CYPRESS HONEY LAGER—Good swill during unpleasant times


Somebody mailed a human foot to the Conservative Party’s Ottawa HQ yesterday, causing police to declare a Hazmat situation while investigators pored over the Canada Post sorting plant where all packages go before final delivery.

Weirdly, a maggoty human torso had just been discovered in a suitcase in Montreal. Who knows where the head and remaining limbs are destined… I sure wouldn’t want to be a mail sorter this week.

Tory MP Brad Trost, a hardcore pro-lifer who apparently thinks Stephen Harper is too conservative and longs to reopen the abortion debate in Canada, first learned about the foot on TV. “It’s just awful,” said Trost, describing it as “someone’s sick idea.”

Newsflash, Brad: A picture or a story about a severed foot is a sick idea. An actual severed foot goes beyond ideation. Dude, when somebody mails you a body part, it’s either:

  • A mistake (Was it in an ice bath? Was it supposed to be reattached to somebody waiting at the hospital?)
  • A joke (Not funny!)
  • A message (What do you think it could mean, my fellow inebriates?)

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Wow! A lot can happen while you’re out swinging on swings, visiting Tim Horton’s, and watching dogs get haircuts at the pet store. The police just intercepted a package containing a severed HAND at the Ottawa Postal Terminal. They’ve connected the hand and foot with the torso in Montreal, plus they have a suspect. In all likelihood the gruesome mailings are a mob-style message related to the Charbonneau Commission investigating organized crime in the construction industry.

Although police have expressed doubt that any more body parts will show up in the mail, if I were an employee of Canada Post or the Harper government I would definitely be bringing a flask to work. Maybe even phoning in drunk.

With a six-pack of GRANVILLE ISLAND CYPRESS HONEY LAGER I could just manage it, although my friends weighing more than a pound might want to consider a full case. Amber-yellow with a quickly receding beige head, this lager promises honey. Instead bakery leftovers and cloying malt waft from the glass. If you detect honey then you have a finer nose than I and/or the power of suggestion is strong with you. If this latter characteristic fits, you might not wish to drink CYPRESS HONEY LAGER while reading about detached body parts crawling with maggots—you wouldn’t want to cement that association.

Honey, when added to a lager, often mitigates the tinny lightness of that brewing style and lends some depth. But one sip of CYPRESS HONEY LAGER confirms what the nose suspected: precious little honey. Sweetness, yes, but of a juvenile, corn-syrup stripe unable to elevate this lager from a thin, watery and even sour taste experience. This would be an excellent keg beer. If, say, you were moving from a house with a mean landlord and wanted to host one last housewrecker party, CYPRESS HONEY LAGER would be a good choice. Its promise of delicious honey is exactly like a parsimonious landlord’s commitment to fix the toilet.

If you don’t have enough friends to warrant a kegger, but you do like pounding beers while watching morbid CBC news stories, this lager would do for that too.

WHISTLER BREWING COMPANY BEAR PAW HONEY LAGER—Unembarrassing, even if it won’t put hair on your chest

My dad has stopped tucking me in at night.

Now wait, you say. How many adult males tuck little bears into bed at night? Well, my dad for one. At least until last week.

Waiting to be tucked in

I wouldn’t be worried if he hadn’t omitted to do it four nights in a row. One’s not atypical; sometimes he falls asleep on the couch and then drags himself into bed without remembering. I get that. But four nights in a row? WTF, Dad??

So what difference does it make? you well may ask.

On lucky nights I’m too looped to notice. Other nights we’ve just watched something on TV—maybe a crystal meth dealer’s body being liquefied in an acid bath or some similar violent shit—in which case I stare at the wall all night afterwards, traumatized.

Up until last week, my dad used to get me settled for bed with the other bears he likes (plus Fluffy, who’s somehow gotten himself included). He used to make sure we were all comfortable and not too squished, then he’d put a blanket over us.


So what the hell, Dad?

Maybe running his own business lent itself to the sort of maverick mentality that says, I do what I want. Sure I tuck bears into bed—what’s it to you, mofo? And now he’s got this new corporate gig, he’s probably more like, I model and demonstrate best practices to help build accountability. His new coworkers play golf and video games while talking about their stereos.

Perhaps my dad is reassessing the machismo of tucking bears into bed.

But does this mean we’ll be buying more beer? I certainly hope so, and I’d be willing to trade my beddy-byes ritual for an extra case here and there. Perhaps another Whistler Brewing Company Travel Pack would be sufficiently manly for my dad. The four beers it contains are pretty mainstream (PARADISE VALLEY GRAPEFRUIT ALE being the one weird but good exception) and, while none of them will put a clump of hair on your chest, the collection is solid.

Naturally the BEAR PAW HONEY LAGER has extra appeal. Beer and organic honey make a win-win combo, even if their synergy occurs at only 5% alcohol.

The lager pours a crystal-clear copper with light foam that quickly dissipates. Honey is immediately apparent to the nose along with breadiness and faint hops. Taste follows smell without much surprise, supplying the expected honey along with some caramel notes and minimal hoppiness.

With a light-to-medium mouthfeel and reasonable carbonation, BEAR PAW HONEY LAGER is moderately refreshing but perhaps too sweet to pound endlessly (although I would without complaining). It has an unexpectedly long and dry finish, especially given its tendency to cloy at the front of the palate.

This would be an easy beer to disparage as too commonplace. It’s true the market is inundated with honey brews, but only because honey is such a delightful note to find in one’s beer. I’ve certainly experienced better versions of honey lager, but this one’s not bad at all. It’s certainly nothing for Whistler Brewing Company to be embarrassed of—not that anyone should be embarrassed of anything. Including my dad.