Have you noticed that a friend or family member is still drinking beers like Budweiser, Molson Canadian, Coors Light, Miller Light, or even Pabst?

It can be difficult watching someone you care about drink shitty industrial lager. You may feel torn about how to discuss foreign ownership, adjuncts, and the fact that much more interesting beer exists. But while the conversation about dad beers is never an easy one, it’s necessary.

Before talking to your friend about their shitty drinking habits, it’s important to understand that they may not realize they have a problem. Some people happily picking up a 2-4 with a NASCAR shirt in it or grabbing a “suitcase” of “crushable” cans for a trip to the cottage may deny they have a problem entirely. Regardless of your friend’s reaction, stay calm and know that you have their best interest in mind.

First and foremost, collect your thoughts and think about what you’re going to say ahead of time. A supportive message will be received better than negative, hurtful language. This is a difficult time for your friend, so your reassurance will help them realize they’re not alone. Millions of people have learned to put down the industrial lagers and drink well-made, interesting beer. Macro abuse should be discussed sooner rather than later. The earlier you have the conversation, the quicker your friend can seek treatment and start accompanying you on brew pub visits, ordering flights of small batch beer, and taking part in your bottle shares. Continue reading


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Beau’s All Natural adds a full time IPA to their lineup

I don’t usually do detailed beer reviews any more, but sometimes I try a beer that makes me feel like talking.

Vankleek Hill’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. is about to release an IPA that will join their roster full time. Appropriately, it’s called Full Time IPA.

Here’s why I dig this: You could argue that the IPA trend in Ontario is on its way out (I mean you could. I probably wouldn’t listen), but we’re definitely ushering in a return to traditional, “simpler” styles like pilsners and lagers. And so Beaus, who are arguably best known for their kolsch-style beer, have decided to to offer a up a full time, hop-heavy beer because, why the hell not? Continue reading