I’ve got a contact up in Canada, let’s call him “Peet” – a guy whom I regularly work with in my 9-5 professional endeavors whom I’ve also learned is a total beer hound like myself. Well, this fella’s been expounding upon some of the beers available in his native Ontario environs for a couple of months now, so I dared him to quote-unquote “prove it”. Lo and behold, “Peet” shows up in San Francisco last week with two tall boy cans (cans!) of ale smuggled in his suitcase, nestled between the briefing books, the toiletries kit and the socks. Homeland Security evidently didn’t call out the dogs, and let the cans through with a shrug, no doubt thinking, “Canadians and their beer….”.
Let me tell you that America, and free trade in general, is the better for this attitude. “Peet” was presented with a bottle of RUSSIAN RIVER DAMNATION to take home for his efforts – me, I got to drink a 16-oz. can of NEUSTADT 10W30 from the NEUSTADT SPRINGS BREWERY in Neustadt, Ontario. Apparently this brown ale is a big fave of our correspondent, and you know what? It’s one of ours now as well. It’s an English-style brown, very malty without being thick and gloopy, with a very reasonable but not wimpy 5.5% ABV. As I was enjoying it I was contemplating its perfection as the quintessential “session” ale, and I started to understand why some folks get just as hopped up about this sort of drink as others do about barrel-aged imperial double Russian stouts. It’s all good if you enjoy it in the right circumstances, and sitting there at home, drinking my NEUSTADT 10W30, I had my brown ale semi-epiphany. 8/10. Look for it next time you’re in Neustadt.