The holly and the Ivy: A traditionalist's Christmas playlist

standard The holly and the Ivy: A traditionalist’s Christmas playlist

One of the present-day trappings of the holiday season is the ongoing complaint about Christmas music starting too early. I have no interest in wading into that quagmire of a debate, but I will say that I think there is a second, unspoken motivation for the grinching. (Beyond that this is one of the rare intrusions religion makes into the public space these days.) Christmas music is distinctive. It gets into your head and creates a mood more easily than what usually plays over the loudspeakers at your local Canadian Tire. And that can get exhausting. I’m as big a […]

Deep Fried Pickles with Bacon and Cheese

standard Deep Fried Pickles with Bacon and Cheese

Listen, I know I’m treading dangerously close to cliche territory here but deep fried pickles are actually one of those dishes that you either love or you hate. When I let it slip that I was working on a new adaptation of this trashy pub classic a large majority of respondents went all googly-eyed and lost control of their saliva glands. A small but vocal minority (who happen to be some of the wine experts I respect most–coincidence?) were having none of it. Objections tended towards they’re too salty and acidic but my favourite has to be: Who wants a […]

Testing out Canada Beef's The Roundup app with a smoked short rib stew

standard Testing out Canada Beef’s The Roundup app with a smoked short rib stew

The communications company who represents Canada Beef asked me to participate in their Can You Make the Cut? Challenge. I received money and groceries for writing this post. Do I like cooking with beef? Absolutely. Would I be interested in checking out a new smartphone app from Canada Beef? Sure, sounds like fun. That’s how I got started on a pretty thorough examination of The Roundup app (for iOS and Android), a new consumer education product from Canada Beef. The first thing I really dug into was the cuts by colour function. In a world where the average supermarket meat department employee (not to […]

Film Review: A look at the ambitious craft beer documentary Blood, Sweat, & Beer

standard Film Review: A look at the ambitious craft beer documentary Blood, Sweat, & Beer

Craft beer has reached its people-make-documentaries-about-it phase. The latest, Blood, Sweat, & Beer, follows two East Coast US craft breweries through their particular existential struggles. Blood, Sweat, & Beer won’t do for craft beer what The Endless Summer did for surfing or Easy Rider did for drugs, but it is a well-made and intriguing look at the booming industry. This documentary about the business side of brewing, directed and written by Chip Hiden and Alexis Irvin, takes a snapshot of the current state of affairs. Interestingly, they use two little-known and new breweries, Danny Robinson’s Shorebilly Brewing [spoiler alert: don’t click that link] and The Brew Gentlemen […]

Beersplaining with the OCB podcast

standard Beersplaining with the OCB podcast

I really dig talking about beer – especially with fellow beer writers. So, it’s been a great pleasure to make several guest appearances on this year’s round of OCB podcasts. For the 2015 slate, Mirella Amato, the show’s longtime host, has come up with a format that varies from the previous years’ formula of having two brewmasters on for an interview. Instead she has invited a pair of beer bloggers to join her in the studio each month and we’ve talked about and blind tasted a specific style of craft beer. All four of my trips to podcast land (we […]

A closer look at the details behind Wynne's plan for beer in grocery stores

standard A closer look at the details behind Wynne’s plan for beer in grocery stores

I did a just-the-facts story on Premier Wynne’s beer in grocery stores announcement for the day job at Post City. It’s a complicated situation (intentionally, I think), so I have decided to also put together a blog post to cover some depth, subjective impressions from the press conference and my commentary. First, I’ll say that Kathleen Wynne is a politician who seems to be both charismatic and solid on policy. Ed Clark, as a former bank CEO (not to mention designer of the NEP in his previous career as a civil servant), was more than qualified for his role leading […]

Beer Dinner at Nick and Nat's Uptown 21

standard Beer Dinner at Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21

  What: A beer dinner featuring a small plates tasting menu based around the recipes in The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook. Where: Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21, at 21 King St. N., Waterloo When: 21 January 6:30 p.m. Other Details: A signed copy of my book is included in the ticket price. Tickets: $60, available by calling the restaurant at 519-883-1100.

Barley's Angels Holiday Market

standard Barley’s Angels Holiday Market

What: Selling and signing my book, The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook, as part of the Barley’s Angels Holiday Market with lots of other great vendors. Where: The Rhino, 1249 Queen St. W., Parkdale When: 14 December, 4 – 7 PM Other Details: Copies of my cookbook will be for sale and I’m more than happy to sign them. I take cash or credit cards. Tickets: Free. Women are an undeniably important part of craft beer’s success in the slow mission to chip market share away from macro-breweries. There is something about emphasizing quality over crude marketing that seems to bring those who were previously […]

Gourmet Food and Wine Expo Ticket Giveaway

standard Gourmet Food and Wine Expo Ticket Giveaway

The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is one of Toronto’s grandest opportunities to sample wine, spirits, and beer from around the world, in one place, all over a four-day weekend. It’s held in a hall big enough that you almost see horizons instead of walls, buried deep below Toronto’s convention center. That matters a bit less because this event is conveniently scheduled for the start of the season when we’d much rather be as far away from the elements as possible. The GFWE, especially on Thursday’s VIP night and weekend evenings, is obviously a hot ticket and undeniably popular with those […]