Tag Archives: frambozen

The Divination Six Pack – Beer & The Tarot

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One of the things I’m often asked to do when trying beers is to assign a particular profile to whatever it is I’m drinking. This works as a descriptor of when/where to try a beer, but like with all things that involve taste and smell, it’s entirely subjective. To me a hotdog is best enjoyed on a city block while trying to fight away pigeons, whereas to others it might be in a baseball stadium. Each person has a different ideal scenario for what they’re having and each one has a very specific kind of emotional attachment to that scenario.

But hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back a couple of nights.

So I’m chatting with a friend of mine, Philosophy Professor and Occult Reality Augmentation Man-About-Town, Damien Patrick Williams about the popular method of divination, the Tarot Cards. Within that he brings up his own unique way of doing Tarot pulls that don’t involve the actual cards. Instead, he puts his music player on shuffle. When he asks his question (let’s say “How do I see myself?”), a song will come up and he’ll take in the lyrics and his emotional reaction to the song and figure out how it fits in to his question.  He feels that it works similar to the tarot, but also has the ability to provide a bit more nuance than cards, as songs can make you feel a whole mix of feelings at the same time.

This got me thinking about beer. After all, each beer has incredibly unique flavour profiles and brings about its own unique emotional response. If there was a way to create a randomized list of beers, could I do the same thing that Damien did with his music player? I decided to find out.

In creating a “deck”, I formed a list of a healthy mix of Ontario beers that were the resulted wins of the 2014 Ontario Brewing Awards, which involved three beers in each section, which was many different styles from Lite Beer to Dark IPA, to Wit Beer. To make things easier for a pull, I removed beers that either no longer existed (and that I hadn’t tried) or would be impossible for me to try in the span of a few days, leaving a grand total of 62 beers for this experiment. After making the list, I ran it through a list randomizer several times and it was complete.

To do a reading all you have to do is go to a random number generator, think about your question, and click “Generate”. Look up the number in the beer list, and then think about (or try!) the beer, noting it’s full flavour profile and what you think of it, including situations where you think it would be ideal to drink it in (and think about how you would feel about that situation, good or bad?). With those connections made, think about how they relate to your question and how they apply to you.

Removing the Tarot element of this, I feel it’s an excellent exercise in really getting to think about the connection you have with certain beers and may help you for pick out selections in the future. It’ll provide some context in your thought process and help you understand what kind of beer you want when faced with the dilemma of “what should I have?”. Additionally, this would be a really fun way to share beers with friends, as you can create a Divination 6-pack for them as a gift.

For the Ontario folks, I have this handy-dandy list pre-made, so you can use that (though feel free to make your own). For everyone else, at last we have a use for lists that web sites make! Ratebeer has a top 50 beer list section that can be customized, or you could spend an hour or so creating your own. The more there is on the list, the better. All you need is the random number generator and you’re good to go.

As for the questions, I’ve kept it simple but strong with six ones. You as you see yourself, you as others see you, your goal, recent past, near future, and ultimate outcome. As an example, I’ve done a pull of my own below. While I’m not going to give you specific aspects of my life, I have included my personal reaction to the results and have outlined the ones I feel have the strongest connection.

And here we go.

You As You See Yourself: Highlander Brew Company  Scottish Ale – A very soft-spoken beer in the public eye, but revealed to have a level of complexity due to the malts.

You As Others See You: F&M Stone Hammer Maple Red Ale – An all together solid beer and arguably one of the most solid from this particular brewery, it’s an Amber Ale brewed with locally sourced maple syrup. However, it isn’t to everyone’s tastes. Folks will either have one and never think of it again, or reach for another

Your Goal: Amsterdam Brewery – Downtown Brown – Whenever I think of Downtown Brown, I tend to think of “Balance”. While it has many of the elements of a solid, grounded brown ale, there is also a level of lightness to its taste that makes it a drink that doesn’t demand a certain atmosphere to enjoy it with. Very easy-going but grounded.

Recent Past: Molson-Coors Rickard’s White – Rickard’s White is actually a pretty good beer, but in America, where the exact beer is known as Blue Moon, it is a a beer that is constantly mistaken for something made by a smaller brewery (When in reality it’s made by one of the largest). As a result, there is a deep mistrust among the craft beer crowd and it has the image of trying to be something that it is not.

Near Future: Mill Street Frambozen – A very bright and sweet beer, ideally preferred in the sunshine. However, the taste is quite brief. (Only real personal note – Am planning a trip to Montreal soon)

Ultimate Outcome: Wellington Imperial Russian Stout – With several exceptions, I often view Imperial Stouts as the grand finale beer of a particularly trying day. With it’s dark roasted notes and slight alcohol burn, it’s a beer that’s meant to be savoured and sipped slowly. My ideal circumstance would be sitting in an easy chair with some music playing and a good book. Ultimately, with an Imperial Stout, in particular this one, I’d like to unwind from something with it. While this may not be my absolute first choice, it’s a damn good choice nonetheless.

And there you have it.

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Make it Schnappy: Bierschnaps

So, full disclosure, I had originally written this post a few months ago with the intention of it going up on another site. Unfortunately, due to editorial problems it was left on the shelf. After breaking my ties with the site, I then decided it would be such a waste to keep this post sitting there, so here it is. This post has been slightly changed to roll with the changes since it was originally written. Also, since it was intended for Amerikan eyes the spelling of some words is very clearly wrong. I apologize to all the fans of the letter U who read the site and can only ask that you move past your prejudices and enjoy the post. Thank you.

Beer…SCHNAPS? Kind of weird to think about I know, but it is out there and it’s surprising to say the least. Be forewarned, this isn’t the syrupy sweet schnapps that comes in distinct chemicaly flavors like could-be-mint and I-think-that’s-what-peach-tastes-like and alternates as the combination to Elaine’s Vault (ask your parents or think back a bit, come on I’m not that old). This is the traditional, clean, crisp, and strong-as-hell liquor with a unique process brought over from Austria.

To be honest I first heard about this style when Mill Street Brewery, based in the touristy Distillery District here in Toronto, announced the opening of a Beer Hall with an in-house micro distillery way back in April. The plan was to exclusively make their own brand of Bierschnaps with three of their flagship beers, Tankhouse Ale, Coffee Porter and Frambozen as a base.

So how is it done? To put it simply, they brew the three beers to a higher alcohol level than they usually are (around 7% abv) and run it through a double distillation process. Before the second distillation the “low-wine” is steeped for a while in a selected ingredient for that extra flavorful push. In the case of the Tankhouse, it’s cascade hops and in the case of the Frambozen, it’s whole raspberries. The resulting clear liquid, roughly 45% abv, is bottled, sealed with individually colored sealing wax and placed in fridges both for the pub and the store to be enjoyed as an Apéritif between courses or…just for the hell of it, I imagine, in little tiny beer stein shot glasses imported from Austria.

I should admit that the first time I tried this was at a friend’s house for dinner and my initial reaction….wasn’t too favorable. While I am familiar with hard liquor, my palate has been trained to pick up subtle hints of things and any kind of boozy beverage that is the taste equivalent of a hammer slamming in to my tongue is going to give my senses a bit of a jolt. But the second time I tried it was at the Beer Hall under the supervision and direction of Mill Street owner Joel Manning and Head Distiller Kaitlin Vandenbosch and after an explanation of how to pick up the flavors, it turned out better. As far as taste goes, I really think that context is important before trying.

Bierschnaps, according to Manning and Vandenbosch, isn’t a drink to swirl about in the mouth and savor. It’s meant to be downed in one shot quickly. The flavor notes work after it’s knocked back, when the remaining liquid warms and moves up your throat. The Frambozen, for instance, lets out a not-too-subtle hint of fresh raspberries and the tankhouse has the unmistakable notes of hops as well as the malts that went in to the original beer.

As an aside, if you ever get the chance to try a shot of Bierschnaps with a pint of the beer it was based on, I strongly reccomend it. Having a shot of the Tankhouse with a pint of Tankhouse as a chaser really opened up the flavors for me and helped me figure out some of the things I was tasting in the schnaps.

Bottles of the Frambozen, Coffee Porter and Tankhouse Bierschnaps are available only at the Mill Street retail store at their brewery for about $35 and can be a fun novelty gift for a loved one based in lands not our own. As of writing, Mill Street was in the planning stages of upcoming seasonal releases of Bierschnaps and readying the release of a new bottle to the family of three called Hopfenschnaps, which is a hoppier and more spiced version based with the Tankhouse ale and is a kicker at 55% ABV. Bottles of that are currently available at the retail store for $39.50. If that’s too expensive for your blood, they do serve individual shots at their brewpub.

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