DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE—Froggy style has a lot of variations

My Fellow Inebriates,

Two nights ago my dad returned from a trade show with two bottles of DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE.

I’d been wondering where the hell my dad was. Often I can find him spread out (his work gear, not his junk) all over the dining room table, stressing my mum out with his tentaculate electronics, and offending us all by playing Pink Floyd’s The Wall out of sequence. But for the last week he’s been scarce.

I suspect he’s been wined and dined by suppliers this week, plied with swag far beyond the two beers he brought home. But we’ll never know. My dad has this effective trick of entering the house with his headset on, carrying on a conversation until the novelty of his arrival has worn off and everyone’s forgotten to ask him about his day. Repeatedly throughout the week, and well past the bedtime of the kids—who would ignore his phone conversation anyway and attack him—he’s entered mid-conversation, muttering away about terminations and racks and permits, and—seeing he won’t respond anyway—I’ve gone back to looking at the People of Walmart or trying on moustaches or whatever other productive thing I was doing before he came in. Effectively I’ve forgotten to interrogate him about this trade show and whatall’s been going on there. For instance:

Why only two beers?

Why NUT BROWN ALE particularly? Does he know that DEAD FROG markets an array of unusual brews (mandarin orange, pepper lime, toasted coconut)?—not quite targeted at craft beer geeks (too light, too lager-y) yet not targeted at the Molson Canadian crowd either. In fact, DEAD FROG has been a bit hit-or-miss when it comes to aligning with the increasingly divergent craft and mass beer markets, particularly with its 650-mL specialty brews, and would have found itself dead indeed had it not sought $500,000 in investment money earlier this year.


If my dad hadn’t been yammering into the headset I would have asked about DEAD FROG’s beer portfolio—did Dad have the option to scoop some other products for yours truly or was he just not interested? Did he have his fill of them at the show? OMG, would my dad do that without me?

Fact is, Dad might have picked the best of the bunch. DEAD FROG NUT BROWN ALE is a nice beer. Dark and almost cola color with a moderate-to-weighty mouthfeel, it carries a hoppy punch yet doesn’t distance itself from the warming, mellowing maltiness of a good ale. Crisp carbonation focuses the hop/malt intersection nicely. You can detect chocolate in the background plus the eponymous nuttiness, making for a solid, interesting brew that doesn’t cloy and isn’t so intriguing that it becomes annoying or precious. Paws up for sure. Or flippers or whatever.

With its recent cash infusion and wealth of marketing ideas, DEAD FROG, just one of three new brewers making a splash in British Columbia, evidently has some (frog) legs. If we all boost our drinking, we should be able to keep the frog alive.

NARAMATA NUT BROWN ALE (Cannery Brewing Company)

My Fellow Inebriates,

I find the news baffling, local news most of all. In my local rag: the story of a 42-year-old woman who, after driving four blocks from Boston Pizza to Montana’s Cookhouse without de-icing her windshield and as a result hit THREE pedestrians, dragging one woman behind her car. OMG.

I have several questions about this incident.

Rocket science

First of all: Was my mother the driver in question? She’s 42, she lives in Langley, she doesn’t possess an ice scraper OR a credit card, and she’s the type of woman who gets flustered by the garage door. Could it be…? I will have to ask her later.

Second, why was this woman driving from a pizza joint to a rib cookhouse? Again, this points to my mother.

Third, how did she make it four blocks with an opaque windshield? Does this deserve some credit for bravado? Or probably not, right? Just to be sure, I googled “driving blindfolded” and learned that in some circles it’s pretty cool. In fact, in the UK it is a team-building exercise. Wow! 

It’s really mild here so I don’t even know when my mum would have done this. Also, she’s still at home instead of in jail, but I read that they only fine you $109 for failing to de-ice your windshield, so maybe she just paid the fine.  None of the three (!) women she hit died; I think a couple of them just went to hospital.

But $109! Let’s break this down. The Cannery Collection I just acquired (two cans Anarchist Amber Ale, two cans Naramata Nut Brown Ale, and two cans IPA) cost $11.75 plus tax. For $109 we could have bought NINE of these six-packs. But apparently it’s more fun to plow your car into innocent pedestrians in some kind of middle-aged remote-viewing experiment.

But I have to be happy with what I’ve got. Last night I had the pleasure of sampling the NARAMATA NUT BROWN ALE. I was happy because the Cannery Brewing Company had advised starting with the AMBER ALE (check), then progressing to the NUT BROWN (check). The IPA awaits, but here are my impressions of the NUT BROWN ALE.

A darker pour than its amber counterpart, the NARAMATA NUT BROWN ALE exuded roasted nuts and chocolate, immediately demonstrating more complexity than the amber ale. Again I used a Reidel stemless glass, the better to catch its nutty characteristics. Immediately I sensed it was the more serious of Cannery’s offerings, which made my fur tingle.

The first sip was strong and hoppy, with a slight molasses accent, but not as much sweetness as I’ve encountered with other nut brown ales. As I drank, the ale continued to strike that same note—satisfying but somehow not developing  from top to bottom of the glass. The carbonation was moderate, crisp and punchy. This is a solid sipper—four-chord rather than symphonic, and just fine for uncomplicated enjoyment.

I would have enjoyed several more of these delicious beers, but unfortunately the money seems to have been earmarked for other things.

But at least not dumb-ass driving fines. My dad informed me that we have a Nissan, not a Kia like the one with the icy windshield. Yay, mum, I always believed in you.