Inspired by Don and Jenn’s #FoodTruckFriday series and the arrival of summer, I thought it might be fun to revive #BeerFriday for the next couple of months. I’ll be concentrating on local beers but, let’s face it, I’m likely just to write about what strikes my fancy! Still, I hope you enjoy this summer series and find a beer to enjoy.
I think it’s fair to say that much has changed in the world of beer in Ottawa over the past two years; most notably with the creation of Ottawa’s own Chapter of Barley’s Angels (thank you, Katy and Tracey). The larger number of tweets about beer, the opening of new breweries (Beyond the Pale for one), the expansion of existing breweries, the bloggers covering beer and beer events, the opening of new brew-pubs are all, to me, indications that beer and craft beer are really taking off in Canada’s Capital. Of particular interest is the growing interest in beer amongst women and other groups not traditionally seen as beer-drinkers.
With Canada Day just around the corner, a few “patriotic” beers caught my eye at the LCBO this week: Maple Leaf Lager, Montgomery’s Courage and, with what may be the best or worst name for a beer ever, The Shawinigan Handshake.
I was most interested in the last one. The caricature on the bottle is very clearly of former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien holding the devil by the neck. (Apparently it was originally conceived as the former PM holding Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada fame and bad choice of clothes infamy. One wonders if Don Cherry objected…) The blurb on the bottle states that the former PM approved of the naming of the beer; he was known to be a champion of all things Shawinigan. While I can’t decide if marketing a beer in memory of a controversial incident that may have involved our PM physically assaulting a citizen, I am sure that our former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, had a much better sense of humour than our current one, and was certainly quicker with his wit.
The Shawinigan Handshake, from Shawinigan Brewery Le Trou du Diable (the Devil’s hole) is a Strong Beer (which means that it has an alcohol content of 7% in accordance with American Ale rule of thumb) . It’s a wheat beer with a golden colour and and bitter notes like an IPA. At $6 a bottle at the LCBO, it’s not inexpensive even if the bottle is large. As a novelty, I enjoyed it but I’m not sure I would buy it again. Although it’s been in production for over a year, there is something unsettling about it, even if you can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humour.
It’s a long week-end culminating in Canada Day. What beer will you be drinking?