Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

I had looked at the Tivoli web site beforehand, so I knew there were some of the stands worth looking into. Lots of chocolate and dough fried in fat, cute dolls and cool Danish design things to hang on the tree. I passed them all. But then there was a pretty little pavilion promising delicacies from Provence and Canada. I walked in.

The Schoune Brewery had ten of their beers for sale. There were samples to be had, and I had a chat with Andre (?), who is based in Sweden and tries to break into the Scandinavian nmarkets with their brews. Their web site says it’s a farmhouse brewery, but their long list of beers and annual production of a million liters tells me they have grown a bit beyond that.

A spicy tripel, a spicy blond, a beer brewed with maple syrup. Nice attempts of trying new approaches, I decided to buy a few bottles to take home. I’ll come back to more detailed tasting notes when I have tried a full bottle at more appropriate temperatures. (Except for the maple syrup beer, which did not survive the flight..)

There was a range of stronger stuff, too. Maple suryp, herbal teas and lamps. And, a very nice pairing, a fantastic selection of French cured sausages. I bought three – chestnut, duck with green pepper and one flavoured with a mature cheese which name escapes me.

There are many opportunities for promoting beer in Copenhagen, and the country is filled with beer festivals. The problem is that a small importer might drown among all the fuzz and all the one-offs and extreme beers. To showcase your products in a place like this seems sensible to me.

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My friend Per Christian pointed out this quote from Ansible online SF fanzine, which originates from Nicholas Pashley’s book, Cheers! An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada, which Alan has reviewed earlier without mentioning this little nugget:

At least beer geeks get to drink beer, which is a step up from most other forms of geekery. Plus, you don’t have to wear pocket protectors or make Star Trek costumes, and sometimes you actually get to meet women.

Here is another piece from the book by the way of the National Post:

And look what happens when we drink outside the home. The wine drinkers are in restaurants or wine bars, so when their appetites get stimulated they wind up eating “nouvelle cuisine” or “cuisine minceur” or, as we say in English, “small servings.” Which frequently include vegetables. The beer drinker gets peckish and orders a plate of nachos with a side of wings, and maybe a few sour-cream-and-bacon-stuffed potato skins, just in case. Who’s getting fat, and why? Maybe if we spat it out – the nachos, I mean – we’d be as healthy as the wine guys. Not to mention that the wine guys go running and spend time at the gym while we’re at the pub.

No room for more books on the shelves after Christmas. But this one is definitely on my maybe list.

He forgot to mention that some of the women in question wear Dirndls. Or maybe that’s in the next chapter.

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Back to Parma last week, and, as I wrote recently, I had used Google and Babelfish to do some research beforehand. Nothing much new and exciting at the places I have blogged about before, Mentana 104 and Birreria Underground, although I managed to find a salumeria delicatessen that had a few beers from the new Birrificio del Ducato that I dragged home. (They survived intact, although I was worried when I stood waiting for the express train from Oslo airport to stop and I saw a small puddle underneath my suitcase. No Italian beers, fine wines or olive oil were harmed, but there was a leaky bottle from Unibroue and a smashed bottle of English barely wine. I’ll have to think more about packaging..)

So, I set out in the early evening for the outskirts of town. 40 minutes brisk walk led me to the Chelsea Pub, a place you have to look for to find it. Sure, it is on one of the main roads out of Parma, but the frontage towards the road is very unassuming, and there is no sign telling passers by that this is a bar and beer store.

And, at first sight, it is not a very inviting place, neither in the mock Oirish/ Olde English style nor in the slick Italian chrome and glass sort of style. There are plain tables and chairs and very harsh industrial style lightning. (This type of glaring lights is actually quite common in Italy). The coziness is made up by the place being two thirds full of friends enjoying their panini and beer. No music, no TV screens, just beer, bread and conversation. That is what it’s all about.

A long list of sandwiches with all the best bread, cheese and meat Italy can offer plus a fair number of beers on tap and bottled. No beer list, but luckily there is a corner of the bar that functions as a shop where you can look more closely at the range on offer.

They have several ales from the St. Peter’s range, some nice Scottish beers, Belgians, Germans, but no Italian micros. They even have rather elusive beers like a few from Fantome.

I had a lovely speck and Gorgonzola toast and started with a Bornem Trippel, which was on tap. A fairly standard Belgian strong blond with full body and the right amount of sourness.

The decor of the place is fairly rustic, with soccer flags and b&w movie memorabilia. The counter i heaped with English crisps. I tried a horseradish and sour cream – a first!

I followed up with St. Peter’s Summer Ale (lovely) and Broughton’s Scottish Oatmeal Stout, which lacked enough body to lift it.

It was getting late, so I decided to ask them to call for a taxi instead of walking back. But it is a place worth walking to if you find yourself in Parma. The only downside with some of these pubs is that they don’t stock the local micro brews. There might be snobbery involved, it might be the price level of the craft beers, it might just be a market that is not very mature. (I hasten to add that the market where I come from is much less mature!)

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News from Winnipeg, Canada today, cheerfully announcing a new beer for tipplers whose gluten allergies put regular suds off-limits.

Called Nubru, it uses maltose corn syrup and pea, lentil or bean extract to add the carbohydrates and protein other beers get from barley malt.

If you ferment pea soup, it may result in an alcoholic beverage, but it is not a beer. And just because something is technically possible does not mean it is a good idea. I would rather have a glass of wine, thank you.

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As a serious beer blogger, I have to give you the news, however unpleasant they might be to some of you. I just received the sad new that the scientists have found out who are really threatening – not only civilization and our way of life – the planet. Our planet, presumably.

It’s the Canadian beer drinkers. Sorry Alan, you have a lot to answer for.

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