Learn to Love Local
There is nothing more exciting in this world than the opening of a new thing, be it a store, a present, a box of cereal or a bag of cookies or chips. From the minor (chips) to the major (store) the grand opening is a big deal - that's why you're always invited to watch (unless you are secreting the bag of cookies or chips). So for someone like myself, and all wine/beer fans out there, the opening of a new winery or brewery is a real thrill - it means you have a new place to go, a new place to sample stuff, and the possibility of a new favourite (though I had the same feeling about Roasted Chicken potato chips and that fell flat once the bag was open). Though it seems the human mind can only latch on to one thing new at a time, so when there are a plethora of wineries that open - as they have in Niagara these past few years, one has a tendency to throw up one's hands and say, "I can't keep up!" … don’t give up, but I digress.
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="208" caption="Teaching Brewery beers are called First Draft"][/caption]
Thankfully I was saved by Niagara College - no I did not apply to take a course in coping with change; but I do wonder if such a class is offered. Niagara College has opened a Teaching Brewery a mere 10 minutes from my door. What this mean is that I get to sample what young brewmasters of the future have come up with before they become mainstream (if they ever do). This teaching brewery follows along the same lines as Niagara College’s teaching winery which opened back in 2002; the beverage being sold to the public is professionally made, the students have a hand in making it, but the finished product is made (and / or watched over) by a pro. I have so far visited the brewery twice in two weeks and have tried some 7 different beers purchasing three. The other fun aspect is their growler system that is in place - a perfect thing for high quantity consumers (college - beer, do people see a match made in heaven here?). Pay a one time deposit for your two-litre jug and refills will run you between $10 (for the ale & lager) and $12 (for the premium products). I think it's great to have a local brewery so close - that way profits stay closer to home and more goes into the pockets of those actually making the beer and not a giant mark up to those selling it as a third party (the same applies to wine ladies and gents).
What I'm trying to say - in my subtle, roundabout, off-handed way, is support local whenever possible by actually going to the place - maybe it's a day trip or it's about making a weekend out of it, but shopping local (not just for your beer and other booze) puts money into the pockets of the actual producers then shopping at the Beer Store or the LCBO ... taking that a step further and putting numeric value to it, a KPMG study back in 2008 showed just how much buying local put back into the economy: Purchasing the average litre of Ontario wine puts $8.48 back into the Ontario economy. Imports contribute about 67 cents. Need I really say any more?!
This Week’s Selection …
Something new from Argentina: Trapiche 2008 Syrah – Fut de Chene ($11.95 - #222281), here’s a beauty for your next BBQ. The first few sniffs will reveal a woody note but it’s wrapped in dark fruit and dark berries with vanilla, spice, some definitive black cherries-licorice which show up a few sips in and sticks around for most of the glass (or bottle) and then look for a lovely hint of spiced-meat on the finish. (*** ½+)
Turkish Gastronomy Festival Buffet from March 22nd to 24th: an experience of wonderful dishes prepared by the talented Chef Ismet
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