Tag Archive: malt liquor


Ask the Inebriate

Up to this point, I’ve usually answered any questions I receive directly but I figured maybe some of you out there might be wondering the very same things so I’m going to start posting my answers.

Nik from Toronto: “Did the LCBO, in an attempt to be responsible or something, discontinue all malt liquors (essentially, shit alcohol with a content above 6% or so)? Just curious. Realized that I haven’t had a 40 in a while, nor have I see one.”

I decided to call them up to see what they had to say. The confused lady I ended up reaching had no idea what malt liquor was and it quickly became apparent that she was merely searching for it on their own website.

Since I can do that myself, I let her go and did a quick check which got us the answer we wanted.

You can still get Pabst Olde English 800 (311357, 1180 mL, $5.80) and Red Bull (679860, 710 mL, $3.25) around Toronto. Colt 45 (679845, 710 mL, $3.25) however, is only available in the boonies but you can get the larger size (676189, 1183 mL, $5.35) at Queen’s Quay, Yonge & Dundas and a couple of other locations as well as in multiple locations in Scarborough and North York.

The lady I talked to at the LCBO couldn’t say why the number of stores carrying malt liquor had shifted but I would imagine supply and demand has a larger impact on its availability. Also, the LCBO has been trying to gussy up their image in the past couple of years and it hards to see it fitting in well with their new direction (at least until Colt 45 brings back Billy Dee Williams for nostalgic ad campaign).

Working with what you have

Last night, while in the midst of an impromptu house party, the call for drinks was made.

We nearly always have bottles of wine but our guest wanted cocktails. We had some Martini red vermouth which is an alright start. The fridge, however, was a sad state of affairs with some V8 juice, flat soda water and green tea gingerale. The latter may have worked but I wasn’t feeling it so I looked in the freezer and found some Ben & Jerry’s Baileys icecream.

I took a couple scoops of that, added three ounces of the vermouth and, after shaking it, poured it over some ice and added a splash of Angostura bitters. While it wasn’t something I’d have more than a couple glasses of, it definitely worked as a nightcap. The sweetness of the vermouth and the ice cream was tempered by the bitters and while I generally prefer my cocktails carbonated, this worked better than I would have expected.

The point I’m trying to make is that you shouldn’t limit yourself solely to standard secondary mixers like juice or soda. Ice cream works really well, as does jam, although be sure to strain it a second time so that your guests don’t get bits of jam in their glass. There really isn’t much that isn’t fair play in the kitchen as long as you consider the proportions.

I try to aim for balanced cocktail that’s not too sweet, not too sour and doesn’t kick you in the head with it’s alcohol content.

Over the past week, I’ve gone through my six winter beers and I liked half of ‘em; good odds I say.

St. Peter’s Ruby Red Ale had this incredible grapefruit aroma with hints of vanilla and toffee. It tasted a lot like a Scottish ale and was a bit spicy as well.

A complex, well-balanced beer and well worth your time even if you have to buy it with their IPA, an insipid beer that was far too bitter for me. I also didn’t like the sharp aftertaste but I’m aware of people who’re really into this kind of flavor profile so I’m chalking my dislike of this up to personal preference.

The two malt liquors didn’t impress me at all. The Schloss Eggenberg Doppelbock Dunkel (say that three times fast) was far too sweet and (yes, you guessed) malty for me with a weird, bitter, metallic aftertaste. The strong alcohol content (8.5%) came through but I was left unimpressed and had to struggle to finish it. The things I do in the name of beer…

The Samichlaus, once billed as “the strongest beer in the world” due to it’s alcohol content (12.3%) was also not my cup of tea. Like the Doppelbock, it was far too malty with a cloying medicinal bitterness. Lots of people like it but I won’t be coming back for another round.

After those two, I was ready for an ale so I opened McAuslan’s Scotch. There was a strong caramel nose to this one. It was malty, which I don’t normally like, but the carbonation smoothed that out and it had a sweet finish. It’s a good sipping beer.

My last beer was Brakspear’s Oxford Gold. Fresh and light, it was quite citrusy and went down easily. After finishing I was left wanting more which is a good thing I suppose although I’m hard-pressed to remember anything particular about the taste.

Of any of these, I’d probably go with the Ruby Red Ale again. I’d love to try a cask but I don’t know of any bars that are carrying it right now so I guess that will have to wait until I visit the UK.

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