SEA DOG AMBER ALE—Perfect with the Liebster

I was totally hosed last night and started clicking on my stats randomly. I was wondering why I don’t get any hatemail (seriously) and if the spam filters are magically sparing my feelings by weeding any ill wishes out. I noticed one of my clicks had come from Awkward Laughter, who’d just been given the Liebster Blog Award and, chain-letter style, spread the love to yours truly.

Even though I’m cynical about awards and the exponential potential to blanket everyone in plaudits whether they deserve them or not, I love getting them and I’m grateful for the notice.

Here’s the deal on the Liebster Blog Award. It’s for small blogs that merit more notice than they’re getting. Like dorky smart kids. Ha! As I told my parents, there’s nothing more dorky than adult humans who have conversations with teddy bears.

By which I mean to say my parents are card-carrying nerds. Not you, my fellow inebriates. Of course I didn’t mean you.

For you I have a booze recommendation: SEA DOG AMBER ALE from Vancouver Island Brewery, the last of four beers I sampled from the Pod Pack.

But first:

The award goes to…three to five deserving blogs. Okay, I have no idea how many followers you have, so don’t get offended if you have a zillion and I’ve bestowed this on you erroneously. Just know that I like you, I read you, and tag, you’re it.

theadventuresoftransman

onmysquare

dampsquid

While I’m at it I should tell you guys about the award, but I’ll probably forget, so you might have to bump drunkenly around your dashboard to find it. That is, if you drink all the SEA DOG in a Pod Pack plus some of the other three sample beers. After doing this very thing, I’d rank the four varieties as follows:

  1. HERMANN’S DARK LAGER
  2. PIPER’S PALE ALE
  3. SPYHOPPER HONEY BROWN ALE
  4. SEA DOG AMBER ALE

Yes, the SEA DOG comes in fourth, but not because it’s bad. It just had tough competition. It’s the most earthy of the bunch, with an herbal hoppiness and lots of malt—very beery, which isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t clout you with beeriness, but it’s not messing around either. Reddish copper in the glass, it boasts some fine carbonation and good weight—another brew you can pound or sip, depending on your mood. Of the foursome it’s the most punk-ass one and, while none of the four are pretentious, I’d call it the slugger of the bunch: hops, malt, maybe some nuttiness, and there you have it.

The Pod Pack is very good at hitting mainstream popular notes, with each beer offering distinct characteristics. It would go down well with a hockey game, and it wouldn’t embarrass you at a dinner party either. In fact, it’s so drinkable that you could consume its entirety at a dinner party and then embarrass yourself. Ahhh!

For my three nominees, if you don’t have a Pod Pack of your own, you can still be embarrassed. After all, you just got an award from a teddy bear.

PIPER’S PALE ALE—better without bagpipes

So apparently my mum is an expert on what evil spirits do when they are haunting a house or inhabiting a teddy bear for their own mysterious purposes. She said my latest accusation against Fluffy was the “most stupid thing” she’d ever heard and that I was obviously desperate for blogging ideas. This was a low blow coming from someone who’s been stagnating over the same dead novel for six years and doesn’t even have her own blog.

I said she wasn’t even properly caught up—Fluffy has been up to much more mischief since he plugged the toilet yesterday. His latest exploit? Making a mess on the kids’ bathroom mirror. You should see it, my fellow inebriates, it looks like he used Anti-Windex on it. I don’t know why he would do that! He deliberately put soapy streaks all over the mirror, which isn’t exactly a progression in evil from stuffing the toilet with TP.

My mum asked if I had considered that the kids had decided to “wash” the mirror for fun?

I had to admit that this hadn’t occurred to me, but it does beg the question: why isn’t my mother curtailing this behavior? She claims she can’t be everywhere at once (read: isn’t Facebook compelling?) and that it must have happened during Saturday’s dinner party when the kids took their little cousins upstairs to wash their hands.

I said: “What about Fluffy? No one knows what Fluffy was doing then.”

My mother: “He was probably staring at the wall.”

!!!

As if to suggest Fluffy is inanimate. Yes, he’s semi-comatose, but inanimate? Oh no. If Fluffy were simply fluff, we wouldn’t have a Fluffy Problem.

But is Fluffy evil, or is he just trying to get out attention? “You should know,” my mother told me, “since both apply to you.”

The truth is, I don’t have much experience with demonic possession or golems or even spoon bending. But if something like a Care Bear can exist, surely evil knows no limit.

My two brain cells were having difficulty, so I made a chart:

Evil Not Evil
Causes cold spots

Moves objects; causes noise

Turns on lights

Plugs toilet with TP

Took my girlfriend

Makes kids frightened

Is very fluffy

Is catatonic

Eyes don’t glow

But doesn’t leave No. 2 in it

Doesn’t realize she exists

Does not take our beer

I agree, it’s inconclusive. I don’t want to think he’s evil, because he was Granny’s bear, after all, and she was nice.

So is it safe to get drunk with an entity like Fluffy in the house? Although my mother says the point is moot, my inclination is to say yes. So why didn’t we, last night, once the kids were tucked in? The Vancouver Island Brewery Pod Pack beckoned, including two beers we’d never even tried yet. But my mum, who can be quite domineering, cracked just one beer: PIPER’S PALE ALE.

PIPER’S gets its name from Bagpiper James C. Richardson, who lost his life in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War. This dude used to play his pipes in the trenches, inspiring—or inducing psychosis in, for those who aren’t bagpipe fans—his fellow soldiers to give ‘er in battle. He actually died going back for his bagpipes after assisting a wounded comrade to safety, earning himself a posthumous Victoria Cross. It must have seemed fitting to name a beer after this hero who so bravely served his country yet seemingly lacked a little in the judgment department.

My mum used to live in Victoria, where she had plenty of PIPER’S PALE ALE back in the day, so last night’s single bottle was a partial blast from the past—partial because we didn’t drink to the point of blacking out.

PIPER’S is a clear golden copper with a quickly dissipating white head. The flavor is friendly: malty and caramel-touched with a satisfying hoppiness. Richer than the SPYHOPPER we tried a couple of nights ago, PIPER’S has a bigger mouthfeel—nice weight with slight breadiness. With its malty beginning and hoppy finish, it makes a lovely arc from sweet to bitter, proving its reputation as one of the better pale ales local to Vancouver Island.

One of the best things about tasting PIPER’S was that no one was playing the bagpipes while we drank it. My mum got nostalgic and remembered there was this guy who always played the pipes at the Victoria Legislature—one tune, relentlessly—and she had a coworker who was actively campaigning to remove him. Much the way, she pointed out, I seem to be campaigning to remove Fluffy.

See, if Fluffy took up the bagpipes, it would make it so easy. Then I’d know he’s evil.