Barley Mowat 

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Focus on the LDB IV

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Q4 isn’t just the best retail sales quarter for normal merchants; it’s also the home stretch for merchants of the boozier variety. Not only do liquor sales sky-rocket during December, but liquor consumption rises hand in hand. As well, the booze consumed is generally a bit higher end on average, as people seem inexplicably willing to share The Good Stuff with that lousy alcoholic, Drunk Uncle Chuck.

So it’s no surprise that, with Christmas just around the corner, the LDB has massively updated their website advertising with all kinds of suggestions on how you should spend your fist full of cash bills (or “beer coupons”, as I like to call them).

How does beer stack up here? I’m hoping much better than usual, since unlike wine and liquor, beer 100% does come in Christmas variants, and there are lots of those available on the market right now. Let’s tally things up for my running LDB ad counter:

Ad 1: 36 page Holiday Gift Guide. This is a mini-version of the quarterly Taste magazine, distilled down to just product shots and tasting notes. In its thirty-six pages of booze photographed in front of background Christmas decorations, we are instructed to purchase: 15 types of Liquor, 28 types of Wine, and zero types of beer. I mean, you don’t want offend your friends and family by getting them beer, do you?

Ad 2: Just in case the glossy book wasn’t enough, we have a dedicated ad showing off the best hard liquor to slide under the tree. Oh wait, did I say best? I meant cheapest (see also: “Russian Standard Vodka“; $24.99 per 750ml)

Ad 3: This just links to a page of links to other ads, both current and from the past. Very meta, LDB.

Ad 4: Cute bears for charities. Sure, it’s not beer, but aaawwwwwww.

I’m not even kidding. Those things are adorable.

Ad 5: Gifts for the Season. Oh. Wow. It took a few months, but there it is. Amoung a list of booze apparently picked simply because they come in boxes, we find not one, but two beers: Historic Ales from Scotland, and Innis & Gunn 2010. Considering they’re lumped in with the “Palm Bay Holiday Pack” at the end of the list this isn’t quite the massive yay-beer victory we’ve been holding out for, but I will count it in the beer column none-the-less. But only as 2/14 of a point, to reflect all the Not Beer in there.

Ad 6: Don’t drink and drive. Hard to argue with that one.

Ad 7: A summary of “best sellers”, but strictly limited to wine. This is because a top 10 list of the LDB’s best selling SKUs would be entirely beer, but you can’t admit that can you?

So what’s the tally?

Liquor: +2.0 (1/2 of #1, 1/2 of #5)
Wine: +2.0 (1/2 of #1, 1/2 of #5)
Beer: +0.14 — We’re on the board! Yeah!
Corporate: +3

This brings our running total to:

Liquor: 8 (+2)
Corporate: 10 (+3)
Wine: 17 (+2)
Beer: 0.14 (+0.14)

Yeah! Progress! And now, continuing my trend of pointing out all the great beer the LDB could be featuring but elect to avoid talking about in polite company. Let’s see what’s available right now!

Beer 1: Parallel 49 Dark Christmas Cascadian Dark Ale

Look! It’s a beer with “Christmas” right in its name! How much more could you ask for in a booze-themed Christmas present? Add to that that this beer is a delicious example of an emergent style and that it’s the beer that set off the recent Cascadia kerfuffle, and you have not just something to drink, but something to talk about.

Price: $5.50 for 650ml
Availability: Widely Available

Beer 2: Dead Frog Fearless IPA

Could this be the beer that makes us take Dead Frog seriously? Perhaps, but only if you buy it. Luckily for you, this excellent IPA is available widely in the LDB, and for cheap!

Price: $4.99 for 650ml
Availability: Widely Available

Beer 3: Granville Island Imperial Chocolate Stout

In the past this beer has been gord-awful, with a cloyingly sweet milk chocolate body that just can’t stop yelling “Look at me! I’m Chocolate!” This year, though, they amped up the booze and dialed back the chocolate and we have a nicely balanced, warming winter ale, in which it’s hard to tell where the cocoa’s bitterness ends and the hops’ begins.

Price: $5.75 for 650ml
Availability: Widely Available

Written by chuck

December 4th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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Focus on the LDB III

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In what is becoming a regular feature here, I will now perform my every-2-or-3 week count of LDB advertisements on their website, and then proceed to point out that there are lots of interesting beers in the LDB inventory to talk about. So, let’s get on it.

As of right this moment, there are a fairly normal seven ads on the LDB website. These contribute to our ongoing ad count as follows:

Liquor: 2
Corporate: 2
Wine: 3
Beer: 0

This brings our running total to:

Liquor: 6 (+2)
Corporate: 7 (+2)
Wine: 15 (+3)
Beer: 0 (+0)

At this rate, I suspect we’ll see an ad for pruno before we see an ad for beer. Now on to the second part of these posts, were I highly some great beers that the LDB inexplicably stocks but doesn’t advertise.

Beer 1: Green Flash West Coast IPA

Considered by some to be one of the best IPAs on the planet, and I can’t say that I disagree. gives it a 99 overall and a 100 in style, meaning it’s not just one of the best IPAs, but it’s one of the best beers on the planet period. How this wound up in the LDB is a mystery that will likely never be resolved.

Price: $10.99 for 4x355ml
Availability: Limited

Beer 2: St. Sylvestre 3 Monts

A beer with a cork in it! At the LDB!?! Maybe they ordered this thinking it was a bottle of wine? Sure, the listing has no picture, and doesn’t mention the brewery. And sure, it’s likely crammed in the back of the “misfits” shelf in the craft beer section (you know the one), but they have it, and at $6.99 it doesn’t get much better than this.

A great example of a high-test French table beer, this guy is all about the yeast, the nose, and the high carbonation. Open a bottle and remember what summer once felt like.

Price: $6.99 for 750ml
Availability: Widely Available

Beer 3: Lagunitas Lucky 13

Okay, it’s listed as “Lagunitas Seasonal” but the picture is Lucky 13, which is a malt-forward red (ish) ale. Brewed to celebrate their 13th aniversary, this beer was so popular with the staff that they decided “fuck it” and began brewing it each and every year. That was 6 years ago.

Price: $5.99 for 650ml
Availability: Fairly Widely Available

Written by chuck

November 7th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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A Window To (Cheap) Wine

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A few weeks have gone by since I last updated the ol’ LDB website wine counter, so let’s see where we stand as of today:

Liquor: 4 (+2)
Corporate: 5 (+3)
Wine: 12 (+2)
Beer: 0 (+0)

Raise your hand if any of this surprises you. One of those corporate ads is for the fall issue of the BC LDB’s Taste Magazine, which is basically 196 pages of LDB ads for booze stuffed between alcohol manufacturer ads for booze. Maybe they’ve hidden all the beer suggestions in there? Well, let’s see.

In those 196 pages of recipes, insipid articles and Ads Ads Ads! there are recommendations from various folk at the LDB for a total of 181 different products. Wow that’s a lot, but how do they break down into the LDB’s three booze categories? You won’t be too surprised:

Wine: 146
Spirits: 34
Beer: 1

Hey, at least we made the list! This particular beer recommendation was for Kingfisher because Diwali is coming up, and Kingfisher is brewed in India, right? Somehow I think the intern they hired to do these searches didn’t get the memo about beer (also, Kingfisher–a Pale Lager–was listed as a pairing for Vij’s Curry. Think about that for a second).

Because nothing pairs better with flavourful hot curry than tasteless yellow water.

Okay, fine, but it’s not like they had other articles on food that bring beer to mind, right? What? A section about pumpkins? And another titled “ancient grains.” Are they actually trying to piss me off?

Okay. Different tact. Maybe I’m being too much of an ass about this? Maybe completely screwing over the beer industry is just how business is done if you’re the provincial government arm responsible for selling liquor in your province? I mean, go look at the Autumn 2012 issue of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s “Food & Drink” magazine. There’s nothing about beer in there… huh… you don’t say? A feature on Ottawa’s Wellington GastroPub, as part of a dedicated column called Pub Bites? (I’d love to link to it, but sadly it’s a paid subscription)

So, again we’re faced with overwhelming bias against beer when it comes time to show off products at the LDB. I wish I could explain what’s going on here. It’d be natural to just say the people doing the product recommendations at the LDB are just wine snobs, but they clearly are not. Have you actually SEEN the wine they’re recommending with these ads? Let’s just say they’re “value priced” and leave it at that.

Oh yeeeaahh! It’s time to get DRUNK! WOOOOOO!!!! Seriously, though, serve this to when I come over and I will stab you in the fucking neck. I am not kidding.

Written by chuck

October 24th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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