My Kind of Beer with Chris Goddard
Last year, the Goddard Family achieved a milestone – our first camping trip. Now I will say that our version of camping was less “roughing it” and more “hippie commune.” For our first voyage we opted for some good old “car camping” along with 10 other families from the neighbourhood and it was a heck of a lot of fun. We had our fair share of hiccups (our new tent was missing avital pole and we didn’t have sleeping pads which led to some bumpy sleeping) but overall the whole crew of folks had a great time. As with last year, I will once again try to curate my camping experience with some lovely brews for any and all occasions that may arise – only tins of course. I suspect that with this trip it will be heavy on the campfire brews so why don’t we start there!
Campfire Brew — Each night after the kids have been put into the tent where they will hopefully, at some point, fall asleep, we all gather round ye olde campfire to tell stories and generally cut loose (or as loose as a bunch of 40-somethings get). There are two tools we can use for this job — the big, roasty, savour-as-you-drink kind of beer or one that can be used repeatedly all night without fatigue. I plan to use both. Start the evening out with something light, quaffable and repeatable like Ace Hill’s Pilsner. Easy drinking, refreshing, clean on the palate — a real pleasure to drink. But when the curtain of curfew comes (read: I can feel my wife’s eyes burning through the back of my head) there is just enough time for one last beer. I will reach for Walkerville Brewery’s Easy Stout — nice and malty with some hints of smoke and chocolate.
It’s Noon Somewhere — My favourite beer — bar none. When you are on vacation and you just can’t wait for the hands of the watch to all point straight up. The important thing to remember here is that a day of camping is a marathon — not a sprint. If you choose to crack a beer with your Fruit Loops — choose wisely as your day may end up taking a mulligan before lunch. Because of this I usually opt for a short can of something that can help shake the cobwebs off of the “hair of the dog” that is light and cheerful. Muskoka Brewery launched their lager (one of my favourites) in short cans this year. It will be high on my list for this occasion. And as a shower beer.
Swim Beer (not that I condone this) — This beer happens sometime mid-day when the sun is high, the temperature is hot and a dip in the lake is what the doctor ordered. Like the beer above, it can’t be a show-stopper in ABV and should be refreshing while consumed in the sun, waist deep in water. Enter the Radler. Cool, refreshing and light — the perfect combination! My personal favourite is Stiegl’s Grapefruit Radler, and I’ve had them all. This one just touches all of the right places for me when it comes to mid-day drinking.
The Mighty Angler — I’m not fooling anyone here — I bring a fishing rod so I can spend some “boring” time with a buddy, enjoy a cigar and drink a beer or two. I’m not an intense fishing guy but I do like the thrill of sport fishing as well as the quiet contemplation. We will be sitting, the day will be well on its way at this point (or perhaps after dinner — even better) so we can venture into a deeper and darker woods knowing that there is some light at the end of the tunnel when campfire time comes around. One of my favourite styles for this is a pale ale — not too big, not too small, just the right amount of everything. And one of my favourites at the moment is Manitoulin Brewing’s Bridal Veil — a pale ale with plenty of malt and a tickling of citrus to help balance it out.