22 November 2016

Has it been a year already?

On Saturday November 21st, 2015 I came home from work, had dinner and watched a little TV. Pretty standard night for someone who works the weekend except for one little thing...it was the last day I didn't drink or review a beer. It wasn't my intention at the time to drink a beer every day and talk about it. Indeed, I had been doing Instagram reviews sporadically for many months beforehand and I had been toying with the idea of doing a blog to talk about my life and how craft beer had impacted it. I had several posts saved up and waiting for my anxiety to pass so I could put them out in the world. But at no time did I have an idea of what changes would come from the simple act of opening a beer and adding my thoughts to a picture on the internet.
The scope of what I was embarking on was not evident to me at the time and while I can look back and marvel at what the last year has brought me in terms of experiences, people and of course, great beer. I was not planning any of it. To some extent, I still don't really plan anything. I open the fridge every day and try to decide what I want to drink, why I want to drink it and even how I want to remember it with my picture or video. I still do it for myself and to share with my friends and family, but now that group of friends has changed and grown and I am always talking beer with someone, every day.
I still usually only have 1 or 2 beers most of the time and have noticed a drop in my desire to have any more than that. My fridge is usually full of singles and that means I don't want to waste one that I could share. I love to tell stories and the beer has given me a platform to do so. Exploring beer has led me down many paths and the experiences are changing me every time I go out. So while there are still 39 days left in Project 366 and I will proudly write about everything that has happened in 2016 in January, I am more than pleased to have made it pillar to post with amazing craft beer here at the end of November. I understand it maybe isn't up there with life's biggest accomplishments, but given that I used to get blackout drunk several times a week and only didn't drink when I was too hungover to do so, this one makes me feel good about myself. I have no intention of stopping any time soon and will continue to be honest, straightforward and maybe even more adventurous with my personal challenges. Moderation and mindfullness took me a large portion of the year to fully grasp and I continue to pursue the perfect balance between indulgence and temperance.
Here's to many more interesting experiences, great nights with friends and of course, amazing Craft Beer.
Raise your glass and your standards, One beer at a time!

16 November 2016

Beer Advent 2016 !!

It is almost Christmas time again and I know you want to celebrate every single day just like me. How best to enjoy everything Festive and have a little fun? With great local Craft Beer of course...what else would the Drunk Polkaroo recommend, chocolate?!?!

Last year I had a revelation that was partly responsible for setting me off on the journey I have been enjoying so much. And now I want to not only replicate it but hopefully have you join in and bring a little joy every single day in December.

The advent calendar is great when your a kid, but today we need something a little stronger to smooth out the holidays. My solution is simple, drink a beer. Before December 1st hits, head on out to your local craft brewers or the LCBO and pick up 24 different craft beers. Bring them home and either have someone wrap them up and number them 1 to 24 for you or do it yourself. Mix them up, make every day a surprise. Chill and wait. The key is that everyday you will have a fantastic treat waiting when you get home. If you like IPAs, fill the calendar with hoppy beauties. Want nothing but porters and stouts, dark beer it is. If you are buying your own beer, you can decide. But even better if someone else gets them for you. That is the real treat and if you have a craft beer lover in your life, I implore you to do this for them, it will make their holiday season so much more fun. Try and find a special one for the last day, their favourite beer or a hard to find brewery only release. Whatever it is, make it memorable.
There are some sites that will send you a Beervent calendar and while I love the idea, the price is pretty high and there is something to be said for supporting your own local brewers. Last year I had all American Craft beer that Mrs. Polkaroo had brought back from her Black Friday shopping trip and that was fun, but this year we are keeping it close to home. New beers and old favourites will make their way into my calendar and I am super happy to be able to unwrap one every day for a celebration of not only great beer, but the people who make it. Any way you do it, make it fun, mix up the styles and remember to enjoy responsibly. Nothing is better than a beer while you chill by the fire and listen to the tunes of Christmas play. Lets make this year the start of a tradition that grows and grows.

 I'll be using the #beeradvent2016 hashtag when I share my pics
and hope you will too, so we can enjoy the gift of great beer together!

Here are some ideas to help fill that calendar for the one you love, all available at select LCBOs. 10 of my favourite regularly brewed beers that I have tried in each category; Check your local LCBO or head to the breweries for more options.

 Cheers and may your beer fridge be merry and bright with love!

Craft Lagers/Pilsners/Ales - Easy drinking and a great way to introduce the macro drinker to craft beer.

3 Speed Lager - Amsterdam Brewing
Barnraiser - Oast House Brewing
Captain's Log Lager - Cameron's Brewing
Rock Cut Lager - Lake of Bays Brewing
Craft Lager - Muskoka Brewery
Classic - Hockley Valley Brewing
Mythology Canadian Golden Pilsner - Flying Monkeys Brewery
Mountain Lager - Side Launch Brewing
Steamwhistle Pilsner - Steamwhistle
Red Tail Ale - Grand River Brewing

Pale Ales - Add a little hops to the mix with these ones. Not over the top, but still a step up from the everyday.

Cruiser All Day Pale Ale - Amsterdam Brewing
Rhyme and Reason - Collective Arts
Downhill Pale Ale - The Collingwood Brewery
Hoptical Illusion - Flying Monkeys Brewery
Canuck Pale Ale - Great Lakes Brewing
Harbinger - Descendants Beer and Beverage Co.
Naughty Neighbour - Nickel Brook Brewing
Old Tomorrow - Old Tomorrow Brewing
Clutch - Redline Brewhouse
Golden Beach Pale Ale - Sawdust City Brewing

India Pale Ales - For the Hop head, approaching Nirvana.

Boneshaker - Amsterdam Brewing
Ransack the Universe - Collective Arts
State of Mind - Collective Arts
Flight Delay IPA - Barnstormer Brewing
Smashbomb Atomic IPA - Flying Monkeys Brewing
Karma Citra - Great Lakes Brewery
Mad Tom - Muskoka Brewing
Headstock - Nickel Brook Brewing
Dead Elephant - Railway City Brewing
Lone Pine IPA - Sawdust City Brewing

Porters and Stouts - Big on roasted malt flavours, coffee and dark chocolate. Some have big ABVs, so slow sipping is a must.

Nutcracker Porter - Black Oak Brewing
Clifford Porter - Clifford Brewing
Stranger Than Fiction Porter - Collective Arts
Charcoal Porter - Innocente Brewing
Tom Green Beer Stout - Beau's All Natural
Frankenstout Session Stout - Block 3 Brewing
Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout - Muskoka Brewing
Black Coal Stout - Railway City Brewing
Skinny Dippin' Stout - Sawdust City Brewing
Imperial Russian Stout - Wellington Brewery

Brown, Red & Amber Ales - A little more flavour than regular ales, but not too overpowering

Brown Ale - Amsterdam Brewing
Grindstone Amber Ale - Broadhead Brewing
Ambear Red Ale - Cameron's Brewing
Deep Tracks Brown Ale - Flying Monkeys Brewing
Eephus Oatmeal Brown Ale - Left Field Brewing
Amber - Hockley Valley Brewing
Dark - Hockley Valley Brewing
Spark House Red Ale - Lake of Bays
Remembrance Red Ale - Royal City Brewing
Dark Ale - Stonehammer Brewing

Grab Bag of styles - 10 more that fall all over the map

Saison - The Collingwood Brewery
King Street Saison - Block 3 Brewing
Lenoir Belgian Ale - Bell City Brewing
Paysan Saison - Nickel Brook Brewing
Saison Hibiscus - Royal City Brewing
All or Nothing Hopfenweisse - All or Nothing Brewing
Wheat - Side Launch Brewing
Winter Weiss - Muskoka Brewing
Saint Of Circumstance Blonde Ale - Collective Arts
Cause and Effect Blonde Ale - Nickel Brook Brewing