About the Beer: For this Saint Patty’s Day, I’m forgoing the traditional Irish music playlist and opting for a dedication to the lovely redheads in our lives. We traditionally see green as the official colour of Saint Patty’s. I vote we make red the second official colour. Even the Lucky Charms mascot has red hair.
Many associate red hair with Ireland but, in reality, it’s very dispersed around the world. Growing up with red hair, I’ve been asked many questions about my origin or where I got my head of hair. In my case, it’s the Irish and Scottish blood seeping through. Ten per cent of Ireland’s population had red hair. I know! I thought it was way more too. But it is a recessive gene after all and 46% of the population there carries it. Please feel free to read more about redheads on Wikipedia.
Nita brewed a nearly perfect ginger spiced ale. The ginger is present but not overpowering. The colour is a nice amber that matches my beard. So you know it’s good! ☺
I’ve already finished the beer and I just started writing.
Lone Wolf McAle is a tribute to another ginger we all love… Chuck Norris! Lone Wolf McQuade was made in 1983 where Chuck squares off against David Carradine. What more could you ask for? If you want to watch the movie, go get yourself a few Lone Wolf McAle’s at the brewery. They are open Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The playlist will include at least one redhead in the band presented.
Beer: Acadian Groove by Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Style: Canadian Maple Porter ABV: 10% Pairing: An Acadian inspired music playlist
About the Beer
Acadian Groove received a 98% on rate beer. I would have to completely agree. A perfect blend of maple and vanilla throughout. If you dare put it on vanilla ice-cream, I would call you a hero. If you can still find it at your local LCBO, please treat yourself to one of my favorites this year. With the sugar shack season upon us, you will not find another beer as perfect to bring along your snowshoe adventures into our Ontario maple forests.
For those of you that know me, I’m a proud Acadian. When I saw the beer on the shelf, no price point would have been able to stop me running to the cash, purchasing said beer and hugging it like a long lost Acadian family member.
Growing up in New Brunswick, I know how deeply the music roots reach down in our hard fought soil. I would marvel at my great grand uncles tap their feet as they gleefully played the violins to get everyone dancing at our family reunions.
But the thing is about roots, they usually grow out of the soil and spring up all these branches. Each branch having its own beauty. So is the musical diversity in the Acadian contemporary music scene. From Cayouche with his “of the people’ brand of folk to Les Paiens with their fusion post rock grooves that have inspired many Acadian musicians to explore all musical avenues.
This all brings me to our featured group. You couldn’t ask for a better Acadian Groove than anything that Radio Radio can produce. Radio Radio continues to have amazing success rhyming in both our official languages and will be playing at Ritual Night Club March 4th with opening act Alex Silas. A must see show!
Radio Radio “Ej Feel Zoo” and their new single “My Dance Floor”
Try not to dance… IMPOSSIBLE!
Zero Degré Celsius “Marie-Madelon”
Gab from Radio Radio used to DJ for Zero Degré Celsius.
Joseph Edgar accompagné de Radio Radio “Espionne russe”
Joseph Edgar was the lead singer for the above mentioned Zero Degré Celsius. Full circle!!
Les Païens “Le Phare”
I’ve had the pleasure to share a stage with them many times. Their ability to improvise and write amazing music have inspired many.
Wanabi Farmeur “Blowé ma cage”
Featuring current and ex Les Paiens members, Wanabi Farmeur have a worldly sound that Mathieu D’Astous and Ginette Ahier have masterfully crafted.
Mathieu D’Astous “Derniere messagere”
Before Wanabi Farmeur, Mathieu amassed a significant number of songs under his belt. This is one of my favorites.
Michel Thériault “Rose-Marie”
I personally played a few live shows with Michel as his percussionist. Lyrically, Michel is one of our best.
Lisa LeBlanc “Kraft Dinner”
Kraft Dinner and Acadian steaks (fried baloney) makes me miss home. Lisa Leblanc makes Kraft Dinner sound appetizing with her sultry voice.
Les Hay Babies “Néguac and Back”
This song reminds me of all the little road trips we would do to see the ladies of another part of New Brunswick. All those miles for different smiles.
The Divorcees “Red Haired Red Blooded Woman”
This song is about a girl I went to school with. We both shared the ginger jokes pelted our way. The bassist of the Divorcees was one of the ones making fun of us… In the most loving way of course. #WordsHurt 😉
Hert LeBlanc “Su La Ligne A Harde”
What I do miss from home the most is the vast diversity of accents from village to village. Hard press to not hear a song like this one in each town blaring out of cars doing “ups and downs”.
Cayouche “Export A”
This larger than life hippie has been making Acadians happy for over 30 years.
Contact me on twitter @danielbordage or at email@example.com for suggestions, comments or just to say hi.
Another season, another beer festival, and the Brew Fest on Feb. 12th and 13th at Lansdowne followed a typical example of the phenomenon. Ottawa is rich when it comes to quality microbreweries, and the frequent celebrations are a testament to a thriving craft beer scene in the region. While Ontario’s microbreweries are creating plenty of unique beverages, those in the National Capital Region are luckier than most; we are close to the provincial border which brings another province’s products into easy reach. Attendees at the Brew Fest didn’t even have to cross a river to sample some of Quebec’s best.
I attended the session on Saturday afternoon, and had a great time familiarizing myself with new products. After a couple years covering the craft beer scene in Ottawa it’s become more challenging to find new beers to try, but the plentiful selection at Brew Fest brought a combination of old favourites and new brews. Scroll down to see which beverages won an award in my books, but first check out an exclusive interview with the festival’s General Manager.
A Festival is Brewing
In between samples, I caught up with Michael O’Farrell, the General Manager of both Festibière and Brew Fest. We spoke about the festival’s expansion into Ottawa last year, an opportunity which came about when Winterlude was looking to add programming to the renewed Lansdowne park – in fact, they were the very first event in the renovated Horticultural building. This year, the two events opened and closed Winterlude, engaging beer affectionados on both sides of the provincial border.
The proximity of the two cities is a feature of the National Capital Region that’s often overlooked, but it brings a lot of diversity to the region. As Michael put it, “I think a lot of people in this region are scared to cross the bridge”. Brew Fest featured many Quebecois breweries this year, which was an expansion from last year’s edition. “Logistically and legally, it is very time consuming [to arrange cross-border sales]. You have to go through a private distributor. The monopoly that the LCBO and the Beer Store have… they’re slowly letting their guards down but it’s still very controlled. When the Beer Store is owned by Sleeman, Molson and Labatt, that’s a big issue for me. It doesn’t bring a healthy competition.”
On that note, I asked O’Farrell about the decision to include Molson-owned breweries in the festival, i.e. Mill St and Creemore. It’s an interesting question, because does the ‘craft’ designation come from the model of ownership, the scale of production, the creation of unique beers, or something else? “ It’s a tough one. If I were an owner of a brewery and someone offered to buy it, I’d have to think about it. It depends on your morals, your values, and your business plan… The whole craft beer industry is about finding something unique and different that people don’t easily have access to, and a lot of that comes down to the ingredients.” One thing I will say in defence of corporate ownership of craft breweries, is that it allows them to use the distribution networks of larger companies. Put into practice, you can get tasty beer like Chicago’s Goose Island at Babylon.
In closing, I asked O’Farrell about his favourite breweries at Brew Fest. “I really love Beyond the Pale. They play a lot with hops, flavours, and aromas, and they always have something unique. On the Quebec side, Gainsbourg has the same concept – they have bitter, hoppy beers that use floral aromas.”
Winter Brew Fest (Photo by Aileen Duncan/Ottawa Showbox)
Unconventional Brewing Awards
Before the festival, I reached out to friends and foes, asking them to submit categories by which I could pit the festival’s beers against each other in fierce competition.
“Beer most likely to make me take off my under-roos”
The winner of this inhibiting award is Quebec’s Charlevoix Brewery with their Belgian strong ale Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus. While packing quite a punch at 10% ABV, this beer’s taste doesn’t reveal its mighty strength. The blonde ale is bright and crisp, with notes of citrus and apple notes, and a bready malted body. If you enjoy that “trappist” style yeast flavour, these will go down surprising easy. You’ll be drunk before you know what hit you.
Musical pairing: The chill guitar in this Bahamas song somehow suits the beer. They sing “I know you’re afraid of falling flat”, which you just might after a few of these strong brews.
“Best beer-related pun”
The nominees for this award were somewhat sparse, and the winner by default was Covered Bridge‘s Eternally Hoptimistic. Despite the lack of competition, this is a delicious beer in its own right. A pale ale that pours reddish-brown in colour, the intial impression is a bitter explosion of citrus-flavoured hops. The flavour quickly mellows into toasted malts that wash over your palate. Sessionable if you like hops, but the aroma makes this a great training beer for those who are less enamoured with the bitter beauty of hops. My fellow judge Stuart first described this beer as “a lawnmower on my tongue.” However, he soon admitted “it gets better the more you drink it, kinda like heroin”. And that, my friends, is how one gets used to hops.
Musical pairing: I might be in the minority here, but I love puns. NOFX aside, it’s hard to find musical examples of this particular form of humour. I’ve paired this beer with more conventional form of humour. As a side note, you can catch Radio Radio at Ritual in March.
“I don’t even like beer”
Many breweries boast that their double IPAs or triple imperial stouts are “not for the faint of heart.” While I’ll take a dark bitter beer more often than not, there are those who find hops overwhelming.
For the faint of heart, I recommend the Infusée by Brasseurs du monde. Marketed as a “tree tea white beer,” the brew manages to taste closer to peach juice than beer – yet still clocks in at 5.4%. It’s aromatic, delicious, and the best (only?) tree-infused beer I’ve ever had. I clearly wasn’t the only one who liked it, because it sold out pretty quickly.
As this is a tea infused beer, listen to this killer track by The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer while enjoying a pint, or two, of the delicious beverage.
We like beer. (Photo: Aileen Duncan/Ottawa Showbox)
About the Beer: A Rabble Rouser is defined as “a person who speaks with the intention of inflaming the emotions of a crowd of people, typically for political reasons.”
This is one of my new favorite IPA’s in the region. It’s well balanced and not overdone on the bitterness. At 6.8%, it drinks like a crisp Pale Ale. After two, I could tell it would be a great night. Quantity and Quality! Three more and I might have to get on my soap box!!
I decided to make a playlist to get you in the mood to Rabble Rouse with me. Go buy yourself 6 Rabble Rousers, listen to the music, and inflame the emotions of your Facebook friends. (A typical Tuesday for me)
Rabble Rouser Playlist
Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit”
A most haunting song about lynched black men. I know I’m starting off strong with your emotions. But that’s my intention.
TV On the Radio “Dry Drunk Emperor”
“Did you buy the bull they sold you / That the bullets and the bombs / And all the strong arms / Would bring home security?” The George Bush era angst.
Bright Eyes “Road To Joy”
“What history gave modern man / A telephone to talk to strangers / Machine guns and a camera lens / So when you’re asked to fight a war that’s over nothing / It’s best to join the side that’s gonna win … No one’s sure how all of this got started / But we’re gonna make them goddamn certain how its gonna end.”
Neil Young “Revolution Blues”
Bit of a serial killer vibe but love the song.
T.REX “Children of the Revolution”
I hope my children will be children of a revolution.
The Wicked Mercy “Out of Your Head”
#OttBand The Wicket Mercy rock it out with Out of Your Head from their latest record Sundown.
Rage Against the Machine “Killing in the Name”
Want to stir up a crowd? Anything by Rage Against the Machine will do.
Dead Weights “Don’t Talk To Me About Morrissey”
Morrissey is known as a Rabble Rouser but Dead Ends don’t want to hear about it. #OttBand
The Adicts “Viva La Revolution”
Need I say more? VIVA LA REVOLITION!!!
Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.”
How could I not finish with the Sex Pistols? Arguably the biggest Rabble Rousers in this list.
Beer: Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Broadhead Brewing Company
Style: Stout – Other
Pairing: A “Holiday” Playlist
About the Beer: Candy cane lovers rejoice! It might not pair well with a steak but it’s not supposed to. I had it with chocolate and it paired well. They currently have it at the brewery and I suggest you add it to your beer advent calendar.
It is however a challenging beer for the novice. My playlist for MKSC reflects that. You won’t find these songs in your everyday holiday playlist just like you won’t find this beer in your typical beer fridge.
Jim Bryson “Mary New Year’s Eve”
Starting off with this sweet song by #Ottband Jim Bryson. A reflection on how much we consume this time of year.
Tom Waits “Christmas Card to a Hooker in Minneapolis”
I like how his Christmas story is so much different than mine…
Julie Doiron “Heavy Snow”
My formative years were spent in the same region as Julie Doiron in New Brunswick. She knows about heavy snow.
Clarence Carter “Back Door Santa”
Yeah santa, please come through my back door. It’s a lot easier!
James Brown “Hey America”
Hey!!!!!! If you want your dose of James Brown HEYS!, look no further.
Dana Dane “Dana Dane Is Coming to Town”
Hip hop has come a long way since Dada Dane came to town.
De La Soul – “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa” or The Roots “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”
Take your pick! Same song, different vibes…
Beck – “Little Drum Machine Boy”
When Beck wrote good songs… Not saying this one is…
Fucked Up “David Christmas”
He’s and angry elf…
El Vez “Feliz Navidad”
Also known as the Mexican Elvis, El Vez performs a spirited version of Feliz Navidad.
Moar Treeverb “PS Xmas Dood”
My Fav on this list… #OttBand
The Ramones “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
How many of us dread the family business of the holidays?
Pointed Sticks “Power Pop Santa”
Power pop kids the same as a hipster?
The Visit “Offering”
I want to leave you with a gift. An “offering” if your will. This #OttBand is one to watch for. The Offering is not like anything I have heard before. Enjoy and happy Holidays!
Contact me on twitter @danielbordage or at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions, comments or just to say hi.
About the Beer: Ahhhhh pumpkins… The seasonal berry (yes, a berry) that everybody goes crazy about this time a year. You will find pumpkin spice in your lattes, desserts, whiskey, and of course beer. But the folks at Big Rig Brewery actually spiced and roasted local pumpkins to give Tales from the Patch its rich flavour. This beer will warm you up as you prepare for the hordes of trick or treaters anxiously awaiting at your door.
Tales From The Patch is a chocolate-hued pumpkin porter that uses real pumpkins the brew team picked from Miller’s Farm in Manotick, ON. “We came back to the brewery and spiced and baked them, then put the roasted pumpkin right into the brew,” Lon Ladell, Big Rig Brewery brewmaster, explains. Vanilla beans and creamy milk sugar were also added to create a rich, smooth porter that mimics the fresh, cozy nature of the fall season.
About the Beer: For the people that know me, Beau’s Oktoberfest is my Christmas. I would be thrown into a depression if I could not attend in any given year. The people I’ve met there, including our very own Eric Scharf, Brad Campeau (before he was Brew Donkey), the amazing people at Beau’s, and countless others have been a mainstay in my life. Like the craft beer scene, I’ve seen Beau’s Oktoberfest grow over the last few years from a few beer enthusiasts to an onslaught of new beer lovers. The indie guy in me wants it to stay small, but seeing the growth of an industry that I love makes it even more exceptional.
Beau’s Oktoberfest is now a bona fide music festival as well. I know a few who don’t even like beer but go for the music. This year’s lineup is no exception. I’m pairing the new Beau’s mix pack with bands scheduled to play Oktoberfest on October 2nd and 3rd.
Please visit Beaus.ca for ticket information. DO NOT WAIT!! as tickets are almost sold out!
Haters Gonna Hate is an extra-strong interpretation of Beau’s flagship ale Lug Tread. Haters is a tribute to the very first batch of Lug Tread, which was accidentally super-concentrated… with tasty results. Nine years later, Beau’s recreated this happy accident with Haters Gonna Hate. Unfiltered and orange-hued, this beer has tropical aromas (think mango or papaya), and a mild “cattiness” contributed by the addition of Nelson-Sauvin hops. A clean malt presence allows for balance of moderate-to-high hop bitterness.
Weiss O’Lantern is a pumpkin-wheat beer, spiced with ginger, cinnamon and orange peel. Orange-hued with a tall creamy head, this fall classic allows flavours of pumpkin flesh, citrus and spice to shine through a full wheat body. There are hints of banana and clove, topped off with a satisfying graham-cracker finish. Each batch of Weiss O’Lantern is made with more than 350 pounds of certified organic pumpkin purée.
…and Boom Gose the Dynamite is a hazy, flavourful wheat beer that is based on a recently revived German beer style called a gose. Brewed with an addition of sea salt and organic coriander seeds, expect citrusy aromas followed by a pleasant saltiness and a hint of subtle acidity in each sip. The name “gose” comes from a river that flows through the town of Goslar, in Lower Saxony. The saltiness, which typifies the style, is attributable to the mineral-rich water supply in the region.
Boghopper is an experimental hybrid: a dark and hazy wheat beer, with an amped up hop presence and locally harvested organic bog myrtle for added complexity. Fruit and licorice aromas meld with juicy hops, and an earthy spiciness jumps in mid-palate. Boghopper’s mouthfeel is initially delicate and fruity, followed by assertive waves of herbal tannins. The hop flavour is dominant, and the finish is dry and woodsy.
Beer: Haters Gonna Hate and the love/hate playlist
About the Beer: In the beginning of my beer crusade, breweries were going for strong drinkable beers. The trend in the last few years is to bring down the ABV so that we can enjoy a bit more beer and still be able to walk without compromising flavour. Lumbersexual is a prime example. At 3.5%, they were able to get the iconic IPA bitterness with only 23.6 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units).
If you are reading this, or know of Ottawa Showbox, you most likely know what a Lumbersexual stands for. We all have noticed that beards are the facial hair trend du jour. And dressing up like a lumberjack without having picked up an axe is bleeding into our urban landscape. I’m enjoying this movement as I fall in this category. I finally fit in! But I do swing an axe. I also stream Netflix nightly and have a 7.5 hour a day sit-down job.
Like its namesake, the session IPA is not what it appears to be. At first glance, you’ll be drawn by its scent – a pleasant hop flavour and aroma, mimicking that of a big, bold IPA. On closer inspection, you’ll find that the hops provide approachable bitterness. It has a refreshing, low alcohol content while maintaining a certain calculated ruggedness. This urban woodsman is a very palatable, easy drinking summer beer.
Pairing: A local soundtrack of what it would feel like to be attacked by Vlad the Impaler.
About the Beer: My first 5 out of 5 in a long time. I had it while camping and at 9%, it made my afternoon a bit wobbly around a campfire. It’s incredible! Doesn’t really feel like an IPA. It gets bad marks for style but for taste, you will not be disappointed! It has a score of 94 overall on Ratebeer.
Vlad the Impaler was the inspiration behind the beer. My playlist is Impaler-inspired as well.
Commercial Description: We had to translate the description as the Kruhnen only operate in French. So here it goes. This hoppy American style beer will do well widen the eyes. It is brewed with Transylvania’s secret spice that perfectly complements the flavors of citrus and the trio of American hops. This robust IPA will delight fans of raw hopping. They will discover a product that brings something never seen before in on the IPA market.
Fuck the Facts are amazing… but here are true facts about Vlad… He was posthumously named the Impaler. He practiced impaling his enemies that he encountered in the forest. He was known as the Impaler Lord (Kazıklı Bey) by the Ottoman Empire.
A great way to finish the soundtrack… in 1914, two years after Bram Stoker’s death, a short story called Dracula’s Guest was published. The story ends in an old graveyard where there is a marble tomb with a large stake impaled in it. An Englishman came across a sleeping female vampire. She rises from the marble bier (Bier is a stand on which a casket is placed to be carried to the grave… and Bier is Beer… Yeah I know, mind blown), and summons a snowstorm and is struck by lightning to then return to her eternal prison.
About the Band: Most of the Ottawa Showbox crew have been raving about the Steamers for a while now. I, on the other hand, am new to them. I had the pleasure of meeting them at a backyard show a few weeks ago and really got to enjoy their sing along brand of music at their CD release party hosted at the House of TARG. The venue was already very warm and the band introduced another level of heat by blistering through their great new release Years and other crowd favorites. That inspired my playlist. This time I flipped it around. I’m pairing the band with beer that are steam-inspired.
Maybe the most obvious of the beers to pair with the Steamers. Steamwhistle is an easy drinking beer. They only make one beer and they do it well. Steam whistles were used in the U.S., Canada, and India to warn that a train was in motion.
This is a collaboration with Showboat, a local dragon boat team. Showboats were a form of theatre boats that were pushed by a tugboat. Adding a steam engine on one would have been in the middle of the auditorium. The tugboat however, had a steam engine on it.
This fictional beer was brewed in the shed in the back of Drew’s house. Made with coffee, we all thought it was crazy then. Little did we know it would be the norm in 99 per cent of breweries today! The show was set in Cleveland. I will let you figure out why it made the list.
Located in Casselman, a few minutes away, this local beer is set to be a regular in the rotation. Let the caboose loose! The first railroad in Casselman was opened on February 1st, 1882. It was used to transport wood, bricks, and food to the Ottawa region.