Chimps Batch Jays Owen

That was a busy-ass week. Fun too.

On Tuesday we grabbed some dinner at Wine Bar and then went to see a talk by one of Nellie’s heroes, Jane Goodall. Such an impressive human being, and her final story of the night (shown below) pretty much says it all.

On Wednesday we grabbed dinner at Batch with our buddy GB, visiting for the week.

On Thursday I met my buddy Joe at the new Bar Hop (my first visit, believe it or not) where I had an excellent Burdock session saison and then availed myself of one of his Jays tickets, with which we watched the Jays beat the Yankees. Labatt’s acquisition of Mill Street at least meant I could have a 100th Meridian to go with this view:

Last night we went over to our friends A+A’s place and had a seemingly Dan-tailored evening: grilled meat and charcuterie, stellar beer (including a Gueuze Tilquin they brought back from Brussels, bless their little hearts), cool music that made me want to start collecting LPs again, and a cat named Owen who blithely tolerated my attention. We turned into pumpkins on their couch. It was, after all, a busy-ass week.


You know what feels weird? Not working on a weekend.

Apart from my birthday weekend a few weeks ago, I’ve worked every weekend since…well, I can’t remember. If I’m in the city, I’m working.

Not this weekend though. This weekend I’m relaxing and enjoying the summer. We walked over to King West today to buy some stuff for Nellie’s upcoming camping trip, and tried out Mascot Brewery (verdict: cool rooftop, okay beer, absolutely horrid DJ) before retreating to Bar Hop for a better one. Now we’re just lazing about, playing games, listening to music, getting ready to make dinner. Maybe picking out a movie or two.

Relaxing, in other words. And it’s fucking awesome.

For the monks

Clearly last weekend’s Garrison tour and last month’s Session Toronto festival didn’t provide us enough opportunities to try interesting beer, so — after an Ontario-craft-brew evening at the Rebel House with MLK — we walked over to the Steam Whistle Craft Beer Fest in Roundhouse Park. It promised to be a more laid-back festival, and the weather seemed far more tolerable than the sauna that was Session. The crowds weren’t big at all when we arrived, probably because the entry lines were very slow.

Once we got inside we could tell this was indeed a more laid-back festival.  There was room to move, there was shade (not enough, though, as it turned out), and plenty of people were sitting or lying on the grass. Some people even had their kids with them, and the kids seemed cool with it all.

We knew all fifteen breweries, and were familiar enough with most of their offerings that we skipped half. Here’s what I drank:

  • Grand River “Tabbey Abbey” ale
  • Great Lakes “Chill Winston” Grisette
  • Nickel Brook Berliner Weisse
  • Wellington “County Dark” Ale
  • Lake of Bays “River Walker” summer ale
  • Hogsback “Alohog” coconut pale ale
  • Leftfield “Maris*” pale ale
  • King Kellerbier

The Chill Winston and Alohog were fantastic light summer drinks, but the Maris* might have been my favourite on the day. I badly confused the Great Lakes employee when I insisted on ordering the “Chill Winston” in the same accent as Willie from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

I also put down a killer pulled pork sandwich from one of the six food trucks in attendance, Hogtown Smoke. Nellie had pulled pork tacos from the DIrty South truck. We eventually had to escape the park when we realized that we’d been sunburned into oblivion — the cool lake breeze had lured us into a trap, it seemed. Not quite done tasting, though, we decided to walk up to Bar Hop for a few samples. I had:

  • Oast House Heritage Wheat
  • a Indie Alehouse / Kensington / Bar Hop collaboration Patersbier called “Who’s Your Daddy?”…and no, I didn’t know what a Patersbier was either until I read this
  • Shacklands Pale Ale
  • Dieu Du Ciel! Aphrodesiac

All in all it was a pretty beer-happy 24 hours…so much so that Untappd, not knowing I was drinking samples, awarded me the “Take It Easy!” badge. Success!

Photo by mlcastle, used under Creative Commons license

“Wanna fight?”

It turns out sweltering heat tends to drive up our movie-watching frequency, but also more or less limits it to what we can pull up on demand at home rather than going outside.

Hence, we watched Jack Reacher (imdb | rotten tomatoes) last weekend. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but for two hours it was reasonably entertaining and rarely annoying, which is better than I expected. So there you go.

Last night that sweltering heat finally broke as a short but ferocious storm moved through Toronto:

A similar deluge hit us a few minutes later. We ducked and covered down the street to Triple A for some grub, some beers, and a shot of bourbon. Once the rain broke we took the streetcar to Bar Hop for another pint — Ommegang BPA for Nellie, Indie Alehouse Broken Hispter for me. We left to find nearly everyone on King Street staring up at the weird cloud patterns and colourful sky left behind by the storm.

The evening’s plans weren’t centered around the storm, actually, but around a screening of Only God Forgives (imdb | rotten tomatoes), Nicolas Winding Refn’s followup to Drive. Anyone who had only seen that film and not the rest of Refn’s work probably left the Lightbox theatre somewhat confused. It was slow and quiet and textured and incredibly violent and overall pretty weird. Which is to say, like most of Refn’s movies — the ones I’ve seen, at least. Amos Barshad did a fantastic piece at Grantland yesterday about Refn and his latest film (beware: it’s a little spoiler-y) which they refer to as “An inversion of Valhalla Rising’s Scottish Highlands”. I thought that was accurate — like Mads Mikkelsen’s One Eye, Ryan Gosling’s Julian barely speaks in the film, and violence bursts through these long, droning sequences which were gray and earthy in Valhalla Rising, but raging neon here. The film certainly isn’t for anyone, and may not be for anyone expecting another Drive, but good for Refn for making his movie and not chasing what was likely a multitude of offers to make practically the same again.

Both Nellie and I have been doing work on this Saturday, but watched another dumb action movie before we got started: The Bourne Legacy (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Which was exactly what you think it’s going to be. So, fine, but boring.


Photo by mlcastle, used under Creative Commons license


Image by GOTSfile, used under creative commons license

“You think I’m not serious just because I carry a rabbit?”

Here’s how we’ve spent our last 72 hours (work notwithstanding):

  • Yummy beers at Bar Hop
  • The Game of Thrones exhibit at the Design Exchange, which was small, but free, and not at all bad. Just got me even more excited for March 31st.
  • Meat at Triple A
  • Dinner at Richmond Station, our first time back since Nellie’s birthday. We didn’t have a reservation, but they managed to find us a table upstairs…a cool space, since you can see the kitchen preparing the dishes. Just like the first time the food was good, and the service/servers were excellent. It’s quickly becoming one of my very favourite places in the neighbourhood.
  • Watched Seven Psychopaths (imdb | rotten tomatoes), made by the director of In Bruges. Very entertaining. Christopher Walken, man. Just…yeah.
  • Safe House (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was pretty meh, but at least it gave us an early preview of Cape Town.


Image by GOTSfile, used under creative commons license