Man Scouts: The Beer Tasting

On February 4, almost 20 man scouts converged on Rob's house and we sampled 17 very diverse beers, ales, porters, lagers, stouts, wits and bocks. Some of the guys were completely blown away by the strong bitter tastes of the IPAs. Others were impressed with the strong flavours of porter and stout. Most were pleased with drink that didn't threaten their manhood.

I helped organize the event. I brought the gear - mini beer mugs, a tray, score cards and golf pencils. A couple different guys helped pour, but I kept the evening moving by pouring and delivering the brews all night.

  • Cerveza Cristal (lager, Cerveceria Bucanero, Cuba)
  • Sapporo Original Draft Beer (rice lager, Sapporo Breweries, Japan)
  • Grolsch Premium Lager (lager, Golsch Bierbrouwerij, Netherlands)
  • Morimoto Soba Ale (soba beer*, Rogue Ales, OR) fifth place
  • La Messagère (pale ale*, Microbrasserie Nouvelle-France, QC) seventh place
  • Mongozo Premium Pilsener (pilsener, Mongozo, Netherlands)
  • Village Wit (witbier, Village Brewery, AB) seventh place
  • Rickard's Red (red lager, Molson Coors, ON) seventh place
  • Black Tusk Ale (dark mild ale, Whistler Brewing Co., BC) second place
  • Ayinger Weizenbock (weizenbock, Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer/Brauerei Aying, Germany) seventh place
  • Scarborough Fair IPA (india pale ale*, Wold Top Brewery, United Kingdom)
  • Blacksmith India Black Ale (american black ale, Village Brewery, AB)
  • Devil's Elbow IPA (india pale ale, Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Co., BC)
  • Amnesiac Double IPA (imperial IPA, Phillips Brewing Co., BC) sixth place
  • Village Monk Chai Winter Porter (porter, Village Brewery, AB) second place
  • Salty Scot (scotch ale, Parallel 49 Brewing Co., BC) first place
  • Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout (imperial stout, Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Co., BC) fourth place

*denotes a gluten free beer

My personal favourites were the Phillips Amnesiac, both Howe Sound (Devil's Elbow and Megadestroyer), and the Ayinger. Of note too were all three Village Brewery contributions - too bad they are generally sold in growlers. The best of the gluten free beers was the Morimoto Soba Ale (Rogue), in fact I'd consider buying it to drink myself.

I had a great time introducing the guys to new beer. I hadn't tried about half of them, so many were new to me too! Thanks for the fun scouts!

R400 on the Road Again

After taking Blaise on his first real ride, almost 14 km, around our local neighbourhoods, I decide to invest some serious hours in cleaning up my bike. This summer I celebrate 10 years since I cycled from Tsawassen, BC to Robichaud, NB. In that time, I have not changed my chain or replaced the tape on my handlebars. I haven't replaced the brake or gear cables either, but I'm not going to try that without some real help.

I've had a new chain with me since the trip as well as a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur component. My chain is filthy and is probably stretched like crazy so it's definitely in need of replacement. The derailleur is better off on my bike than in a box, so I'm going to swap it out too. I pick up a chain breaker and some new handlebar tape. Four or five YouTube videos and about six hours later, everything works well including the gears even change nicely. I managed a good cleaning of the bike and the rear cassette too.

Feels like a new Cannondale R400 now.


A Personal Update: Zaak aged 37 and 1/4

I'm involved in a lot of stuff. A lot. So I haven't been a mental state to articulate thoughts on my experiences in Africa, recent beer tasting, cohousing activities, educational philosophy, political musings, musical tastes, and Christian thought. At least not on this blog. I have been in conversation about all of these things on a daily basis with a wide variety of people. Maybe this fact brings into question the purpose and role of this blog. I'm currently 95 movies behind on my movie blog too (incidentally, Man of Steel didn't shake me up any).

I got back from 3 wonderful weeks spread over South Africa and Malawi back in mid April. I left with a great feeling of encouragement and rich for having walked alongside Africans.

I continue to love my church where I am appreciating the diversity of our membership and the growth I am experiencing in my life with God. I'm reading Wendell Berry and listening to podcasts by Tim Keller, This American Life, and CBC's Ideas. These keep me engaged intellectually.

Two weeks ago, our family joined 20 of my relatives in Canmore. They came from Washington, Florida, New Mexico, British Columbia, North Carolina, Alberta, and Nevada. It was really quite wonderful to reconnect with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandmother - all of whom I hadn't seen in 13-21 years.

The way we are delivering education at my school is changing. We are focusing on giving the students more responsibility for their learning and we teachers become more facilitators and guides and resources for them. This is not an overnight transformation, but some big changes are being implemented. For me the greatest change will be as the only high school math teacher (at some points, there were three of us). I will be teaching 6 different math courses through the year - and that's it.

My children continue to amaze me and humble me and love me. My wife continues to charm me and support me and love me. I am very grateful to have them in my life and to them lovingly mould me as their husband and father. Blaise is going to lose one of his top front teeth soon. Acadia is the first person I talk to every morning. Amber and I joined an ultimate frisbee team - go Vicious Circles! We have another family living in our home and it has been a joyous experience to share so much and to be living in community.

As time passes, I am less and less interested in national and international politics (I follow it generally through CBC Radio, Colbert Report, & HuffPost). I'm far more interested in local civic issues and process. My city is still recovering from the greatest natural disaster it has ever seen and my esteem for our mayor has only swelled to greater depths (Naheed Nenshi has the highest rating of any mayor in any North American city - or so I am told).

Lately, I've been listening to Atoms for Peace, The National, Band of Horses, Mumford and Sons (who we saw in concert a few weeks back), Sufjan Stevens, and City and Colour. Certainly some favourite songs which I may blog about in the near future.

Beerwise, I'm looking forward to tasting some local brews while in Montreal. Lately, I've been quite enamoured with 8 Wired Superconductor, a double IPA from New Zealand. As a regular drink, I am quite content with Co-op's Classic Premium Ale (it's the very same Big Rock Traditional Ale) and Lagunitas Maximus (another glorious imperial IPA). Picked up a 4-pack of Fuller's London Porter the other day and I'm enjoying that too.

Cohousing. Well, we were flying really well until 3 weeks ago. We had 33/36 units sold and more members lined up to buy in the coming week. We had $8.7M worth of financing lined up. Our building permit was essentially approved by the city as our building documents were completed. Then the bids came in and our contractor had to break the news (about 8 months too late in our mind) that it was going to cost 75% more to build than he initially told us. We are looking at various options which basically mean way more time for this project to be completed. A couple members have dropped out. The community (myself included) is feeling pretty stressed out.