Monday, 25 August 2014

Mirella Amato Beerology book signing at 5 Paddles Brewing this Thursday

Heads up, Durham beer fans:


Mirella Amato, Canada's first Master Cicerone, is coming to our neck of the 'burbs this Thursday, Aug. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m., to talk beer and sign copies of her book, Beerology. Buying your ticket in advance will also get you a bottle of 5 Paddles Rum-Oak-Soaked Belgian Midnight Paddler (the event takes place at 5 Paddles Brewing Co.).

Pretty damn cool event for a place that was a craft beer wasteland a year and a half ago. Look how far we've come! Let's show Mirella what we're made of.

See you Thursday.

Cheers,
Mel

Friday, 22 August 2014

Cheers to the weekend! Vol. 16

TGIF!

(sidenote: I forgot to publish this this morning, and got called out on it. people do read these stupid things! also, due to an unfortunate phone incident, I don't have a good cheers-y picture from this week to put here. so here's a gif of a drunk cat instead!:)


This weekend is our annual Girls Weekend, which is just as woo-girl as you'd expect. Here's your weekly roundup of Internet timewasters (I'm so behind in actual-content posts. I know. I've been a busy lady. I'll get on it!):

Found my website from 1997 (surprisingly not even my first website, oh yeah, I've been a nerd for a loooooong time). It's hilarious, but at least I stayed true to myself: "I like music and when I grow up I would like to be a writer."

These pistachio pop tarts look amazing.

So does this French Press Stout.

Watch my ALS #IceBucketChallenge here! And my friend Jay's post on Buzzfeed about the challenge (and the most impressive video yet).

The Strumbellas are playing The Moustache Club on Sept. 11 and tickets are only $10?!

Art out of everyday objects.

As a testament to my Freaks & Geeks obsession, I ordered this shirt.

Heading to San Francisco in two weeks for vacation... any recommendations?

Cheers,

M

Friday, 15 August 2014

Cheers to the weekend! Vol. 15

TGIF!

Do you have your tickets yet for Durham Craft Beer Festival - The Sequel? Sept. 20 in downtown Oshawa!
It's hard to believe there are so few summer weekends left! What's going on this weekend? Tonight I have a dinner date with the lovely Chloe Rose, and depending how the weather holds up this weekend, I'm hoping to take a day trip to Cobourg beach (to practice for the Ultimate Frisbee team I just signed up for, and check out the brand-new Northumberland Hills Brewery).

Hope you have a lovely summery weekend, here's your roundup of things I found on the Internet this week:

I got snapd at Station Gallery's Wave Music last month.

This is so satisfying to read: Things fitting perfectly into other things. Do you think one day the world will run out of ridiculously specific Tumblr concepts?

These spicy hop pickles sound amazing.

Everything on this list, especially: A stick figure's adventures in Paris, grilling fish on pineapple bark and this B&B in Texas.

25 Canadian one-hit wonders (including gems such as Steal My Sunshine!).

This new bike lane in Copenhagen is so cool.

Love all these examples of street art interacting with nature.

Love these patterned floors.

Ottawa friends: This Earl Grey Marmalade Saison from the brand-new Dominion City Brewing Company sounds fantastic.

Voting for the 2014 Golden Tap Awards is open.

Cheers,

M


Friday, 8 August 2014

Cheers to the weekend! Vol. 14

TGIF!

I'll be here.
This weekend, I'm heading to a friend's cottage in Tiny, Ont., which, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful hidden gems of our great province (the above photo is from a weekend there last year). Then, on Sunday, I'm heading home early to get to Buffalo, NY in the early afternoon, to see Brand New and Weezer!!! 16-year-old me is fan-girl-freaking out right now! (OK, 27-year-old me is, too).

Here are some things I found on the Internet this week:

THIS IS THE BEST RUNNING BLOG EVER.

A Tumblr dedicated to missing letters on signage.

New Hey Rosetta! single.

This beery pizza dough recipe sounds delightful.

This is a really cool art project. So is this, a little closer to home. And this here in Oshawa next month.

Did you hear that an all-bacon restaurant opened in Toronto?

16 unfortunate misuses of punctuation.

Cheers,
M

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Colorado: White-water rafting through the Rockies

While vacationing in Denver, we went on a white-water rafting adventure through the Rockies. 

James and Cory are in the front, in the middle was a sweet vacationing father and daughter from Nashville, and I'm in the back.
We booked our tour through Geo Tours in Morrison, Colorado. Although you arrive at Geo Tours in Morrison, you then load into a van with your guides, and after a scenic 25-minute drive, they drop you on Clear Creek for your adventure.


According to our guide, Clear Creek is entirely fed by melting snow from the tops of the Rockies--no other water source. What I am saying is: THIS WATER IS COLD. It may have been a 90-degree day in Denver, but the below-40-degree water sure still takes your breath away when your body is submerged in it! 

You have the option to rent a wetsuit (we didn't), and you are provided with a splash jacket, helmet and lifejacket. If your noggin is too big for the regular helmets like Jamesey's was, you get a sweet old-school JOFA!:


The guide told James he rocked it better than Gretzky, to which I corrected him that Jagr was the player who rocked a Jofa. He was impressed with my hockey knowledge, so I told him I was Canadian. He said: "well that makes sense."

We loaded into the creek at the same time as many other tour groups, but we didn't bump into (or even really see) any others once we got going.




We had driven through the mountains the day before, so winding around the bases of them was a really cool perspective. 


While some of the trip was easy floating down the river, once we hit the rapids, things got much more intense (and cold, and hilarious).






Basically you are mostly underwater as you paddle through the rapids. We hit one so hard that it launched our tour guide (on the back, steering and guiding us on how to paddle) face down into the middle of our boat (mostly on top of me, haha). Good laughs save for my broken sunglasses!

We got quite soaked and more than a few mouthfuls of water. Pure, rocky-mountain-fresh Coors Light ;)


Speaking of our tour guide, he was awesome. Through our hour-long tour, he talked geography, explained the geology, pointed out mountains and landmarks, and made cheesy (but in a fun way!) jokes. After the tour, in chatting with him and some of the other guides on the bus ride home, I discovered that not one of them was from Colorado--they all were drawn there, to work in the beautiful mountains. Actually, many people I met throughout the week were not from Denver, but "came for the mountains." I imagine it is similar to how folks move to California for the beaches/surfing, or Montreal for the smoked meat (kidding, kind of).












We chose the "beginner" tour level because we weren't really sure what to expect. If I did it again, or was recommending it to a friend, I would go up to the intermediate level. Although the rapids were fun and thrilling, with the intermediate level, the tour is a little longer and the rapids are a little more challenging. Our tour guide noted because we were all athletic and adventurous, we could have gone straight to the intermediate.


James in his "special" helmet

 



 Cheers,
M

P.S. Click here to read all posts from my trip to Colorado.
P.P.S I obviously didn't take most of these pictures. The tour company offered a CD for purchase, as they had a photographer follow your raft and stand on bridges to take pictures. I have full rights to use these photos with my purchase, which I am so glad I made.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Cheers to the long weekend!

TGIF!


[ from Toronto's Festival of Beer last weekend; full post to come ]

This long weekend, we don't have anything planned, and I can't wait. It's been a super busy summer, which is just the way I like it, but it will be nice to cook, relax, catch up on emails, float in the pool, dig in the garden, and generally enjoy the peak of summer in our backyard.

Have a great long weekend! Here are your weekly Internet time-wasters:

What I want from a restaurant website/what I get instead. SO TRUE.

Have you heard about the robot hitchhiking across Canada?

DMX riding a roller coaster.

Oshawa's first brewery, Underdog's Brewhouse, profiled on Sounds Like Beer.

Iced Cobblestone Stout actually sounds delicious.

The most hilarious Twitter account.

Did you hear? The Durham Craft Beer festival announced a September date!

Cheers to the weekend,

M

Monday, 28 July 2014

Colorado: Coors Brewery Tour



I felt like I was breaking some sort of craft-beer-drinker code when I decided I wanted to go on the Coors Brewery tour on our trip to Colorado. I probably was, but I wanted to see it: it’s the largest single-site brewery in the world. I thought it would be interesting to see. And it was. Here’s the good and the bad:




The good


1. A tour of Golden
Coors Brewery is located in Golden, Colorado, which is about 30 minutes from downtown Denver. The brewery’s original founder chose Golden because it was the perfect place to source fresh Rocky Mountain water (which, to my understanding, is no longer the case except for marketing efforts). It’s a small city, and obviously the biggest employer is Coors. Because up to 2,000 people come to tour the brewery every day, there is an off-site parking lot, and a bus picks you up to take you to the brewery entrance. Rather than just driving you over and dropping you off, the tour guide takes the long way through the city, pointing out historic buildings, tourist attractions and discussing the history of the city. Our guide was enthusiastic and passionate. I thought this was a nice touch, and we actually learned about a couple of lookout points that we later explored. It made me think that Coors really cares about its community.


2. The history wall
I found this area to be well-curated and informative. I learned that Coors was one of very few breweries that survived prohibition, because they made other products, such as malted milk and near beer.


3. Three free beers
The entire tour is free, and at the end your wristband gets you three full-sized free beers. You could choose from Coors Light, Coors Banquet, Blue Moon, Near Beer, Colorado Native (only available in Colorado), Killian's Red and Batch 19--a special Prohibition-style beer, only available at the brewery.




4. It’s big
I’ve toured a lot of breweries, and it was pretty fascinating to see how BIG this place was. For example, there are two stories of copper brew kettles under what you can see here:



The canning line seemed to run as fast as a cartoon; it was just a blur! Or maybe that was the three free beers.

Keystone Light on the canning line

5. D’Deli
The sandwich I had from a small deli in downtown Golden after the tour was the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my entire life and no sandwich will ever top this sandwich. I had the “Oxford”:  Buffalo meat, bleu cheese aioli, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, arugula, and olive oil. Drooling now just thinking about it.

Sorry it was gone before I took a photo.


The bad


1. The tour of Golden
The bus tour of Golden and our enthusiastic driver was one of the best parts of the whole experience, BUT: I could hardly see anything he was pointing out because the windows were wrapped with Coors Light branding. Fail.


2. I couldn’t bring my purse or any bag
You gotta leave ‘em in your car. Why can’t I bring in my purse? Backpacks, I understand, although there is really not anything to steal, but I can’t bring in my tiny purse? So I had to awkwardly carry my camera, phone and wallet. Annoying. Girls need their purses!


3. WordArt
No, seriously, the beer menu board in the tasting area was made of WORD ART. As in, Microsoft Word, Word Art. This kind of crap honestly offends me. You’re the largest brewery in the world and you can’t shell out some money for a decent graphic designer to make a sign for your tasting room??? You have, on average, 2,000 tourists tour your brewery EVERY SINGLE DAY and that is how little you care? If this is the care that goes in to how you display your product to 2,000 people a day, how am I supposed to feel about the care you put into your product? Sigh.


4. Tour guide necklaces
After our friendly bus driver gave as an entertaining and engaging personal tour of the city of Golden, we were dropped off at the brewery to tour inside. After such a good experience with the bus tour guide, I was actually pretty excited for the rest of the tour. That’s when I was handed a walkie-talkie-type device on a string and told to put it around my neck, with the following instructions: each time you enter a new room, there will be a number on the wall. Press the number and hold this device to your ear to hear your tour guide lead you through the room. Completely impersonal and quite frankly, a little gross (how many greasy ears have those things rubbed against?). And it sounded like it was recorded in, and not updated since, the 80s. No passionate tour guides to lead you through, no one to answer questions, just bored-looking summer students in each room playing on their phones and making sure you don’t go through doors you’re not supposed to go through.


5. The overpriced photo
When you enter the brewery, you’re handed a couple of Coors Light hats and asked to pose for a photo in front of a branded backdrop. Then, at the end of the tour, they want you to pay $35 to have it emailed to you (or I think $20 or something for one printed copy of the photo). THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS. YOU have to pay to have a photo with their logo all over it, for you to post on Facebook and advertise for them. Sorry, Coors.


I’m fascinated by the fact that although Colorado is home to the biggest brewery in the world, the craft beer market is huge. I have another post lined up about this, so stay tuned.


Cheers,
M


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