Pensées. Vol. 3.

Round-Up of Recent Posts

For those who missed or want to revisit, a trio of postings in the last week dealt with different aspects of the British beer and brewery scene of the 1960s.

Trends that proved long-lasting included the introduction and national distribution of domestic-made lager, as well as the creative promotion of niche Continental lagers such as Heineken and Pilsner Urquell.

Other features of our modern beer world were still in prospect, notably flavour and aroma as criteria to drive the hops market, indeed to define ultimately what came to be known as craft brewing.

  1. Beer World of 1968 vs. Today (February 28, 2022).
  2. London ’68 – Urquell is Hip (February 27, 2022).
  3. 1960s British Industry – Lithe for Lager (February 24, 2022).

Russian Outrage in Ukraine

The brazen Putin-ordered invasion of Ukraine is doing devastating damage, but the brave citizens and their leader are holding on.  Much of the world has rightly sanctioned and isolated Putin.

The post-Soviet years in Ukraine, until this war, were a comparative idyll, with continued progress to democratization and a liberal economy.* In Ukraine of another time I referenced another comparative idyll, of 1930s Lviv which then was in Polish territory.

See my post, A Lviv Idyll, 1936. War clouds instigated by Hitlerian Germany would soon burst in full fury, as sadly has revisited Ukraine.

Beer Notes

Of some excellent beers sampled recently, Great Lakes Brewery’s Premium Lager notably impressed, a heritage brand from GLB’s own multi-decade history.

This is pure craft lager – not Czech-style, not German Pils or Helles, not anything other than locally made, full-flavoured, fresh lager beer – which says a lot.



An “English” Bitter from Left Field Brewing called Rounders was enjoyed at House on Parliament (Street) in Cabbagetown.

There are a few pubs on hockey stick-shaped Carlton Street, which intersects with Parliament just north of HOP. All the makings there of a good Toronto pub crawl.

Rounders too is craft to the max, inspired by English example – the tawny colour and firm, non-citric bitterness – but finally making its own statement.

Inspired by Don Redmond’s article on a long-closed craft brewery in Niagara Falls, Ontario (disclosure: I am quoted not a little), I decided to order some beer from Niagara Brewing Company, a current craft in the city (no relation to the one Don described).

More in the next post.

Cheese Notes

Having bought some excellent cheese curds in Montreal on my last visit, I’ve since found numerous examples in Toronto. One was rather salty, with a taste clearly related to a characteristic type of Ontario cheddar (different brands).

It would do well in poutine but as a snack, I preferred the less salty, milky-acid flavour of the Quebec brand. An Ontario cheese curds close to the latter is available at Farm Boy in Toronto, from the St-Albert Cooperative south of Ottawa. In style their curds are very similar to the best Quebec examples.



Some British creameries make cheese curds, cheddar-based again, which I’d like to try. In theory these should be as good as Quebec’s best, maybe better.

It is unlikely these are exported, however, at least to our shores. By definition this is very young cheese vs. the medium or long-aged block-style we commonly get from UK and increasingly, Ireland.

Music Notes

While I am known as a devotee of hard rock, I like other styles too: pop (the border with rock muddied these last decades), country, folk, some hip hop, some jazz. I tend to go more for the song than the genre, finally.

I always liked, say, My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, by reports done in one take – astonishing when you think of it. The song clearly benefitted in this case.

In particular, the emotional impact was not blunted by scale-climbing vocal embellishments, which heavy production often favours.

In rock and roll, I liked commercial Top 40 rock as much as ambitious, album-oriented music. Check this out, Sooner or Later by The Grassroots. As good or better than any Beatles or Stones classic, imo.

Cocktail Notes

I did try finally Joe Spence’s signature cocktail The Joy (as summarized in AFAR travel guides). Spence is long-time Master Blender at Appleton Estate distillery in Jamaica.

It is rum, ginger beer, a muddled orange slice, and Angostura Bitters. I used Seville for the slice, currently in world markets – note to marmalade-makers – which worked very well.

All ginger beer or ginger ale – I used Old Jamaica, a zesty, cloudy ginger beer – is sweet. The lemony Seville, molasses-tinged rum – a Demerara-based blend of my own – and spicy-sweet ginger proved an enviable amalgam.

Pancake Notes

Libby proved a dab hand at pancakes recently with the version shown, which employs ricotta cheese in the batter. It ended being perfectly suited for Shrove Tuesday just past.


*With due account, that is, for the convulsions of the Maidan uprising of 2014 and other disturbances and conflicts in post-Soviet Ukraine.






8 thoughts on “Pensées. Vol. 3.”

  1. Hi Gary:

    Was interested in your comments on the Rounders beer from Left Field; and in that same vein, have you tried the recent Amsterdam Adventure Brews release “Crumpet’s Best Pub Ale”? I’m not particularly fond of the name, but the beer in the can is absolutely first-class, one of the most authentic Ontario best bitters I’ve come across in quite a while. Brewed with East Kent Goldings and very sessionable. I’ve been enjoying your blog; very well done!

    • Thanks for this, nice to hear from you. I hope things are well with you. Glad you like the posts, I must have 1500 racked up now since starting (the blog) seven years ago. Oh yes I know Crumpet’s, I did review it on Twitter recently. I fully endorse your comments. The EKG makes such a difference when used properly as here. That hop has a certain magic (Fuggle too and some other UK types), just as Saaz is special in a different way. Hope to catch up at the bar sometime, maybe Volo?


  2. Do you know if Zelensky has any connection to the Jewish communities you wrote about? You have to imagine they would be proud of him.

    • I have not come across the name when examining Jewish involvement in prewar brewing or distilling. The prewar Jews of what is now Ukraine were involved in a great range of activities, from farming to heavy industry. Brewing and distilling were two components among many, but whether his forbears were involved in some way, I cannot say.


  3. Just a note on Great Lakes brewery(ies). I initially thought that the Great Lakes brewery you were discussing was the US company in Cleveland. My favorite US lagers are US brewed their Eliot Ness and Dortmunder, but they are currently unavailable in my neighborhood. I wasn’t aware of the (unrelated) brewers in Toronto.


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