Last month I took the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver to spend a weekend with some family and friends. On Friday night I dined at the Flying Beaver in Richmond with my grandmother, and on Saturday I romped about the lower mainland with my great uncle. We had lunch at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis Club, perused his amazing jazz record collection, watched horse racing with a friend of his near the border at the Derby Bar (where I consumed three Budweiser’s- an appropriate atmosphere), and finished off the day with a mucho grande Italian feast at Nick’s Spaghetti House on Commercial. I was rather full. Then on Sunday afternoon, after some record shopping, I prepared to meet up with some friends for a few drinks.
Earlier this week was of course St. Patrick’s Day, and I spent most of the day sampling stouts, taking the odd nip of whiskey, and listening to a lot of very fine Irish music. I had some Guinness, some home-brewed coffee stout, and some Dark Matter, along with a dab of Jameson’s, and a large dosage of Pogues, Waterboys, Van Morrison, Undertones, and various other Irishey songs. While all this was going on in Victoria, my sister was back home in Vernon, sipping on a bottle of Mike’s Hard black cherry lemonade, apparently because it was left over from a party and she was curious. She then sent me some photos of the bottle and her own tasting notes, which prompted me to write a blog post. God knows it saved me the effort of having to write my own tasting notes on St. Patrick’s Day!
This year on Valentine’s Day, my friend Ian and I spent the evening watching the ICC Cricket World Cup, drinking caesars, and generally grumbling about our lives. You see, there were girls that we wanted to meet, but could not, and contacting them was a rather delicate situation. Let them know via handheld telegram (text message) that we were thinking of them on such a commercialized holiday and risk seeming unoriginal and more attached than one should be at our respective stages, or ignore them at our own peril? So we decided to do what many men in need of self medicating and a change of disposition should do: head downtown for a change of scenery and a pint in an attempt to leave behind our depressing states of mind. Hopping on the bus, we set our sights on James Bay’s own Bent Mast.
It really is about time that I finally review a proper English ale, and on that note I cannot think of many other English breweries (whose ales are occasionally available in BC) who deserve that honour more than Samuel Smith’s!
Certainly in my experience none of their ales are disappointing; their IPA is incredibly superb, and the Winter Welcome is probably my favourite winter seasonal beer out there. The Winter Welcome comes with a different label every year, and unlike most winter seasonal’s that tend to be heavy, dark, and sweet, this one is light, malty, and hoppy. It is like a part of a meal, rather than a dessert.