<P>First, Iíd like to update you on the Canada Post situation. They refused to let the sender of the package pick it up when he arrived in Toronto. But they were happy to send it to him in the mail if I paid for it. Either they want to get rid of the package or they donít. Either they want it out of their system or not. This has cash grab written all over it.
<P>So I sent them money and made arrangements for onward transport. I havenít heard a word and it has not arrived at its destination, so God only know what has happened to my beer and now, my money.
<P>Speakings of money, it seems the hypocrites at Canada Post have no shame when it comes to whoring for dollars. One of the big tenets of their arguments with me included the fact that while I was a consumer and they could ship alcohol to consumers, they had to ship from licensed retailers. Now the Toronto Star is involved in a venture which involves Canada Post shipping wines that are not available at the LCBO via the mail. Newspapers are now qualified retailers of booze in Ontario? Where there is big business to be conducted, these jackasses will do whatever it takes to ship alcohol, but when it is a small-time beer writer who just wants the due access to his subject matter that one would expect in a capitalist country with a right-wing government, theyíll be equally enthusiastic about not shipping it.
<P>Either alcohol is a dangerous good or it isnít. Either you need to protect against mail-order purchases by minors or you donít. They are having it both ways, stealing from individual consumers with one hand while taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from anybody whoíll give it to them with the other.
<P>This, rest assured, it is not over.
<P>Another topic I touched upon in an earlier OW, was the brewery in Iraq. Apparently, the brewery was not bombed into dust as was earlier reported, but still stands, and still has tanks full of beer. But they do not have, for lack of electricity and other reasons, the ability to package the product and get it to a marketplace that by all accounts is thirsty for beer (to the point where theyíre drinking Efes and Amstel to get by).
<P>In other news, Iím really getting into a back-to-basics approach. The beer thing has been more work than pleasure lately, and thatís not how it is supposed to be. Living in an area where there are limited drinking options, Iíve found myself getting most of my new beer experiences in compact, hardcore sessions and at festivals. While these can be fun, they are a lousy way to learn about beer. A certain ex-Ratebeerian I think really has the best approach Ė the one that made me such a beer geek in the first place. That is sitting down at home, or in a comfortable establishment like Smokeless Joeís, the Winking Judge or the Archer Ale House and enjoying the beers one at a time. Not twenty in an evening, but one or two. That is how a person learns about beer. That is what I want to get back to. Iím not going to Chicago to try and sample 150 beers that weekend. Iíve been down that road and now I have other roads Iíd like to travel. I fully intend to focus on what beer is really good for Ė making life better.
<P>I am working on a number of projects that are hopefully going to make the back half of the year quite interesting. First, I am in the process of putting together a beer, cider and cheese weekend in Quebec. Iím looking at the last weekend of September, when the weather and scenery are at their finest. Weíll spend the weekend visiting the wonderful cheesemakers, cideries and craft brewers located in the region to the southeast and east of Montreal. One thing I am trying to judge is the market for this, so anybody who is interested should let me know.
<P>I have a couple of book projects, two of which I hope to have ready for the fall and holiday shopping season. One is beer related the other is a collection of short stories. More information will come later, but I just thought Iíd whet your appetite.
<P>Part two of my big beer weekend will probably run next week...