June 26, 2019

Farewell, Dear Friend



Today was a slightly sad day....perhaps I am being overly dramatic, but it was slightly sad.
Today I packed up and boxed my wii u and its games.
I do not yet have a Switch (I most likely will at, or by, Christmas), so it wasn't done to 'make space', but rather because I played the wii u literally to its death. I got it in Sept 2013, and now (June 2019) - it's finished.

What had happened, is that the GamePad can no longer hold a charge. It can charge, but it lasts approx 45 min - 1 hr 15 before The Red Light of Doom comes on, then starts flashing. The problem is, because the wii u 'failed' we got the Switch. Because of that, Nintendo stopped supporting it in 2017. That means no more GamePad battery replacement packs. I wish I had known of the 'extended' battery pack made by Nintendo which gives longer life (both to 'extend' and get a new battery for it.) There are sellers on Amazon, etc but the reviews have been mixed: from "it works!" to "it doesn't." It also doesn't help that the companies that make them aren't Nintendo. This isn't getting a third-party controller, but rather a component of the system.

So the wii u is packed away in storage (there are 'workarounds' with the GamePad issue, but with me getting a Switch sometime soon-ish, it would need to get packed away anyway.) Someday that box may be opened again...
However, not everything from the wii u got packed away: I'm still able to use the HDMI cable (will do so for The Switch's dock) and The Switch supports amiibos. So those are still 'out.'
I still remember the day that I got it. It was the Wind Waker bundle, and I got it in September of 2013. My work contract was going to expire, and if I got renewed or extended, I was going to buy it. Once I found out, I phoned FutureShop, and put it on hold for pick-up that day. Once I was finished work, I headed there, picked it up, and headed home. Over the course of the console's short life, I got some decent games and play time out of it: Mario Kart 8, Smash, Mario Maker some downloaded games, Mario 3D World, and the 'grand finale', The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There were others too, but those are the highlights for me.

It's unfortunate that the wii u died - it had potential, but it just didn't 'catch.' Even the name: most people thought it was an accessory or add-on to the wii, not a whole new console. Then there was how the Gamepad factored in for multiplayer games: for some it can be used as a controller; not so the case others. In that aspect, New Mario U was frustrating multiplayer wise: the controller wasn't a 'controller' but to add blocks. The option to use the GamePad as such in that game should have existed. Plus, as per usual, Nintendo didn't get a lot of support from other developers for it.
With The Switch, Nintendo corrected themselves: no discs, it has a wide array of controller options (though you still need the JoyCons for certain games, so you can't go 100% ProController dedicated; but most games support it. Should be "all" but anyway...). The name isn't 'confusing' like the wii u. Nintendo is marketing and pushing the console, and it's getting tons of support. And it's working. I think within the first year, more Switches were sold than wii us during the wii u's life.

I was initially skeptical when The Switch was announced. I wanted to wait a bit ("hey our older console was a flop. Buy our new one!") but now, my faith is restored. There are a few games I'd 're-buy' on The Switch (hey if my wii u gamepad is truly on its way to the grave, at least I can still play some of the games...) such as Mario Kart. My Mario Kart reasoning is, Nintendo may not make one for The Switch (Mario Kart 9) because it already has one on it - Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe)

So farewell, wii u - you gave me a lot of great time play time, and memories; even. You had a good, loving home; but now it's time to say goodbye. Also, thank you for getting me through a few tough times here and there. over the years.    

June 2, 2019

Thoughts on The End of Game of Thrones



Since the show ended, I've been thinking and re-thinking about the series on the whole, the final season, and the final episode.

The final season has left the internet in an uproar. Most people seemed to have enjoyed it, however those that did not were very vocal about it.


Our ‘current’ Ssn 7 and 8 were good - problem was, they were too ‘crammed.’ HBO offered more episodes / seasons, D&D should have taken and followed that plan. Or, at the very least, make Ssn 7 and 8 10 episodes each, each at least 70 min.

Here’s how it should have been structured:

Season 7: 10 episodes, about the Night King
Season 8: 10 episodes, about ‘The Last War’ against Cersei
Season 9 (final season): 10 episodes (each being 70 min at least) about the rebellion against the Queen of the Ashes.

The final two episodes alone had enough potential for two seasons.

Of course, that would probably be another three years; however I'm speaking strictly of formatting of the story that was told, and how to flesh it out properly - not in regards to actually producing a TV series - an area of which I have no experience in.

As much as I loved Game of Thrones through the years, my biggest issue is that after Season 1, the story changed too much from the books. I get that books and TV/film are different mediums etc, but I noticed this in general: the Harry Potter films started off staying pretty close to the books. Heck, even The Lord of the Rings changed considerably, even with the extended editions of The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

This is a general statement: for some reason, fantasy adaptations start out closely and faithful to the source material, and then for some reason, the story changes in the adaptation. I wish it would be kept with the same quality, (in terms of being an adaption) as it is when it first begins.

I frequently state if one did not like Season 7, they probably would not enjoy Season 8. I'm not talking about plot or story, but rather the pacing. People often say that towards the end (Season 7 and 8) it's "rushed." I don't quite feel that's the case....or perhaps I am misunderstanding. I didn't find it 'rushed' but rather 'crammed.'

Ideally, I would have loved to have gotten 9 full, 10-episode seasons that followed the books, and had similar pacing as the very first season did. Consistently, throughout the years, I've always enjoyed Game of Thrones.

Was every episode perfect? No. Was every season perfect? No. But I've always enjoyed the ride, start to finish.

Before I go further, I wish to add that I enjoyed Lost (including the final season and final episode), though I did not enjoy the finales for Battlestar or Dexter.

I re-watched the entire series leading up to Season 8, then it was 'one episode per week, every week.' What I need to do, is re-watch Season 8 (or possibly the entire show, start to finish.) I've found that with Game of Thrones, as fun as it is speculating what will happen between episodes, 'wait times' negatively affects the show. I think that's where most of the disappointment sets in.

I give Game of Thrones on the whole a very solid 8.5 / 10 for the entire series.

I give Season 8 a 7.5 /10.

I give the final episode a 7 / 10. It did what it needed to do, it made sense (though in my scenario mentioned earlier) it could have been the last two, maybe even three, episodes of Season 9) and, for me, it didn't 'ruin' the series.

Even though Game of Thrones is finished, I still look forward to reading The Winds of Winter, A Dream of Spring, more Dunk and Egg, and other Seven Kingdoms-related content by Martin. If the Thrones prequel / spin-off series look good, I may check those out as well: though I'm not 'blindly' interested in them.

March 12, 2019

Warner Bros. Drops the Ball on "The Crimes of Grindelwald" Extended Cut

Today The Crimes of Grindelwald is out on blu-ray and 4K, and the set includes an extended cut.

Don't bother with the extended cut portion of the set.


The extended cut is not on a disc. Which is pretty freaking stupid, considering that the product is physical media. To get the extended cut, they give you a code to redeem it! It's not even on a disc, even though you're buying a disc! THAT is lazy and stupid, I think. I watched the extended cut, the added stuff does nothing to further the story or offer background info, character development... I wasn't expecting stuff like The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings level of difference, but the new scenes are 20 seconds - 2 minutes long each. We're talking less than what was added to extended version of the first Hobbit movie. Not only did they drop the ball on how to access that version of the film, but I would like to add the following points:

1) the opening title where you see the name of the movie, in the movie, they slapped "extended cut" right there.


2) every time there's new footage it says "deleted scene" hardcoded in the bottom corner of the screen. So the way they handled the extended cut is very lazy and stupid.

3) not all of the deleted scenes are included in the extended cut.
In short, the extended cut is a waste. Don't go out of your way to see it, is what I mean.

Another reason why I'll wait for 5 movie set, or if there is none, get them all at once (or if all at once is cheaper). If that set doesn't include the extended cut, no big loss.

Sometimes an extended, director's, or alternate version of a film can save it from disaster, or improve on an already excellent film. Some notable examples of this include: The Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven, Once Upon a Time in America, Blade Runner (The Final Cut), and The Hobbit to name a few.

Please note, I'm not saying that The Crimes of Grindelwald is a bad movie (it's not, I liked it - I'll do a review someday soon) and I'm not telling you to not get the blu-ray or 4K version (personally I'm waiting for the boxed set and wouldn't be surprised if some are too) but rather, the way that the extended cut was handled and packaged was extremely stupid on Warner Bros.' part.

Another way to think of it, is imagine if you buy a vinyl record, and some extra content is promoted and marketed to be inside the release. Instead of putting that material onto an LP, they give you a download coupon for it...which defeats the purpose of buying the physical product to begin with. (I'm not referring to them giving you a code to download the album you also have a physical copy of)


March 7, 2019

Welcome to the Second Age



Amazon has finally fully (I never saw the point on posting about the map as it was being revealed) revealed their Middle-earth map, as well as a status update: "Welcome to the Second Age."

Worthy of note is the inclusion of Numenor on the map of Middle-earth. This interesting, as most maps of Middle-earth (books, films etc) do not feature as it sinks into the sea during the Second Age, and most maps are of Middle-earth during the Third Age.

There is a whole bunch of information I could pass on, so first I'll refer you to portions of the various books, relating to information about The Second Age, and Numenor itself. I should also add that The Second age was also known as "The Black Years" ('Black' in Tolkien means 'dark' (depression), corrupt, foul, etc.)

IN PRINT:

- in The Return of the King, read through the Appendices
- in The Silmarillion, read Akallabeth (The Downfall of Numenor)
- in Unfinished Tales, read Part Two: The Second Age. Unfinished Tales also "...reproduces the only map of Numenor that J.R.R. Tolkien ever made."
- The Maps of Tolkien's Middle-earth book / map set by John Howe and Brian Sibley also includes a map of Numenor (exclusive to that set. By that I meant the other 3 were made available separately on their own. Only in this release can you get their tretment of the Numenor map)
- in Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth (illustrated by Ted Nasmith) look up the entries "Numenor" and "Second Age"

ONLINE:

Numenor: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/N%C3%BAmenor
Second Age: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Second_Age

In closing, with The Second age and Numenor being the highlights of the new reveals, I can see the following items existing as tie-in merchandise:

- Map of Numenor (with The Lord of the Rings films (and maybe The Hobbit too...?) we had the Map of Middle-earth. With The Hobbit, we got Thror's Map)

- a 'compilation' book by HarperCollins (hardback? paperback? deluxe???) of various Second Age and Numenor related content, which has already been published, in its own book (much like Beren and Luthien and The Fall of Gondolin books). this possible book would be great for newcomers to Middle-earth who have never read Tolkien before, or for those fans who want all the info related to the show in its own dedicated volume.

Pretty interesting stuff at this point - I look forward to following the series as it develops, and will post the significant updates. 

February 15, 2019

"The Lord of the Rings on Prime"


Amazon Prime's Middle-earth series is now somewhat underway.

Not long ago, they had created a Facebook page for the project: https://www.facebook.com/LOTRonPrime/  , as well as a website: amazon.com/lotronprime. Aside from the map, not much has been uploaded yet. However, should you be interested in following the project, official updates will be there.

I look forward to following the project as it progresses: cast, poster, trailer....and any associated merchandise. Hopefully, the merchandise won't be restricted to "Prime Members Only."

I'm curious what types of merchandise and products we can expect to see associated with this. I remember from 2001-2003 HarperCollins drastically increased production on Tolkien items - both related to Peter Jackson's films and not. Can we expect to see some new editions, beyond imagery used as book covers? Also, back then bookstores were book stores - not like today where they are department stores that happen to sell books. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what publications will inevitably come out.

As for how I feel about this, project, I did a post or two a while back. It's far too early to have an actual opinion - we know so little. Trailer first, opinions later.

I will also follow and report any news-worthy news in regards Amazon's Wheel of Time project, and Netflix's Narnia.

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie



February 14, 2019

"Mario Maker 2" Announced


Many fans were hoping that the Switch would get Mario Maker ported over to it, like so many other titles from the wii u (as of now, the only titles that remain exclusive to the wii u are: Mario 3D World, Xenoblade X, and Pikmin 3 - I may be missing 1 or 2). It was announced that Nintendo is making Mario Maker 2.

When I was a kid, I used to draw Mario quite a bit. I often enjoyed sketching a 'screenshot' of a made-up level, almost Bob Ross style. I used to get quite creative: "What if I make this spiny green?? The regualr ones are red, and there's red and green koopas, so....oh! and how would it behave on-screen?" That was one such example I would enjoy thinking of.

When Mario Maker came out, i was able to relieve and fulfill that aspect of my life, almost to its fullest. As great as the game was, it lacked a few minor elements that I would have loved to seen included, so I could make my levels more varied, and recreate some from Mario 1 and Mario 3 - thinking specifically of slopes and water that you can jump out of (ie, not be restricted to fully underwater.)

This post is not only to inform you that Mario Maker 2 is coming, but I'm going to re-watch the trailer, and commentate on what Mario Maker 2 looks to be adding (base donly on the trailer) as well as a few parting thoughts ("I hope this is included."

In the words of Mario, "heeere we gooo.....!"

- from the looks of things, the game is handled (exclusively??) in hand-held mode
- there are 'wheels': once the game enters 'maker mode', there's a circle labelled 'enemies' and there are some selections that can be made. There is also an "items" circle, and a "ground" circle; which includes 2 types of slopes.

- we get slopes!! I wonder how that will factor into Mario 1 style, which didn't have slopes....?

- There are elements from Mario 3D World (in side-scroller,not 3D environment)

- The sun from Mario 3 (which can be killed with a koopa shell in the deserve level) is here. Again, I wonder how it'll factor into games that did not have it in them.

- The section that shows the sun, shows a desert background. Can we change background styles....?

- The 'caterpillar' blocks from Mario World's castle levels are in it

- again with the background change: we see a forest-y backdrop and Mario and Yoshi swimming...but...the can jump out of the water! Also, it looks as if the water level can change. You could never jump out of the water in Mario 1, so I'm curious about that game style with the elements.

- the "On/Of" blocks from Mario World are here

- it looks like the auto-scroll can be adjusted, in terms of direction and movement. Play the airship levels from Mario 3 to see what I mean.

- there looks to be new enemies: puffer fish and blue/purple caterpillars. (I think it said 'ant trooper')

- Mario 3D World is a 'game style' (in 2D mode), I wonder what the mechanics will be like...?

- climbable bell-trees from Mario 3D World are here

- the Cat Bell item is here (can that 'work' in other game styles??)

- Piranha crawlers (may may be wrong, but the type of piranha plant that's pink and moves along its stem) from Mario World 3D is here (looking forward tos eeing that enemy with other game styles. it's 'length' and movement can be adjusted

- blocks that extend as you hit them are included (marked with a "!")

- the clear pipes from Mario 3D World are included

- in the Mario 3D World style, you can Banzai Bills come from the background into the foregound

- parachutes can be added to enemies. Also, in that same screen, there's a regular pipe that's not green, but red/pink instead....can pipe colours be changed??

- There looks to be different colour Yoshis! Wonder what the colours are, as well as if they have special abilities? It also looks that the 'acid' from some of the jungle levels is included.

- Boom-Boom is included as an enemy! Looking forward to seeing his Mario 1 and Mario World sprites. Not to mention how he may behave.

- Banzai Bills are included (I didn't see a Bill Blaster....)

Now for my thoughts / hopes:

- can adjustments be made on various level types? For instance for a 'gras' level, can we choose between day and night?

- it looks like you can change the colours of pipes. That, and the different level themes will allow me to create more accurate recreations of existing Mario levels

-can we make "worlds?" Perhaps even overworld maps??

- more enemies: I would love Fire Bros., Boomerang Bros., etc added

So that basically concludes my thoughts on the upcoming title at this point. We shall what else gets revealed closer to the release date.

February 5, 2019

Myths & Legends - Icelandic and Old Norse



Hwaet!
I have an interest in Icelandic and Old Norse myths and legends. The old sagas and tales, they interest me. Have I read any? No, not yet...

This interest was initially sparked with the publication of Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. It was marketed quite well by both Houghton Mifflin and HarperCollins. I got the book around the publication date of May 2009 I believe it was. Over the years, I've also dabbled my toes in other areas related to some of the old legends and tales.

The following year, 2010, saw HarperCollins start their print-on-demand service for some specific titles. One of them was for the 50th anniversary publication of The Saga of King Heidrek by Christopher Tolkien. A few years following that, Penguin published some of their titles under the theme of 'Legends From the Ancient North'. Titles include: Beowulf, The Elder Edda, The Saga of the Volsungs, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (all are re-published and existing translations at that time) and the newly published, from what I could gather - The Wanderer.

Next, once my computer was powerful enough to run it (and they were finished all content related to the game) I got around to playing Skyrim, the 5th Elder Scrolls game. That game featured a lot of story content and quests inspired by some of those old tales. Over time, I also discovered and obtained The Sagas of Icelanders by Penguin (based from the massive 1997 undertaking of publishing and translating all 50-ish Sagas) as well as few others books on the side: Seamus Heaney's Beowulf, Oxford World Classic's edition of Grettir's Saga and The Penguin Book of Norse Myths. Also, there was the publication of Tolkien's Beowulf. Not quite related, but while waiting for seasons of Game of Thrones I have also discovered Vikings, and am a fan of that show as well. And I am missing one more book - The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki. For a milestone birthday or event, I would absolutely love a copy of the 5-volume (later-bound!) boxed Complete Sagas of Icelanders, which contains EVERYTHING. That will be quite the purchase, though!

Also, one of the first single-malt Scotch whiskies I've tried (and enjoyed) is the 12 yr by Highland Park. Highland Park ha as very strong (and they embrace it and use it as part of their marketing and packaging) Norse connection. In fact, some whiskies on their respective product pages even have quotes from some of the old stories.    

My interest in all these stories, and types of tales has reached its peak. This year I fully intend to read them. I'm presently reading through the Earthsea Cycle. I also plan on doing a full re-read of the (existing) Ice and Fire books as well as A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms and Fire & Blood. Those aside, my next reading project will be tackling all the Norse and Icelandic material. However, which order will that be?

Here's my projected reading order:

- Legends From the Ancient North (in the order of: Beowulf, The Elder Edda, The Saga of the Volsungs, Sir Gawain, and The Wanderer
- The Penguin Book of Norse Myths
- The Sagas of Icelanders
- Njal's Saga
- Grettir's Saga
- The Prose Edda
- The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki (hope to have it by then)
- Beowulf (Heaney's translation)

So what began as mild or slight interest, thanks to Tolkien, has become a chief interest of mine that I look forward to exploring further. I understand that some of these are in prose, others are in verse. That shouldn't bother me, as the snippets I've read have interested me and the form does not appear to be a hindrance.

From what I can tell, the editions and translations I own and mentioned aren't too completed like some other epic poetry (in verse or prose might be.)  I look forward to reading these timeless stories; and learning about a culture through them. Also, once Vikings finishes, I look forward to getting the blu-rays. One of the reasons for this, is for some of the special features and documentaries the blu-rays may have on them.

Skal! 

February 3, 2019

"Valknut" by Highland Park Now Available in Ontario

Highland Park's second of their Viking Legends series (the first being Valkyrie, the third being the upcoming Valfather) is now available in Canada. Or, Ontario, at least. 

Here is what they have to say about it:

"I know one thing which never dies: the reputation of each dead man"
Poetic Edda, Hávamál, verse 77

STORY


Created using a higher proportion of our local peated malt and predominantly matured in sherry seasoned oak casks to give this whisky its smoky, sweet flavour, VALKNUT is the second in our Viking Legend series, celebrating our rich Nordic ancestry here on Orkney.
Valknut means ‘knot of those slain in battle’ and its symbol of three interlinked triangles appears on numerous artefacts from the Viking Age. The symbol is closely associated with the Norse god, Odin, who guided the spirits of the dead to the underworld and back to the world of the living, and is believed to represent the transition from life to death or the connection between earthly life and heavenly life.

NATURAL CASK-DRIVEN COLOUR (NO ADDITIVES)


Light and golden (average colour tint 10.5)


FLAVOURS


Toasted vanilla pods | Cracked black pepper | Oak shavings | Cloves | Aniseed | Aromatic peat smoke


ABV


46.8%


VOLUME


700ml (or 750ml depending on country)

You can see the tasting video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMs59R40jRg

For those that live in Ontario, the LCBO product number is 632687.

Expect Valfather to arrive later this year, or very early next year. While Valkyrie was red, Valknut is blue, I'm expecting Valfather to be either green or yellow. 

January 31, 2019

"Vikings" to End at Season 6


This week, we had the season finale of Season 5 [Part B] and it has also been announced that Season 6 will be the end of the show.

However, since it'll be 20 episodes, expect it to be once again split into 2: Season 6 [Part A] and Season 6 [Part B]. I'm hoping that the final episode of the entire show will be approx 90 minutes, as well as possibly Episode 11 (the first episode of Part B.)

On the ending of the show, creator Michael Hirst has this to say:

"I always knew where I wanted the show to go and more or less where it would end if I was given the opportunity. What I was trying to do was write the saga of Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons. After six seasons and 89 episodes, that’s what I felt — finally — I’d done. We stopped shooting the final episode in November last year and I felt that I’d said all I needed to say about Ragnar and his sons. I told my saga, and I’d been very fortunate to be given that opportunity by MGM and History. I had no reason to want to continue it beyond that. But, there are 20 new episodes to come. We visit three new worlds in those episodes, we go through great tragedies and great heroism, and if you have tears to weep be prepared to weep them as you watch Season 6. I’m very proud of the show. I did what I wanted to do, that’s the truth.


I don’t want people to think the show is ending anytime soon because it’s not. Later this year we’ll see the first part of Season 6. I’m desperate for people to see it because it is the most ambitious and intensely emotional episodes of “Vikings” ever. Each season I set new challenges for production and they always meet them. Each season I up the ante and they always do it — whatever it is I ask them to do. A lot of what we shoot is real, it’s not CGI, and the way production manages to realize what I put on paper is transcendental. It’s incredible, it’s fantastic. So we have new worlds, new landscapes, new characters… and the scope just seems to be bigger. As are a lot of the issues. We’re on a world stage now with the Vikings, so everything is greater and more significant. And I swear to all the fans. It is a truly, deeply, emotional experience so I look forward to people watching it."

January 30, 2019

Some Opinions About Beer


So I wanted to do up a post about beer.

I am fond of craft beer, to be precise. Now, that being said, I'm a fan of traditional styles: ales, amber, stouts, porters, etc. Those types, served in a pint glass.

I'm all for experimenting and trying new things; however within moderation.

Very often, I see what appears to be orange juice served in what appears to be a wine glass. And usually, the name or ingredients of that beer does not sound appealing - as BEER.

For that reason, I'm going to list off some breweries, to give an idea of the types of beers that I do enjoy. I should also add that I like some UK imports, due to the type of beer.

WHITEWATER BREWING CO

78 Hwy 17, Cobden, ON K0J 1K0
Beer Listing: http://whitewaterbeer.ca/our-beer/

Their flagship beer would probably be the Farmer's Daughter Blonde Ale. My overall favourite, though, is the Whistling Paddler English Ale. They are no longer 'up and coming' as their reputation is well-known in the Ottawa region. I remember attending beer-tasting vent that was hosted by the Hintonburg Public House from when they were up and coming.

The brewery (physical location) brewpub and their selection of beers is everything I could want from a craft brewery. They have a nice varied selection. Their food is great. The brewery is nice. Cannot give them enough praise. Oh, and you can get their beer in cans, growlers and grumblers.

HIGHLANDER BREWING CO


309 B HWY 124, South River, ON P0A 1X0
Beer Listing: https://highlanderbrewco.com/product-category/beer/

Their flagship beer would probably be the Scottish Ale. That one is quite good, as is their Blacksmith Smoked Porter. Sadly, I have not had much else by them - nor visited their brewery (which is about 5 hours away from me, twice the distance as Whitewater.)

I was gifted a 500 ml (when their beers came in bottles) for my birthday one year. The name of the brewer and the beer caught my attention, and I couldn't wait to try to it: Highlander Brewing Co.'s Scottish Ale. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have an affinity (and hopefully not an unfair bias!) towards anything Scottish. Let me tell you, that Scottish Ale as delicious. Likewise was their Blacksmith Smoked Porter, once I had it.

Their other beers are of interest to me - no overabundance of IPA's. I love IPA's, but I find them too commonplace in the craft beer industry. Highlander also offers: a rye beer, a lager, and a few others that I can't tell based on their names. Great, traditional beer.

ASHTON BREWING COMPANY


113-159 Old Mill Road Ashton, Beckwith, ON K0A 1B0
Beer Listing: https://www.ashtonbrewingcompany.com/beer

Their flagship beer would be their Amber. I haven't had much by them, nor have I visited their brewery. Unlike Highlander, (due to where I live) visiting Ashton seems to be more feasible. They offer up a Harvest brown (which is delicious on tap), a Cream Ale (gotta try that one!), an IPA, among others. What attracted me, is that they call their beers 'pub ales' - which is exactly the type of beer I would be after. I may have extremely limited experience with this brewery, but my anticipation is very high because of it.
CAMERON'S BREWING COMPANY

1165 Invicta Dr, Oakville, ON L6H 4M1
Beer Listing: https://www.cameronsbrewing.com/beers/

Unsure what their flagship would be! Now, their brewery is in Oakville....a good 5 hours away from me. However, I've had quite a few of their beers, thanks to the various mixpacks that LCBO carries. They are all very good, though I must admit that the Ambear is pretty good. They offer traditional style beers, with snappy names.


That's pretty much it for the brewers I wanted to showcase, however I also wanted to mention by name (though in less detail) the following: New Ontario Brewing Company, Great Lakes Brewery, Muskoka Brewery, and Black Oak Brewery for Ontario.

In Nova Scotia, I also have a fondness for Big Spruce, and Boxing Rock.

Finally, for imports, I quite enjoy pretty much anything from Wychwood (I make it a point to go for their Hobgoblin, and its variants, such as King Goblin and Hobgoblin Gold), Fuller's, Innis & Gunn and Belhaven.

So the point of this, was to show the types of beers and brewers that this craft beer (and, on occasion, imports) drinker likes.

You keep your tekus, I'll have my pint glass. And I part with this quote:

"...You can drink your fancy ales,
You can drink them by the flagon,
But the only brew for the brave and true...
..Comes from the Green Dragon!
"