Tag Archives: Beer

The Case of the Missing Pigment

earls, albino rhino, beer, human rights, bigotry,

Earls isn't ritually murdering albinos but some albinos don't see a difference. From: Missauga.com

A recent human rights complaint has surfaced in BC, in regards to Earls Restaurant and the serving of their Albino Rhino brand ale. They’ve been making and serving the beer for 25 years but a woman, Ikponwosa (I.K.) Ero, has now filed a human rights complaint that the beer discriminates against albinos. There is a clip to watch as well as the news report.

There is a difference between being an albino and being albinoid, where one is missing some of the pigmentation. While Ms Ero looks albinoid, her boss looks to be albino. Albinism does in fact have some serious defects for the person afflicted including vision and blood problems, and cancer risks. However, albinism affects almost every species. Many Native Americans/First Nations hold the white buffalo sacred. There are albino rabbits, alligators, fish, tigers and people. So maybe Earls holds their beer sacred.

human rights, albino, albino rhino, albinism, earls restaurant

This baby albino rhino is from Rocketworld. Is it derogatory to people suffering from albinism?

While I imagine Earls named their beer for its paleness, Ms Ero’s boss, Peter Ash says, “Follow your logic. If they have Alzheimer’s appetizers on the billboard, you’re totally okay with bringing your grandmother there to chow down a plate of Alzheimer’s appetizers.” Well, unfortunately my logic runs a different path from his. If my grandmother had Alzheimer’s she probably wouldn’t care or remember what the appetizers were called. Reminds me of the diner in the US (Heart Attack Grill) that sells Flatliner Fries and Triple Bypass burgers. They’re maybe being honest or are they demeaning people who have had heart attacks?

Second, my logic says, yeah an albino rhino is a white rhino. It does not say to me that it has anything to do with a person, not is it derogatory in any way. Since albinism affects most species, how is naming this beer the same as being mean to albino people?

While people suffering from albinism have health challenges and might have been picked on by some insensitive people, overall I don’t see most people ostracizing them because of a beer brand. That may not be true in all cultures and albino children have been murdered in Africa for magical rituals. I fully understand being singled out for being different. I had a fair share of it in my childhood but I don’t presume that Albino Rhino beer is about albinoid people, nor that Fat Bastard wine is out to be nasty to anyone overweight.

Sometimes it’s good to be politically correct, and sometimes people become hyper-sensitized, seeing evil and wrong every where. I’d say take such brands with a grain of salt, but may I should say a grain of pepper.

 

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What’s Good About the Dutch?

Dutch houses, canals, gables, history

The top of the house shape is called a gable and this hook is used to bring items in.

I’m on day 5-8 of my European adventure and I’ve learned far more about Dutch history than I ever knew before. Granted, there are still gaping holes, but I know a few things about art and history now.

My education started before I arrived with reading the guide books, probably written a few years before.  They were the Eyewitness guide to Amsterdam and the Lonely Planet guide to the Netherlands. I’ll review these books side by side later. However as I read through and forgot information the one thing that struck me was, “How could I have forgotten about the Dutch masters?” I didn’t really.

I mean, the local gallery had a show the year before (with more impressive silver work and glassware than I’ve seen yet in any of the galleries). Yet my front lobes seemed to backfire and I kinda forgot. So what is Holland known for historically? Surprisingly little of it is military. Let’s say that the great deeds of men killing each other do live on somewhat but it is the painter and writers, composers and jewellers and architects whose great works we go to see.

Holland was a great naval nation and that’s only natural when you battled back the sea to claim land and most of the country is below sea level. Flying over Holland the great canals and swathes of very flat land were visible. I never realized exactly how pervasive the canals are and even before I landed I knew the Dutch would be superior at dealing with anything to do with land and water. They’re perfect hydraulic engineers because they’ve been doing it for over 500 years.

This also gave rise to the tall narrow houses in various cities and especially Amsterdam. They were once taxed by the width of the house so people built up instead of out. Stairs are extremely steep and narrow, which means you can’t get furniture in through the door. All the old houses have a hook at the top of the house where a rope can be put through and then items that are too wide can be pulleyed up the floors. Which means, when you look at Amsterdam streets, that all the houses all tilt out and look crooked. They’re done this way on purpose so that heavy objects don’t bang into walls and break windows.

The Dutch were huge sea traders and had a huge part in bringing tobacco,

canals, Dutch houses, water, shipping

Dutch canals are in every city. This is Delft.

chocolate and spices to Europe, not to mention being great silver smiths, painters and farmers. They’re a pretty helpful bunch and they really love their beer. Oh and there are those chocolate spreads and sprinkles to put on your toast in the morning.

They also love meet and I’ve never seen so many Argentinian restaurants as in Amsterdam. Meat, steak, meat. And beer. Wine is at a minimum and cider can be found but it takes hunting.

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And Another Review of Cider

I treat my ciders like others treat beers, getting into microbreweries and flavors and styles of beer. It’s partly because I cannot drink beer, being allergic to the hops, that I got into cider. Cider is my summer alternative to wine and having a cold cider is just more refreshing at times.

But ciders don’t have as many varieties nor are cideries as multitudinous as microbreweries. So it’s often hard to find a new cider to try. As well, some coolers and other alcoholic beverages masquerade as a cider because apples are the base. In some ways, these are still ciders but in my opinion there is very little that really makes them a cider. True ciders are made with cider apples. Cysers are made with honey and there are a host of factors that make them flat or effervescent, clear or thick, sweet or dry.

Crispin Hard Apple Cider, cider, hard cider, alcohol, alcoholic bevarages, drinks

Crispin Hard Apple Cider

So, it was with interest I saw three bottles of Crispin Hard Apple Cider, which I had never seen. (In Canada when we say “cider” people presume it’s alcoholic; in the US we have to say “hard cider” or people think it’s nonalcoholic.) One was labelled as being made with honey, really a cyser called Honey Crisp, and since I don’t really like honey or mead, I decided against that one. The second was called The Saint and was made with Trappist yeast (as in Belgian Trappist monks famous for their beers) and maple syrup. I thought that might be too sweet as well so I decided on the one that looked all dark, dour and gothic, called Lansdowne, made with Irish stout yeast and molasses.

What is nice about the Crispin brand is that they use organic apples and other ingredients, make their ciders gluten and preservative free and I don’t think there are any sulfites as well. These three ciders are part of the Crispin artisanal reserve and they make a “blue” regular cider line as well. There is a fourth artisanal cider called Cho-Tokkyu made with sake yeast but I didn’t see it in the store. Crispin uses a blend of apples, with their blue line being made with the West Coast type apples, but the artisanal ciders are unfiltered with no grape or malt flavoring added, which is used in a lot of the overly sweet supposed ciders (BC has Growers and Okanagan brands).

Crispin should be given kudos just for trying the unusual, with these cider mash-ups. They also have limited releases and if I could I would definitely be buying those to try. Their operations are in California and Minneapolis. From the write-up on their site these guys are truly a cidery and very much into experimenting with apples.

The Lansdowne experiment was…interesting. Now the caveat is that I don’t drink beer and have never had a Guinness or a stout. The hops allergy and overall pungency of beer has kept me away. I actually didn’t think the stout yeast would be so…stouty. After all, beer battered fish or other foods cooked in beer rarely taste that beery to me. But this drink was heavy. I now know what Guinness drinkers mean about chewy drinks. Lansdowne is unfiltered and cloudy, dark like a watered down stout, and not effervescent at all. I immediately didn’t like it; it shocked my taste buds. However, I did some more sipping and shared it with someone who is a beer drinker. After a few sips he said it was growing on him and quite liked it. The drink was strong in all senses, tasting both of the yeast and the molasses, a lot.

However, while I didn’t like it, I did drink it all and it was okay to my taste buds. It was not sweet at all. The 500 ml (22 fluid ounces) of Lansdowne has 6.9% alcohol. I would think you wouldn’t want it with a particularly heavy meal and for me one was enough. The Crispin cidery has intrigued me and I just might try those other artisanal ciders to see how they come out. I’m more curious about their limited releases if I can find any in Canada.

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