Triple B: Burgers, Bacon & Beer

ICE ICELAND BABY: I hope they serve THIS beer in Hell…

Hell may be for children, Pat Bro-natar, but this Hel Winter Porter is just for me. We’re hanging out at the Hotel Skogafoss Bistro Bar, within stumbling distance of the giant waterfall, where I’m crushing this bad boy from Olvishot Brewery. Or should I say bad girl — Hel was the daughter of Loki, after all. Anyways, this beer is pretty rich, and packs a decent punch at 7%, although it’s not quite as heavy as I thought it would be.
Then again, this hearty bowl of kjötsúpa probably took some of the edge off. This traditional Icelandic soup is made with braised lamb — you can never have too much lamb in Iceland!!! — and root vegetables like carrots and turnips, along with some rice. I’m not saying this soup gives you magic powers, but I did climb to the top of the stairs above Skogafoss after eating it…and I weigh like 300 pounds, so it’s kind of a Christmas miracle???
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ICE ICELAND BABY: 4-way Icelandic Christmas beer battle

In case you haven’t guessed by now, Iceland is my kinda place. Sure, it might be mighty cold and windy in the winter…but Icelandic Christmas beers help to make the season bright. It seems that every brewery in the country, from the big players like Gull and Viking to craft breweries such as Smidjan Brugghus, bring out some new festive brewskis every year for the holidays — I might hafta come back next year, bro!
 
In the meantime, here’s my take on four of Iceland’s finest Christmas beers from 2021:
 
 

JOLA GULL

Gull beer is kinda like Iceland’s answer to Molson Canadian — you see it absolutely everywhere — and it seems like people actually drink it; not just at Icelandic Men’s Hockey League games, either. I had one of these at the Blue Lagoon (where it was the only beer on tap), and can confirm that it’s pretty much the same as Canadian.
 
However, Jola Gull, their Christmas beer, actually ain’t bad. I first had one on my Icelandair flight over here, so I grabbed another one to wash down my awesome Icelandic lamb lunch at Geysir; later, it was the only beer offered to me at my last dinner in Reykjavik. It’s a pretty decent amber lager with a nice hit of caramel and a slightly sugary aftertaste. Hey, I liked it enough to drink it three times…
 
 

HALTA JOLA KETTI

The Yule Cat (or Christmas Cat) plays a big part in Icelandic Christmas folklore. Legend has it that this Kitty Gone Wild eats any kids who don’t get any new clothes for Christmas. So next time you think getting someone socks is a bad idea…think again, bro!!!
 
This festive beverage from Smidjan Brugghus is described (in English) as a “Double Dry Hop Kveik Milkshake IPA,” although it clocks in at a suspiciously low 5.5%. But the hazy colour is on point, and you can smell the hops as soon as you crack open the can. And I quite like this beer — it definitely tastes like a good, hoppy IPA…so I guess that low ABV just means you can crush more, bro?
 
 

CHOC HO HO 2021

Another entry from Smidjan. You can probably figure out what kind of beer this is from its name — a peanut butter chocolate milk stout. I mean, does it get much more Christmasey than that???
 
I really got a good whiff of peanut butter when I lifted this glass to my lips, but the taste is a lot closer to a Guinness… and there’s nothing wrong with that. If I was Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and grab a couple of these boys outta the fridge — although I might be slightly worried about incurring the wrath of the Christmas Cat in the process.
 
 

TVEIR VINIR & ANNAR I JOLUM

This might be the most interesting beer on the docket. This Christmas beer from Viking Brugghus, which roughly translates as “Two Friends & Another This Christmas” (according to Google) does not have any English on the can, so when I saw this “appelsinulager” I assumed it was apple flavoured. But, as it turns out, “appelsinu” is the Icelandic word for orange, so that really threw me for a loop…
 
Sure enough, there is a strong, zesty orange flavour to this beer. It’s like a good, summery wheat beer (wrong season, bro?) but with a bit more of a hoppy aftertaste. While it is nice and easy to drink, the flavour profile has got me asking, “Do they know it’s Christmastime at all,” Bro-d Aid???

ICE ICELAND BABY: This bar fuckin’ hates The Eagles, man…

I dunno guy, but I don’t remember the part in The Big Lebowski where The Dude goes to Iceland… but they still named a bar after him in Reykjavik, bro! And as you might expect, Lebowski Bar specializes in White Russians, with 24 different takes to choose from:
This here’s a Cocoapuff Casian, where they take your standard Caucasian (vodka, Kahlua and cream) and then stick some Cocoapuffs on top. You’ve got the creaminess from the Kahlua and cream, mixed with the chocolatey cereal… Dude, it’s magically delicious!
The other thing they do here is burgers named after characters from the movie. I ordered The Walter, a bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and onion on a grilled bun. Beef was nice and tender, and you get a few nice bites of bacon… Shomer Fucking Shabbos bro!!!

Mother, tell your burger not to walk my way…

Now, I don’t always drink cocktails, but when I heard about Mother, this funky little cocktail bar named after my second favourite Danzig song (Twist of Cain FTW, bro!), you KNOW I gotta check it out! And it turns out they’re serving up a signature brisket and short rib burger…so I think I’ll have one of those.

Now their Mother Burger isn’t all that big, but sometimes good things come in small packages…like Glenn Danzig. Burger is nice n juicy, with minimal toppings on a soft brioche bun, and you can really taste that the meat is a cut above. Whoa-oh, bro!!!!

I was somewhat disappointed that they were sold out of the Lost Craft Neapolitan Stout, so I had to settle for their Skyline IPA, which was not a bad consolation prize. This brut IPA is light and dry, just a little hoppy, and packs an unexpected punch at 6.2% — kinda like that guy who knocked out Danzig.

Of course, you can’t go to a cocktail bar and not order a cocktail… This here’s called Porcelain, and it’s got all kinds of crazy stuff like dry sake, jasmine baiju and Italian violet liqueur, for a nice, sweet, and totally not evil taste. It can bang heads with me any day, bro!!!!

Wolves in the Taproom @ Folly Brewpub

We’re back in Toronto now, and with all this talk of Omicron variant and new COVID restrictions, I could use a beer…or 10. So we’re hanging out at Folly Brewpub, this funky little joint at College and Dovercourt that’s serving up nine different beers brewed in house, along with a food menu that ranges from Italian to German. Shut the front, back and side doors, son!!!!

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Speaking of German, we’re starting off with a Trust No One Lichtenhainer, which just happens to be what it says on my lower back tattoo. This wheat beer has a nice smokey smell and more of a sour, citrusy taste. I don’t know how they brew it, but they sure brew it good, Bro Scratch Fever!!!

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We’re pairing that with a classic Italian app — arancini. These creamy little rice balls are deep-fried to perfection, with a piece of cheese in the middle, and they soak up all the sauce on the place, son!

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Now, when I saw this next beer on their list, I knew I totally had to try it. This is Wolves in the Taproom, named after my second-favourite atmospheric blackened shoegaze band. (Deafhaven FTW, bro!) Although it’s an amber, they brew it with Belgian yeast to give it a nice, chocolately flavour. I could pound, like, 16 of these!!!!

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Did I mention that the food here is pretty funky? They’re actually serving up three different kinds of mussels — Provincial, Calabrese and Thai. (All that’s missing are some mussels from Brussels, bro!) Me, I went with the Thai ones, served in a curry coconut milk broth. Now, the ones on top aren’t too spicy, but when you get to the bottom, and they’re swimming in that broth, you definitely get a nice little kick…

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But you KNOW I’ve still got room for dessert, bro…and by dessert, I mean another beer. How About Some Coffee is a nice, heavy coffee stout with a creamy head. It only comes in bottles — but on the plus side, you can buy ’em to take home, so I think I might just do that. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

EATING LAS VEGAS: Craft beer ‘n burgers you can trust!

The Palazzo shopping mall at The Venetian is home to high-end stores like Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors — so it hardly seems like the place you’d find a craft brewpub. But tucked into a corner on the second floor, Trustworthy Brewing Co. is cranking up the classic rock and serving up a dozen original brews, along with a handful of guest taps… I’d buy that any day, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with an Emilia’s First Peach Saison, served up in a big ol 24 oz beer hall mug. This beer is definitely pretty peachy, and at 6.2%, it kinda sneaks up on you a bit…

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We’re pairing it with a warm, soft ‘n delicious Bavarian style pretzel, with not one, not two, but three different dips to choose from. The Gruyere cheese spread was nice n creamy, while the stout mustard had a nice little kick. But what makes it is the amber ale beer cheese — dude, this is body by beer cheese!!!

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We’re following that up with one of the guest taps, a Tenaya Creek Fruit Punch. This German-style wheat beer has plenty of pucker, and tastes like a whole buncha fruits mixed together as opposed to just one. You definitely get fruit punch face from this one…

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Now, I gotta say, their Hickory Burger was quite tasty, with an American Wagyu patty and some nice, peppery bacon. I really like how you get bacon in every bite. But if there’s one thing missing, it’s that I didn’t taste any crispy fried onion strings. I mean, it’s right there on the menu, so…

EATING LAS VEGAS: Losing my In-n-Out virginity with a 4×4 burger!

In-n-Out Burger might be one of the most iconic burger joints in America…but we still don’t have any of them anywhere close to Canada, so when I found out there was one just off the Vegas strip, about a 15-minute walk from my hotel, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro!

And here on Triple B, we’re all about go big or go home. So while the Double Double might be the most popular item on the menu, I’m doubling down on that with a 4×4, son!!!!

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Now, when I ordered the burger, they told me it comes with 4 slices of cheese, and asked if that was OK. We’re not big on substitutions here on Triple B, so I just went with it. But it turns out that’s a LOT of cheese — even with the burger paper soaking up some of it, there was still all kinds of cheese oozing off this bad boy!

Oh, and I also ordered it Animal Style, cuz that’s the way to do it, apparently. I can’t say I noticed that there was mustard grilled into the meat, but the pickles, grilled onions and extra spread made things super messy — it almost needed an actual diaper instead of just a burger diaper, bro!!!

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On the other hand, I’m not so sure that Animal Style goes great on fries. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten some ridiculously overloaded fries in my day…but there was just so much of that signature sauce on here, and it doesn’t taste as good on cheese fries as it does on a burger IMO.

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Now my biggest surprise was how small this thing actually was — it easily fit into my mouth without too much smooshing — and it was pretty filling, but not uncomfortably so. The second biggest surprise was the price… Dude, a Quad Quad will only set ya back $7.55 and this whole meal, with Animal Fries and a drink was less than 15 dollars. You’re not getting a deal like that anywhere on the Strip, son!!!!

BBQ beef brisket burger @ Beertown, bro!!!

Dude, Beertown Public House is pretty much my new favourite place on the planet. Their beer selection is TheBomb.ca, bro! Now, last time we were here, I chowed down on nachos, chips ‘n guac and some soft-baked pretzel sticks…but now I’m heading back to check out their burger selection. Somwhere there’s a BBQ Brisket Burger with my name on it!!!! More on that in a sec, though…

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Now, last time we were here, we discovered that you could get two pretzel sticks with a side of mustard for $1.99. But I even said that next time I was gonna go for the full-sized pretzel…and I did! Turns out that it isn’t actually a whole pretzel though; you just get a handful more pretzel sticks, along with some beer cheese dip — dude, this is body by beer cheese dip! I’d put that on a snow boot, bro!!!!

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But now it’s time for the main event… Say hell to ma lil’ friend, BBQ Brisket Burger. This bad boy is topped with Monterey Jack, coleslaw, chips, chipotle donkey sauce and an ancho chili BBQ sauce — it’s a mess and a half! And of course, there’s the brisket. I wasn’t a big fan of the beef brisket nachos last time, but this brisket had a lot more texture and flavour. I guess sticking brisket in a nacho oven is no bueno, bro! Oh, and I would definitely smash this burger again!!!!!

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Of course, we ain’t about to walk into Beertown and order a Coors Light, son! This here’s Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, coming straight outta England… Not gonna lie, I was expecting more chocolately richness, but it basically tastes like a Guinness — not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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And because There’s Always Room for more beer, this key lime pie sour from Merit, coming straight outta Hamilton, will do nicely for dessert. 😉

PATIO BEERS: It’s like the fruit salad of beers, bro!!!

Patio season has gone on about a month longer than expected, but I think we’re heading into the last week now. So we’re hanging out at Thirsty And Miserable, this funky little Kensington Market dive where they’ve got punk rock on the stereo and craft beer on tap…as well as in cans. Even during the pandemic, they’re still a cash-only bar — that’s how punk rock they are, bro! And they’re serving up some beers that are pretty outta bounds, like this renegade of funk in Flavourtown that’s literally called It’s a Trap…

This funky collaboration from Indie Alehouse and Dominion City is packing so much fruit, it might actually be healthy for you. We’re talking grapes, lime, pineapple and millions of peaches, peaches for me in a sour beer that comes in at 5.2%. I gotta say, what I taste most is the pineapple, though…

Now, I don’t always drink pineapple, but if you put it in a beer, I think I’ll have another one. This Big Sky pineapple gose from Town Brewing is even more sour than its predecessor…it gives ya a nice pucker!!!

And while this Kiwi IPA from Badlands Brewing does have fruit in its name, don’t judge a beer by its cover, bro! It’s actually called that cuz it’s got three different kinds of hops from New Zealand — Nelson Sauvin, Riwaka, and Motueka… but also gooseberry, lime, tropical fruit and dank berries. It’s definitely more hoppy than fruity, though!

I’m gonna crush these beers like Bo crushes Yankees pitchers, bro!!!

So, we’re hanging out at Rogers Centre, where the Jays are locked into an epic series against the New York Yankees. Last night, my homeboy Bo Bichette went off, with three hits and two homers, including the game-winning blast in the bottom of the eighth. And now we’re back at the ballpark for some footlong franks and victory beers, bro!!!

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What could be better than meat in tube form? How about 12 inches of meat, son!!! This footlong hotdog is so big, it doesn’t even fit into the bun! However, they got rid of the self-service condiment station, and only gave out packets of ketchup, relish and mustard (which I couldn’t open, for some reason)…but that doesn’t make this dugout dog any less delicious!

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Fries were warm and crunchy at the bottom, but the ones up top were cold and soggy. That’s not to say I didn’t eat every last one, son!!!!

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And when it comes to beer, the only options here were Budweiser, Bud Light or Stella Artois. Part of me wasn’t sure it was worth paying two dollars more for Stella…but I don’t think any part of me thinks it’s worth paying anything for Bud Light, so the choice was obvious. 😛

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