It has taken a few minor adjustments to get my pen dipped in the ink again and it has been the same with brewing. Why? It’s too easy to fall off the wagon and let things slide, especially when life jumps up and bites a chunk out of your time. Let’s face it, there is always going to be an excuse not to write, not to brew, in essence, anything that is meaningful and takes effort is going to summon the demon called resistance. Its strategy is to get you to string together a series of unproductive days without putting a single letter on the page, or a drop of wort in the fermenter.
In the beginning, when I first started to brew, there were no constraints. This no-holds-barred attitude leaves no rock unturned. It’s an exciting time. It was also important to move through all the phases of making regular stout beer, then the vanilla porter, vanilla chocolate milk stout, and the list goes on. Sooner or later you get to the key moment where you cannot fathom drinking five gallons of homemade black stuff ever again.
Dominion City Brewing Co. is on its way to releasing a new beer in the Ottawa area and the branding has inspired me to build a craft beer league at our club. This beer is a great illustration of the growing relationship between the craft beer community and the curling community. The two groups of people are a match made in heaven! Two years ago the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club curling section celebrated its 50th year of operation, so curling has a long history similar to brewing in this town. Beer and curling have always gone together and some of the major breweries like Molson’s and Labatt’s have capitalized on this. It’s taken awhile, but the curling community is starting to become aware of craft beer culture, and for me it’s great to see beer that I love appearing in the tap line. Part of my self-appointed role at the club has been to act as a craft beer ambassador – a fun and well respected position.
With my interest in curling and its connection to brewing Barley Nectar – I thought why not merge the two areas of interest into a common goal? One of the great things I learned hanging out with the members of the Niagara Home Brew Society, was how cool it was to share a common interest in craft beer. I loved this aspect of the Facebook group. However I’ve noticed that there isn’t much chatter during the month leading up to the next meeting. Unfortunately this curling season, a lot of the meetings seemed to fall on the days I had already committed to curl.
An Idea Emerged…
Why not create a scenario where people have a reason to get together (like a curling game schedule), and also share a common interest in beer? In this specific case the league would occupy an unused late draw on Wednesday evening at the St. Catharines Golf & Country Club. Why Wednesday? Well coincidentally it’s a dead spot at the club, and secondly, it dovetails with the Home Brew Wednesday phenomenon on YouTube. The following steps will provide a simple starting point for you to plug in to the club and enjoy that cold golden Barley Nectar.
What is a beer sommelier? In the realm of taste, just as in all other professions there are select individuals that make it a priority to distinguish the good from the bad. I am not a professional beer sommelier, but I have spent lots of time and money educating myself on beer from the surface of my tongue to the depths of my brain. I love the flavor of beer and if I were presented the option of some alcoholic beverage, I would choose beer. This doesn’t make beer better, but it is preferable. Why does one person like beer versus wine, or if they don’t drink, why coffee versus tea? There is an argument to be made that it doesn’t really matter, that each palette is subjective, and ultimately preference comes down to how you spend your hard earned cash in the bar, or LCBO. Even if you don’t realize it companies like Molsons have gone to great lengths to control the flavor of their beers. If you buy a Molson’s in an obscure bar in Cape Breton Island, or taste the same brand on a Cruise Boat in the Caribbean, my guess is that the powers that be are striving for a similar taste.
No matter how fierce the battle, there is a common tradition in curling that the winners and the losers sit down to a pint of warming fluid. It’s in this moment – bellies full of Barley Nectar that the best stories get told. Two such tales have unfolded between the most unlikely of characters, a quiet feud deep in the heart of the 2016 Scott Tournament of Hearts in Grande Prairie, Alberta. While the mass media has focused on the lovely ladies in the curling rink these battle scarred foes have tested their resolve.