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Best of the Holiday Spirits to You!

GPOY, as the kids say

GPOY, as the kids say

This really is a gift: the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. I should start a Tumblr dedicated to this rarefied art form: the inspirational fitness quote, overlaid on a photograph of someone determinedly working their way through a bender.

Originally stolen from TheChive.

The Vacation so far

I have not had an actual vacation since 1997, when I celebrated my recovery from cancer with three weeks in Indonesia, so relaxing was a high priority for this time around. You can see how that’s going from these Vine videos.


Phillips Ginger Beer, of which we have blogged previously.


Bombay Sapphire and Tonic with lime, which is a classic.


Yet another Bombay Sapphire and Tonic. Can you ever have enough (apparently on a really hot day you can, and I have the sunburn to prove it).

Summer Selection: Phillips Ginger Beer

Phillips Ginger Beer

Phillips Ginger Beer

Finally, after an interminable wait, summer has arrived on the wet coast. You can keep your highballs, your hard lemonade, your Sauv Blanc, your sangriae: Victoria’s Phillips Ginger Beer is what I’m drinking when the thermometer rises and the asphalt sticks to your sandals like a clingy ex.

The original ginger beer from the old Pirates of the Caribbean days wasn’t a proper beer at all, and contained none of your common-or-garden yeast, but instead an interesting combo of microorganisms as explained in the Guardian’s do-it-yourself guide. Allow yourself to be entertained for the moment by visions of legions of British social work professors-emeritus, mid-level NGO operatives, and overeducated eco-fashion bloggers earnestly attempting to do it, indeed, themselves. In $200 Hunter wellies.

God, I love British people (they’re the people, after all, who gave us Traidcraft.)

This offering from Phillips is indeed proper beer, as are all beers from Phillips. It’s also got a bite that would stand off a pit bull, thanks to the ginger infusion. It’s fiery like a good Jamaican ginger beer, and the heat lingers afterwards, as if you’d bitten into a fresh ginger root. The beer itself is a nice ruddy ale, balanced, not too sweet, and with enough body to stand up to the ginger’s volatile nature, so you don’t feel like you’ve been drinking ginger water, but ginger beer.

It’s terrific on its own, but it really comes into its own paired with spicy foods, particularly if they’re really rich as well. Phillips says, “It’s killer with sushi” but I enjoyed mine with some mussels steamed in coconut chili sauce from the Union Bar, and they were perfect for one another. The mussels, which were enormous and full of flavour, swam in a savory broth of coconut and chili: no watery bullion need apply.

My friend April Smith of AHA Media had the snazzy-looking and non-alcoholic Lapu-Lapu: cucumber juice, coconut water, galangal, calmansi pandan syrup, garnished with tender young coconut and lemon grass. Also delicious and refreshing, if lacking in heat. April and I are so different, we are pretty much guaranteed to order from different ends of the menu spectrum every time. Not a bad way to dine out, if you ask me.

Lapu Lapu at the Union Bar

Lapu Lapu at the Union Bar

mussels and phillips ginger beer at the Union Bar

mussels and phillips ginger beer at the Union Bar

Two Word Reviews: Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2012 Beer

Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2012

Innis & Gunn Canada Day 2012

Those two words?

Oh. Yes.

Said in the following style.

Note this is only a two-word review temporarily, because I liked the bottle they sent me to taste so much I finished it all without taking notes and ran down to the liquor store to get more. They were sold out. Further, possibly somewhat more refined, tasting notes coming soon. PS: if you can’t get this stuff in your country, I pity you.

Musical Interlude: Chasing Bars

DC Lugi

DC Lugi

Say hello to my old pal DC Lugi, otherwise known as the multitalented Dave Coyne the man who first brought to life the Bono/Samuel L. Jackson bromance. And the world rejoiced.

This is his take on Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” and let’s just say the man is true to his Irish roots. Click over the jump for the lyrics, such as I can make them out. They are a little slurred…


(more…)

How to: Open a bottle without a bottle opener

That’s “bottle opener” not “corkscrew” because, as you all recall, we’ve already covered how to open a wine bottle using only a handy wall and a finely-made pennyloafer.

Start with: one bottle of imported, yummy beverage (beer is used for demonstration purposes, but any non-twistoff metal capped beverage will work, Orangina or Newcastle Brown, we’re equal-opportunity drinkers in the Manolosphere) and one piece of paper.

You may doodle on the paper if you wish, but not passionately. Structural integrity is important!

Now fold as demonstrated in this video, leverage against your fingers, and wallah! Apply contents of bottle to back of throat and enjoy!

Of course, if you’re lost without your accoutrements, we recommend one of the following:

The multifunctional carabiner bottle opener, very useful on your next expedition, even if it’s only to the mall.

If that’s not your style, how about this one:

This sleek bottle opener is more James Bond than Jon Krakauer, so save it for opening your more upscale bevvies.

Beer Bottle Sabrage with Matt Stache

Yes, it’s perilously close to a commercial, but it’s still awfully fun.

This should liven up the ol’ tailgate party, and who’d dare to boo your team when everyone can damn well see you’re armed to the teeth?

The Things I Do for You People!

Just a little video of me out and about doing my research. This past weekend I was tucked away at the cushy Serenata Guest House in Canada’s wine country (yes, we do have one, and stop laughing) teaching social media at EatDrinkTweet, a conference for wine pros and foodies, one of whom felt it his patriotic duty to buy me dinner, and who was I to argue? I like to encourage the spirit of hospitality as a matter of principle, as do all right-thinking people. Each evening, in fact, I encouraged it to the hilt, and was rewarded with some very painful mornings in consequence.

Thank god for the Cannery Brewing No Jail Pale Ale is all I can say; concocted in response to British Columbia’s draconian new laws, it’s a high-quality, low-alcohol craft option for people who like their beer hoppish rather than hoppy and medium-bodied. Some thoughtful elf had tucked a bottle into my swag bag, and god bless them for it. 3% alcohol makes a very satisfying hair of the dog pre-lunch. Sadly, the Powers That Be decided that this perfectly pleasant pale had to change its charming name, as “No jail” was “an implied warranty against arrest” or, like, whatever, so now it’s called No Justice Pale Ale.

No Jail Pale Ale

No Jail Pale Ale

A reminder, from the Beer Geek blog:

1.  Yellowtail wine is NOT actually made with any marsupials- specifically, not one Yellowtail kangaroo goes in to the vat.

2.  Baby Canadian champagne is not actually made by, nor does it contain any babies (Canadian or imported).  Actually, it’s not even champagne.

3.  Dr. Pepper is not a real doctor.

4.  Ranch dressing comes from a dressing factory, not a ranch.

Oh, NOW you tell me!

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