SALTY SCOT—Wee heavy for a wee bear…or not

My Fellow Inebriates,

I totally forgot about Mother’s Day, which perhaps explains why my mother totally forgot to invite me when they opened a bottle of Parallel 49 SALTY SCOT SCOTCH ALE. If you can trust her tasting notes, it was a heavy, wintry ale with lashings of caramel—a malt bomb packing 7.5% ABV under a finger of fizzy, off-white foam. It developed, she said, as it warmed, coffee and brown sugar coming to the fore, adhering nicely to the palate in a boozy, friendly, wintry, not-quite-Mother’s-Day fashion.


Why did she not invite me? I’m thinking…maybe she doesn’t equate me with the other kids. You know, the little human girls…Yeah.

And another thing…every so often I notice that my mother isn’t a bear. I mean, she can get ugly like a bear, but ultimately her chromosome count’s off. Not a bear.

And if she couldn’t find it in her heart to invite me for some SALTY SCOT, well, would she do what this mama bear’s doing for her little cub on the highway?


SEEDSPITTER WITBIER—A better purchase than a Cuisinart oven mitt, but still an unnecessary experiment

My Fellow Inebriates,

Too often, consumers buy crappy products and never say anything. Today we decided not to let Cuisinart get away with selling us an inferior product. But then my mum got lazy about writing a letter, so I did it.

Cuisinart letter

Seriously, I can’t find this product on your site(s). What the hell, Cuisinart? Are you ashamed of this product? (you should be) and/or pretending it doesn’t exist?

cuisinart oven mitt

My mum got the Puppet Mitt for Christmas from my dad. She was as delighted as you can be with an oven mitt and began using it immediately, as its 15-year-old predecessor had a gaping hole. It was the sort of gaping hole that’s fully visible, so you get used to it and adjust your grasp accordingly, and even though she’d gotten pretty strategic at picking hot things up with it, she was happy to have a super-deluxe new Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip from Cuisinart.

A mere five months later, she was reaching into the oven for one of her god-awful meals with the Puppet Mitt, only to realize her fingers were burning. Yes, the Puppet Mitt had a hole. Not a visible hole of the sort you can work around, but a hole inside it, in the lining interior to the silicone part. And the silicone part, without that fabric lining, just wasn’t enough against a 400°F pan. Of course she yelled “Fuck!” and Dad said, “Hey, do you have to do that with the windows open? Do the neighbors really need to hear that?”

Five months, Cuisinart! That’s how long your stupid Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip lasted. That’s less time than dollar store oven mitts would probably have lasted. That totally sucks.

We should have learned our lesson after the Cuisinart grind-and-brew repeatedly spewed coffee all over the kitchen.

We should have learned our lesson after the Cuisinart grind-and-brew repeatedly spewed coffee all over the kitchen.

And when the Cuisinart percolator perked our coffee in something like ten seconds, essentially defeating the purpose of percolation.

And when the Cuisinart percolator perked our coffee in something like ten seconds, essentially defeating the purpose of percolation.

I don’t know how much our Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip cost my dad at Christmas because I can’t find the damn thing on your website(s). That’s why I think you’re trying to cover it up. You’re embarrassed of the Puppet Mitt, and so you should be!!!

Just in case you’re wondering why I, a bear who doesn’t even eat solid food or care about the outcome of my mother’s cooking experiments, should be upset about an oven mitt, it’s because I often hang out in the kitchen while she cooks; she likes to have a beer now and then while cooking, and being an alcohol-seeking animal, I like to get in on that. She chops and fries and bakes, and I steal gulps of her beer. Today, for instance, she and I were both stealing gulps of my dad’s beer, a witbier from Parallel 49 called SEEDSPITTER, so I was on the counter near the stove. But here’s the thing, Cuisinart:

If she doesn’t have an oven mitt, what the hell do you think she’s going to reach for when she needs one??? Holy shit, Cuisinart, do you realize how much I RESEMBLE an oven mitt? I’m soft and cloth-like and about the size of an oven mitt. Sure, I have eyes and a nose, and I don’t have a giant orifice that could accommodate a hand, but please try to understand that—if my mum had to make a choice between burning her hand and not burning her hand—she might grab…me. So, just for my own peace of mind, I need her to have a FUCKING OVEN MITT THAT WORKS, okay?

It is not a far-fetched concern, Cuisinart.

It is not a far-fetched concern, Cuisinart.

As for that SEEDSPITTER beer, just in case any Cuisinart staff members are wondering how it is:

SEEDSPITTER just might illustrate the tenet that we don’t have to do things just because we can. We shouldn’t combine watermelon with beer any more than someone should attempt to stick a hand up my ass. Granted, the watermelon is subtle. Let’s back up a bit.

seedspitter_bottlesSEEDSPITTER pours fresh and bubbly, golden yellow. The aroma is light and wheaty with familiar witbier notes such as candied citrus peel, but there’s a lurking vegetal smell in there too—more like tomatoes than watermelon. Yeah, yeah, tomatoes are fruit, as Miss P would remind us while shoving five into her mouth at once, but they nevertheless have a vegetal vibe, and so does SEEDSPITTER.

Those garden-vegetable notes redouble as you sip SEEDSPITTER. The beer is fairly tart, with the watermelon/tomato flavors horning in on the hops a bit; if these flavors were partnered on So You Think You Can Dance, they’d probably get eliminated. As the beer crosses mid-palate to the rear, those flavors transition from candy-like to medicinal, tart to bitter, with pilsner notes frantically trying to catch up, wailing, “I’m a beer, honest, I’m a beer.” The whole sensation is off-putting and strange.

I’m a big fan of Parallel 49; we’ve been repeat buyers of UGLY SWEATER MILK STOUT and HOPARAZZI, to name just a couple. These guys are masterful brewers with a couple of chemical engineers on board, but SEEDSPITTER seems to be an example of an experiment that didn’t have to be conducted. In fairness, we’re not big witbier fans at LBHQ and therefore we lack a nuanced appreciation of witbier characteristics. But watermelon? Watermelon??

Needless to say, I guzzled as much of my dad’s SEEDSPITTER as I could. It wasn’t moving very fast, and I’m an opportunist. Mum is chickenshit about weird beers, so she had only a few sips and declared it “gin-and-tonic time.”

I know you’re wondering, Cuisinart, what this has to do with you. It has to do with you more than tangentially. You see, if my mum starts swilling G&Ts while cooking, the danger to yours truly escalates. A few G&Ts under her belt and she won’t even aim for a proper oven mitt. NOT THAT WE HAVE ONE! Your Puppet Mitt with Silicone Grip sucks, Cuisinart! I wish we’d spent the money on beer (but not watermelon beer).

I don’t want to be an oven mitt, Cuisinart.

Yours truly,

Liquorstore Bear

VALLE LAS ACEQUIAS BONARDA (2010)—Almost missed it

My Fellow Inebriates,

Last night my parents sneaked a wine past me—and not just a wine but a dinner guest as well. Usually, when someone comes to LBHQ, I like to make an appearance, attempt a sexy dance, get some unsolicited cuddles, and otherwise secure blog content, but yesterday I was distracted by the People of Walmart when D arrived. All I noticed was the smell of chicken being cooked by my mother, which wasn’t exactly a lure. Little did I know, social activity was commencing with UGLY SWEATER MILK STOUT followed by a 2010 Bonarda that D had kindly brought over.

I was distracted, okay?

I was distracted, okay?

I would have clued in sooner or later, but it was an unusually short visit. D arrived, then promptly received several (say, 15) text messages from her daughter asking that she pick her up from work, a good 45 kilometres away, just as dinner was being served. The 20-year-old had forgotten her house key and needed not just a ride home from work but assistance getting inside. Right away. Like, right away! Which meant dinner went by in a flash, my mother drank most of the wine, D left hurriedly, and I arrived just in time for a small leftover and not-very-social sample of the wine. Oh well.

las asquiasBonarda is a varietal that’s currently achieving some ascendancy in Argentina. Originally from Italy, it’s historically been used as a blending grape to supply acidity and structure to jammier blends with its dark, highly tannic profile. Increasingly, Bonarda grapes are headlining in products such as VALLE LAS ACQUIAS. Generously fruity with a violet-black tinge and weighty mouthfeel, this 2010 wine exudes fresh earth and parches the palate with tannins accompanied by mild barnyard notes (my dad called them “fierce”), falling short of the fruity orgy we tend to favor at LBHQ. The wine is certainly not ungenerous with fruit—dark berries and currents are readily discernible—but these chords are submerged somewhat beneath some palate-chapping oakiness that tends to make the tasting experience a bit clipped.

Despite the wine’s minor shortcomings, I was highly offended to have been left out of a social occasion. I would certainly have embarrassed everyone behaved myself and not mentioned the Apocalypse, thongs, or the ongoing paranormal activities at LBHQ, nor would I have suggested that a 20-year-old could find something to do for three hours while her mother enjoyed an evening out, rather than psycho-dialing her on her cellphone until her mother, offering profuse apologies, scarfed down supper and went to pick her up.

I hope neither of them reads this, and I feel pretty confident that they won’t, but if they do, they should know it all comes from my inner alcoholic, who feels burned at having missed out on almost everything, even though he doesn’t really believe in eating supper at all.