OLD BOY ALE—A calming brew for when there’s a killer in the house

My Fellow Inebriates,

As a generality, animals that are predators have forward-facing eyes—all the better for chasing other animals. Animals that are prey have side-mounted eyes—all the better for scoping out the periphery.

Eyes in front, likes to hunt.

Eyes on the side, likes to hide.

Thus—and this argument is often advanced by those who believe vegetarianism is unnatural for humans—animals with eyes in front (lions, tigers, wolves) are usually carnivores. Wall-eyed animals (bunnies, sheep, squirrels) tend to be herbivores.

Take this duck, for example.


Okay, so ducks are kind of in the middle. They’re omnivores—they eat insects, weeds, small fish, and whatever you chuck at them in the park.

Now take this duck. No really, please take this duck.Minolta DSC

Carnivorous Duck is the most amoral animal at LBHQ. In fact, he’s the only animal who’s ever attempted to eat the kids.

He’s been off my radar recently, confined like Hannibal Lecter to the spare toybox. And let’s face it, if one of my brain cells forgets to remind the other of hazards such as Carnivorous Duck, the threat of predation gets falsely diminished.

I only thought of him because of this pic from 2006.

Scary, me, Glen Bear, and Carnivorous Duck, late 2006. Only Glen was happy about the snow.

Scary, me, Glen Bear, and Carnivorous Duck, late 2006. Only Glen was happy about the snow.

As placid as it is, as comfortingly wintry, I felt unsettled after yesterday’s post. That’s when I realized, CD has been loose in the house for a while. Then when Emily asked about him, it all flashed at me malevolently—Carnivorous Duck is at large, and Glen Bear is missing.

Would CD be ambitious enough to eat a polar bear? I mean…a bear?

He always said he wouldn’t eat me or Scary because we were rancid. But then he’d kind of laugh, and his eyes would narrow. Carnivorously.

The key is not to think about it. Fortunately my dad bought more Parallel 49 beer—OLD BOY ALE, a classic pub-style ale ringing in at 5% ABV and 25 IBU.

old_boy_bottlesWhen you’re terrified of predation and worried you might find a polar bear carcass somewhere in the basement with little beak marks on it, a rich, mellow brown ale with slight off-white foam and minimal lacing is a good reminder that the world is generally a good place. Yes, there are monsters, and some of them live at LBHQ, but how can you dwell on them while inhaling caramel-coffee-toffee-malt with well-behaved fruitiness hanging politely in the background? On the palate OLD BOY ALE bursts with mild nuttiness, bakery notes, earthy hops, riding along with moderate carbonation, a semi-creamy mouthfeel, and the quintessential pub-ale aftertaste. It tastes like another. And another. If I saw this on tap at a bar, I’d get under the tap.

Although it’s characterized as a bitter, OLD BOY ALE is more of a gentle brown ale. Definitely a good winter beer—a soothing, reassuring beer without too much bite but still supplying lots of interesting flavors. Paws up for sure.

You know what it’s like when you’re all alone and you feel like you’re being watched? Well…it feels like something is watching us right now. With forward-pointing eyes. But it can’t have any OLD BOY ALE, because we finished it. Let’s hope Glen isn’t finished as well.


UGLY SWEATER MILK STOUT—Locked deep within the LBHQ fridge

My Fellow Inebriates,

I made another attempt on the fridge today, this time to get an UGLY SWEATER MILK STOUT.

How long did my parents remain unaware of my predicament? Who knows… Finally one of them yanked me out.

“Wait!” I pleaded. “I need that that UGLY SWEATER!”

Dad: “Buddy, you’re already wearing an ugly sweater.”

Mum: “You kind of are an ugly sweater.”


Parallel 49 does it again, twice!

My neighborhood booze shop is full of new products, including its annual explosion of bears looking for homes (for $11 you get to keep one and its twin gets donated to charity). This year’s bears are cheeky-looking little characters who probably dive into the booze as soon as the last liquorstore employee goes home for the night. In other words, they are up-and-comers—potential rivals even, one of whose number might well end up in Santa’s sack on the way to LBHQ, to be hit on by my furvert girlfriend Dolly.

Bears aside, the liquorstore is stocking two new Parallel 49 offerings: BLACK CHRISTMAS CDA and UGLY SWEATER MILK STOUT.

If you put these two brews on a Venn diagram, they’d look like this:

They are both inky and viscous, one with a prickly, hoppy presence and thick, chewy mouthfeel—the other super-friendly and sweet, just like a cuddly sweater.


As my dad said when we opened the specialty bomber, “These guys really know their stuff.” Indeed, two of Parallel 49’s brewers have chemical engineering degrees, a better use for which than brewing beer I cannot imagine. BLACK CHRISTMAS is brewed with fresh 100 Mile hops, whose forwardness have the potential to dominate excessively—BUT Parallel 49 pulls it off. Stopping just short of in-your-face hoppiness, they’ve crafted a viscous, chewy, strong beer, blackened by toasted wheat and wafting subtle Christmas aromas such as raisins and pine. Once again, the key is subtlety. The hops may be strong but not to an ass-kicking point, their bitterness being mitigated by some nuanced tasting notes that make you go mmmm. Pound this stuff in quantity and it’ll flatten you with its 6.9 alcohol percentage. But you wouldn’t pound it, because it’s pretty thick. Well, I would pound it. But only because I knew we had UGLY SWEATER waiting in the fridge.

Parallel 49 wanted to put the Grinch on the BLACK CHRISTMAS label but the idea was kiboshed by the Liquor Distribution Branch (because the Grinch appeals to children). News flash: beer appeals to children. If we poured Miss P a glass, she would drink it, but we’re keeping it for the big people and wild animals.


What the hell is a milk stout, I wondered? Turns out, if you add lactose to the brew you end up with a delectable, creamy viscosity without punching up the alcohol (the lactose doesn’t ferment), achieving the quintessential session ale (a moot point since UGLY SWEATER is too delicious to nurse for long).

Malty, toffee sweetness is the top note, with cappuccino hints and just enough bitterness to remind you this is a beer, and a damn good one. So fetching is UGLY SWEATER and so generously does it coat the palate that you cannot nurse it, in a blink it’s gone, and you’re left wondering if Miss P somehow sneaked half your bottle while you weren’t looking. UGLY SWEATER is wonderful. I would give half my undiscovered nards for Parallel 49 to launch it as a year-round brew. For now it remains a winter offering, so get your paws on it while you can.

My dad is right—these Parallel 49 guys totally know their shit. Even if you’re not a fan of hoppy beers, and even if the idea of milk ingredients turns you off, breaking out of your comfort level and trying these beers will pay off in lovely drunken dividends.