Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


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The Friday Four 11/24/2017

The Friday Four is a weekly feature where I mention some beers I either drank this week, am currently drinking, or am looking forward to drinking. 

Cowbell Brewery
Shindig Huron County Lager

Somehow, during all the hullabaloo about the opening of the Disneyworld of Beer, aka Cowbell in Blyth, I missed the news that they created a lager and launched it on their opening weekend, dedicating it to “the hard working men and women who built the Blyth brewing facility.” Shindig Huron County Lager has apparently been available on tap at the brewery ever since and, a press release I received Wednesday tells me, has been so popular, the company has decided to make it their fourth canned beer.

Shindig is described as a “remarkably crisp, clean and refreshing beer” and will be available in 355ml cans at The Cowbell General Store and The Beer Store. Maybe it’s all the dark and boozy winter-appropriate offerings I’ve been into as of late, but a new lager in small cans (from a company that has thus far produced some solid offerings) sounds right up my alley this week. And just think of the extra sales they’ll see by confused consumers who think it’s a new Bellwoods beer.


Oud Beersel
Oude Geuze Vielle

I became aware this was available here in Ontario because I follow Keep 6 Imports on instagram and did an LCBO online order (apparently these aren’t that hard to find if you live in TO, but, as people tend to forget, some folks actually don’t live in Toronto).

As it’s an Oude Geuze, this is a blend of one, two, and three year-old lambics, and is an effervescent, slightly fruity, subtly funky, tart lil’ beauty. There’s a touch of wood and some earthiness that grows as it warms. Is there such a thing as a “go-to” lambic? If  so, this would be a candidate. I bought ten of these. I wish I bought more. I’m drinking one right now. Continue reading


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Guinness Blonde American Lager makes me sad

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Everyone knows Guinness.

With a lineage that dates back to the 1770s, Guinness is probably one of few virtually universally known beers—mention dark beer to the uninitiated and they’ll likely say “Like a Guinness?”—and its longevity is owed in no small part to the fact that it’s a profoundly drinkable beer. It has never been so strange as to scare off mainstream beer drinkers, and has always seemed to have a ubiquitous presence in the types of bars where fans of real beer might be forced to order it because it is the thing on tap that sucks the least.

Which is really a weird and roundabout way of saying Guinness is good.

Sadly, in an increasingly marketing-dominated industry, even Guinness, with the international powerhouse marketing dollars of Diageo behind it, has begun to experience declining sales numbers. Indeed, aside from a slight rise in sales in Ireland between 2009 and 2013 thanks to a huge marketing push that even included inventing a holiday, Guinness sales are sinking. According to the Economist

in 2014 Diageo lost eight times as many sales of Guinness in Britain as it gained in Ireland (see chart). Americans are also downing far fewer pints of Guinness, though the drop is at a slower pace than across the Atlantic.

And so seemingly in an attempt to stem the tide of sinking numbers on this side of the pond, Guinness has just launched Guinness Blonde American Lager here in Canada (it has already been available in the US for a couple years).

I was invited to the Toronto launch of the brand and was provided with some cans to sample and, ultimately, the whole thing has just made me a little sad. Continue reading