SETUBAL ERMELINDA FREITAS MONTE DA BAIA — Happy birthday me (all $11.29 worth)

“Oh boy!” I said when I woke up this morning. “It’s my birthday! Maybe we can celebrate! Maybe we can drink some wine tonight that doesn’t smell like a greasy jockstrap!”

I took this proposition to my mother, who hadn’t had the slightest inkling that the resident Liquorstore Bear had just turned 10 years old. Like, OMG!


(Not only do I get to enter the double digits today; I get to do it before Miss P, who won’t celebrate her 10th until December. In your face, P!)

“So, it’s my birthday,” I mentioned, sidling along the kitchen counter as my mother halfheartedly wiped it. (Have you seen that commercial in which they wipe the kitchen counter with a raw chicken breast to illustrate how germy the average kitchen cloth is? I bet my mother inspired that.)

“Oh,” she said. “Happy birthday.”

“I know, right?” I said, a small seed of desperation popping into existence somewhere underneath my fur. “I’m, like, 10!”

10 2

“Wow, 10,” she said, giving the “Wow” a Valium bottle’s worth of emphasis. “I can’t believe we got you 10 years ago. What were we thinking?”

“You were thinking it was a good idea!” And, knowing she would never allow me to reach my point gracefully, I said, “So, what kind of booze are you buying?”

“Hadn’t thought about it.”

“Whisky? A 10-year malt would be appropriate, I guess…”

“I mean, it’s 7:00, LB. It hadn’t occurred to me.”

700 am

“Or maybe 10 bottles of wine. Or hey—how about some Tanqueray Ten?”

“I guess we should make you a cake.”

“Or how about some Tennessee Gentleman Jack? Get it? Tennesee?”

“Aren’t you underage?”

This was going down the wrong path. I mean, yes, we always have a cake; the kids LOVE making cakes, but really. OMG.

She must have seen my pained look, because she said, “Oh, you know we’ll buy a bottle of wine.”

“Good! What kind?”

“Well, I don’t know…probably our usual.”

SETUBAL Portuguese blendOur usual, lately, is SETUBAL ERMELINDA FREITAS MONTE DA BAIA from Portugal. It’s $11.29 at our local booze store, 13.5%, and is a concentrated, richly tannic, ripe blend that we found on the Consultant’s Choice shelf and have scooped up several times. Arguably not as complex as the sort of wine you might buy for a bear who has provided 10 epic years of enjoyment for a family of four, it nevertheless sports some interesting wood and vanilla notes that linger pleasingly on the palate. My mum enjoys it more than my dad, who always comments that it is “sweet” and elaborates no further—but it does, in fact, stop short of exhibiting a jammy lack of discipline. SETUBAL ERMELINDA FREITAS MONTE DA BAIA is a combo of several grape varietals, the most internationally recognizable being Syrah, and it is aged in half-and-half American/French Oak barrels. Solid food eaters will probably enjoy cheese or game with it, but certainly not birthday cake… Although, when a birthday cake is as thoughtfully decorated as P and V’s invariably are, how can a bear say no?


Scary likes cake. Too bad it’s not your birthday, Scary.

What this election means for bears…and beers like POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER

One more day till election day!

Not that I get to vote or anything. Lacking ID or any documents connecting me to my Langley residence, and—thanks to the Fair Elections Act—unvouchable, and all this compounded by the fact that I’m a bear…I do not get to cast a ballot in tomorrow’s federal election.

So even if I don’t get any representation, my parents do, and I have one day to convince them to support my issues when they go to the polls.

So what are my issues? Well, I’m glad you asked, my fellow inebriates.

First of all, I’m a bear, right? Let’s consult Google to see what the party leaders are doing for bears these days.

stephen harper search

And voila!

OMG, the panda wants to shake Harper's hand.

OMG, the panda wants to shake Harper’s hand.

Did you know that pandas have thumbs? I DON’T HAVE THUMBS! I could really use some thumbs when I’m trying to open a bottle of POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER from Whistler Brewing. Honestly, a thumb is pretty evolved, wouldn’t you say? But Harper still doesn’t seem to get what a civilized animal this is. I mean, it just got out of a FedEx crate after journeying from China. OMG, Harper, shake the panda’s hand!

Although, to be fair, Harper does love cuddling with animals.


Damnit, Stephen Harper, keep your pets on a leash.

Next up, Thomas Mulcair:

mulcair search

Check it out—he's a Mulcair Bear. Get it?

Check it out—he’s a Mulcair Bear. Get it? But would he have a beer with me?

He really seems to be mocking that bear. I do hope not. We bears are such dignified animals.

Okay, Trudeau time.

trudeau search

This search yields by far the most abundant and diverse array of pictures. By all means, my fellow inebriates, I recommend you try it.

Ridiculed for telling the country he would grow the economy "from the heart outwards."

Ridiculed for telling the country he would grow the economy “from the heart outwards.”

For one thing, I don’t think that one on the right is really, like, a bear. What is it doing? Irradiating him? With love? Whatever it’s doing, I sincerely hope it doesn’t impair Justin’s ability to put more beer money in the pockets of the, ahem, middle class, to which we could possibly belong at least aspirationally.

10956-Powder-BottleWe need that beer money, Justin. We need to buy more POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER. It’s malty and substantial, especially for a lager, with a lovely fresh redolence and a palate-pleasing, almost chestnutty aftertaste. If we had this in the fridge everyday, I’d drink it everyday. (Not like I need to tell you that, my fellow inebriates.) POWDER MOUNTAIN manages to be simultaneously crisp and chewy, fizzy and malty, with a long, lingering aftertaste.

I’m gonna leave the election to my parents. But I vote we buy more POWDER MOUNTAIN LAGER.

INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA—not just for me and my dad!

My Fellow Inebriates,

Usually my dad and I get to bogart all the India Pale Ale that enters LBHQ. My mother’s marshmallow tastebuds can’t tolerate IPA’s “earwax and elastic band” topnotes and she has no comprehension of how symphonic a good IPA can be. So when my dad brought home INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA, I thought we’d be safe from sharing with her. Together we could drink in peace and scratch ourselves as much as we liked.

Innis & Gun Toasted Oak IPABoy, was I wrong. Not only did Mum like INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA; she bellied up to the counter with us and took half of our precious beer! Then she proceeded to marvel about the lack of earwax and elastic bands, the appetizing crystal-gold pour, the complexly hoppy aroma, the delicious toasty taste with buttery golden-rum asides, the refreshing mouthfeel, and the lingering bitter finish! OMG, my fellow inebriates, why didn’t my dad buy twice as much INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA? Then we could have at least knocked my mum out (or wait—maybe not … only 5.6 percent alcohol).

Lest you think Dad and I don’t like Mum—it’s not really like that. We just like keeping all the IPA for ourselves. Dad and I (and Scarybear) take the IPA down to the movie room and watch action movies, knowing she won’t go anywhere near us or our beer. We thought we had a good plan with INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA! We had Transformers: Age of Extinction all lined up! And suddenly there she was with us, suggesting we open a second bottle and discuss books or something. OMG!

Weirdly enough, though, the more INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA we drank, the more my mum started to seem okay—after all, she was being liberal with the bottle opener. And so I thought, too bad for Scarybear and the Transformers movie, but having a couple of IPAs with my parents ain’t that bad.

And then the kids came charging out of their room, seized me from the counter, and dressed me up like a superhero.


And that, my fellow inebriates, was the last sip for me of INNIS & GUNN TOASTED OAK IPA.


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