Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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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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Stepping up the game: A conversation about beer and food with Bar Isabel’s Guy Rawlings

Bar Isabel

Appropriately, when I first try to contact Guy Rawlings, he’s busy hoarding beer.

The self-proclaimed “General Manager in a chef’s body” has just learned that Les Trois Mousquetaires’ Hors Serie Gose, part of the LCBO’s long-delayed 2014 summer beer release, has finally hit store shelves and he’s loading up. When I reach him, he’s pushing a shopping cart full of the stuff, having just cleaned out the Dundas and Dovercourt location of the liquor store, and he’s juggling a cell phone trying to get his haul home.

“Sorry,” he says. “Can I call you back?”

His ability to seek out (and covet) good beer is one of the reasons I want to talk to Rawlings.

A chef by trade, Rawlings’ name has been attached to a handful of the city’s best restaurants in the last few years including the Black Hoof, the now-closed Lucien, the also-now-closed Brockton General, and Room 203, his own “event space and food lab” where he threw intimate, multi-course, private dinners featuring elaborate, collaborative and foraged menus. Continue reading


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I don’t need labels that tell me my drink is cold

Iceberg

I received a press release the other day from a Canadian vodka company that recently updated their brand. In addition to a snazzy new website and new bottle shape, the press release informed me that the vodka company opted to include a new area on their label that changes colours when the vodka reaches optimal drinking temperature.

Now, I don’t have anything bad to say about the vodka–it’s actually a good, smooth, well-priced, Canadian vodka–but this sort of superfluous branding gimmick irks me.

It’s a strategy that was probably first and definitely most famously embraced by Molson-Coors when they opted to include colour-changing mountains on their beer bottle labels in 2007 (which were joined by “cold activated cans” in 2009). They ushered a new era of branding into an industry already awash with cheesy branding and arguably invented a new temperature by coining the term “rocky mountain cold.”

Now regardless of what some beer snobs might say, there is of course a time and a place for a really cold and easy to drink beer; post baseball game or following some strenuous yard work it’s hard to advocate downing a 16 degree Celsius snifter of Chimay Grand Reserve. One likely opts for something cold in these situations, whether it be rocky mountain cold, Rubbermaid cooler cold, or just plain garage fridge cold. However, choosing to market your beer on the merit of its cold temperature and the beer’s ability to let you know when it has reached that temperature is just plain stupid.  Continue reading