When I saw the message from Trevor about a gift waiting for me at Manantler's tasting room in Bowmanville I got a little excited.
Surely it meant Trevor, a huge fan of iconic U.S. brewery Dogfish Head, had returned from a pilgrimage to Delaware with a bottle of 120 Minute IPA, a nearly 20 per cent, 120 IBU, very limited release hop monster that has nearly the cachet of Pliny the Younger.
Okay, I'm kidding. If Trevor, the Cellarman at Manantler Brewery, did get his hands on one of these bottles it wouldn't be me he would be sharing it with. If he shared at all.
I figured it was the latest new release from Manantler and he wanted me to have an early crack at whatever delicious ale they had cooked up. Such a swell guy, that Trevor.
But no, that's not what it was. Instead, I was gifted a home brew (with a flip-top cap and all) from Space Taco Brewing Company (Trevor's brewery, should he ever start one) called Thanks Jimmy!
It was an IPA brewed on the 37th anniversary of President Jimmy Carter's decision to legalize home brewing in the United States. It's also a homage to James (Jimmy) Gorry, Manantler's brewmaster and Trevor's boss.
"He taught me a lot," Trevor said simply.
The beer was brewed with Canadian 2-row malts with a "little bit" of Crystal 60 malt, and he used Galena hops for bittering with Mosaic and plenty of Nelson Sauvin hops for the aromatics.
|Trevor, Bowmanville's greatest ever|
Cellarman, in action
The alcohol count remains a mystery, however, as Trevor's hydrometer was giving him a hard time. "Between four and seven per cent," he said, somewhat unhelpfully.
Funny. I was given a glass of Manantler's Root Beer Porter (unreleased and un-carbonated at the time) the day I was at the brewery picking up my gift. My friend Sarah (aka My IPA Girl) was also there and she asked Chris, brewer, brewery President and famed music video actor, what the ABV was. "Between four and seven per cent," he answered.
Must be a brewers' inside joke.
As to whether Thanks Jimmy! will ever be in Manantler's lineup of fine beers, Trevor was unsure but hopeful.
"The recipe belongs to Space Taco Brewing but if Manantler wants to do a collaboration, I'm game!"
An Epicurean surprise
Yeah, I know. Another mention of Epic Brewing of Aukland, New Zealand. I promise not to link any of the SIX previous blogs written about my adventures getting their wonderful beer, but I had to mention this.
Epic Epicurean Coffee & Fig Oatmeal Stout is in the LCBO. Or was. though there are, at the time of writing, some left in Oakville (Don! Are you listening?), Niagara Falls and some place near Ottawa.
It's unlikely we'll see more but I'm hoping I'm wrong.
In any event, if you are lucky enough to find this eight per cent bottle of black magic ("raisins and roast coffee with bitter chocolate ... smooth and rich and really, really good") in your local liquor store, buy it.
You can thank me later.
Braids, beards and Lauren, Oh My
And finally, a bit 'bout braided beards. Goatees, to be precise.
I had a delivery the other night and was met at the door by two young girls. The older girl - about 16 or so - went off to get the money while the younger sister - I'm guessing 12 or 13 - remained at the door to take the food.
And she stared at me with what appeared to be wonder in her eyes.
"That's awesome!" she finally blurted.
"Uh, thanks?" I stuttered.
|Sort of like this?|
What the hell does one say to that? So I thanked her again.
Then she asked me if I had kids. "Four," I tell her, adding, "And grandkids too."
"Well," she said, with excitement rising in her voice, "You must let them braid your beard!"
Maybe I should. I have just the grandkid (*cough* Lauren) for the job.