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12 BEERS OF CHRISTMAS: Mill St. Distillery Root Beer

For the fifth beer of Christmas, my Trudeau gave to me…

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…Mill St. Distillery Root Beer!

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Christmas Day brings an extra-special gift from Mill St. Brewery. They’ve actually been making non-alcoholic root beer since 2009, but this summer, they decided to mix it with their Vanilla Porter Bierschnaps, and a new brew was born!

This suped-up sarsaparilla is sweet, but not too sweet, and pretty much tastes like your regular root beer…but with a nice, boozy kick to it. I first tried it at the Taste of Toronto, where it went down smooth with an avocado popsicle. Aaaaand then I ate 11 other things.

Anyways, it might not be summer anymore, but you can still find this stuff at a buncha LCBOs, including a suspiciously large stash in Scarborough. Can you say Distillery Root Beer party at the moontower, bro?

READ MORE: I came, I saw, I tasted tons of great Toronto eats!

Twas the first beer of wintertime…

So, last weekend, we got hit with a buncha snow, which was pretty much perfect meat-pie weather, bro! But after scarfing down a mondo delicious beef ‘n beer pie from my homeboys at The Pie Commission, I just wanted to kick back with a nice, cold Teddy Brewski. And I know just the beer to do the trick:

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Say hello to my little friend Lions Winter Ale, from Granville Island Brewing. Pretty much everything I like about Vancouver is right here, in this bottle. Now, I’m not sure how they do it, but they’ve made a dark-red beer that takes like a nice warm glass of cocoa…if you don’t keep it in the fridge, that is!

But seriously, this beer is legit, bro! You’ve got a nice kick of cocoa, caramel and vanilla, barely any bitterness, and at 5.5%, it sure as shit ain’t Coors Light, Glen! This is pretty much the perfect beer to kick back and chillax in front of the TV, while watching the Calgary Flames skate circles around Winterpeg:

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Turns out Calgary’s got the hottest team in the NHL right now. Bet they could use some Lions Winter Ale!!!

Actual alcohol history: Russian vodka saves elephants’ lives

(Originally written December 14, 2012)

Vodka may be shortening the lifespan of the typical Russian male, but when it comes to a couple circus elephants stranded in Siberia, it’s actually a lifesaver.  As RIA Novosti reports, “the two Indian elephants, owed by a traveling Polish circus, were transported from Novokuznetsk to Omsk on late Thursday” when the “hay in the truck caught fire from the diesel engine heating the cargo section.”  With their transport going down in flames, the southbound pachyderms were left to hitch a ride in the middle of the highway.

Fortunately, liquid relief was on the way.  The two animals were taken to a nearby garage, where “As an added precaution, the elephants were served two cases of vodka mixed with warm water,” according to the Russian news agency.  Apparently, that really hit the spot.  “They roared like it was the jungle…Must have been happy,” the district official told RIA Novosti.

Mind you, they weren’t necessarily warmer; it’s just that the booze turned all their bad feelings into good feelings.  As the BBC reports, “alcohol can make animals feel warmer but it actually lowers their core body temperature, scientists say.”  But despite the objections of these unnamed scientists, the BBC notes that “Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quoted Novosibirsk zoo director Rostislav Shilo as saying that the elephants were not harmed or intoxicated by the vodka, and that without it they would have died of hypothermia or pneumonia.”  Note to self: Pack bottle of Russian Standard in outdoor survival kit!

Actual alcohol history: Russia bans beer in convenience stores

(Originally written January 2, 2013)

In an international news story that will surely have the Ontario government raising a toast of approval, Russia has banned the sale of beer at roadside kiosks, the post-Soviet equivalent to convenience stores.  As The Associated Press reports, “new laws could deal a finishing blow to a symbol of the country’s lively and disorderly post-communist free market,” with alcohol sales reportedly accounting for up to 40 per cent of kiosk revenues.  Now, in order to buy alcohol, Russians will actually have to go to a restaurant or a store “of at least 50 square meters.”  No word as to whether the latter are run by a government-controlled monopoly, mind you.😉

And on a related note, Putin has announced that beer will no longer be considered food, officially classifying it as an alcoholic beverage.  I guess it’s not for breakfast anymore; according to the AP, “it can’t be sold in any store from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.”  Of course, none of the LCBO stores in Toronto stay open until 11…

Putin, who can hardly be confused with Premier Dad (unless your father’s an ex-KGB, semi-supreme leader), apparently passed the policies to address an ongoing national health concern.  As per the AP, “Heavy drinking and smoking are cited as two of the main factors in Russia’s high mortality rate — average life expectancy for males born in 2006 was 60-61, according to a UN Development Program report.”  In response to the latter factor, he’s even considering banning cigarette sales from those same kiosks, a measure that would, according to Russia’s Ministry for Economic Development, force 175,000 kiosks to close at a cost of 500,000 jobs.

Hey, I’d like to think that the Ontario Liberals wouldn’t go that far, eh?

Actual alcohol history: Sapporo-sponsored study suggests beer cures colds

(Originally written December 12, 2012)

Call me crazy, but I’ve always found the best way to cure a cough was to take some Cold FX in the morning and go out drinking at night.  As it turns out, my method has just been scientifically proven—well, sort of.  Agence France Presse is reporting that “Consuming large quantities of a key ingredient in beer can protect against winter sniffles and even some serious illnesses in small children,” according to a study by Sapporo Medical University.

And when it comes to cold prevention, the hoppier the beer, the better.  The research study, funded by Sapporo Breweries, discovered that humulone, a chemical compound in hops, “was found to be effective in curbing the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus.”  However, Sapporo researcher Jun Fuchimoto told AFP that “such small quantities of humulone were present in beer that someone would have to drink around 30 cans, each of 350 millilitres (12 oz), for it to have any virus-fighting effect.”  Or, as Keith Richards would call it, breakfast.

Alas, Sapporo is looking for ways to add humulone to other foods and beverages, but there are a few obstacles to overcome.  “The challenge really is that the bitter taste is going to be difficult for children,” Fuchimoto says.  Don’t worry kids, you’ll get used to it!😉

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