LOBKOWICZ BARON—Toasting our little grads

Congrats to our two little graduates, who rocked grades K and 2 this year. Obviously their accomplishments call for a toast, but when I suggested it, my parents accused me of appropriating the occasion as a drinking excuse. “Never!” I protested, while sidling over to our one bottle of red wine on the counter. But they nixed it and instead shared a solitary beer.

Baron beerMy mum had bought only one bottle of this Czech dunkel, LOBKOWICZ BARON on the weekend after watching a fellow customer load his entire basket with the stuff. He raved about it, pointing out the excellent price ($2.17/bottle) and describing it as dark and “sweet but not too sweet.” It sounded normal enough, so Mum shot out her hand and grabbed one before the dude could empty the shelf, and before long it was beckoning yours truly from the fridge.

Advancing to grades 1 and 3 is a big deal that warrants free-flowing liquor, I maintained, but it was not to be, so I will tell you about my tiny portion of LOBKOWICZ BARON. As promised by the dude in the liquor store, it was dark brown with persistent tan foam and a doughy aroma. Accompanying notes of malt, caramel, and yeast was a somewhat unwelcome metallic note all the more evident because of the beer’s simplicity. To be honest, it tasted like my dad made it, which I wish he had, because then we’d have a garage full of the stuff.

Overall, LOBKOWICZ BARON is friendly and uncomplicated, quite mainstream and, being on the sweet side, a good pick for drinkers who dislike being shit-kicked by wayward hops. But LOBKOWICZ BARON is very ordinary, and therefore inappropriate for significant occasions such as today’s. Certainly V, who was touted for her “inventive spelling techniques” and P, whose stint as “Goat Three” of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” won her accolades, would side with me and advocate hitting the sauce early and wantonly. Too bad they are not in charge. But one day they will be.


DOAle—Joey Shithead says don’t waste beer

My Fellow Inebriates,

Miss P might be the only kid in grade 2 who knows how to use the word “penultimate” correctly. On this, the Monday of the penultimate week of school, she goes armed with that word-gem and a host of other finicky English facts. She knows, for instance, that to decimate is not to wipe out but to reduce by ten percent. That she doesn’t quite understand “ten percent” does not deter my parents from filling her head with this and other grammatical gobbledygook. They are social misfits, and while they’re high-fiving each other about P’s vocabulary, P is shoving tomatoes into her mouth like a freaking animal because there are, shall we say, educational gaps at LBHQ, and etiquette is one of them.

Meanwhile, V has figured out the best way to expose our little world. “Would you like some alcohol?” she asks, and then cracks up. I’m betting that when Nana & Papa show up this afternoon, the first thing she’ll say is, “Would you like some alcohol?”

DOAleThey will luck out, because Dry Weekdays have mercifully ended and we have a small supply of HERMANN’S DARK LAGER plus a chilled bottle of CUMA TORRONTES. Unfortunately we don’t have any more DOAle, Old Yale Brewing Co.’s contribution to the CBC Music beer band twitter project. The challenge? To mash up a Canadian band name with a beer style under the hashtag #CDNbandbeer. Since May 17, the resulting brews have been hitting liquor store shelves every Friday.

DOAle need hardly be explained to Vancouverites like my parents who’ve sacrificed many an ear cilium attending 120-dB DOA shows. DOA has anchored the Vancouver punk scene since the very late 1970s, with Joey “Shithead” Keithley the steadfast frontman throughout. Attaching the DOA label to beer was a no-brainer for Keithley, who reminisces about the integral role beer played for DOA in an interview with CBC, ending with a stern admonishment not to waste beer.

Joey Shithead says don't waste beer.

Joey Shithead says don’t waste beer.

And waste it we did not, although it sure disappeared quickly. DOAle is a darkly translucent cola-brown ale with a rich tan head. The aroma is rich and malty with generous lashings of espresso, chocolate, and toasty malt. Up front you get coffee on the palate with a sweet but restrained honey backnote and a lengthy bitter finish. The mouthfeel is substantial but crisp. At 5% alcohol it’s crying out for a “sessionable” label from the sort of beer wanker who’d get trampled at a DOA show (don’t look at me, I’d be freaking terrified). This is a very serious beer and in some ways a departure from the copious smashed-up Pilsner empties I associate with DOA, but still a good tribute to a legendary band.

And we still have half a dozen years and a Justin Bieber phase to go before P even thinks of going to see DOA. Will Joey Shithead still be there? Damn likely. But this beer probably won’t, so you should grab some now.

GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWERY doesn’t quite wow my dad, who then deprives his favorite little bear of an interesting brew

My Fellow Inebriates,

I almost forgot to mention, my dad drank something without me. He was at some work thing and somehow got his mitts on an interesting offering from Granville Island Brewery. I was very miffed at him for failing to bring some home; it seemed Very Selfish Indeed. So I made an effort to forget about that beer, until this video reminded me of it.


And now my dad’s response when I asked him if he enjoyed GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWERY GINJA NINJA GINGER BEER:

Yes and no. Although the beer overall was a bland Granville Island brew, it was very well executed. The ginger was very subtle—none on the front palate, all on the back end. Just enough that you realize it as it’s going down. For someone who really liked ginger, they might keep pouring it down to chase that aftertaste.

ginja ninja beer

In other words, my dad recommends GINJA NINJA for drunks. Again I find myself asking why the hell he didn’t bring some home.