Sunday, November 22, 2009

Midnight Sun Espresso Stout

The year that I turned forty I celebrated by doing three big things. Two were planned. One was not.

Lets go backwards, shall we? Well it was just under two months to my fortieth when I came home from a Capsule victory in which I had played quite well, a two to one victory over our biggest rival, a game in which I had set up both goals with a couple of sweet passes, if I do say so myself. Then a couple of post game pints at the Communist Bar and I arrived home to find the wife into a bottle of wine and so we sat outside on our back deck and had a couple more and smoked a little and the conversation turned to the question that had been before us since the boy's arrival two years previous and that was, do we want a third kid? We had not been sure but slowly and surely, especially as things got easier with our two oldest, my wife began to warm to the idea. I wasn't sold on it but the previous summer had proven to me that we could get our old lives back once the kids got a little older so I too began to get on board. And so this night we decided that we would have a third kid. The plan was to start trying in the spring but in the heat of the moment we rolled the dice. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It was about a month later that I travelled to Edmonton for the first time to catch the Oilers. Andy Grabia, my gracious and generous host that weekend, and I attended a Saturday night game against a rebuilding Hawks' team, a bunch of kids, amongst them rookies Toews and Kane, who did not impress. Horcoff, in the middle of a run that would convince Lowe to sign him to a big extension (Horc would average just about a PPG before he went down for the year), scored the winner in the shootout. It was good fun, an enjoyable trip. Andy squired me about the town, we checked out the Golden Bears on Friday night and went to RATT, went for dinner before the game on Saturday night and then for drinks afterwards. Good times, although not exactly what Andy had planned for me. :)

And to kick off the festivities, months before, I believe it was in late June but the memories are hazy, one of my closest friends (also turning 40) and I headed down the 401 to Montreal for a long weekend.

Sweet sweet Montreal. Now the Island is probably my favourite province, although I think that if I spent any extended time in Newfoundland it might end up a push, but Montreal has to be my favourite city in Canada I think. And that's saying a lot because I've been to a lot of cities between Bonavista and Vancouver Island and I have very little bad to say about any of them.

But Montreal.


Some day I will go into detail about that weekend, I am sure. We arrived Friday in the evening and we commenced our wander. Up and down and all around the streets of Montreal, into brewpubs and hole in the wall joints and streetside patios, drinking and smoking in the unusual early summer heat, up St. Denis to visit a friend and beers on his balcony, looking across the street at a party in the building there, a couple having sex just above the festivities, figuring that their antics, slow and easy, were unknown and unseen in the night, back down into the city, talk drifting as talk will, easy and slow between two old friends, one of those weekends that goes real slow and all of the drink that we poured into ourselves just softened the edges around us.

And in the middle of Saturday afternoon we ducked into a fancy looking joint, it was time for a drink, another one of these places all about beer. We turned down the offer of food and looked at the list of beers and both of us were immediately drawn to one in particular.

Midnight Sun Espresso Stout

All the way from the Yukon.

It was a damn big bottle, we each got a pint out of it.

Good thing because it was thirty five bucks.


It was a very good beer, not worth thirty five dollars of course, but we wanted to drink it and we were staying in a hostel so it wasn't like we were blowing the kids' education fund. It was just one of those moments. 'We're here to celebrate. Why the fuck not?'


Here in Ontario you can get some pretty good beers these days at the LCBO. Some quality shit from around the world and a lot of terrific beer from around Canada as well. Every day I go in I seem to find something new and more and more I see a pint bottle or maybe a little bigger than a pint going for five, six, seven dollars.

Now I buy myself a lot of damn good beers there for two and a quarter or three fifty so when I see a bottle of stout, even from a micro brewery that I know, going for six bucks then I get a little leery. There is a Winter Ale that goes for just under seven bucks; its two pints worth and a damn strong beer. It caught my fancy last year, its got a smell and taste you wouldn't believe.(I'm not a beer geek or snob by the way although I guess it sounds like it here. I just like damn good beer. I guess maybe I'm a bit of a snob in that I turn my nose up at Coors Light, say, but if you put one in front of me I'll drink the damn thing and like it so there you go).

Anyhow this Winters' Ale, I think its from Niagara Brewery, is damn good shit. A couple of those, all spices and oranges and shit (I kid you not) and I get a warm glow on. I'd better, for the price. That's just once in a while stuff.


And now the news that Khabibulin is out with a bad back and anyone who has ever had a bad back knows its bad fucking news. I've been relatively lucky but every once in a while I get a tweak. Last week I did and for about half a day I moved at about a quarter speed. And then just as quickly as it came, it went. No idea what happened. I got out of bed wrong likely. Same as Khabibulin probably.

And anyone who has seen JDD the last two games knows that even if Tambellini is right and all will be right with the world when everyone is back healthy, this club suddenly has a problem in net.

Not that anyone saw this one coming. Jesus.

Anyhow JDD has been pretty well shit and I'm thinking another game like this and Dubnyk will get a start and at least we may get an idea about the big man.

Hopefully he doesn't get beat top shelf over and over again. How the fuck does that happen when you're six foot four. Just fucking stand there, maybe!

Anyways this horse has been beaten over and over again until its just a faint rusty smear on the road but facts are facts and for some reason folks still like to defend this crackerjack management team and their sterling record over the past half dozen seasons (That would be one playoff season in five years, btw, with this year looking iffy.) so what the hell, sure I will pile on, again.

The problem is that Tambellini invested a shitload of money and term in an aging injury prone goalie and on top of that did not bring in a veteran backup to help out when, as was certainly likely, that goalie went down. He made not one but two poor bets. He bet that Khabibulin would be worth the money and that he would stay healthy even though his recent history says otherwise. And he bet that JDD or Dubnyk would be able to step in and do the job. I guess we'll see how that goes.

Lets hope that it goes well because if it does not then even if this team as good as Steve seems to think that it is they are going to get sunk by poor goaltending. I don't put much stock in how the club was outperformed by Chicago. Chicago is way better than the Edmonton Oilers. What worries me is that JDD has looked poor these last two games. I'm thinking that this is going to cost them.

You see Steve, its okay to buy that thirty five dollar bottle of beer when you're out celebrating a milestone, its once in a lifetime, yeah?

But when you're taking care of your goaltending it might make a little more sense to take an alternative route, no? Maybe a couple of those St Peter's Cream Stout will do. Just as good and a fraction of the price. And you have two of them,


macaotim said...

I wasn't sure what to do about our goalies at the end of last year...2 prospects close and Roli up for a contract. I thought a one or 2 year deal would be ok. Roli seemed ok to handle/share the load and his competitive fire would probably have been good to have kept around.

Nothing against The Wall, but given history, I threw-up a bit in my mouth when I heard the news.

What to do with the situation now...who knows??? It feels like a chess match (is that what chess nerds call it?) when no move is a good move because you just fucked up the last one.

Perhaps Tambi is more suited to checkers!?

Coach pb9617 said...

Espresso Stout.

Khabibulin's new nickname?

spOILer said...

Well, I'm going to let JDD off the hook for the Hawk game.

Playing net is such a mental and emotional exercise. I think the added pressure that there was nobody on the bench to straighten the sails if things went sideways got to JDD a bit. I'm speculating of course, but to me he looked like he had some nerves.

Not Tom Gilbert nerves maybe, but nerves nonetheless.

Give him a couple of games to get used to the idea of being "the man" and see how it goes (probably not well, but a man needs a little rope if he's going to hang himself).

I wonder if they were planning on playing Khabeeb as much as they have. And what were they going to do in the spring when he has nothing left n the tank after 65 starts?

Sorry, did I say plan?

Swabbubba said...

JDD is not that bad. he just sometimes looks like a guy that has not seen enough NHL rubber. The Hawks are a different type of team. U know if the goal at the end of the 2nd counted maybe it would turned out different woulda coulda I know. Something happened in my job today that i was thinking was long shot but it came in so, optimism can be a blessing.
So JDD I think he will be OK. It is mindset though.. Fuhr Rnford they did let some stinkers in too when they were young. But it seems that JDD has that battle in him to dig himself out. I think all goalies should do yoga as I was watching Tim Thomas do it and I think it helps with flexibility and core strength. Ala back should be stronger

Dennis said...

I'm just drinking Guinness these days because I'm sick of regular beer.

Overall, though, I don't drink for the taste:) but these past two summers I have been moving away from the regular beers.

Bruce said...

BDHS: Feeling any better about JDD today? He seems dangerously erratic, but at least he doesn't suck All of the time.

That was a huge bounceback game for the kid. Interesting to compare his numbers with Khabibulin's. Still a small sample size -- for both, come to think of it -- but JDD now has a third of NK's games (was a sixth):

NK: 18 GP, 7-9-2 = .444; 3.03, .909
JDD: 6 GP, 3-2-1 = .583; 2.48, .920

... which is the old good news/bad news scenario I realize.

Woodguy said...

Let's see, Khabby (or Flabby as my friends are calling him, see the double chin he's sporting theses days?), Khabby gets played too much, he gets hurt, JDD plays too little and it takes two games to round to form.


I can't wait until next year when 1st rounder Dubnyk needs an NHL contract. Especially if JDD's numbers continue to outshine Khabby.

Steve T.:"We have one good young goalie with NHL experince whom we invested 7 years and created a 3 headed goalie for, he needs a NHL contract"

Steve T:"We also have another young monsterous goalie who had done well the last two years in the AHL despite our almost destroying his early development by not actually having a farm team. We've invested a 1st round pick and 5 years into this guy, he needs an NHL contract"

Steve T:"We also have a STANLEY CUP WINNING GOALIE who is getting injured a lot, getting outplayed by the young guys, but OTC needs a vet in the net. Also, if he retires, we're on the hook for his whole salary for the next 3 years"

Kevin Lowe: "Wow, we have a lot of goalies"

Bruce said...

WG: Great punchline. :D

[Word verification: angstion ]

Black Dog said...

Brilliant Woodguy. Brilliant.

Bruce - well I'll feel better if he can do it again. And again. And again.

I'm leery of blind squirrels I must say.

But for one night at least spOILer and swabb are on the money. Which is fine with me.

Black Dog said...

Dennis - yeah I'm a Guinness man, I have plenty in my fridge and when I got to a few of my favourite pubs that's what I drink, also if I ever end up ina chain joint, which is not too often.

But there are plenty of places here that carry regional beers on tap and if i am in those then that is what I go for.

Anonymous said...

A goalie with a history of back problems, doesn't bode well mais non?
And yet, I can kinda see a 'plan' now actually. I believe he signed on knowing/perhaps wanting a smaller workload (I remember hearing/reading this somewhere...) and with 2 goalies ready to go at the gate maybe this was the best road afterall. We definitely need to see what we have here IMHO. And I'm rooting for these 2 young fellas, especially JDD. What a sucky start to his pro career, yet he has an amazing attitude about it all. His mind set is admirable, and to me, a good sign for a goalie.
Roli always wanted to play alot, maybe more so than other goalies to get and stay in a certain zone, and though I miss him (he stopped how many last night??!!wow) perhaps it was for the best.

Also, I'm with spOILer, JDD is off the hook for the Chicago game with me too. Certainly redeemed himself last night. It seemed more like most of the team read too much about the flying Hawks, actually overwhelmed themselves, and lost focus. I think it was more like they psyched themselves out or something. Not saying they would've won, but they would've played better.

doritogrande said...

I guess maybe I'm a bit of a snob in that I turn my nose up at Coors Light, say, but if you put one in front of me I'll drink the damn thing and like it so there you go

I'm a little more picky than you it seems. The only thing Coors light (and Bud light for that measure) is good for is re-hydrating after a night of real stuff.

I wish I had the kind of selection you get in Ontario. Every time I head to Kenora on the way to or from a camping trip I make sure to stop by and pick up something new. The MLCC doesn't really have much in the way of Manitoban micro-brews. In fact, the only one I know of used to live behind my grandrather. Makes some damn good beer, Stouts, hoppy IPAs and some seasonal beers and at affordable prices. But that's about it. I'm all about the good beer, but it's a trifle hard to come by here.

Makes me want to give home-brewing a shot. Friends of mine have tried a couple times and each one has come out a winner.

Black Dog said...

dg - hey if someone offers me a beer I never say no. Can't help it, even if its crap.

I did the homebrew thing as well (and wine too) and it was pretty good.

Here we go with the onion belt stories again but years ago the beer selection here was terrible as well. There was nothing. And now its amazing. Not just in terms of local brews but also getting international stuff as well.

So there may be hope for you yet.

anon - hey I'm cheering for the kids too and as always I hope I am definitely wrong. Just not sold on JDD yet.

As for Chicago, they're just excellent. Even the Oilers at their best will be hard pressed to beat them this season. I wouldn't give JDD a pass against them but that game didn't worry me as much as the Avs.

We'll see.

spOILer said...

BTW, Quinn confirmed JDD's nerves in the Chicago game in his post-shutout presser.