Ben Caplan

September 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

A fully bearded east coast dragon. Ben Caplan creates his wonderful folky indie sounds right here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Time for a loose Cuppa?

September 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

The smell of Earl Grey tea invokes some special memories for me. It reminds me of my childhood, many awkward first dates, and countless hours hunched over my sketchbook in art school. That wonderful Bergamot smell keeps me calm and focused for hour after hour. I have other leafy loves, I must admit. I am partial to the occasional cup of Peppermint, or the fancy Moroccan Mint leaves which overflow mason jars on my kitchen counter. Still, nothing *for me* can compare to the smell and taste of loose leaf Earl Grey tea.

Here is a snap of my current stock, with the addition of some dried safflower from my parents garden:



The safflower is purely for aesthetic reasons.

A note before we continue: If you have not yet experienced tea in its loose form I highly recommend doing so. A bagged tea is imprisoned and depressed. A loose tea is excited to greet you in the morning and go for a hot dip. Trust me.

A brief History

Named after Lord Charles Grey II  (English prime minister 1830-1834), Earl Grey tea has become one of the most popular flavours of tea worldwide.  The recipe for Earl Grey combines black tea leaves with oils found in the Italian citrus fruit Bergamot. The original recipe is thought to have come from China but there is some debate over this.

A patriotic drink for the brits:

Out n about–  I recently asked for Earl Grey at a local Cafe (Hydrostone Cafe- located in Halifax’s northish end). I was greeted with a “hmm I’ll have to see if we have that one”. This is a sure sign that a Cafe is not in tune with herbal culture. Sure enough it arrived in an odd shaped mug, bag dangling from one side. It was a low grade bag my friends. A very low grade bag. This experience has reinforced my belief that everyone should expand or start their own personal collection of loose leaf herbals. Treat yourself to a good ol’ scoop from your local Bulk Barn (I am in no way affiliated with Bulk Barn or Loblaws). You’ll be glad you did.




Brainstorm Brew

September 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

A response to the latest Brainstorm Brewery Podacst

Great cast guys! I am a homebrewer and beer snob and cube crack addict. I started listening to your show so I could somehow afford the stupid hobby known as Cube Management… I’m not sure that the type of poll you have put forward to your guests is vary fair one. You guys are such a ridiculous mix of characters that pinning the cast down by one beer is just mean.

Corbin, this cat is practical, he is good at his finance and is very level headed, doesn’t seem to be too bombastic which might lead to reason this guy would be hip to a Bud Light Lime… not that I endorse this in anyway shape or form because it is like supporting the Strcty of the beer world. For Corbin the beer I would make in his likeness would be a kolsch or a cream ale. Light beers with serious integrity! The cream ale is the best stepping stone for BMC (BudMillerCoors) drinkers to take into the good beer world. It incorporates rice corn and barley which will be familiar to their palate but it is not watered down thus tasting much fuller (BMC literally waters down their beer) and has a slightly more pronounced hop character to start them on their journey towards being a full blown hophead!

Marcel, this chap is obviously the slickest of all y’all, I think the Cascadian Dark Ale (credit where credit is due! Screw the BJCP!) Is where his beer lies. We can make the obvious connection of colour but it it runs so much deeper than that. If you are drinking a good CDA you’ll met by two things right away. The pop from the late hops and smooth roastyness from the dark malts. IMNSHO a good CDA should have less early boil hops because the bitterness they impart with conflict with the bitterness of the dark malts. Once you have this different/smoother (Dark malt+ early hop) type of bitterness the flavour of the late hops have a totally different framework in which they get to shine. Their sweetness is contained inside the slick roasty bitterness. Marcel = CDA = Dark, Slick, Sweet, Roasty with a Pronounced yet Balanced Bitterness

Ryan – Sounds like the most genuine of all the guys on the cast. Often overshadowed by the banter on Jason and Corbin and then further overshadowed by Marcel breaking up the banter. I got Ryan on a Smoked Beer! Yes, a smoked beer! These poor beers are overshadowed by big IPA’s, big Imperial Stouts, show stopper after show stopper after show stopper… But when you finally reach down and say “Ok ok ok, i’ll try this smoked beer” You are astounded, they are reasonably rare, so you are from then on looking for smoked beer where ever you go. Smoked beer or rauchbier is originally from Germany; and the German’s did not care about big fancy beers. They like beers that you can drink multiples of in litre steins. What that means is the smoke can not be like BrewDog’s version of a smoked beer where it tasted like they used a months worth of ashtray garbage to filter the beer. No, it is sensible and minimal yet apparent and poignant.

Take this weeks pick of the week, it was not some silly enchantment tutor from 100 years ago. It was a inexpensive (sensible) uncommon (minimal) enchantment killer (apparent) with real profit potential (poignant) that would be overshadowed by something flashy like Sterling Grove (BIG IPA’S… Dogfish 90) that will be super super appreciated for people who realize and go deep on ware/tare when it goes up and they love it (Smoke)

If you haven’t tried a smoke beer I recommend you do so! Listen to Ryan!

Jason – Arrogant Bastard by Stone (This is a great beer… sorry for the underhanded compliment)

So, I really think you guys should do a 4 pack, alas I will weigh in and vote for a stout. It does satisfy at least one of the character trait of each of the cast members.

Corbin- This is the biggest stretch, but Guinness has claimed to suppose to have enough nutrients that you could have it as a meal replacement. That’s is arguably practical… the Egyptians were payed in beer when building the pyramids because it contained enough calories to sustain them while building (THE Stout has links to historically practical beer… whoa and that’s my yoga for the day!)

Marcel – well, it’s dark slick and roasty

Ryan – There are smoked stouts and they are damn good

Jason – I have had some really really aggressive stouts!

This was fun, thanks for encouraging a mash (bahahaha) up of 2 of my loves!


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