PHILLIPS SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE—by the hundreds, please

My Fellow Inebriates,

Who knows whether all elementary schools celebrate “100 Day,” but it’s a huge deal here. V’s class is an all-out party with cupcakes, party hats, and prizes. Meanwhile, P and her classmates are dressing up as decagenarians and going apeshit with cupcakes, etc. With all this revelry, you may wonder if they do any work in kindergarten and/or grade 2.

They do. The grade twos had a math test, while kindergartner V was tasked with identifying 100 things she would like…

V loves marshmallows...

V loves marshmallows…

And 100 things she would not like…

But not, er...poo

But not, it seems, poo

Encouragingly, V’s teacher hasn’t called our parents in for a meeting to discuss why V was the only kid to identify excrement as something she wouldn’t like in quantities of 100. No doubt other kids chose items like broccoli and tuna casserole, but V marches to a different drummer.

So kudos go to P for declaring her math test “the best part of her day” (sarcasm?) and to V for being an original. She steals my heart the most when she says, “Do you want a beer, LB?” Then her eyes go zanily wide and she says, “HAVE A BEER!”

phillips slipstream creamaleA good idea, and continuing through the Phillips sampler pack, we next hit SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE. Red-amber with a thick off-white foam that leaves a ring of lace around the glass, it exudes the “house aroma” we’ve been experiencing as we go through the pack—nothing offensive, just something unplaceable that ties all four Phillips offerings together. The overall scent is malty-nutty and a tad metallic, but otherwise not too differentiated from your typical cream ale—and yet, there is that Phillips redolence…

On the palate you get malt up front with some caramel and woodsy-fruity notes playing backup. The metallic quality amplifies on the tastebuds, but not obnoxiously. This is a decent beer, but with the sort of complexity that messes with your head; you wonder if that flavor is an exotic hop combination or…metal?

One thing Phillips gets right on the money is the mouthfeel. SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE is creamy and smooth with a luxurious finish I wouldn’t have expected for all its punchy carbonation. It puts me in mind of an old-fashioned bar with peanut shells on the floor, and only an idiot bear would have a problem with that.

Of the four in the sampler pack, SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE was close to being my favorite. That dubious honor goes, surprisingly, to ANALOGUE 78, the lightest of the bunch (although all four clocked in at 5% ABV).

I’d like a hundred bottles of SLIPSTREAM CREAM ALE. Or a hundred cases. Just not a hundred poos.

PHILLIPS BLUE BUCK ALE—The missing part of Family Day

My Fellow Inebriates,

What’s not to love about British Columbia’s inaugural PR-driven Family Day?

family dayThe day off work/school? For my dad it’s not much of a day off; all day long his phone continues to ring. For my mum, it’s more of an extra day on, given that everybody’s home. And for me it’s just terrifying. In addition to P & V running apeshit through the house, we also have their cousins C & R accompanied by Auntie H and Uncle B (who don’t know I call them that). It’s Family Day, so the family is together—whether it frightens bears or not.

My mum has already screwed up by suggesting a family bowling outing and then failing to call the bowling alley in time to book a lane. Every freaking family in Langley thought of bowling before her, so every alley for miles is booked all day. One idea per day is about my mum’s limit, so everybody’s at LBHQ, doing family things.

Even if bowling’s not on the menu, the kids are happy. Happy, that is, without turning their attention to yours truly. Instead, Auntie H has decided to examine me and ask, “Have you ever put him in the washing machine?”

“No,” says Mum. “He has only two brain cells; if he came out with just one he couldn’t write his blog.”

Says Auntie H, “R’s bunny has been in the wash tons of times. You could put LB in. If you used the gentle cycle and a delicates bag…”

And my mother says: “Hmmm.”

Hmmmmm!! OMFG, my fellow inebriates, it’s fine to love your family but you have to draw the line somewhere. This is the part where Mum should be kicking Auntie H and her brood out, don’t you think? But she is still reflecting:

“His ass is full of beans; they’d never dry out.”

“Bunny’s full of beans,” says Auntie H. “He does fine in the wash.”

OMG!!

pope-benedict-xvi-feb-2013-2Meanwhile, Uncle B is obviously not well. He looks like he’s fighting something off. He declines lunch, he looks tired, and only when my mum starts bitching about the pope’s resignation does he get a little animated. Mum is incensed that the Catholic Church’s head honcho, chosen by God and ordained to die in the saddle, would resign. She sees it as a big PR attempt to give Catholicism a makeover by allowing a pope with a chequered past to exit stage left before any more of his dirty underwear gets exposed. Whereas Uncle B and I think it might be good for Catholicism, and that flouting 600 years of tradition might be a sign of increasing adaptability to a modern world. To which my mum says, “The church doesn’t adapt.”

When you’ve attended a high school that once made you spend all day being a human rosary bead for a “living prayer” ceremony, you might carry this impression of the Catholic Church. But I’m hanging with Uncle B on this one—it might be good for the Vatican. If the Catholic Church gets the opportunity to revamp itself, it should take it. Pope Benedict is super-creepy—a real cosmetic liability that’s only going to get worse as whatever age-related condition he hasn’t disclosed deteriorates in his dotage.

But here’s where my solidarity with Uncle B ends. Get this: he’s allergic to alcohol. I didn’t even know this was a real thing until I googled it. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body is unable to break down alcohol. The only way to prevent alcohol intolerance is to avoid alcohol altogether.”

Holy crap, what kinds of people have alcohol intolerance? People with the gene ADH2*2, which produces a highly active form of alcohol dehydrogenase that tends to discourage heavy drinking. The gene is common among Ashkenazi Jews like Uncle B. Symptoms include flushing, racing heart, and a mean game of chess.

Which meant the beer didn’t flow this afternoon at LBHQ. We had to break it out later. No harm done…just minor DTs…

phillips blue buckAnd the beer? Once again, from our Phillips sampler pack: BLUE BUCK ALE. Once again, 5% alcohol, but we won’t hold that against it. The color is amber-brown with a light cream head. The nose is hoppy and slightly floral with some bready notes and background fruit in moderation. On the palate it packs middle-of-the-road satisfaction, middling mouthfeel, and a good mix of malt and hops—some toffee if you’re concentrating. Nothing overly complex going on here: just a damn fine beer.

Family Day would have been better if the family had got into the BLUE BUCK about eight hours earlier than they did. After all that talk of washing machines, I needed a beer. I say to R’s bunny, however many times it’s been through the wash, You’re a stronger animal than I am. Too bad you live with teetotalers.