Pensées. Vol. 2.

Continuing on from my Vol. 1, a series of notes follows on diverse things present to mind, not limited to food and drink, which may interest some.

Janner Gin

I wrote separate notes on this today due to the length. The purport: the proliferation of gin styles, or regional types – same thing – that once existed, including Plymouth gin.

While Plymouth gin, as a genus, may not enjoy the fame of former times, one old-line brand continues, and very good it is. More soon.



Cheese Jamboree

We always have a good selection of cheese chez Beeretseq. Not necessarily expensive or exotic, although good cheese is never a cheap item, at least in this country.

I tend to focus on world cheddars, blue cheese also from anywhere, certain French types, and Dutch or German cheese.

You see pictured two Ontario cheddars (the orange Balderson cheddar partly out of range), an English Shropshire Blue (tops, not too salty or crumbly), and rich English cheddar.

Not shown but sampled recently was a German beer-flavoured cheese, Konig Ludwig Bierkase. It had the advertised notes of hay and meadows with a light earthy undertone. Solid, sustaining, satisfying, in the vein of Gruyere but even more rustic, if that’s possible.

After penning the above Libby came home with a Quebec blue cheese and some coffee, both bought at Longo’s in Toronto, the prima Toronto food store chain.



I should add, in keeping with the monastic theme suggested by the name above, I am a fan of Canadian Oka cheese. At one time this cheese, originally made by Trappist monks in Quebec, made the name of Canada internationally in the world of fromage, along with our best cheddar.

Oka is as good as ever, possibly better with line extensions in e.g., smoked and artisan-style cheese (deeper flavour).

An Ontario Brown Ale

Recently I had one of the best brown ales I’ve had anywhere, from Matron Fine Beer in Bloomfield, Ontario (Ottawa region). Sampled in Toronto on draft at Wvrst Sausage Hall, Union Station branch. It had a rich natural savour of malt with notes of coffee, dark toast, and Ovaltine perhaps. Some good minerally hopping underneath.

On the digital display board it read simply Matron Darkbier. The cool imprecision of “Darkbier” elides the question of style, as does the brewery webpage, but I’d call it an English brown ale style.

At 4.5%, the perfect strength to get through a pint and maybe another. For me it evoked Mann’s Brown Ale, an old-school English brand currently brewed by Hobgoblin in the UK.

Music Bonanza

YouTube is a tremendous resource for music fans, as for so much else: culture, history, politics, art, etc. Apart from old favourites one can find rare live tracks and unusual items such as “isolated tracks”. Even 40-50 years after classic rock I find new things continually appearing.

This recording is an instrumental track of The Beatles’ Drive My Car before lead guitar, vocals, and piano were added. George Harrison plays guitar in unison with Paul McCartney on bass, with Ringo locked into both.

Listening to this one sees how tight and accomplished they were, more “rock and roll” too than the finished track demonstrates. Another example: the isolated guitars of The Who’s Pinball Wizard. The arrangement of the acoustic and electric guitars is almost a perfect recording unto itself.

As with most isolated track recordings details of sound and performance come through obscured on the finished recording.

La France Fait Signe

It looks like our plans to travel in France this year will finally bear fruit come summer. We were supposed to be there now, but Covid restrictions precluded this.

Re-jigging the trip resulted in a switch from south to north as locale, with Paris (always) a part.

There are wines to try, beers to revisit and discover, meals to cook (we will have our own flat), markets and war sites to tour. Quite possibly too a foray in Belgium, in the Lorraine extension if they still call it that, where Orval monastery is.



4 thoughts on “Pensées. Vol. 2.”

  1. How would you describe Oka? I just looked it up, and opinions seem all over the place from rank smelling and feet flavored to mild aroma and taste, which is pretty confusing.

    I’ve seen comparisons to Port Salud, which I wouldn’t consider a strong cheese.


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