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December, 2012:

Second Draught: Samichlaus, a beer for next Christmas

Could there be a sea change happening at the LCBO when it comes to products previously disallowed for reasons of “community standards”? Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head is now on shelves and this holiday beer that features a picture of a rogue-ish Austrian Santa — more Billy Bob Thornton than Tim Allen — on the label has also been given the green light by the AGCO.

It didn’t make it out from the LCBO warehouses to stores before the 25th but there still seems to be a strong demand for it. Summerhill went through 44 bottles in three days and I wouldn’t be surprised if the inventory at other locations disappears almost as quickly. (more…)

VQA Sparkling Wine Tasting

Earlier in December I attended a sparkling wine tasting put on by Wine Country Ontario at Stock Restaurant in the Trump Hotel. It was one of those events that offered excellent company, great wine, and some useful information.

Angelo Pavan, Winemaker and Founding Partner at Cave Spring Cellars joined us for the educational and tasting portion of the lunch. Pavan identified two trends for Ontario sparkling wine that I think are worth examining from a consumer perspective. (more…)

Zinio Giveaway

I feel confident claiming two things about our future as consumers of high-quality journalism: an increasing proportion of  what we read will be paid for directly — subscription vs. advertising; and we’ll read it on our iPads, Galaxy tabs, and other digital devices more than we will on paper. Many (if not most) publications have specially designed apps that deliver content but the lack of standardisation can be jarring and tracking all of your separate subscriptions quickly becomes confusing. Since 2000 (so long ago that in the world of digital media that might as well read “815 BC”) Zinio has been offering subscriptions to licensed, digital version of popular magazines.  (more…)

Anthony Bourdain’s Layover in Toronto

At long last, Anthony Bourdain has ignored the critics in Montreal and Vancouver and brought his Layover film crew to Toronto to tape an episode. It aired this week in the States and won’t be coming to Canada’s Travel channel until next year. (Update: DailyMotion has a video up that Canadian viewers can watch.)

He praised the comedy scene and slagged the CN Tower (fair enough, on both counts) but we all know that my expertise and the interest we share lies in food. So here, now, a quick summary of Tony’s itinerary: (more…)

Second Draught: #100 from Norway’s Nøgne Ø

Nogne O #100

There were lines, notices posted, and irritated LCBO employees all over the province this week. The Westvleteren XII that caused the stir has sold out but — hold on to your hats — the LCBO carries other, quite excellent beers. One example, this one from Norway instead of Belgium, is the #100 from Nøgne Ø that I wrote about in this week’s First Draught post on Post City.

The name of the brewery, that the LCBO is featuring this season, is a bit tough to pronounce so have a look at this Youtube video that features the brewery’s owner (and a remarkably adept beard grower) sounding it out for us.

I’m not surprised that people noticed that line in the tasting notes about butter tarts. The aroma really is sweet and raisiny, but the lemon zest is definitely what comes through most forcefully.  (more…)