Beer brawl

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It’s Friday, folks, which means I’m lazy.

But not too lazy to find some cool links you can waste some time viewing. Before we get to that, though, I just wanted to comment on the upcoming long weekend. As a staunch anti-monarchist, I have decided not to take Monday as a holiday. This weekend is a celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday and I want no part of it.

Nah, I’m just foolin’. I can’t stand the monarchy, it’s true, but I’ll take the holiday and enjoy it.

Hatchet guy may be going to jail. You might remember Kai from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckfBGdZoR_0

He was the hero in that incident, but now the cops have arrested him and the charge is murder: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325863/McGillvary-Kai-hatchet-wielding-homeless-hitchhiking-Internet-celebrity-arrested-murder-lawyer.html

The Toronto Star better hope Rob Ford smokes crack cocaine, because they’ve gone all-in with their coverage of this growing scandal: http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/05/16/toronto_mayor_rob_ford_in_crack_cocaine_video_scandal.html

If it turns out the Star got it wrong, ouch, the cash to settle the lawsuit would fill all the swimming pools on the Bridle Path (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridle_Path,_Toronto).

Things don’t look good for Ford, though. Even the lawyer retained by the mayor isn’t quoted (by the Star) denying it’s Ford. Instead, they have him saying, “How can you indicate what the person is actually doing or smoking (by viewing a video)?”

Huh? No one’s talking about Ford going to jail. No one has to actually prove there were drugs in the bowl of a glass pipe. All that has to happen, if it is Ford in the video, is a bunch of Torontonians have to decide for themselves whether it’s likely a crack pipe was being used to smoke a) crack or b) dandelions. If the public thinks it’s a) and is convinced it’s really Ford, his career is over.

The Office is over: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jordanzakarin/the-office-series-finale-the-jarring-hopeful-farewell

I didn’t bother watching the finale. I dunno. I’ve enjoyed the show in the past, often, but lately not so much. I like Parks and Rec more, and definitely liked 30 Rock more. Then there are the cool comedies on the specialty channels, like Veep and Life’s Too Short and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has crossed over to network TV as reruns. And sketch shows like Little Britain.

‘Jim’ was funnier when he wasn’t working at a sports marketing agency, and buddy-what’s-his-face isn’t as funny as the boss as Steve Carell was. Even at it’s best, The Office USA wasn’t as funny as The Office UK.

Triceratops got robbed (should have been number two): http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/the-definitive-ranking-of-dinosaurs-from-worst-to-best

…and where was dunkleosteus? http://animal.discovery.com/tv-shows/other/videos/animal-armageddon-dunkleosteus.htm

Poor, silly creationists: “This book is better proof of reality than scientific evidence could ever be!” (http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/christianity/christian-schools-anti-science-test-brings-financial-donations)

I’m a little reticent to admit this, but what the heck: I don’t like craft beers.

I know, I know, all the beeries out there – that’s the beer version of foodies – will look down their noses at me, but I actually think there’s a reason some of the world’s most popular beers taste mild the way they do: cuz people like them.

This is dangerous territory, I realize. Next thing you know I’ll claim Bud is the best beer in the world because it sells the most bottles (that’s a guess – does it?). I won’t go that far. McDonald’s doesn’t make the world’s best hamburger, for example; even this vegetarian knows that.

But calling something craft or micro doesn’t automatically make it great, either. The truth is, most of the micro brews I’ve drunk don’t compare favourably to their bigger, more successful cousins. This is a personal opinion of course, but one I would guess many, many people share with me.

This is an interesting take on the subject: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/drink/2013/05/hoppy_beer_is_awful_or_at_least_its_bitterness_is_ruining_craft_beer_s_reputation.html

I don’t remember if it was in the comments section or what, but one point that was made was that craft brewers will make a dozen varieties of beer and yet, in that large selection, won’t deign to make a single variety that’s light and mild in flavor, as if the expertise it takes to make Corona or Hoegaarden, Heineken or Moosehead deserves only disdain.

My guess is the big boys have some of the best recipes, so rather than try to compete toe to toe making a thirst-quenching, lighter beer with broad appeal – compete and fail – micros prefer to go niche then disparage those in the mainstream.

This is a generalization, of course. One of my favourite beers, Creemore, started as a micro but then was bought up by someone. Labatt’s? And I’ve had some other beers from little guys I enjoyed a lot. Rolling Rock, for example. But whaddya know, it also got bought up by a big brewer. Why? Because it’s really good.

So let's have a bit of honesty. There are a few geniuses out there running brew pubs and micro-breweries, no question. As an average, though, craft beers have a lot of amateur pretenders: strong flavors but lacking the refinement and skill of the best brews from the big brewers. I still think it’s cool what they’re doing. I like the local factor and I’m all over people making homemade things, then sharing them with like-minded consumers. But let’s keep the ego out of it: Jim’s Coffee Malted Jalapeno Bitter isn’t better than Keith’s just because it’s as thick as molasses and tastes like spiced dirt.

Whaddya think? What’s your favourite pint? The first person to post a comment gets a prize. Maybe it's beer!

(Disclaimer: Prize is not beer.)

UPDATE: As far as I can tell, Mayor Ford has yet to say the one thing that stands any chance of exonerating him if he's innocent: "It's not me in the video." (See Star update here: http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/05/17/rob_ford_crack_scandal_mayor_must_respond_councillor_says.html) Wouldn't that be the first thing you'd say if it wasn't you in a video tape smoking something from a glass pipe? Should we assume that his failure to say that means it IS him, but he'll be offering some sort of reasonable explanation soon for how a mayor could be caught on camera using what appears to be a crack pipe? "It's not a crack pipe, folks, it's a glass TV remote control you activate with your mouth, after which smoke is emitted."

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