Sunday, June 20, 2010


I finally visited Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, ON, after a few years of enjoying their trade mark "Lugtread Lagered Ale" under my belt. It was a pleasant visit, with my father in tow to comemorate Father's Day. We enjoyed a free brewery tour, had some organic BBQ & a pint, and dropped some cash in the gift shop.

Vrienden (sorry, I took a sip of this one before the photo)

We were happily surprised to find out that Beau's brews seasonal and special edition beers, available only through the brewery itself and select bars/pubs/restaurants. My dad and I were fortunate enough to nab a some big bottles of their spring brew, an India Pale Ale called Beaver-River. The gem of the trip was the few bottles of Vrienden we brought back with us. Vrienden is an unfiltered wheat beer that Beau's brewed in collaboration with the Dutch brewery, De Koningshoeven. Unlike most wheat beers (Hoegaarden, Shneider Weisse, etc.), Vrienden is flavoured with juniper berries and maple syrup, as opposed to the traditional use of citrus fruit. It's a refreshing and flavourful beer that was going down proper in today's heat, no doubt.

Their summer brew, a German ale name Festiv-Ale just became available through the brewery as well, and there's a very limited supply of Vrienden and Beaver-River left for sale. Take a trip out to
Beau's if you get the chance.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Summer has arrived, and with it comes great expectations and grave responsibility. Every year people reach this point and look ahead with the best intentions to milk the summer months for everything they're worth. I call this "summer's gravity": the pressure to not let the summer slip away before accomplishing something. Whether it's a chance to take a roadtrip, to spend time with friends, or a chance to buckle down for a serious cash earning stint at a summer job, there's no doubt that many of us have high hopes for the summer.

Of course, summer always has a soundtrack too. Once the calendar turns on May and June, I reach for a set of records that speak to the essence of summer. Musically, it's a blend of folk song writing, country instrumentation, and a punk rock/indie rock approach to arrangement & dynamics. Really there's no set style or sound though, and I go more on mood and decide whether a song is a "summer song" or not. While not a definitive mix of any one music scene or style, the songs here showcase a few of bands that (to my ears) share similar influences and approaches in their music, and they're all summer songs.

Wilco - War On War
The Pixies - Winterlong
The Lemonheads - Paid To Smile
Buffalo Tom - Gravity
The New Pornographers - Crash Years
Wilco - You Never Know
The Lemonheads - Rule Of Three
Dinosaur Jr. - Feel The Pain
Matt & Kim - Lightspeed