Friday, 9 June 2017

Beau's knows... customer service!

Bo knows baseball. Bo also knows football. But what doe Bo NOT know?
Well, when it came to playing the guitar, seems Bo "don't know Diddly"
Back in the 1980s, there was a remarkable American athlete named Bo Jackson that some of you may or may not remember.

So athletically-gifted was this fellow that he played major league baseball with the Kansas City Royals and football with the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders. At the same time. It was an astonishing feat.

So Nike decided to capitalize on his notoriety with a funny series of "Bo Knows" commercials. In the commercials, different athletes confirmed that Bo knows their sport.
Does Bo know Beau's? No, Bo don't know
Beau's. We don't even know what the hell
Bo don't know. But does Beau's know Bo?
We don't know! It's all very confusing...
The first and best-known one had LA Dodger Kirk Gibson saying, "Bo knows baseball." Then quarterback Jim Everett saying, "Bo knows football." Then it was Michael Jordan saying, "Bo knows basketball." By the time, they got to John McEnroe, he looked at the camera and asked, "Bo knows tennis?" Showing footage of Jackson struggling on skates, Wayne Gretzky just shook his head and said, "No." And then various other athletes chimed in about how "Bo knows" their sports. But the big closer was footage of Jackson on stage, just mangling a guitar solo with the legendary Bo Diddly looking on. So Diddly closed the training shoe commercial with his classic line. "Bo... you don't know diddly." I'll include a link to it at the end because it was a brilliant and humourous bit of advertising. They packed a lot into one minute.

But the one thing Bo didn't know? Customer service. You see, while he was in the business of selling shoes, he was not in the shoe selling business, if you follow. Because in retail and manufacturing, you have to know customer service and if there's one craft brewery that knows that, it's Beau's All Natural Brewery in tiny Vankleek Hills, Ontario. That's right, gang, Beau's knows.
Beau's had a couple of questions for me after I posted this
picture of their new Full Time IPA with my son's Ant-Man
bobblehead. Oddly, their question wasn't "What does an
Ant-Man bobblehead have to do with our beer?" Strange.
You see, as I have previously mentioned on here, Beau's released their Full Time IPA just last month. It has been a huge hit with every craft beer lover I know. My Beer Store initially received 24 of them. However, coworker Jonny and I loved the beer so much, we drank a combined 20 of them. We stopped so that customers could have some, too, but frankly, it was with reluctance. So I got on the horn to Beau's last week and ordered another 48. They landed in the store this Monday. There, I've done my part. As far as I'm concerned, it's Open Season again on Full Time IPA.

But after one of my multiple postings of the beer on Twitter, they politely asked me to email their customer service address. I had no idea why but I'm a very compliant sort of fellow so, of course, I did.
When Paul The Beer Guy and Hago both landed at 5
Paddles Brewing in Whitby on the same day, it was
selfie time! I told Hago if this was one of his Marvel
comics, the title would be "When Titans Collide!"
Quite quickly, a very nice lady named Emilie got back to me and said, "Thanks for reaching out. I am SO glad to hear you love the Full Time IPA as much as we do! I noticed in the photo you posted (that) it looked like there may have been some sediment in the glass. Is this the camera tricking us? Dry-hopped, unfiltered beers such as this tend to have more sediment than a lagered-ale, such as Lug-Tread. If there was indeed sediment in the beer, could you provide us with the batch number and the production date for our Quality Assurance Team?" She signed off by saying, "Thank you for being such a supportive fan!"

I had posted a couple of pictures so I kinda had to figure out which one. In the end, I guessed Emilie must have been talking about the above one with the bobblehead Ant-Man in the scene because, hey, who doesn't love Ant-Man? Especially ants. They really dig the guy. But the photo was taken indoors on my stove during one of those many rain-soaked days in May. I got quickly back to her and assured her, no, it was just a really crappy photo. When it comes to beer pictures, I'm not even half as good as Drunk Polkaroo. At my very best, I'm maybe a Drunk Po. (That's Po, not Ho! Geez, people!)
At long last, courtesy of Beer Buddy Hago, I can
enjoy my Mad Tom IPAs in a proper Muskoka
Brewery glass! Actually, this bad boy is huge!

But I was hugely impressed that they monitor not only their beer but even pictures of their beer with that kind of diligence. This is why we love our Ontario craft beer breweries because like I said, Beau's Knows... customer service! Well done, gang.

Okay, this outing is gonna be a catch-up one because I am so far behind on my beers that if I was actually capable of feeling a sense of shame, I would. But, meh, no, not really. But before I get to the beers, I had a great meeting with my Beer Buddy Hago in Barrie on Sunday afternoon. You see, I had a Collective Arts Brewing Spiegelau IPA glass for him and he has a big, beautiful Muskoka Brewing goblet for me. It was like a World War Two prisoner exchange. Except, you know, with glasses. And frankly, I could not wait to get home and pour a Mad Tom IPA into it.

When I posted that picture on Twitter, Muskoka was at a bit of a loss. They responded, "What are we going to give you a hard time about now?"  Fortunately, Hago was there to help them out, responding instantly. "He hasn't been to the brewery yet... he's got grey hair... he's old and loud like Mad Tom... and he'll break the glass soon enough."  Well, you can tell Hago is a military man.
You see this beautiful glass? Hago now has one just
like it. And since the Spiegelau is made from very
thin, delicate glass, I suspect I'll be replacing his
Collective Arts glass before he has to replace my

Muskoka beauty, which is built like a tank. Solid!
Why, just look at all the ammo he had readily available. However, lemme tell you something else Bo Knows. You have two pretty, outgoing and very sweet teenage daughters. Lovely girls. So Bo Knows... you gonna have your own damn grey hair very soon!!

Another part of the Prisoner Glass Exchange involved us swapping beers. Right now, I has his gifts chilling in my fridge. That said, I have enjoyed but not yet reviewed some of the beers I passed his way. So let's start there. And that lands us squarely on the doorstep of Hamilton's own Collective Arts Brewing.

Because Hago is a huge sour fan, I snagged him a deuce of their new Prophets and Nomads Gose, the latest sour offering from the gang. He recently gave it the big thumbs-up on Twitter and it's not hard to see why. I got some really nice spice and orange on the nose of it and the 4.5% brew slid down like a light, salty Summer Sipper. A light touch of lemon on the tongue. Very tasty. When all those brewers were saying a few years back that sours would be the style that knocked IPAs off the throne, I think they were talking about mostly about Goses. This seems to be the sour style that is getting the most experimentation.
If you are at a cottage and you don't use the lake
as a background for your photos, well, then, you
are wasting everyone's time and should just
drive straight home. That said, using my new
Highlander glass for all my pictures on Boys
Weekend as a tribute to South River, just look
at the colour on Four Fathers Brewing's The
Starter Session IPA. Man, this is a deep hue!

That said, let's take a drive to IPA Town now where things are always... *looks around to make sure no one's paying attention*... hopping. (Sorry.)

Okay, Four Fathers Brewing out of Rockwood, Ontario (near Guelph) was created by, quite literally, four hockey fathers who joined forces while watching their sons play the game together. (Believe it or not, there is another Four Fathers Brewing, operating out of Valparaiso, Indiana - no hockey involved there.) The Dads bonded because when you are up at 5 am for a damn hockey game (been there, done that), what the hell else are you going to do at that ungodly hour? It's not like the bars are open.

Opening back in 2015, the brewery has three core beers - The Starter Session IPA, Wee Gobshite Red Rye Pale Ale (yes, please!!) and the Shevchenko Ukrainian Dunkel with another 10 or so seasonals. After luring brewer Kevin Freer away from Wellington Brewing, the group first concentrated on local distribution before eventually canning some product and getting it into the LCBO.  The first such offering was their The Starter Session IPA. I grabbed one for both myself and Hago because, hey, untested beer! First of all, look at the deep colour of this brew! It looks more like an amber ale. Clocking in at a reasonable 4.8% and 40 IBUs (international bitterness units), you do get a fair whack of citrus on the nose but the colour does not lie as you get some hefty caramel on the back end.
I stole this picture from Hago and I don't
even feel bad about it. I mean, yeah, he
could sue me but hey, I've been divorced
twice so my sole possessions are pretty
meager. I mean, beside a massive comic
book collection that dates back to the
mid-1970s, I don't have mu... OH SHIT,
that's exactly what Hago would want!
As their beers go, this was a very solid... uh... starter. I quite enjoyed it but I have my eyes on that Wee Gobshite (great name) Red Rye Pale Ale. That is my sought-after religious artifact for the upcoming Summer! "My name is King Donald and I seek the Holy Grail..."

Okay, let's move down the highway to Barrie's Redline Brewhouse where Hago and I caught up. It is also home to our friend, the lovely and talented Kaitlyn K, who is a far superior hockey player to Bo Jackson though not quite at Wayne Gretzky level. Maybe the white chick version of PK Subban. I bet she's just as chirpy and free with the stickwork along the boards. Also like PK, I hope KK wins the Stanley Cup.

Beers, dammit, Don, get back to the frikkin' beers! Oh, right. Okay, I had three Redline IPAs in my sights on the way up to the cottage last weekend because I have been lusting over them. Their Going Going Back Back to Cali Cali IPA, their Air Ride IPA and their Aggressive Jazz Hands, a hybrid of an Imperial IPA and a strong ale. I'll deal with two of them today because I don't want anyone suffering from IPA Overload like I did on the Boys Weekend. (It was touch-and-go but I pulled through... I'm such a trooper.)

Hago contacted me before I left Burlington and told me I had to grab some Air Ride on the way up as it's not often available. So I did. Sometimes life is exactly that simple. And Good Golly Miss Molly, I am sure as hell glad I did. This 6.1%, 67 IBU brew is beautifully balanced with huge orange rind and melon on the nose, followed by the same with a tweak of lemon-lime on the tongue. A velvety slide down the throat. Two thumbs up!
A beer so nice, I poured it twice!! The Going Going Back Back To Cali
Cali was a collaboration between Cameron's Brewing in Oakville and
Redline. But because it was brewed in Barrie, it was only available up
there because of Ontario's laws. But the story behind the beers is almost
as interesting as the beer itself. It involves the rapper Notorious B.I.G.

Okay, time to talk about this collaboration on Going Going Back Back To Cali Cali IPA, created by Redline brewer Seb MacIntosh and Cameron's brewer Curtis Jeffrey. You see, the young guns were roommates while attending brewers college and as such, shared an affinity for rap, particularly the late Notorious B.I.G. who penned a hit song called exactly that. Obviously the lyrics stuck in the guys' heads because here we are several years later with this beer.

Noted Jeffrey in a press release, "For Seb and I, this beer has been years in the making. (In college), BIGGIE was a big part of the soundtrack of the time we spent dreaming of brewing beer together."
The Netflix series about the Marvel superhero, Luke Cage, used the photo
of Notorious B.I.G, aka Biggie, aka Biggie Smalls, wearing a crown to
great visual effect in the office of Harlem crimelord Cottonmouth (actor
Mahershala Ali). To show his importance in the crime community, the
actor often stood in front of the picture with the crown haloing his head.

Added MacIntosh, "We used a blend of classic west coast hops like Simcoe and Columbus, along with newer varietals like Azacca ad Idaho #7 for big notes of mango, peach and resinous pine. In true BIGGIE fashion, we went a bit over the top and added in some pungent Chinook HopHash to bring a very powerful pine and citrus character to this beer."

So did they succeed? Oh yeah, Cali Cali is hella hella tasty tasty. Using Cali Ale yeast, there was a lot of fresh mango on the nose of this 6.1%, 82 IBU brew with the kick-ass amount of citrus and pine on the tongue.

Said brewer Jeffrey, "This beer was inspired by the common link between a song we love and a style of beer we both enjoy."
Hey, isn't that Bill Coleman, president and co-owner of Cameron's
Brewing, tooling around Oakville in his Cameron's-Mobile? Why, yes,
it is!! Bill popped into my Beer Store this week and while there, he and
I had a great talk about the successful rebranding of his core beers last
year. If you have tried them yet, you are missing out on something great.
Can't argue with that because both Hago and I have enjoyed the hell outta this one, too.

Okay, that Aggressive Jazz Hands is such a big beer that it has to wait until next time which will be very soon because it's either that or clean my place. The choice is pretty easy.

But before I go, I would like to take a moment and show that I am more than capable of taking the high road with my friends. As you may remember Muskoka Brewing asked how they were gonna make fun of me now that I had one of their glasses, Hago jumped in with lots of suggestions. Further into that conversation, Hago said about the large goblet, "I love that glass, It has ample room for my giant schnoze." Please note that I simply liked his comment, rather than respond, "No way, man. It's a beer glass, not a grain silo on a Saskatchewan wheat farm!" I didn't say that because I'm ever-so-classy. (Hago, see you in a few weeks with some Nickel Brook treats.) And yeah, I promised that Bo Knows commercial so here it is: Bo Knows Everything... Except Hockey But, guys and dolls, that's it, that's all and I am outta here! Unless next time, I remain...