I cheated a little with tonight’s theme. My good friend Geoff Gibson is both the coolest guy on earth™ and a really talented artist. What does all this have to do with beer? Well, it turns out Stone City Ales in Kingston asked him to do a label for them, which he totally did.
Once I got my bottles, I knew I had to share it with the BRSTo team. It being a “zesty” New Zealand IPA, and with the splashing waves curling toward the beach, I figured a surf-theme was in order.
The weather turned from cold and rainy to balmy and warm just in time to do the 32nd Beerstitution outdoors in Parc Lafontaine. Under the huge trees, we could close our eyes and pretend they were palms, and if you cupped your hands just right over your ears, you could hear the breaking waves.
I asked everyone to share a surf story as part of tonight’s theme.
Anna has never surfed before. BUT, she was a hardcore bodyboarder (or at least she messed around doing it) on the coast a France when she was a kid. It must have been pretty hardcore though, because her cousins were so badass they “broke their boards all of the time.”
Kristen has never surfed before, but she knows how it feels to “be the wave.” Her analogous story was that she flipped her kayak and got dunked the very first time she ever did it. Ignominious.
Sergio upped the ante with his story about going to the beach in Miami. He saw a dad and his daughter get into trouble with a rip-tide. Despite not being a particularly strong swimmer, he dove into the water to help. Sergio helped draw attention to drowning duo and the life guards were able to reach them. He nearly drowned himself after being the hero. Five stars and a gold badge for Sergio.
Fernando is Gen’s friend from Oaxaca, Mexico. His house was about 6 hours from the beach, but has he ever been surfing though? “No no no no no no!” But the road to the beach is allegedly a site to behold with mountains and beautiful landscapes.
Nick is the only one so far who has actually surfed. He dodged needles and toxic waste while taking an hour-long surf lesson in Santa Monica, California. There was a pretty good break, which mostly served to push salt water deep into his nasal cavities. For hours afterwards water came trickling out.
Geneviève blew our stories away with her epic journey in Costa Rica. When she was 22 or 23 (it was so epic that she can’t remember her exact age), she made her way deep into the jungle to a remote village. It was a tiny town in the middle of nowhere with “only surfers.” And not just surfers, but young, beautiful surf gods with no goddesses in tow. According to her own version of events “it’s the coolest I’ve ever been in my whole life. There were beautiful men EVERYWHERE.”
Munching on Portuguese poutine and chicken, we started our night with Kristen’s beer, a blanche called l’Idyllique by Le Bockale. Apart from the stunningly beautiful label, it also had a citrusy flavor not unlike grapefruit. Geneviève: “If I was at the beach surfing, and someone handed me this, I would… mmmmmmmmmmm.”
BRSTº rating: 17.5
Next up was Super Pause by Microbrasserie Les Grands Bois. It being an IPA, Anna loved it. According to her, “the label is fucking AWESOME. It’s hitting ALL my notes. I would drink this ANYWHERE.”
BRSTº rating: 23
Our third beer was the Blanche de Shawi by La Trou de Diable. People appreciated its classic Blanche taste, though it leaned a little on the sweet side.
BRSTº rating: 15.5
Geneviève brought a very cool beer called Shelton by Oshlag. Geneviève now works at Oshlag which doubled the coolness factor. The beer is newly released and like other Oshlag beers is unique and very short run. So good luck finding another for Beer in Review. This beer kicked ass and got universally great reviews.
BRSTº rating: 24.5
Sergio brought Moralité by Dieu du Ciel. According to Sergio, he was “surfing on his bike” to Maison des Bieres when he found this beer. A cool label, but not everyone’s fav.
BRSTº rating: 17
We rounded off the night with Stone City’s Alive n’ Well. I really do think Geoff is one of the coolest people alive, and of course he chose a good beer to attach his art to. It was tangy with a nice hoppy taste. Much loved, like the man himself, it gave Shelton a run for his money.
BRSTº rating: 24.
So the winner, by a hair, was Shelton!
Best Label: Alive n’ Well!! (I was so happy)
Surprise: Super Pause (some good surprises, some bad surprises)
Session Beer: A tie between Super Pause and Shelton.