Archive | March, 2011

New Brew Tuesday: Brasserie Dupont’s Foret

Type: BeerSaison/Farmhouse Ale (Organic Beer)
Name: Brasserie Dupont’s Foret
Price: $5.99
Made: Tourpes, Belgium
Alc/Vol: 7.5%

This wonderful delicious beer tickled my taste buds to new levels – an organic delicious brew…who new?

I was suspicious of an organic beer and at first I assumed it was likely from California, no offense to the land of the former governator. Then I saw it, ‘Belgium’, and I got all sorts of excited and my tail started to wag. And yes dogs do that but we monkeys do not, so this is something special. Belgium is the land of beer, it’s my holy grail that I have not yet gorged myself on.

I popped the cork, yes cork, and took in a deep breath of lemon with similar scents that are more familiar with a pilsen. I filled up my glass to a golden orange color, slightly cloudy with a nice lacing head, although it was light.

I was getting excited from what I was seeing and smelling, and so I drank it in for all it was worth. OK I didn’t drink it all I sipped a few times to really get the flavoring but that doesn’t make for good writing now does it?

The beer had a crisp zest to it, while it is strong in alcohol it does not taste like it. It was blended perfectly, it is not overpowering but is not watered down either. Overall, just a really well made beer. I could see myself sipping on these all the time, well maybe more so in the summer seeing that it had a lemon spice to it, even though Saison beers are more of a winter style ale. Their was a nice mixture of spice with a slight bitter-dry finish that mellowed out the citrus taste.

Overall, I give this beer 4 1/2 out of 5 bananas. It is a bit pricey but then again most things that have the label ‘Organic’ do come with a heftier price tag. But this beer is worth your money even if it is just for a try.

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Ode to Cornelius Aesop

This lovely poem was written by my mother, and was just too good not to share.

I open the door, and my, oh my
I can’t help but ask why, oh why?
A visiting monkey with a taste for brew
…has gone through a case of Natty or two
He’s a taste for the finest from here and abroad
From Ale to Stout – hmmm…something is flawed
But our shelves are barren, no Natty in site
As he leaves this household in rapid flight
His hypothesis speaks of barley and hops
From spicy, to fruity, to unpronounceable bocks
But back home with his wallet safe and away
He chooses what his home calls “the best” anyway
Where once was plenty, now there is none
The shelves are empty, and our Natty is gone
A furry traveler with great brewery tastes he may be
But he still drinks our Natty when he knows it is free!

Written By: Carol Aesop


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My Blind Date with Malta

Malta Full, Image Property of Author: Louis

When I booked my flight to Malta, a singular thought was running through my head: Where’s the line between being adventurous and just being plain stupid, and have I just crossed it? For the first time in my life, I had just booked a flight, due to depart the next day, with no planning whatsoever. No idea on what to do when I got out of the airport, no traveller’s guides, nothing.

All I wanted was a purely spontaneous adventure.

So, what did I actually know about Malta when I booked my flight? Not much, to be honest. I knew that Malta is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily… and that it probably had pretty nice weather.

Well, I was wrong on that last guess: Maltese weather isn’t good, it’s incredible. That’s not the only surprise Malta had up her sleeve, either.


Malta’s rich history has left behind some of the most fascinating ruins I’ve ever seen. After asking around, I was set on the trail of the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples, two stone temples built around 3000 BCE. Not only did the sight of these ancient structures leave me feeling ridiculously young and insignificant (in a good way!), but the view from the cliffs on which they are perched was simply breathtaking.

On the more physical side, diving is a fun and surprisingly affordable attraction in Malta, provided to begin your dive from the shore. A three-hour ‘try-dive’ cost me around €30 (£25) including all the equipment. It was definitely worth it to ogle the myriad of fish on display and a great first experience!

Food and drink

If you’re looking for something distinctively Maltese, go for anything with rabbit (or fennek) in it. Rabbit is somewhat a traditional meat in Malta, so if it’s got rabbit in it, it’s pretty safe to assume it’ll be delicious.

As for the drink – well, let’s be honest – as for the booze, it’s great. Look out for Cisk: a sweet, cheap and delightfully refreshing local beer that was well-needed after another hot day of gorgeous weather. To be entirely honest, though, I’d drink Cisk in any climate. In fact, I’m planning to drink it after a familiarly grey and rainy day; I brought a case back home!

Luzzu at Spignola Bay on Malta, Image Property of Author: Louis

Top tips

If you speak English or Italian, you shouldn’t have much trouble being understood in Malta, so it’s tempting to go the easy way and speak to everyone in English. Don’t. Picking up a Maltese phrasebook and trying your best to learn a few basics is extremely rewarding, and the locals will greatly appreciate it. My own brand of broken Maltese was always met with an indulgent smile whenever I mustered up the courage to use it.

Rent a bike. It’s cheap and it makes travelling around much faster. If you plan your journey out you can always take the awesome 50’s-looking buses, but if taking my approach to exploring Malta, a bike and a good map will go a long way. Luckily for me, there are bicycle rental shops all over the island, so it’s really no trouble to find one.

Finally, just relax and have fun. Malta is a pretty chilled out place, so this last tip should be pretty easy to follow!

Shortly after my trip, I took the time to actually do some research on the place. It felt odd, a bit like having a main course after eating dessert, but it was fascinating nonetheless. I sometimes felt a little twinge of regret when I discovered that I’d been mere streets away from some amazing sight and had marched right past it, so if you’re prone to regret, I recommend you do at least a little research on the internet ( seems pretty good) instead of solely relying on your traveller’s instinct as guide. I definitely don’t regret my blind date with Malta, though; her bounty of surprises was the best part.

Meet the Author: Louis Jobin
Louis Jobin is an undergraduate studying English and Japanese Studies. His passions are European literature, Asian cuisine and Scandinavian music.

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New Brew Tuesday: Light Beer Taste Test Challenge

You know that guy, the one who swears by the beer he drinks so much so that he scoffs at you for drinking, “that piss.” The problem is that their piss, ahem beer, looks and taste pretty much the same as any other beer. Truth be told most of these beer are all the same, and all but one of the beers in my taste test are a product of either Anheuser-Busch or the now merged MillerCoors. In fact these two companies produce nearly 100 different beers between the names (Michelobe, Coors, Rolling Rock, etc.) and the style (Light, Ice, Dark, etc.), chances are you are drinking one of their beers.

Back to my point, I gathered up my friends and family and we had a light beer taste challenge, most of which were light lagers.

The Challenge:

We selected 6 different beers: Natural Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Busch Light, Genny Light, and Bud Light. Each beer was placed into a specific lettered cup by my wife ( <– hehe first time I got to write that) and the rest of us wandered about to make sure we couldn’t see or cheat. When we returned we each selected a cup, A-F, and then tried to guess which letter matched which beer.

The Results:

There were 7 taste testers, when they attempted to pair up their drink with the correct brand:

  • 2 people got 0 correct
  • 2 people got 1 correct
  • 2 people got 2 correct
  • 1 person got 4 correct

Overall their were 32 incorrect guesses and 10 correct guesses, that is a 23% all in all which is not a passing grade my friend. The only person who scored 4 was my mother, who would rather drink a Natural Light over any other beer. She likes, among other things that it is cheaper. Others say that it tastes watered down, but from these results only the Natty Light drinker could taste the difference among the other beers, do you think you can?

I stand by my initial hypothesis, you can’t tell the difference. If you want a beer that tastes like anything choose a microbrew or brewpub, otherwise it’s all the same so you might as well save a few extra dollars and buy the cheaper version. Just be careful because these megabrewaries are now producing beers that look like craft beers like Shock Top, Beach Bum, Hop Hound, Jack’s Pumpkin Spice, Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale, Ziegen Bock, Skip Jack, Leinenkugel, Blue Moon, and Henry Weinhard’s. Heck they have even taken over many imports, such as Cerveza Cristal, Molson Canada, Pilsner Urquell, Cusqueña, Stella Artois, Kirin, Hoegaarden and Czechvar. Sneaky little bastards aren’t they?

Check out this great movie about microbreweries fighting against the major beer companies.


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How To Locate Loved Ones in Japan

p-JPN0058 by IFRC, on Flickr

The information below was shared with me via emails from those with connection in Japan. I cannot take credit for the information but can only hope that others can use this information to locate their family and friends in Japan.

This is a horrible tragedy and I can only imagine what many people are going through, I’ve already shared that my sister-in-law is living in Tokyo but I know the relief of knowing that she is OK despite the dangers ahead.

The Japanese Consulate in Detroit has included links on their website where people can check for messages left by loved ones in Japan whose phone service may not currently be working.

Google has set up a person-finder on their website.  You can either look for information on a missing person or give updates for those seeking information.  This site can be accessed in both Japanese and English.

For those with loved ones in the JET program, CLAIR in New York has an updated list of current JETs from the U.S., Canada, and worldwide, who have checked in with their respective Consulates.  You may also give information for a current JET participant that you are trying to locate.

The American Red Cross has a relief fund set up for earthquake and tsunami victims.  Additionally, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10.00 donation.

JETAA in NY has set up a website to donate money for schools and children affected by the earthquake.  100% of the proceeds will go towards relief organizations.


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