Friday, January 30, 2009

Redster's Ottawa lurch

I enjoyed the company of Kretz and Tea in Washington and not Ottawa. But I want to start things by showing the pics, to remind myself of forgetful stupidities.

Saw them both in early October last year. Beer was on the agenda obviously. But. But. But.

Forgot to bring home the gorgeous red bottle of Rogue that Kretz is holding... If you want to know whether it tastes good or not, don't ask me. The evidence is written all over Senyor Kretzmann's face.)

I also forgot to bring home the Jinx beer bottle Tea's holding (&#&#$*!), which was another really fine beer that I have to review another time.

Long before the Obamarama blingfest, a real revolution has been actually blazing paths in North America -- the fermenting revolution.

The bottles held by Kretz and Tea are testimonies to the new world that the US is offering to all who drink beer, which you may consider as the global (and far from silent) majority.

Same's true in Canada of course, though you have to be ready to drop previous biases, or misimpressions. Just like Heineken is not (by far) the representative Dutch beer, so should you not conclude that Labatt or Molson Canadian or Moosehead define what Canadian beer really is.

A literally small example is Stuart's Natural Session Ale, a really good light beer produced by the craft brewery Scotch Irish Brewing based in Ontario and named after Stuart -- a Scottie that "lives, plays and digs in Ottawa".

I found the 3.7% AbV Stuart's session ale to be particularly refreshing, especially after a long day walking along one of the main streets of Ottawa in chilly late September. It's brewed in the English ordinary bitter style and it comes in a small, 341 ml. amber bottle that's probably almost big as the Nokia N95 mobile phone when slid open. If you've seen the small green Victoria Bitter bottle from Australia, or the bottle of Red Stripe lager from Jamaica, that's almost what Stuart's looks like.

I like beers that come in small, exquisite bottles. Easy to pack in the bag (just chuck it in!) and you already have a whole day worth of complete nutrition, with a taste that can make the clouds go away. It's great with chips and has a smooth, fragrant finish. It's "the first and only organic beer brewed in Eastern Ontario" using certified organic malts and hops; no preservatives or additives.

Ottawa's beer scene is quite interesting, even though I found the bar scene not as active as I thought.

In many of the Ottawa bars I visited, draught beer came out of really geeky spouts, as you can see from the pic.

The draught beer on offer in the places I visited though were not particularly exciting, though I did like the cloudy pint of Rickard's and the usual meal-in-a-glass Guinness stout on offer obviously from a bar that calls itself The Aulde Dubliner...

Fascinating to me was the place mysteriously called The Beer Store, which served beer...

It looked like a firm that enjoyed great business, as I saw, while walking along one of the proclaimed bar strips of Ottawa, a humongous truck worthy of a well-planned, professional highway robbery hit...

I've only been to Canada twice. Once in Vancouver over a decade ago, and last year in Ottawa. I'm most certain there's a lot more beer adventures waiting for me in that vast land. #


Daniel Mittler said...

Lucky bastard for having tasted Stuart's Natural Session Ale. Why didn´t you bring a nice little bottle to Poznan? ;-). Meanwhile, let me confess my sins: I quite like Moosehead, you know. I really do.

Redster said...

You like Moosehead... That's a revelation. Sorry, the weight is always a problem and while in Ottawa last Oct., I still wasn't sure I'd make it to Poz... All the more reason to see each other again hehe